The North Star of Hype: How Detroit Charts a Course in a Neoliberal Framework

Main Article Content

Crystal Montoya


The city of Detroit is associated with the creation of and rise of industrialism in North America. Industrialism, specifically Fordism, within the municipality of Detroit maintained financial strength for decades until the mid-1980s when a new global capitalist era emerged in the Global North. Currently, the city of Detroit is in the process of rebuilding. In the academic literature on development, there is an apparent gap that explores how current ideologies shape development in social spaces. In this review, the ideological influences of sustainable development and neoliberalism are explored through analysis of the social, historical, political, and economic lenses that contribute to and shape development within the city of Detroit. Moreover, the ideological influences are analyzed to understand how explicit discourse for sustainable development either forms or breaks implicit systems of social control. The paper concludes by acknowledging that progressive notions of equality and growth are difficult to actualize due to the inequitable allocation of capital under our system of global capitalism. The paper closes with an exploration of the implicit and symbolic biases that appears inherent in development ideologies to contribute to a genuine and possible path to an equitable and sustainable future for places such as Detroit.