The three areas on the map show some of the areas suggested as possible locations for larger scale food production in the city.

Further Reading on Nortown

Assaf, Ariana. “Detroit study to examine effects of bad air quality.” The Michigan Daily, Feb 26, 2014. (accessed March 13, 2014).

This article describes an ongoing study of Detroit’s air quality and the circumstances which catalyzed the research.  Pollution in Detroit has been linked to myriad health problems; this study hopes to create a plan for lowering pollution levels through synthesizing data regarding air pollution’s negative impacts.  The succinct explanation of the study and information on Detroit’s air-quality problems provided by this article make it a useful source for individuals looking to stay current on the work being done regarding pollution– in Detroit or any major city.

Binkowski, Don. Col. P.W. Norris: Yellowstone’s Greatest Superintendent. Etowah: C & D of Warren, 1995.

This book details the life and works of Philetus W. Norris, the founder of the Village of Norris. The land Norris helped settle and develop has since become North East Detroit, known locally as Nortown.  This source is crucial to the history of Detroit as it is the first to document the abounding achievements of one of the city’s most important pioneers.  The book contains several useful photographs pertaining to both early Detroit and P.W. Norris himself.


“City Airport Area Becomes Wasteland: Failed effort to buy out property owners leaves neighborhood in limbo,” Detroit, MI News, December 10, 2007.

The article gives an explanation for the disappearing houses southwest of French Road, next to the Detroit City Airport.   It also describes why the plan to create a 500-foot safety buffer on either side of the Detroit City Airport runway has taken twenty years to carry out, rather than the proposed eighteen months.  The article has useful information for area residents as to why their neighborhood has been slowly been crumbling around them.


Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative (DECC), “History of Conner Creek”, DECC Conner Creek Greenway,

This website describes the DECC’s plans for a greenway following the original path of Conner Creek, as well as the history of the development along (and on top of) the creek.  It could be useful for Detroiters to learn what their neighborhood used to look like before it became developed, and what the DECC hopes it can appear with the addition of a greenway.


“Fear GI Housing Regulations Won’t Relieve Plight Of Negro Veterans,” Chicago, IL Defender, Nov 11, 1944.

The article describes the hardships that many blacks, including returning veterans, faced in their attempts to acquire decent housing for much of the 20th century, as they struggled against both institutionalized discrimination and racist white tenants.  This was a problem in Detroit as well as many cities across the country, and was the source of issues like the Sojourner Truth Homes controversy.


Nash, Roderick, “The American Wilderness in Historical Perspective,” Forest History Newsletter Vol. 6, No. 4 (Winter, 1963): 2-13.

The article gives an account of how wilderness in America has been seen during the country’s history, first as a enemy to be feared and an obstacle standing between settlers and farming a living out of the land, and then a natural wonder to be preserved and protected.  It gives a helpful explanation of the reason that the founder of Northeast Detroit, P.W. Norris, chose the life he did, as superintendent of Yellowstone National Park.


Public Sector Consultants, Inc. “Michigan in Brief.”

The Public Sector Consultants is a private firm in Detroit that created this handbook that summarizes the economic, cultural, and political history of the state of Michigan. This is a helpful source because it gives a profile of the state’s people and lifestyles in addition to a list of facts about Michigan history. This information can help with understanding reasons for demographic changes in Northeast Detroit.


Stark, George. Detroit at the Century’s Turn, as Remembered by George W. Stark. Detroit: Wayne University Press, 1951.

This booklet documents George Stark’s memories of Detroit circa 1900.  There is a particular focus on North East Detroit and its residents because Stark lived on Mt. Elliot Ave, the city’s easterly boundary at the time.  This resource is useful for its candid first-hand recollection of the Detroit c. 1900, the early infrastructural development, the people and the culture.


Steve Spilos, What Happened to Conner Creek? (Detroit, MI: Detroit News, 1951), 1-22.

The article gives residents an idea of why what used to be a major part of the area’s scenery has since disappeared, describing the transformation and eventual disappearance of Conner Creek.  It also gives a history of the surrounding area, including the transition from forests and marshland to farmland and eventually industry.


Sugrue, Thomas J. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2005.

This book takes an alternative approach to explaining how Detroit and many other thriving industrialized cities have become products of racial poverty. The book details the changes in waves of migration to Detroit during the trade industries, during the war era, and during industrialization. It is a great source to give insight on why Detroit has ranked among the 10 most segregated metropolitan areas in the United States.


Zachary Fogel, Interview with Rory Bolger, Detroit City Zoning Office, regarding the Downzoning on the Mt. Elliott Corridor in Nortown, March 21, 2014, Environmental History in Detroit.

Mr. Bolger provided an interesting take on the downzoning and disappearance of industry along the Mt. Elliott Corridor.  He pointed out that industry began to disappear as a result of the decline in auto manufacturing in Detroit and zoning laws followed that restricted land use so that junk yards and auto repair shops are now some of the only businesses that have moved into the area, not the other way around.




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