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Detroit Future City sponsors Detroit Policy Conference focusing on city’s resurgence, collaboration

Article Summary

Toni Griffin, a nationally renowned urban planner who led the collaboration between Detroit residents and civic leaders that created Detroit Future City’s (DFC) Strategic Framework, will be speaking at the sixth annual Detroit Policy Conference. The conference is sponsored by the DFC Implementation Office and will host workshops and panels with regional business leaders.

Detroit Policy Conference to focus on city’s resurgence, collaboration
Crain’s Detroit
By: Kurt Nagl
February 13, 2017
Link


Detroit’s resurgence is the subject of this year’s Detroit Policy Conference.

The sixth annual conference hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber will take place 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 2 at MotorCity Casino Hotel’s Sound Board.

“In 2013, Detroit was thrust into the national spotlight as a city in bankruptcy,” the chamber’s website reads. “The 2017 Detroit Policy Conference will highlight how unprecedented collaboration inspired countless acts that reignited our iconic city’s innovative spirit.”

Gathering the region’s business leaders and partners, the event will feature panels, workshops and guest speakers, including Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc.; and urban transportation policy expert Janette Sadik-Khan.

Nationally renowned urban planner Toni Griffin is scheduled to deliver the keynote address. Griffin was among those who led a collaboration between public and private sectors that created Detroit Future City, a 20-year comprehensive citywide framework for urban transformation.

Click here for the full article in Crain’s Detroit Business.

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DFC Implementation Office is Seeking a Sustainable Landscapes Manager

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office, via Wayne State University’s Detroit Revitalization Fellows program, is seeking a Sustainable Landscapes Manager to help spur vacant land transformation across the city. Apply by the February 10th deadline. For the job description, click here.

Click here to apply!

Press Release

January 2017 E-newsletter: Field Guide to Working with Lots Mini-grant Program Back for Year Two

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office is thrilled to announce its 2017 class of Field Guide Mini-Grant recipients! Ten Detroit-based, community organizations have been awarded a share of $65,000 in mini-grants to implement lot designs from the Field Guide to Working with Lots to help accelerate vacant land revitalization in Detroit. This is the second year of the DFC Field Guide Mini-Grant program. 

In addition to offering funding to help grantees achieve their visions, the DFC Implementation Office is providing technical assistance through a partnership with Keep Growing Detroit, a nonprofit that promotes food sovereignty in Detroit and educates and empowers residents around land use, and ioby, a crowdfunding platform for small-scale community projects.

READ FULL E-NEWSLETTER HERE

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DFC Executive Director sees a need for more minority-owned businesses in Detroit

Article Summary

Anika Goss-Foster, Detroit Future City’s (DFC) executive director, shares her insight on the challenges facing minority business owners in Detroit and how the DFC Implementation Office is working to create resolutions to these issues using the DFC Strategic Framework.

So many Black businesses, so little clout
The Michigan Chronicle
December 18, 2016
Link


Someone who doesn’t know any better might be inclined to assume that in a city where the population is more than 80 percent Black, and where there are more than 40,000 Black-owned businesses – more per capita than just about any other major city in the country – that the business climate for Black folks in Detroit must be simply tremendous. As a matter of fact, the assumption might be that Detroit must be the Promised Land for Black business.

That assumption would be wrong.

This is not to discount the success stories, or to disregard the progress that has been made and continues to be made, but a quick look at some statistics reveals that something just isn’t right. And at Detroit Future City, compiling and then analyzing data and statistics are one of the things they tend to do quite well. Inside their rather comprehensive report, “Detroit Future City: 2012 Detroit Strategic Framework Plan”, there are some rather alarming statistics. Granted, the book is four years old, but according to Detroit Future City Director Anika Goss Foster, not much has really changed data-wise during the past four years, at least not so much to change the fact that most of what was alarming in 2012 remains just as alarming today.

“At the end of the day the data hasn’t changed that much. The gaps haven’t changed that much,” said Foster.

