The Detroit Works Project is an embodiment of contemporary trends of neoliberal urban governance across the United States. Typified by increasing numbers of public private partnerships, withdrawn redistributive policy, privatization of public services, and in the case of Detroit Works – the complete shedding of responsibility of a government to its citizens – neoliberal urban governance trends focus on the cultivation and attraction of global capital. Detroit Works would attract this global capital by offering cheap, cleared, and advantageously located land within a region under the increasing control of a few powerful decision-makers intent on elevating the city and regions position on capitalism’s global hierarchy of cities…

Detroit Works argues it will improve the quality of life for all Detroiters. However to accomplish this, relocation of citizens is essential and will be achieved through drastically reducing essential services in geographies intended for clearance in an attempt to force an entrenched citizenry no choice but to move. Relocation of citizens serves multiple purposes for Detroit Works. Adding to the population density of targeted areas for investment will increase the economic potential of commercial districts in those areas.

Additionally, removal of citizens from large geographic areas precludes the need to provide police and fire protection, water and sewer services, trash collection, public transportation, electricity, or any other essential service; potentially saving the city a substantial amount of money in annual service provision costs. Lastly, the Detroit Works Project aims to leverage the city’s vacant land as an asset, and clearing poorly provisioned land of its physical and racial inscription increases real estate liquidity and creates the form most desired by potential investors. In accomplishing such, Detroit will continue its rebranding initiative as a well-funded and well-connected decision-making elite works to reposition the region as a global hub of mobility technology while distancing itself from the conventional view of the city as an obsolete and largely irrelevant post-industrial city

See Daniel Clement’s full paper here: