Press Release

Detroit Future City Sets Bold Agenda to Grow Detroit’s Middle Class by 2030

September 28, 2022

Plan addresses income and wealth building, housing and neighborhoods, and climate resiliency for communities of color

Detroit – Detroit Future City (DFC) is doubling down on growing Detroit’s middle class, centralizing its research, programs, advocacy and engagement to help increase this population that once defined the city and is vital to its future sustainability.

DFC’s ambitious eight-year plan stems from its research citing that 90% of Detroit’s population are people of color, and 75% of the population makes less than $50,000 per year, and as such, has identified goals and benchmarks focused predominantly on the city’s African American middle class and other communities of color.

“While Detroit has been experiencing a revitalization, critical challenges still exist with systemic racial barriers and inequities that are preventing Detroiters from achieving prosperity,” said Anika Goss, DFC president and CEO. “While DFC is focused on improving quality of life in all neighborhoods, Detroit’s ecosystem needed an organization with the expertise and determination to help rebuild the city’s middle class.  We’ve been building towards this vision and now we are positioning ourselves specifically to fill that role. We aim to not only attract middle class households, but also ensure we retain those Detroit households whose incomes rise.”

In addition to ensuring quality of life in Detroit neighborhoods, DFC also recognizes that a strong middle class is important to the financial well-being of the city as it provides the basis for a stable tax base for city government.

DFC plans to measure the growth of Detroit’s middle class by utilizing indicators that were developed by the organization’s Center for Equity, Engagement and Research (the Center). In 2021, the Center launched an interactive dashboard with six economic equity indicators, where progress can be tracked over time.  The following indicators and goals have been identified to measure DFC’s 2030 plan.

  • Income and wealth building – Increased percentage of Black Detroiters and other Detroiters of color who hold middle-wage (or better) jobs and build wealth through homeownership.
  • Business and Entrepreneurship – Increased number and size of businesses owned by Black Detroiters and other Detroiters of color.
  • Neighborhoods and Housing – Increased number of asset rich, economically accessible, and diverse neighborhoods; Increased number of Black Middle-Class neighborhoods (census tracts that are more than 50% Black and more than 50% middle class); and increased number and scale of land use projects that contribute to health, well-being, and climate resilience at the neighborhood and city-wide scale.

This new plan comes 10 years after the release of the Strategic Framework, the 50-year vision for Detroit’s sustainability and economic growth that was developed through engagement with over 100,000 residents.  DFC was originally formed in 2013 as a program of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation to steward the recommendation laid out in the Framework.

In 2016, DFC officially became an independent nonprofit, and has since grown to a 17-member team with three departments – community and economic development, land use and sustainability, and the Center – and robust programs and research that helped inform the 2030 plan.  This includes leading cross-sector coalitions focused on Detroit’s housing ecosystem and environmental sustainability, as well as producing over 30 relevant research reports on Detroit’s mortgage originations industry, middle wage jobs landscape, and entrepreneur perceptions, among others.

“Detroit Future City came onto the scene in the 2010s and was indispensable in awakening Detroit and the region to strategies for meaningful progress,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of The Kresge Foundation Detroit Program and a DFC board chairperson. “Looking ahead to 2030, no organization is better positioned to map the strategies we need and to measure our progress toward an equitable, inclusively revitalized Detroit.”

In DFC’s eight-year plan, the organization will continue leading in these areas of research, program and coalition initiatives and engagement, and is enhancing its work through a stronger focus on policy and advocacy.  DFC’s aim is to influence national, state, and local policies to foster equitable and sustainable economic growth and climate resiliency in Detroit.

“We can only effectively dismantle inequitable systems when we address them at their core,” said Goss. “By adding policy capacity to our portfolio, we can be even more impactful at tackling root causes of the barriers confronting Detroiters.”

Detroit Future City will officially introduce the 2030 plan at its third annual “Equity Forum” taking place virtually on Sept. 29 at 3 p.m.  The Equity Forum will feature a dynamic panel moderated by BridgeDetroit’s Orlando Bailey with Dr. Julian Agyeman, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, and Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer of Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE). The panel will explore the ideas of reparative policy and planning, a revolution of values, and strategies to advance economic equity.

For the second year, DFC has partnered with InsideOut Literary Arts to engage youth poets in expressing their vision of a reparative Detroit.  Youth poets, Imani Nichele and Aja Allante, original poems will also be presented at the Equity Form.

To learn more about DFC’s strategic plan and to register for the Equity form, visit

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Detroit Strategic Framework
Economic Equity Dashboard