So with that in mind, here’s one set of statistics that deserves some attention, from page 41 of the report:

“Minorities in Detroit already account for 89% of the city’s population; however, the firms they own account for only 15% of private company revenues. African American-owned businesses account for 94% of the city’s MBEs (minority-owned business enterprises) yet few of these companies grow enough to hire even one employee: Only one in thirty African-American companies in the city has at least one employee compared to one in three White-owned businesses.”

And here’s another one; 70 percent of Detroit jobs are held by commuters, whereas only 30 percent of Detroit jobs are held by Detroiters. And 61 percent of employed Detroiters work outside the city, whereas only 39 percent of employed Detroiters work within the city. Not surprisingly, “

Foster adds that another significant barrier for African American small business is that many of them simply cannot get qualified for bank loans or for any other meaningful investment to help them expand, or at least to upgrade, as compared to White businesses. She concedes that a number of them are not “loan ready” and are in need of a helping hand to get them to the next step, but she still admits she is at a loss to explain how it is that in a city with this many black people, a fair number of whom are in positions of power and influence when compared to other cities, that there is such a huge disparity between white and black business clout.

“I don’t have an answer for that,” she said. “It’s crazy.”

Yes. It is. But that hasn’t stopped DFC from working toward some form of resolution to the problem, a problem which Foster readily admits is attracting the concerned efforts of not only DFC but a number of other organizations as well. What’s needed, however, is for there to be more cooperation and coordination between agencies, she said.

“One of the things we really want to do is focus on the system and working with the existing organizations that are already providing technical assistance and already making grants so that we’re not duplicating services.”

That’s for starters, but the overall approach as described by Foster is much bigger than that.

“What I think is part of the challenge is we don’t have a connected system that supports Black-owned businesses. What I mean by that is there are all of these small business support programs, right? All of them are exceptional programs, but they operate independently. They all do their own thing. None of them are really connected to each other.

“We haven’t gotten to the point where all of these programs are trying to achieve the same thing in terms of increasing the financial capacity and the business capability of these African American small businesses to actually grow and sustain. And that, in my opinion, that’s really part of the weak link in small business development.

“One of the things we want to be able to do is work with all these partners on the commercial corridors. Commercial corridors should be the base for the system.”

Commercial corridors are defined as areas such as the well-known Avenue of Fashion on Livernois where a number of small businesses are anchored – and help anchor the surrounding community.

“At Detroit Future City we don’t have all of the answers, but one thing we do know is that these commercial corridors are the anchors of these neighborhoods. And if we focus on them, they can actually provide a base of support and opportunity for neighborhood businesses and, in particular, African American businesses. …I really think that by focusing on the corridors where these businesses are gives us an opportunity to increase the opportunity. To increase businesses in commercial corridors, and to be able to focus on those businesses to be able to increase their own individual business capacity. And I truly believe that will help us begin to close that inequity gap that we see right now between AA businesses and other businesses.”

“Now we’re creating a system where these African American businesses should be and where they already are, which is in the neighborhoods. That’s how we can actually build that base.”

Click here to read the full article in The Michigan Chronicles.

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Neighborhoods Rising: The Growth, Development Within The City Of Detroit

Article Summary

Dr. George Swan, Detroit Future City’s (DFC) board chairman, speaks with WWJ’s Stephanie Davis about Detroit’s growth, and the positive impact the DFC Implementation Office is having in the city thanks to its efforts to fight blight, invest in neighborhoods and ensure inclusiveness.

Neighborhoods Rising: The Growth, Development Within The City Of Detroit
CBS Detroit
December 28, 2016
Link


WWJ Newsradio 950 in partnership with ARISE Detroit presented Neighborhoods Rising – an hour-long feature addressing the growth and ongoing development within the city.

ARISE Detroit Executive Director Luther Keith, Tahirih Ziegler of LISC, Dan Lijana of the M-1 Rail, QLine, and George Swan, chairman of the board of Detroit Future City discuss the current state of Detroit neighborhoods and what the future holds with WWJ’s Stephanie Davis.

