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Detroit’s Data Guru Featured on WDET

by Louis Bach, Communications

Excerpted from WDET's survey results summary (click for PDF)

Our own Kurt Metzger was featured on today’s episode of the Craig Fahle Show on WDET, contributing to the ongoing series questioning what it would take for someone to move to Detroit. The series is an outgrowth of a dialogue that began back in December, when Toby Barlow and Rabbi Jason Miller took to the airwaves to continue the discussion behind their opposing pro-city/pro-suburb op-ed pieces in the Huffington Post. Luckily for D3, the discussion took a turn for the data-driven when WDET hosted a survey asking the question, “What would it take for you to move to the city?”

Twenty-two hundred respondents later, the results were posted. They come with some important caveats: since the respondents are self-selected public radio listeners, the sample is non-random. Rather than representing a randomized slice of the population as a whole, the survey results reflect the attitudes of those people most engaged and interested in the future of the city in their lives. The survey’s conclusions give a picture of the demographic that finds Detroit most attractive:

The person most likely to consider a move to Detroit would be a single 19-25 year old woman or man with no kids. She/he visits Detroit daily, weekly or monthly, regardless of whether he/she lives inside or outside of Metro Detroit. He/she thinks of him/herself both as a Detroiter and as someone with an urban lifestyle. Better city services, as well as better public transportation and increased walkability, would be particularly influential considerations in his or her decision to move to the city, in addition to lowered crime, better city services, better neighborhoods, better school, less government corruption, and better shopping.

Today’s panel of guests, including Professor Robin Boyle of WSU and Vince Keenan of Publius, discussed their interpretation of the results and their context, including affordability and the structure of the local housing market, as well as the availability of amenities like shopping. To hear what they had to say, check out the podcast.