Press Release


April 8, 2015

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office is launching a new initiative, the “Ideas for Innovation,” funded by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation,  a six part series, to accelerate thinking around DFC’s five strategic planning elements and advance collaboration around the implementation of the DFC Strategic Framework Plan.  Each “Ideas for Innovation” event will be followed by a publication that outlines actionable recommendations identified during the events.


“Using the DFC Strategic Framework Plan as their starting point, ‘Ideas for Innovation’ panelists will discuss critical issues impacting Detroiters and the next steps to grow, stabilize and transform the city to improve the quality of life for everyone,” said Kenneth Cockrel Jr., executive director, Detroit Future City Implementation Office.  “This type of dialogue will help to activate transformative strategies and ultimately create a better Detroit.”


The first “Ideas for Innovation” discussion, The Making of a Great City, will be held on April 14,, 2015, 6-8 p.m. at the Charles H. wright Museum of African American History During the event there will be a panel discussion with innovators from Detroit and the Midwest as well as a keynote address by Roxanne Qualls, former mayor and city council member, Cincinnati

During Qualls three terms as mayor of Cincinnati in the 1990s, she focused on revitalizing neighborhoods, increasing homeownership and redeveloping Cincinnati’s central riverfront. She returned to city council in 2007, and subsequently served as Vice Mayor. She led the effort to adopt the city’s new Comprehensive Plan and to develop tools, such as a form based code and complete streets policies, so neighborhoods could achieve their visions for livable, healthy communities.

“My passion for urban planning and design, has led me to use my time in office to focus on underserved neighborhoods and create a more viable and globally local competitive economy in my city,” said Qualls.  “I am thrilled to visit the City of Detroit to share my experiences and collaborate with some of Michigan’s greatest minds, together I believe we can advance the conversation about Detroit’s future at the ‘Ideas for Innovation’ event.”


Scheduled panelists for The Making of a Great City are:

  • Dayne Walling, Mayor of Flint
  • Gary Brown, chief operating officer, City of Detroit
  • Khalil Ligon, southeast Michigan outreach coordinator, Alliance for the Great Lakes
  • Roxanne Qualls, former mayor and city councilmember, Cincinnati


The next five “Ideas for Innovation” events will be:

  • Opportunities for Innovation | May 2015
  • Strengthening the City’s Neighborhoods | June 2015
  • The Case for Open Space | July 2015
  • Equitable Growth | September 2015
  • The Making of a Shared Regional Vision | October 2015


Each discussion will take place at a different location in Detroit. For more information about The Making of a Great City or future discussions, speakers and topics, visit Engage in “Ideas for Innovation” series on social media using #DFCIdeas.


Michigan Radio is an “Ideas for Innovation” media partner.  Participants from each of the six events will author an essay that will posted on The Next Idea website, Michigan Radio’s new project devoted to the new innovations and ideas that will change our state.  Learn more by visiting



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