In the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Rev. Charles Duplessis of Mount Nebo Bible Baptist Church says an estimate that less than half of that area's pre-Katrina population has returned looks accurate.
The post-industrial dystopia emerging on the streets of Detroit may be shocking, but it is not surprising. The crisis results from the convergent forces of fiscal austerity and structural racism in a region defined by its extreme segregation of race, wealth and opportunity.
To dole out fines for wall art, or sell the Detroit Institute of Arts' assets to satisfy creditors in the city bankruptcy, would be to destroy the core of what sustains this city and will continue to make it stronger.
The lessons from the past, including resistance that led to rethinking the top-down approach and discrimination embedded in the postwar federal urban renewal program, suggest that efforts to reshape American cities' landscapes will not succeed without community buy-in.