Wednesday, April 18, 2018

An Artist Excavates the Neglected Histories of a Gentrifying Neighborhood in Detroit

The Cass Corridor neighborhood has been one of the most hyperbolic examples of the impact of gentrification on Detroit. In her 65-minute documentary, Last Days of Chinatown, Nicole MacDonald explores the history and erasure of a once-thriving Chinese population in the area and the displacement of the poor and “unimportant” people to accommodate the march of progress.

Last Days of Chinatown Trailer from Nicole Macdonald on Vimeo.

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Sharktooth said...

Looks interesting.
The Cass Corridor was in the news a lot, but usually not in a good way. I don't think I've ever actually been in that part of Detroit, but I can see how the location would be ideal for gentrification.
It's just north of the central core with entertainment, as well as relatively new football and baseball stadiums, and just south of Wayne State University.

The Nag said...

My son lives in Windsor and we occasionally visit Detroit. Jack White's Third Man record pressing plant is on Canfield in the North Cass District. There are a lot of high end shopping and food venues as well as the restored mansions in the Canfield Historic District. Unfortunately a lot of historic buildings have been demolished for surface parking and more are threatened.

Sharktooth said...

It sounds like you're in Detroit more than I am these days. I used to be over a couple of times a week for work, but nowadays it's maybe a couple of times every 6 months.

I'm glad to hear there's some revitalization going on downtown, but there remains that stark extreme between wealth and abject poverty in Detroit. I haven't seen anything even close to it in Canada, but it exists all over in the US.

The Nag said...

The income inequality, filth and violence in American cities is astonishing. I travel a lot and used to vacation in the US twice a year but don't cross the border anymore except when I visit my son even though I live just minutes from the border. The urban decay in Detroit has become almost iconic. America is a country of haves and have nots and there is no political will to address a more equal distribution of resources. (It looks like I've started ranting a little earlier than usual today.)

Sharktooth said...

I hear ya.

I've only really vacationed once in the US, and that was car camping and bicycling in Florida during the winter of 1983/84.

Every little town had its nice little main street, but a couple of streets over it had its slum too. This was true everywhere I went. We're not talking big cities here, just your average small town. It was always black people living in poverty, just like you'd see in third world news reports.

Now the US has a white racist as president, and the only way he got there was because lots of true blue white racists voted for him. I thought things might have been changing down there, but it's clearly a very strong force.

That winter was my last vacation in the US. I just couldn't accept the institutionalized inequality. Nowadays I just vacation in Canada. We're bad enough, but probably still salvageable.

The Nag said...

I used to think Canadians were different but Doug Ford is leading in the polls. Quite discouraging.

Sharktooth said...

Ya, you're right. I guess it's your turn to play Debbie Downer this week. Sigh.