Luther Keith is the group’s executive director – he says that change starts from within:

” … on the east side of Detroit, she said she kept hearing that ‘they should clean that up, they should clean that blight up. They should knock that down.’ Who is ‘they should’ she asked, ‘Is that a person?’,” Keith telling WWJ.

Keith said the woman took on the challenge herself to organize a blight-fighting effort in her neighborhood.

He says the key is to get organized — “getting people together to draft a plan — connect with programs like a Michigan Community Resources”

Dan Lijana with the QLINE project says there is some growth along the Woodward route.

“We envision that this project would bring $3 billion in investment and 10,000 new housing units over 10 years – we are already, we’re not even operational yet, and we are at $1.8 billion,” says Lijana. “So, it’s obviously having a really important effect and you are starting to see that spread from downtown and Midtown even with a lot of announcements with things happening in New Center and now the north end as well.”

Click here to read the full article and to listen to the discussion about growth and development in Detroit.

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Q&A: Victoria Byrd Olivier on Detroit Future City and green infrastructure

Article Summary

Victoria Byrd Olivier, Detroit Future City’s (DFC) director of land use and sustainability, shares the DFC Implementation Office’s strategy on how to deploy green infrastructure across the City of Detroit using the DFC Strategic Framework.

Q&A: Victoria Byrd Olivier on Detroit Future City and green infrastructure
Model D
December 15, 2016
Link


Victoria Byrd Olivier is director of land use and sustainability for the Detroit Future City Implementation Office, where she works on strategies to implement the Detroit Future City Strategic Plan. The office has been active in working on green infrastructure, particularly through its Field Guide to Working with Lots and its mini-grant program.

With an undergraduate degree in Urban Planning from the University of Virginia and a Master’s Degree, also in Urban Planning from the University of New Orleans, Olivier began her career in New Orleans, focused on post-Hurricane Katrina recovery work with an emphasis on neighborhood planning, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation. She began working at Detroit Future City in August of 2013. She’s also a co-founder of Brick + Beam Detroit, a project to help residents restore historic homes in the city.

Much of Olivier’s work involves strategizing on how to deploy green infrastructure across the city best. Model D chatted with Byrd to find out more about her work.

Model D: Why did you want to leave New Orleans to come to Detroit?

Victoria Byrd Olivier: There are many connections with New Orleans’ circumstances and the types of challenges that both cities were going through. But it was really about the energy that was going on in Detroit; the type of people who had been working here and who were starting to move here, that were collaborating. I was interested in being able to apply the skills that I had picked up in the New Orleans’ environment to Detroit, and having an opportunity to explore a whole new part of the country.

In Detroit, you can’t ignore what an amazing opportunity we have. We’ve started with the assumption that there were 20 square miles of vacant land and that continues to grow every day with demolitions throughout the city. We’re looking now at 30 square miles of vacant land. Vacant land can be a blight, and we can’t assume that just having a building down makes it a more positive environment for that neighborhood.

Model D: Talk about the role green infrastructure plays in the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework and the Implementation Offices’ operations?

Byrd: The strategic framework was the first planning document where Detroit had focused on acknowledging the realities on the ground. One of those realities was the amount of vacant land. It was not looking to the traditional solution for that, which is, “Let’s build more houses, let’s fill that land,” but recognizing that due to market conditions and other factors, it was about, “How do we intentionally turn that vacant land into open space? How do we use that land to distinguish Detroit as a national or international leader in turning a liability into an asset to improve food security, to explore renewable energy production, and to improve health outcomes? The framework took the first step in both acknowledging the issues and looking at positive solutions for vacant land.

But it was just a start. The DFC Implementation Office is about carrying that work forward. We also recognize that looking positively on vacant land and open space as an opportunity is still something that’s relatively new in the city. DFC and groups across the city are continually trying to work on the culture shift, where vacant land can be seen as an opportunity and not just an absence.

Model D: What are some examples of work DFC is doing to promote green infrastructure in the city?

