A Detroit Story: Urban Decline and the Rise of Property Informality

A Detroit Story: Urban Decline and the Rise of Property Informality

by Claire W. Herbert

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Bringing to the fore a wealth of original research, A Detroit Story examines how the informal reclamation of abandoned property has been shaping Detroit for decades. Claire Herbert lived in the city for almost five years to get a ground-view sense of how this process molds urban areas. She participated in community meetings and tax foreclosure protests, interviewed various groups, followed scrappers through abandoned buildings, and visited squatted houses and gardens. Herbert found that new residents with more privilege often have their back-to-the-earth practices formalized by local policies, whereas longtime, more disempowered residents, usually representing communities of color, have their practices labeled as illegal and illegitimate. She teases out how these divergent treatments reproduce long-standing inequalities in race, class, and property ownership.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520974487
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 03/16/2021
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 316
File size: 10 MB

About the Author

Claire Herbert is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oregon.

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Tables


Part I Social and Spatial Context
1. Urban Decline and Informality
2. Regulations and Enforcement
3. From Illicit to Informal

Part II Informality in Everyday Life
4. Beyond Politics or Poverty
5. Necessity Appropriators
6. Lifestyle Appropriators
7. Routine Appropriators

Part III Informal Plans and Formal Policies
8. Surviving the City or Settling the City?
9. Regulating Informality, Reproducing Inequality

Conclusion: Lessons for Informality in the Global North

Appendix: Research Methods and Data

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