Postcard: How Philanthropy is Remaking Detroit

Private donors are backing the mayor's plan to shutter neighborhoods and relocate residents. How philanthropy is remaking the city

Stephen McGee / The New York Times / Redux

A garden was constructed in 2009 outside the Michigan Central Station in Detroit.

In late March a star urban planner named Toni Griffin will begin a new assignment. She'll help lead what might be the most ambitious urban makeover in American history — the downsizing of Detroit, a city built to accommodate a population more than twice its current size. At a recent panel convened by TIME and the Brookings Institution, Mayor Dave Bing made clear what many had suspected — that he intends to shrink the city, which cannot afford to serve dying neighborhoods.

There is something else that the city cannot afford: Griffin's salary. The 45-year-old comes to...

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