“America Is a Thousand Flints”
The deindustrialization of Flint made cynics out of all but the most optimistic Vehicle City boosters. Nevertheless, many civic leaders remained hopeful about the city’s fate and rejected the notion that Flint was suffering from urban decline and corporate abandonment. Echoing their counterparts in other metropolises, Flint’s indefatigable boosters have waged vigorous campaigns to revitalize the shrinking city. Like the Sunbelt boosters of old, members of the city’s growth machine have marketed Flint as a low-wage haven with a weakened trade union movement and a municipal government committed to business growth. As in the postwar era, however, these urban renewal efforts have generated only mixed outcomes. In the downtown business district, a number of new businesses and residential developments took shape in the new millennium. However, those new developments produced the first signs of gentrification in the city’s urban core. In addition, the new attractions generated only minimal economic development in the city’s impoverished and segregated neighborhoods. Despite the numerous revitalization efforts that had taken place since the early twentieth century, the Flint of the new millennium remained a city marred by its staggeringly high rates of poverty, unemployment, residential and school segregation, crime, and urban blight.
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