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Some people are enthused about what’s happening in the central business districts in Detroit. New pedestrian areas in downtown, old buildings being rehabbed, new art installations, new restaurants, boutiques, and other retail opening up and down Woodward and Cass.

And some people are hopeful that eventually, someday, some of that development will spill over into the neighborhoods. But some leading design people say now is the time to look at these neighborhoods.

Aaron Foley is the city of Detroit's chief storyteller – and yes, that is a position in city government. He's also the author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass

His latest work gathers neighborhood stories from writers who live or have lived all around the city. It's titled The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook, and Foley is the editor.

Just look at the racial census makeup of school districts in Michigan. The numbers from the state Department of Education show districts in Michigan are deeply segregated.

In today’s State of Opportunity special Better Together: How School Diversity Makes a Difference, we look at schools, teachers and parents who are working to create, maintain or even boost diversity in the classroom.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

What happens to students and neighborhoods when a school closes?

That question was thrust into the spotlight with word late last week that Michigan's School Reform Office has put 38 low-performing schools on notice they could be shut down. Twenty-five of those schools are in Detroit.

Tomorrow, Michigan Radio’s State of Opportunity team will look at school closures in a new documentary called We Live Here.

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

What’s the most important thing to consider when you’re choosing a neighborhood?

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The new mayor of Grand Rapids wants to make housing more affordable in Michigan's second-largest city. Mayor Rosalynn Bliss' first state of the city speech was Tuesday night.

Bliss talked about the hardships she faced growing up in a family of ten.

“Whether you’re a family of four or a family of ten, a senior, a blue-collar worker, a young professional; I want you to be able to live in our city and proudly call it your home,” Bliss said.

The Alger Theater at present day on the corner of Warren and East Outer Drive.
Courtesy of Friends of the Alger

The Alger Theater on the corner of Warren and East Outer Drive in Detroit hasn't shown a movie for 30 years.

But come Sunday, members of the Friends of the Alger Theater will get the chance to watch Young Frankenstein inside the partially renovated theater as part of the groups' summer fundraising effort. The "Brew and View" series will offer a monthly screenings through August.

The theater is perhaps best known for its marquee, said Helen Broughton, president of the Friends of the Alger, a non-profit group that has been working to restore the space since 1986.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Carriage Town neighbors in Flint are divided by more than fences these days.

A proposal to shrink the size of the neighborhood's historic district has pitted neighbor against neighbor.  

The neighborhood is just north of downtown Flint.   Many of the homes and buildings in the neighborhood pre-date the city’s auto industry. The neighborhood gets its name from Flint’s late 1800’s carriage manufacturing business.

The neighborhood now is a unique collection of restored and blighted homes.