Federal Judge Rules Detroit Eligible for Bankruptcy

[Edited 12/4/13]

A round-up of links to noteworthy responses to Detroit’s bankruptcy announcement and implications of pension cuts:

More Cities Should Go Bankrupt at Slate

Pension Ruling in Detroit Echoes West to California in the New York Times

A great article by Detroit Free Press journalist and legacy cities advocate John Gallagher outlining next steps for Orr after the ruling

A Growth Strategy for Post-Bankruptcy Detroit, published by Brookings in July 2013


Today’s court ruling confirming Detroit’s insolvency means that:

  • The city may reduce its overall debt (a total of $18.5 billion)
  • More time and more options in sorting out how to pay off the debt that is left
  • Creditors (city unions, pension funds) can lose billions in long-term liabilities–they are expected to appeal the ruling
  • The city may now move towards restoring essential services (with court supervision)

From the New York Times article:

One central argument from lawyers for the city’s public sector unions and retirees was that Detroit’s request for bankruptcy protection came before it had made good faith attempts to negotiate with creditors.

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Cortez-Li-Liu © 2013

The Urban Freeway Debate: I-81 in Syracuse

If you’re not familiar with the I-81 viaduct battle in Syracuse, this video is a great way to get caught up.

Marc Norman is the Director of Upstate Syracuse, a design and research center at Syracuse University, and a leader in the field of analysis taking place to weigh city’s options as the expressway deteriorates. Marc spoke with News Channel 9 on the opportunity to reconnect the city and begins to answer the question: is this the right answer for Syracuse?

We’re not going to presuppose what the answer is but we’re going to ask the right questions. How do we reconnect the whole street grid? Do we make one-way streets two-way instead? Do we use signalization of lights? Do we create other streets or reconnect what became super blocks so that streets go through again? I think asking all those questions to the DOT will get us some other answers as to whether a boulevard is the right answer here.

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Lessons from Suburbia

By Stephanie Sung

Mount Laurel, once a small, rural farming town in central New Jersey, has become a model for the integration of affordable housing in higher-income neighborhoods. A report by Princeton sociologist Douglas S. Massey called “Climbing Mount Laurel” reveals the positive outcomes of the long-fought land use battle, finding that fears of crime, drugs and blight were largely unfounded. The affluent families felt no impact, while low-income families saw their lives improve.

In a New York Times article, David L. Kirp reports:

There have been changes in life in Mount Laurel. But the changes are entirely consistent with those in demographically similar suburbs that surround the township. In all these communities, crime rates fell. Property values rose during the housing boom and dipped during the recession. Tax rates declined. Even in the Mount Laurel neighborhoods closest to the affordable housing, property values were unaffected. To most residents, the fact that poor families now live in Mount Laurel has proved entirely irrelevant.

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Midwestern Legacy Cities Attract New Immigrant Waves

With help from local businesses and organizations, the city of Dayton attracts new immigrant waves from Turkey and Kenya.

Local groups gave courses for immigrants opening small businesses and helped families of refugees and foreign students. City officials worked with Wright State University, a public institution, to find ways for immigrant doctors and engineers to cut through bureaucracy and gain certifications so they could practice in the United States.

 Read the full New York Times article here »Read More

Upstate “Legacy Cities” Gain the Most from Regional Approaches to Economic Development

Download and share the report (complete press release here) that calls upon elected, business, and civic leaders to double down on innovative and regionally focused approaches to economic development for Upstate NY’s “Legacy Cities”—a term being adopted by a growing number of those working to improve America’s older industrial cities that have experienced significant population loss.

The report summarizes input from over one hundred public, private, and non-profit sector leaders recently assembled from across New York State to prioritize economic development strategies. Lieutenant Governor Duffy, charged the policy workshop participants to identify key Upstate Legacy City revitalization priorities for practitioners and policy makers. Moreover, the recommendations provide critical tools to encourage and inform a growing national dialogue on the future of Legacy Cities and their critical role in 21st century economic prosperity and quality of life.… Read More