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Strategy for Detroit's Future Offers Path Forward

Recommendations Blend Technical and Community Expertise - Implementation Structure & Commitments Already in Progress

DETROIT, Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Detroit has a new vision for its future.  Today, a broad-coalition of Detroit stakeholders introduced Detroit Future City, a strategic framework for future decision making. The framework was developed to be the catalyst for Detroiters to work collectively to create a prosperous, connected, sustainable, and socially just city for everyone.

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The framework builds on Detroit's assets and is separated into six elements – Economic Growth, Land Use, Neighborhoods, Land and Building Assets, City Systems and Civic Engagement. It is a guide for moving the city forward in a comprehensive way including how to:

  • best use land, create job growth and economic prosperity,
  • ensure vibrant neighborhoods,
  • build infrastructure that serves citizens at a reasonable costs, and
  • maintain a high level of community engagement that is integral to success.

Grounded in the broadest, deepest, and most comprehensive look at Detroit that's ever been done, including 30,000 conversations with Detroit stakeholders. Detroit Future City is the result of the Detroit Works Project, a long-term planning initiative launched more than two years ago by Mayor Dave Bing.   

"My administration launched the Detroit Works Project to inspire community groups, non-profits, businesses, and philanthropists to get involved in shaping the future of this City," said Mayor Bing.  "Along the way, we've assembled a broad coalition of people to guide the Long Term Planning process, while my administration focused on improving Detroit in the Short-Term."

Recommendations range from the practical, such as establishing geographic employment districts  in already viable sectors, to the visionary, such as developing carbon forests and water retention ponds to achieve multiple benefits like decreasing the burden of city systems to better public health to beatification. Each considers how better land use can help achieve goals that improve the quality of life for all Detroiters.

"This is the most comprehensive framework ever established for an American city," said Toni Griffin, Director of the Technical Planning Team.  "It blends community expertise and planning on the ground with some of the best planners from Detroit and around the world to establish a path forward and improve people's quality of life."

Moving forward, some portions of the framework can begin immediately, while others will evolve over time. The framework calls for key progress implementation horizons at 5 years (stabilize), 5 – 10 years (improve), 10 – 20 years (sustain), and 20 – 50 years (transform) that not only begin improving the quality of life now, but eventually transform Detroit into an urban leader.

Moving forward, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Steering Committee are in the early stages of establishing a consortium to help facilitate, manage and inform the implementation of Detroit Future City.  

George W. Jackson Jr., Detroit Works Project Long Term Planning Steering Committee Chair said, "The consortium will drive the change, serving as the coordinating body that will connect the framework to resources, and will support, integrate, advance, and monitor efforts to enact the framework's recommendations and strategies."

He went on to say that a "project management office" will be created "to support the consortium, form community partnerships, and help establish and execute the framework's implementation agenda" and that initial funding was already in place.

As part of today's announcement, the W.K. Kellogg and Kresge Foundations have committed a combined $3-million to support  a substantial portion of the project management office operating costs for the first  two years. 

In addition, The Kresge Foundation has committed to aligning all of its grant-making in Detroit with Detroit Future City, representing at least $150 million of investment over the next five years. 

"The full potential of this framework will only be realized with the collective efforts and resources of everyone – public, private, philanthropic, nonprofit – all pulling together," said Rip Rapson, president & CEO of The Kresge Foundation.  "We are excited today to announce our own commitment to help the momentum we need to be success, and we encourage all to become partners in creating Detroit Future City." 

Pablo Farias, vice president at the Ford Foundation said, "Detroit Future City is another example of the incredible momentum, energy and innovation emerging from Detroit.  Today marks an exciting step forward for the city and we are very optimistic about what we can continue to accomplish by working together. We believe that engaging community voices is essential to the success of any effort like this one, and are pleased to support neighborhood outreach to ensure that the ideas and concerns of residents are shaping and strengthening this work."

Ali Webb, State Director For Michigan Programming from The W.K. Kellogg Foundation added, "We support the Detroit Future City framework, not only because it aligns with our goal of making a difference in the lives of Detroit's vulnerable children and their families, but also because it is informed by the community's voice, opening innovative pathways to action."

Access the Strategic Framework
The Strategic Framework is an extensive body of work. 

"It's going to take time for people to familiarize themselves with it," said Heaster Wheeler, a Steering Committee member with the project.  "In addition to meetings being scheduled with Detroit stakeholders groups such as business and faith-based, we have developed several ways for everyone to access it so they can become more familiar with its contents." 

Some of the ways include

  • Visit to download the strategic framework;
  • Stop by your neighborhood Detroit Public Library to review a copy;
  • Call the Detroit Future City hotline toll free at 800-234-7184;
  • Invite a Detroit Future City representative to your meeting;
  • Take part in one of the Open Houses scheduled for January 15, 22, and 29 from 2 to 7 p.m. at Detroit Future City Homebase located at 2929 Russell Street, or
  • Drop by the Homebase between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday  to view a new Detroit Future City exhibition.

Funders of Detroit Works Project Long Term Planning
Erb Family Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, the John S. and James L Knight Foundation, the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation. 

SOURCE Detroit Works Project

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