In the Media

Five Detroit proposals among Knight Cities winners

Five concepts from Detroit are among the 32 winners of funding from the Knight Foundation’s Cities Challenges announced Tuesday.

An initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the challenge attracted more than 7,000 ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.

“Not only did the Knight Cities Challenge uncover a wealth of new ideas to make our cities more successful, it will help strengthen a network of civic innovators who are taking hold of the future of their cities,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “These important connections will help create a pipeline for new approaches to city transformation and spark the type of collaboration vital to growing and spreading good ideas.”

The five winners in Detroit with the amount of their awards and a brief description of their concepts are:

Brand Camp, $164,810, by Brand Camp University:
Changing the perception of poor neighborhoods by developing better branding for neighborhood businesses, including online branding.

Brick + Beam Detroit, $87,424 by Michigan Historic Preservation Network:
Creating a new community of Detroit rehabbers who will work together to combat blight and revitalize , reactivate vacant buildings and improve their city.

The Buzz, $84,055 by Detroit Future City:
Pairing barbers with landscape contractors to transform overgrown vacant lots through design workshops that teach mowing and pattern-making techniques.’

Five Detroit proposals among Knight Cities winners
John Gallagher, March 31, 2015, Detroit Free Press

In the Media

A Guide To Vacant Land Is Coming Soon

“With some creative thinking and strategic planning, that (vacant land) can actually be an opportunity or an asset rather than a problem or a liability.”

Detroit has thousands of vacant properties that could be re-used in many ways, from new business ventures to parks or gardens. The Detroit Future City Implementation Office is putting together an interactive guide to vacant land that may offer ways to put those properties to better use. Executive Director Ken Cockrel, Junior and Programs Manager Erin Kelly tell WDET’s Pat Batcheller they want the guide to be a valuable and useful resource. The guide should be ready this summer. Click on the audio links above to hear the conversation.

A Guide To Vacant Land Is Coming Soon
Pat Bellecher, March 11, 2015, WDET

In the Media

New ideas to revive empty lots

Vacant land is one of Detroit’s greatest liabilities, or its greatest opportunity — depending on whom you ask.

This spring, as the snow finally fades on parcels of green, residents across Detroit are going to be asked what future they see for the vacant land across their neighborhoods and offered a guidebook to get there.

Several initiatives, funded by nonprofits and foundations, are in the works to arm community groups and individual residents with information and ideas on how to transform thousands of vacant lots into new uses that create beauty, generate jobs and produce tax revenue from private investment as well as clean air, land and water.

A Vacant Land Transformation Guide is being developed by Detroit Future City to encourage informed decisions across the city’s neighborhoods.

Due in late spring, the user-friendly guide will offer 20-30 typologies of land use in a print and Web-based interactive tool that will specify the type of landscape materials, installation techniques and maintenance strategies for residential and commercial land in Detroit.

The idea is to help Detroit residents and contractors transform vacant land into an asset, DFC projects director Dan Kinkead said. The DFC Implementation Office will host community events to promote the initiative. The guide is being funded by the Erb Family Foundation.

New ideas to revive empty lots
Jennifer Chambers, March 9 2015, The Detroit News