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Raclialized Impacts in Contemporary Design Policies: A Detroit case study

In many areas, the residual impacts of historically racialized policies can be observed in the matters of the health, safety, and accessibility of the residents. Looking at Detroit in particular, the impacts of policies enforcing segregation and displacement, such as redlining, blockbusting, highway acts, and urban renewal, intermixed with the poorly rushed planning of the Industrial Belt, it can be noted that the primary effects are still placed on black residents.

This thesis looks to three commonly used practices or policies in Urban Design and Planning to discover the true impacts in contemporary settings by examining case studies within previously racially impacted Detroit neighborhoods against the intention of the policies. This study includes the Community Benefits Ordinance, Opportunity Zones and Funds, and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design + the Complete Street Program. Each has three key players: the government, the developer, and the neighborhood although the scale and influence of each may vary. This allows for a comparison of the flow of resources along each policy, by means of intentions and by following a case study within each for realized implementation within a few Detroit neighborhoods. Each case study is broken down into the measures of success, public reaction, accountability measures, and assessment of the actual execution of the policies – primarily through neighborhood impact.




M Arch


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Kayleigh Walker

Kayleigh Walker is a Masters of Architecture student, looking to graduate in Summer 2021 following the completion of her undergraduate degrees in Architecture and Interior Architecture at Lawrence Technological University. She is currently working as a contract designer through Walker Studios LLC and continuing this lens of equity in the position of interior design.

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