Olivier: We see green infrastructure as part of a greater open space network in the city. The strategic framework started with a map that showed the different green options across the city. There are a lot of really tough questions that go along with that, including who owns that land, how you pay for it, how you maintain it, and how you deal with liability.

In the past year and a half, DFC has put together two reports that look at some of those questions. The first was called Achieving an Integrated Open Space Network in Detroit. It tried to broaden the idea of what green space could look like.

While green infrastructure is really important, it has to be integrated into many land uses, for example, natural areas that are a little more passive, like meadows, and wetlands, and forests, and then also productive landscapes. If you’re looking at food or energy production or tree farms, green infrastructure can be a part of that, as well.

We have a variety of parks and greenways across the city, and those are very compatible with green infrastructure, and we have the new parks improvement plan that started to outline that idea. And we’re also thinking about buffers between our industrial areas and health outcomes that can improve through addressing them.

We also put together a second report on open space with the Center for Community Progress that looks at ownership and funding considerations that could help inform our work. There have been several models across the country and the world that Detroit can start to look to once we figure out how we want to use that land. We interviewed many stakeholders across the city to get their input on that report.

We’ve also been convening an open space working group for the past seven months; we meet monthly with 25 to 40 different participants that are coming at this open space puzzle from various perspectives, but all with the same goal of how to best use our land. And we’ve been working alongside the city as they’re looking at the urban planning process, to see how we can support work in tandem.

Model D: What role is DFC playing in DWSD’s efforts to encourage ratepayers to implement green infrastructure as part of reducing their drainage fees?

Olivier : All of those groups that are working with open space are going to be finding ways to align with the big changes that are about to occur with DWSD’s drainage fee and green infrastructure credits.

At DFC, we’re working align everything we’re doing and planning so that we can take tools like our Field Guide to Working with Lots or our mini-grant program and think about how the DWSD credit program is going to work, and how we can create designs as options or the credit programs. We’re also thinking about how we can provide more technical assistance in the office and build up our capacities so we can help people get those designs into the ground.

Model D: What are the greatest obstacles and the challenges to implementing green infrastructure in the city, and how do you address them?

Olivier: Maintenance is a big obstacle. Just on a small scale, we’ve tried to address that through the second round of our mini-grant program, which provides specific funding for maintenance. It’s also part of our technical assistance. We wanted to make sure we looked into resources to help sustain these projects; that’s something that we prioritized.

Another challenge is workforce development. I think a great opportunity for green infrastructure in the city is how it can be part of improving employment opportunities for Detroiters. We’ve found that there is a bit of a gap in the contractors and landscapers that have the expertise and are comfortable with implementing these designs. So making sure that we can align with other groups that are doing workforce development is important.

And another big challenge is that there are likely different incentives and funding models for each user group–whether businesses or non-profits or residents. So we need to understand what the resources are, both financial and human resources, to see how green infrastructure can not only provide an environmental benefit but fit into other goals.

Click here to read the full article in Model D.

Blog

Knight Cities Challenge names 144 finalists, 21 in Detroit

Article Summary

Two members of the DFC Implementation Office team are finalists for the third annual Knight Cities Challenge! More than 4,500 applicants proposed a wide range of ideas to make 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work. Only 21 ideas out of Detroit, and 144 nationally, were selected as finalists.

One of DFC’s ideas, The Discovery Place, aims to activate open spaces in Detroit as meeting places and libraries run by and for residents. The other, Green Culture Shift, aims to create innovative tools that will transform how Detroiters think about planning and implementing green spaces in the city.

Knight Cities Challenge names 144 finalists, 21 in Detroit
Michigan Chronicle
By: Roz Edward
01/17/2017 
Link


Finalists chosen from a pool of more than 4,500 applicants

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced 144 finalists, including 21 in Detroit, in the third annual Knight Cities Challenge, a national call for ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.

