Drawing Boundaries: Histories of Segregation and Profit-Making in Detroit

With “Drawing Boundaries: Histories of Segregation and Profit-Making in Detroit,” our in-depth graphic report on water, housing, and land in and around Detroit comes to a close. It’s been a fascinating, year-and-a-half-long process, tracking how denial of access to clean drinking water in Detroit and Flint contributes directly to blight and the foreclosure crisis in the area. In this, the final installment of our segment on land, we distill two centuries of history into a brief look at how city boundaries in the region are shaped, by whom and for what purpose. It’s a fitting way to close out a series on what will certainly be an ongoing story of deeply flawed infrastructure and the people who find a way not only to survive in it, but also to support each other and thrive.


1. In truth, Banglatown blocks are quite long and abut the Davison highway, the nation’s first freeway. Consequently there are only about eight actual blocks in Banglatown, more or less.

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3. “The story of Hamtramck, Michigan’s Ellis Island, as Trump takes power,” Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, February 4, 2017. Accessed April 14, 2018: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2017/02/04/hamtramck-michigan-immigrants-trump/97450148/

4. “Why do Hamtamck and Highland Park exist inside the city of Detroit?”, Ibid.

5. “Highland Park Ford Plant,” National Park Service website. Accessed April 14, 2018: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/detroit/d32.htm

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8. “Brief History of Dearborn,” Ibid.

9. Reynolds Farley; Sheldon Danziger; Harry J. Holzer, Detroit Divided, Russell Sage Foundation (September 5, 2002).

10. “Bio: Henry Ford,” The History Channel. Accessed April 14, 2018: https://www.history.co.uk/biographies/henry-ford

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14. “The Detroit Wall: A tale of how federal policy helped divide a city,” Ibid.

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16. “Moroun company to implode part of old Detroit factory Saturday,” Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business, June 23, 2017. Accessed April 16, 2018: https://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170623/news/632346/moroun-company-implode-part-old-detroit-factory-saturday

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