Research: Decline-induced displacement: the case of Detroit

Research on residential displacement typically takes up the topic when it is an expected or possible outcome of gentrification.

A new paper by Bloustein School assistant professor Eric Seymour and Joshua Akers, Department of Geography and Urban and Regional Studies, University of Michigan-Dearborn, draws on a case study of Detroit and finds evidence of displacement pressures driven by the collapse of home prices, not their escalation. These pressures stem from the intersection of forces operating at multiple scales, including the financialization of housing, austerity regimes of the local state, and the expansion of predatory real estate investment.

The study, “Decline-induced displacement: the case of Detroit,” (Urban Geography, Feb. 2022) examines displacement pressures in Detroit since the subprime lending crisis, which triggered a wave of mortgage foreclosures, as well as the causes and effects of the subsequent tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit and the implications of increased real estate speculation fueled by growing foreclosure inventories. The authors argue a focus on these varieties of displacement offers a more complete understanding of the ongoing and highly racialized restructuring of U.S. cities following the financial crisis.