Open to innovators of all types, the Knight Cities Challenge asked applicants to answer the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

More than 4,500 applicants answered the call and proposed a wide range of ideas to make cities more successful, from technology and other solutions that better connect local government with the public and increase voter engagement, to creating public spaces – parks, trails, pools, and even treehouses – that connect people from diverse backgrounds and contribute to economic growth. Many of the projects also address pressing community challenges, proposing ideas to break down racial divides, repair blighted neighborhoods, and address social and economic inequities.

Submissions came from many nonprofit and government organizations, as well as design experts, urban planning organizations and individuals focused on making their cities more successful. Each of the ideas focuses on one or more of three drivers of city success:

Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep talented people;
Opportunity: Ideas that expand economic prospects and break down divides;
Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.
A full list of the finalists is below.

Winners, who will receive a share of up to $5 million, will be announced in spring 2017.

“The finalists use creativity and inventiveness to tackle community challenges and realize new opportunities, proposing ideas that are unique to their city, but also hold lessons and inspiration for civic innovators across the country,” said George Abbott, Knight Foundation director for community and national initiatives.

Applicants have to follow only two rules: 1) A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities; and 2) The idea should focus on one or all of three key drivers of city success, talent, opportunity and engagement, as outlined above.

Now in its third year, the challenge is part of a three-year, $15 million commitment that Knight Foundation launched in the fall of 2014. Since then, the Knight Cities Challenge has named a total of 69 winning ideas over its first and second years.

For more information, visit www.knightcities.org.

Knight Cities Challenge Finalists 2017

Detroit:
Atwater Beach by Detroit RiverFront Conservancy (submitted by Jan Shimshock): Further activating the Detroit waterfront by creating an inviting, urban beach along the city’s Atwater Street.

Better Buildings, Better Blocks by Building Community Value (submitted by Chase L. Cantrell): Fostering talent in Detroit, and providing a pipeline for minorities into real estate jobs, by teaching the fundamentals of small-scale property development and providing initial project financing.

Bus Stoplets by Southwest Detroit Business Association (submitted by Greg Mangan): Improving the commute for transit riders by creating inviting bus stops that have the feel of an intimate city park.

Crossing Trumbull by Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corp. (submitted by Angie Gaabo): Bringing together the residents of Woodbridge, often divided geographically and socio-economically, through adult walking and youth biking clubs.

City Asset Map: Mapping Mobility in Motown by Detroit Experience Factory (submitted by Matt Chung): Fostering connection and civic involvement in Detroit by creating a map that highlights cultural, educational and mobility resources, such as libraries, health centers, museums, educational spaces, bike infrastructure and parks.

Design Center in a Box: A Place for Informed Community Exchange by City of Detroit Department of Planning (submitted by Maurice D. Cox): Promoting civic engagement by creating “pop-up” city planning offices where residents can connect with city planning staff and others to exchange ideas and become informed about the design and planning work happening in their neighborhood and the city at large.
Detroit Youth Council of Urban Explorers by Bleeding Heart Design (submitted by Rebecca Bucky Willis): Helping the next generation advocate for good city planning by sending Detroit teenagers to pioneering cities to learn best practices they can execute back home.

Dip ’N’ Dive Detroit by City of Detroit Planning and Development Department (submitted by Maurice D. Cox):

Creating spaces where residents can meet, connect and share experiences by creating pop-up swimming events at a temporary “River Pool” at the Detroit River.

The Discovery Place by Detroit Future City (submitted by Allandra Bulger): Activating open spaces in Detroit as meeting places and libraries run by and for residents who otherwise lack these amenities.

Green Culture Shift by Detroit Future City (submitted by Alex Kellogg): Creating innovative, experiential tools that change how Detroiters think about planning and transforming green spaces in urban neighborhoods.

Click here to read the full article in The Michigan Chronicle.

Press Release

Detroit Future City Awards Second Year of Mini-Grants to Help Detroiters Revitalize Vacant Land with Field Guide Tool

Detroit – The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office has awarded 10 Detroit-based community organizations a share of $65,000 in mini-grants to implement lot designs from the DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots. The mini-grant program is in its second year and aims to accelerate vacant land revitalization in Detroit through offering grants to help implement affordable and actionable projects from the Field Guide’s 34 lot designs.

The DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots, released in October of 2015, offers step-by-step instructions, guidance and resources to transform vacant land into a variety of landscapes. The Field Guide includes comprehensive, easy-to-follow directions available online at www.dfc-lots.com and a complimentary, printed workbook available at the DFC Implementation Office. Both offer recommendations on how to assess your lot and choose the best landscape for your needs, wants, skill level and budget.

“The DFC Implementation Office sees the Field Guide’s implementation as an opportunity to bring Detroiters together to build skills and promote equitable land reutilization and neighborhood development,” said Anika Goss-Foster, DFC Implementation Office Executive Director. “This tool provides Detroiters with the instructions and resources to transform vacant land into community assets and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods.”

The DFC Implementation Office received more than 30 applications from every corner of the city. Applicants ranged from young block clubs to more established community development organizations. This year’s mini-grant awardees are planning to implement lot designs that will transform vacant land into environmentally-sustainable, outdoor space that creates cleaner, safer and more attractive neighborhoods. A maximum of $5,000 of the mini-grant can be utilized toward lot design implementation; the remaining $1,500 must be dedicated toward the maintenance of the lot, programming, and educational material expenses.

“The Southwest Detroit Business Association is going to use the DFC grant to transform a currently vacant lot into an Eco-friendly parking lot,” said Greg Mangan, Real Estate Advocate Southwest Detroit Business Association. “We would like to use this lot as a demonstration to community members and business owners that there is a green way to add parking along the commercial corridors in Southwest Detroit.  Once completed, this lot, with its permeable surface, will help absorb some of the run-off from rainwater that otherwise would go directly into the storm drains causing flooding during heavy periods of rainfall.”

The Working with Lots Mini-Grant program advances the goals of the Detroit Strategic Framework, which articulates a shared vision for Detroit’s future, and recommends specific actions for reaching that future.

To help recipients achieve their visions, grantees will receive technical assistance from two partnering organizations: Keep Growing Detroit, a nonprofit that promotes food sovereignty within the city’s limit and educates and empowers residents around land use, and ioby, a crowdfunding platform for small-scale community projects.

“The O’Hair Park Community Association takes great pride in receiving Detroit Future City’s Working with Lots Mini-Grant to develop a vacant lot in our neighborhood,” said Joyce Daniel, O’Hair Park Community Association Treasurer. “The 8 Mile Rain Garden lot design will help to manage stormwater runoff and will be a model for community members to duplicate as we begin to restore nearly 100 vacant side lots with purpose and beauty.”

The Detroit Future City Implementation Office is funding a diverse range of lot designs across the city, including:

GenesisHOPE Community Development Corporation, which is planning to implement the “Ring Around the Garden” Field Guide design on the East Side of Detroit:
GenesisHOPE is excited to use the mini-grant it was awarded to assist with the creation of an urban agricultural park that will include green stormwater infrastructure and shade for a parking lot that will be graded and repaved to slope toward a rain garden.

Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation, which is planning to implement the “Friendly Fence” Field Guide design on the East Side of Detroit:
The Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation will implement a lot design that will spawn a colorful rain garden while also implementing a practical stormwater solution. The lot design is part of the corporation’s plan to revitalize a 13-block stretch of Detroit’s East Side. It will sit adjacent to a 5,000-square-foot property called “The Commons” that will serve as a laundromat, a café and a gathering space for recreation activities, visual arts, storytelling and more.

Manistique Block Club 200-300 Block, which is planning to implement the “Forest Patcher” Field Guide design on the East Side of Detroit:
The Manistique Block Club 200-300 Block is planning to use their funds to implement a lot design that will allow it to beautify and improve the health of an existing woodland. The organization plans to complement its lot design with rain, herb and butterfly gardens, solar panels, a treehouse, wandering paths and wheelchair ramps.

