By Lee Scott For the Times-UnionPosted Dec 1, 2019 at 12:01 AM
In “Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises,” Jodie Adams Kirshner, a research professor at New York University, attempts to give us a picture of what went awry in the efforts to solve the problems facing a rebuilding Detroit.
BROKE: HARDSHIP AND RESILIENCE IN A CITY OF BROKEN PROMISES
Author: Jodie Adams Kirshner
St. Martin’s Press, 352 pages, $28.99
The headlines five years ago said that Detroit, Mich., had emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. What they didn’t say was that the city remained an economic mess and the few residents still around were suffering from the combined disaster of vampiric politics, predatory lending and systemized racism, leading to a city that to survive in any form has been forced to become divisive and exclusive.
In “Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises,” Jodie Adams Kirshner, a research professor at New York University, attempts to give us a picture of what went awry in the efforts to solve the problems. In telling the story she focuses on ground-level struggles of seven individuals attempting to make their way through the maelstrom.
“I had not set out to focus on real estate, but it quickly became clear to me that real estate encapsulated many of the causes of Detroit’s bankruptcy and the challenges the city has confronted in bankruptcy’s wake… Ask a Detroit resident about his housing and chances are good that he will tell you a sad story. In only a few decades a city of homeowners has transformed into a city of majority renters. The loss of homes has propagated vacancy and blight that has depressed local property markets and destabilized neighborhoods. Even following bankruptcy the city has no authority to stop the cycle of abandonment.”
Why should we care about the “notorious” problems in this once great northern city and what do they have to do with us? With the majority of Americans living in cities, this book is “a harbinger of the trauma to come.”
MEET THE AUTHOR
Jodie Adams Kirshner discusses “Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Story & Song Bookstore, 1430 Park Ave., Amelia Island.
Lee Scott lives in Avondale.