Most Insightful Detroit Bankruptcy Articles

“I love Detroit, I know a ton of people who love Detroit. … Have you ever loved? You mean to tell me that everything you’ve loved was just cut and clear? There was never any condition or obstacle?

But when it’s love, you know it’s real. And love conquers all, even the stigma of Chapter 9 bankruptcy and the national head-shaking that’s coming with it.” —Aaron Foley

Detroit filed bankruptcy on July 18, making it the largest U.S. city to do so. Rather than add to the noise, we rounded up articles with viewpoints you may not have heard yet and summarized each one for you below:

Don’t Let Bankruptcy Fool You Richard Florida, The Atlantic Cities

An excellent summary of all of the issues leading to Detroit’s fiscal problems and what bankruptcy actually means for the city moving forward. If there is one article to read, this is the one. (Note that although a Michigan court declared the bankruptcy unconstitutional, the case will proceed at the federal level.)

A Bankrupt Narrative Hayley Roberts, Michigan Suburbs Alliance

Argues that factors other articles have not touched on – such as the way we fund cities and the rules governing property taxes – are to blame for financial distress in Detroit and other Michigan cities.

Reinventing Detroit Jacob Anbinder, The Century Foundation

Takes an interesting, simplistic approach to reinventing Detroit that focuses on improving upward mobility residents. The article’s reliance on outside studies makes it a good go-to place for data like this 2010 map of race and ethnicity in Detroit and this one of economic mobility in the U.S.  (By the way, if you are a numbers person, in this article Pete Saunders uses census data to compare Detroit with other cities in terms of racial makeup over time.)

How Sprawl Got Detroit Into This Mess Angie Schmitt, Streetsblog

States that taking away pensions will not fix Detroit’s long-term revenue drain. Detroit has the worst sprawl in the country. As long as this continues, the city’s liabilities will exceed assets due to the cost of maintaining the infrastructure sprawl creates.

I’ll Decide City Pensions Fund Case The Detroit Free Press

A quick overview of what has happened and what to expect next. In a nutshell, Michigan has a constitutional provision that protects pension benefits. Detroit wants to cut pensions and there is a dispute as to whether or not the federal bankruptcy court has jurisdiction over the pension decision (as opposed to a state court). It seems the federal bankruptcy court will decide the pensions case.