Minock Park Block Association, which is planning to implement the “Ring Around the Garden” lot design on the West Side of Detroit:
The Minock Park Block Association is one of several community groups that is continuing efforts to ensure the greater Grandmont Rosedale area is a leader in vacant land transformation. The association will implement a lot design that is a great choice for anyone looking to increase green infrastructure in the city. Rain gardens capture, hold, and release stormwater gradually back into the soil. The garden will provide a habitat and food for a variety of birds and pollinators.

O’Hair Park Community Association, which is planning to implement the “8 Mile Rain Garden” on the West Side of Detroit:
The O’Hair Park Community Association, which includes roughly a dozen reactivated block clubs, plans to implement a lot design that is one of the best for stormwater management. This rain garden design also prevents standing water from forming. It is designed with plants commonly available at local shops and national chains, and will be complimented by a patio, benches, two raised flower beds and community compost bins. Retired City of Detroit forester, park manager and secondary science teacher Susan Stellar will help lead this design’s implementation. Stellar is a Master Gardener, Master Composter, and a founding member of Keep Growing Detroit.

Southwest Detroit Business Association, which is planning to implement the “Front Parking Partner” in southwest Detroit:
The Southwest Detroit Business Association plans to implement a parking lot design that mitigates flooding by creating paved parking that allows water to infiltrate the ground instead of running quickly off into the street and into Detroit’s sewerage system. SDBA believes this design’s implementation will help transform vacant space along commercial corridors into community assets through beautification and greening. DFC hopes SDBA’s design, which will be complimented by trees, flowers, and other greenery, will serve as a model for beautiful and beneficial parking lots citywide.

A full list of winners is below, and online at www.DetroitFutureCity.com.

Last year, the DFC Implementation Office awarded mini-grants to 15 Detroit grassroots organizations and individuals to implement lot designs that transformed vacant land into green infrastructure, addressed stormwater concerns and activated community spaces. The community organizations that came together to implement lot designs to manage stormwater runoff and to beautify vacant lots in their neighborhoods, include Bounce Back Detroit, North Rosedale Park Civic Association, and Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation.  For more information about last year’s mini-grant awardees’ lot designs, visit https://detroitfuturecity.com/category/field-guide-blog/.

For more information about the Working with Lots Mini-Grant program and its winners, visit https://detroitfuturecity.com/tools/a-field-guide/. Connect with Detroit Future City on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #dfclots.  

The Working with Lots Mini-Grant program is funded by The Kresge Foundation, whose mission is to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grant-making and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit.

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Blog

2017 Detroit Future City Field Guide to Working with Lots Mini-Grant Winners Announced

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office has selected 10 Detroit-based community organizations that exemplify the ability to transform open space from vacant land into green infrastructure to receive a share of $65,000 in mini-grants to implement lot designs from the DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots.

Out of more than 30 applicants, 10 were selected to receive a share of $65,000 in mini-grants. A maximum of $5,000 of the mini-grant can be utilized toward lot design implementation; the remaining $1,500 must be dedicated toward the maintenance of the lot, programming, and educational material expenses.

The Working with Lots Mini-Grant program is in its second year and aims to accelerate vacant land revitalization in Detroit through offering grants to help implement affordable and actionable projects from the DFC Field Guide’s 34 lot designs.

The DFC Implementation Office developed the Field Guide to Working with Lots Mini-Grant program to advance the application of the Field Guide by inviting Detroit community groups, residents, and businesses to implement land stewardship activities in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

The Field Guide to Working with Lots offers easy-to-use, step-by-step instructions, guidance and resources to transform vacant land into a variety of landscapes. The Field Guide to Working with Lots is available online at www.dfc-lots.com. A complimentary, printed workbook is available at the DFC Implementation Office. Both offer recommendations on how to assess your lot and choose the best landscape for your needs, wants, skill level and budget.

