Community & Economic Development: Detroit Putting Its Legacy to Work

December 21, 2018

Early in 2018, DFC convened community partners to discuss strategies for putting Detroit’s vacant industrial buildings back into productive use. This led to a deeper look at the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood, where some former industrial buildings are being redeveloped for residential, office, and cultural uses. Supported by Detroit LISC, DFC is working with Vanguard CDC, a local developer, to gather public and expert input on how to create new and innovative uses for empty spaces.

A written action plan will be completed in early 2019. Capacity building activities are also underway to ensure that partners have the resources and tools they need to complete and execute a vacant industrial reuse initiative in Milwaukee Junction. It is expected that the success of this project will serve as a model for projects in other neighborhoods of Detroit, where older industrial spaces often remain underused.

In a complementary initiative, DFC helped organize the Detroit Neighborhood Housing Compact in 2018. This multi-sector collaborative project is focused on strengthening the single-family housing market in Detroit’s neighborhoods.


DFC worked with the Urban Institute to set up the Compact and has since assumed the role of lead facilitator and manager. A forum was held in November to publicly announce the Compact formation and was attended by over 70 housing and community development leaders. Working groups were recently established to study and begin to address key challenges to the single-family housing market in Detroit, including both the rental and for-sale market segments.

DFC’s community and economic development efforts ensure equitable development beyond downtown to across city neighborhoods. This includes staff participation in community capacity building and innovative collaborative efforts, like Building the Engine of Community Development in Detroit, which is working to build the capacity for community development across Detroit.

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