Center Unveils New Shared Vision for Economic Equity
On October 13th, Detroit Future City’s Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research released a shared vision for economic equity in Detroit. The vision was developed over more than a year of planning, research, engagement and collaboration with more than 500 community stakeholders from community members and leaders to national experts.
“DFC has been focused on building a more resilient and equitable Detroit since the release of the 2012 Strategic Framework. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have increased awareness of the striking inequities across our region and deep disparities in Detroit,” said Anika Goss, DFC Executive Director. “The time is now—there has never been a greater sense of urgency from the community to address the inequities that exist between Detroit and the surrounding region.”
The vision is for an economically equitable Detroit in which all Detroiters are meeting their unique needs, prospering, and fully and fairly participating in all aspects of economic life. Available on DFC’s website, the economic equity vision document includes a call to action from DFC’s board of directors, stating, “Every day, Detroiters are experiencing the devastating results of systems that have failed us – systems that are embedded with racism and that create and deepen vast economic inequities that negatively impact growth and limit the potential of many residents. This is a moment for us to work together for the future of Detroit.”
Now that the vision statement is out, the project team is working to establish baseline economic equity indicators for Detroit. These indicators will provide a baseline from which to affect change and track progress. The Center will also develop a web-based dashboard platform for the indicators to ensure the data are accessible and usable.
“We’ve begun looking at data related to drivers of economic equity – in employment, housing, and education, for example – and working to identify the greatest levers for change,” said Ashley Williams Clark, Director of the Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research at DFC. “With our research partners and community input, we hope to have the indicators released for the community early next year, after which we can collectively work to more strategically to reduce the disparities that undermine our area.”
The Kresge Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation provided funding support for this work. The Ralph C. Wilson Foundation provided additional support. The full economic equity vision statement is available at the link below.
Guidance Offered To Green Through Pavement Removal
Earlier this year, DFC’s Land Use and Sustainability Team helped St. Suzanne’s Catholic Church remove underutilized areas of pavement on its property and unlock the benefits of a cleaner, greener site. Through the work, this experience and key lessons are chronicled in a new report entitled “Depave Detroit,” out this month.
“Across Detroit, there are so many acres of underutilized pavement which, if removed and restored to green space, could beautify our community while alleviating stormwater management costs on all of us,” said Anika Goss, Executive Director of Detroit Future City. “Removing excess pavement is a simple and effective way to build a better Detroit.”
This new report describes the depaving process in detail, with step-by-step guidance for anyone interested in removing their own excess pavement. It includes guidance and ideas for completing such a project, from site selection to budgeting to relandscaping and more.
“The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department bills property owners for stormwater management, in part, based on the permeable surface area of their site,” said Sarah Hayosh, Director of Land Use and Sustainability at DFC. “Removing unused pavement is a great way to reduce one’s permeable surface acreage and potentially save money on your bill.”
Funding support for this work was provided by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. Technical support was provided by the Land and Water Works Coalition and Depave Portland. The full Depave Detroit Report is available by clicking the link below.
Neighborhood Lot Transformations Continuing in Fall
Progress is continuing swiftly on vacant lot transformation projects across Detroit with support from Detroit Future City’s 2020 Working With Lots program. The program made grants and technical assistance available to eight neighborhood partners committed to repurposing vacant lots in green and sustainable ways, generally with designs from DFC’s Field Guide to Working With Vacant Lots, over a period of 12 months.
Four projects were completed this Fall. They include three vacant lot reclamation projects that used the Perennial Propagator design, led by Emerald Isles CDC, Detroit Hives, and Northend Christian CDC / Oakland Avenue Farms. A fourth project, using a custom design, was completed by the Bryden Central Block Club.
Neighborhood organization Twenty Books also completed a portion of their project, with the remainder to be completed in the spring planting season during 2021.
Three projects are slated to break ground in Spring 2021. These include Canfield Consortium’s Forest Patcher design, Auntie Na’s House and their Mounds of Fun project, and the Mushroom Factory’s Green Stormwater Catcher initiative in north-central Detroit.
“We’re really pleased with the progress this year,” said Sarah Hayosh, DFC Land Use and Sustainability Director. “The pandemic presented new challenges for all of the organizations involved, but they have worked hard and are keeping the overall initiative on target.”
The Detroit Neighborhood Housing Compact, which works to improve access to quality, affordable housing in Detroit, has been collecting case studies of housing rehabilitation projects throughout 2020. Select rehabs and key insights from them are chronicled in a new report out this month, entitled “Rebuilding Home.”
“In many Detroit neighborhoods, the gap between renovation costs and market value is quite significant,” said Anika Goss, Executive Director of Detroit Future City. “This report explores rehab projects that are moving forward and the challenges and solutions they encounter and develop.”
Rebuilding Home provides case studies of three rehab programs and insights from five more. The projects and insights come from eight Detroit-based community development organizations’ work over the past several years.
“In order to create more affordable homebuying options in Detroit, we must bolster the capacity of mission-driven organizations who can put homes back into productive use,” said Kimberly Faison, DFC’s Director of Community & Economic Development. “As Rebuilding Home demonstrates, it’s the mission that makes that possible, not the market conditions. These organizations center outcomes for people and place and we seek to strengthen their efforts by better aligning resources, policies and programs across the ecosystem.”
The JP Morgan Chase Foundation provided funding support for this work.