2017 Winners

Recipient: GenesisHOPE Community Development Corporation
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Ring Around the Garden”

Recipient: Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Friendly Fence”

Recipient: Manistique Block Club 200-300 Block
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Forest Patcher”

Recipient: Southwest Detroit Business Association
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Front Parking Partner”

Recipient: Minock Park Block Association
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Ring Around the Garden”

Recipient: O’Hair Park Community Association
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “8 Mile Rain Garden”

Recipient: Popps Packing
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Ring Around the Garden,” “Organic Bowl”

Recipient: Wyoming-Kentucky-Indiana-Wisconsin-Ohio Block Club
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Four Seasons”

Recipient: Motor City Grounds Crew
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Urban Edge”

Recipient: Mecca Development Corporation
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Dumping Preventer”

Click here to learn more about a few of the winners.

Blog

2017 Field Guide Mini-Grant Winners

The DFC Implementation Office developed the Field Guide Mini-Grant program to encourage Detroit residents, community groups and businesses to utilize the Field Guide to Working with Lots to implement land stewardship activities in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

The DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots offers easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, guidance and resources that support Detroiters in transforming vacant land into cleaner, safer and more attractive neighborhoods. The tool is available online at www.dfc-lots.com. A complimentary, printed workbook is available at the DFC Implementation Office. Both offer recommendations on how to assess your lot and choose the best landscape for your needs, wants, skill level and budget.

The Field Guide Mini-Grant program funds a diverse range of lot designs across the city, including:

GenesisHOPE Community Development Corporation, which is planning to implement the “Ring Around the Garden” Field Guide design on the East Side of Detroit:
GenesisHOPE is excited to use the mini-grant it was awarded to assist with the creation of an urban agricultural park that will include green stormwater infrastructure and shade for a parking lot that will be graded and repaved to slope toward a rain garden.

Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation, which is planning to implement the “Friendly Fence” Field Guide design on the East Side of Detroit:
The Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation will implement a lot design that will spawn a colorful rain garden while also implementing a practical stormwater solution. The lot design is part of the corporation’s plan to revitalize a 13-block stretch of Detroit’s East Side. It will sit adjacent to a 5,000-square-foot property called “The Commons” that will serve as a laundromat, a café and a gathering space for recreation activities, visual arts, storytelling and more.

Manistique Block Club 200-300 Block, which is planning to implement the “Forest Patcher” Field Guide design on the East Side of Detroit:
The Manistique Block Club 200-300 Block is planning to use their funds to implement a lot design that will allow it to beautify and improve the health of an existing woodland. The organization plans to complement its lot design with rain, herb and butterfly gardens, solar panels, a treehouse, wandering paths and wheelchair ramps.

Minock Park Block Association, which is planning to implement the “Ring Around the Garden” lot design on the West Side of Detroit:
The Minock Park Block Association is one of several community groups that is continuing efforts to ensure the greater Grandmont Rosedale area is a leader in vacant land transformation. The association will implement a lot design that is a great choice for anyone looking to increase green infrastructure in the city. Rain gardens capture, hold, and release stormwater gradually back into the soil. The garden will provide a habitat and food for a variety of birds and pollinators.

O’Hair Park Community Association, which is planning to implement the “8 Mile Rain Garden” on the West Side of Detroit:
The O’Hair Park Community Association, which includes roughly a dozen reactivated block clubs, plans to implement a lot design that is one of the best for stormwater management. This rain garden design also prevents standing water from forming. It is designed with plants commonly available at local shops and national chains, and will be complimented by a patio, benches, two raised flower beds and community compost bins. Retired City of Detroit forester, park manager and secondary science teacher Susan Stellar will help lead this design’s implementation. Stellar is a Master Gardener, Master Composter, and a founding member of Keep Growing Detroit.

Southwest Detroit Business Association, which is planning to implement the “Front Parking Partner” in southwest Detroit:
The Southwest Detroit Business Association plans to implement a parking lot design that mitigates flooding by creating paved parking that allows water to infiltrate the ground instead of running quickly off into the street and into Detroit’s sewerage system. SDBA believes this design’s implementation will help transform vacant space along commercial corridors into community assets through beautification and greening. DFC hopes SDBA’s design, which will be complimented by trees, flowers, and other greenery, will serve as a model for beautiful and beneficial parking lots citywide.

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