DFC is Seeking Community Engagement Program Manager

Detroit Future City (DFC) is seeking a full-time AmeriCorps member to serve as a Community Engagement Program Manager. The member will be responsible for engaging new residents and further engaging existing volunteers in implementing best practices for vacant lot use. Ideally, the candidate will begin service on October 16, 2017 and serve a minimum of 1700 hours though the end of his/her 10-month term.

To apply, email your cover letter and resume to Shari Williams at

Click here for more information about this position.

Special Report

DFC Special Report: 139 Square Miles – Examining Population, People, Economy and Place

Detroit Future City’s (DFC) 139 Square Miles report is the first comprehensive, citywide, data-driven report that our organization has produced for Detroit since 2012, when we released the DFC Strategic Framework, the 50-year shared vision for the city’s future.  This report focuses on four key areas: population, people, economy and place. This report shows that for the first time in 60 years, Detroit is moving toward population growth, with the economy on the rise and neighborhoods beginning to stabilize.

The 139 Square Miles report uses the most recent available data without analysis or critique. In developing 139 Square Miles, it was DFC’s aim to present Detroiters with objective facts in a manner that is understandable and accessible.  This report is for Detroiters, and it is our hope that 139 Square Miles is shared, used and referenced globally, so that all who are dedicated to Detroit’s stabilization and revitalization can work from an authoritative set of data.

Click here to read the full report.

Field Guide E-newsletter

July 2017 Field Guide E-newsletter: Helpful Tips, Planning Vacant Lot Transformations & Events

With autumn quickly approaching, now is a great time to develop a plan for transforming your vacant lot using the Field Guide to Working with Lots. Fall planning and preparation makes weeding much easier. Why?  Because weeds are fully established in the fall, making them easier to distinguish from plants. And, even though temperatures are cooler in the fall, the plants’ roots will have time to establish themselves in the warm soil before the ground freezes. 

If you are looking to install a lot design from the Field Guide, make sure to visit the online tool to “Discover Your Lot,” explore “Local Examples,” and choose a “Lot Design.”  And, let us know what your plans are!

This summer, the Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office wrapped up the second year of its mini-grant program, which provided funds to community organizations to implement a lot design from the Field Guide. As a result, 10 groups have transformed 12 lots in Detroit. To date, DFC has directly influenced the transformation of more than 35 lots in Detroit, with hopes to see that number grow to 100 in five years. 


In the Media

Detroit Future City looks forward to a future 100 years after the 1967 riots

Article Summary

Anika Goss-Foster, Detroit Future City’s (DFC) executive director, walked the streets of Detroit with WXYZ’s Carolyn Clifford to talk about the city’s history and DFC’s 50-year vision for the city’s future, which aims to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods for Detroiters, through jobs, stabilizing communities and transforming vacant land.

Detroit Future City looks forward to a future 100 years after the 1967 riots
By: Carolyn Clifford
WXYZ Detroit

July 18, 2017

In our Detroit 2020 story on the 1967 riots Looking Back to Look Forward we’re reaching into the future.

It’s taken 50 years to see so much progress in Downtown and Midtown, but now with the creation of Detroit Future City, the mission is to watch Motown progress even further.

Nearly a decade ago, the nonprofit Detroit Future City was created to strategically plan for the future and to bring about change.

When it comes to real change and progress in a city, time and patience can usually heal most wounds, even the ones brought about by the 1967 riots. That’s what you’ll find nestled on a unique street located in the old Pole Town neighborhood.

Beverlee Porada says, “Twenty-five years ago, this neighborhood was diverse. It’s still diverse now. Everybody just watches out for each other.”

Beverlee and Greg Porado call a couple of blocks on Farnsworth Street on the east side of Detroit the place that blight forgot, complete with an outdoor pizza oven. They’ve raised five kids and now their grandkids are coming along too.

Greg Porada says, “Right now, this block is starting to rebuild, but it’s a slow process.”

Greg was on this block when white flight and neglect after the riots basically turned his neighborhood into open fields.

Porada says, “I saw what happened on Shane Street and, once the businesses leave, they don’t come back.”

Even during the uprising, Greg and his buddies – both black and white – played baseball together and still do today as adults.

The viability of neighborhoods like their’s – where people used to work at nearby factories like the old Packard Plant and Dodge – is rare and people, even from other states, are finding value in these historic homes and believe they’re worth saving.

Greg Porada says, “This man bought this house for $500. He owns all three lots and he has heaven right there. He does all of the work himself.”

The rebirth of neighborhoods  is just a part of the strategic mission of Detroit Future City. The non profit’s primary goal is to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods for Detroiters, through jobs, stabilizing communities and transforming vacant land.

Anika Goss-Foster says, “We think about how we got to the 1967 riots and the sort of undoing of Detroit’s neighborhoods. Detroit Future City was really designed as a framework for our future for the next 50 years.”


Detroit Future City Seeks Community Liaison

The Detroit Future City Implementation Office is seeking a Community Liaison to coordinate events, distribute informational material, provide administrative support to staff, and engage community guests through DFC initiatives and office tours.

To apply, email your cover letter and resume to
Deadline to Apply: August 11, 2017

Click here for the job description.


Detroit Future City Seeks Stormwater Innovation Manager

The Detroit Future City Implementation Office is seeking a Stormwater Innovation Manager to serve as a technical advisor, working to advance vacant land transformation and the systems that support it at the neighborhood level across the city.

To apply, email your cover letter and resume to
Deadline to Apply: August 16, 2017  

Click here for the job description.


DFC Special Report: Vacant Industrial Properties – An Opportunity for Innovative Adaptive Reuse

A Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office Special Report:  Vacant Industrial Properties Require Innovative Reuse

Certain areas once appropriate for industrial use should be reassessed and transitioned to land uses more beneficial to Detroit communities.

Detroit has hundreds of vacant industrial sites that are not likely to be returned to industrial use. A DFC Implementation Office assessment indicates that there are almost 900 vacant industrial buildings spread across the city[1].

Many of these buildings abut residential neighborhoods in some of the city’s most disadvantaged areas.  Without a strategic approach to repurposing these properties, they will remain fallow for years to come, posing threats to public health and safety, and undermining Detroit’s recovery.

There of course remain traditional opportunities for redevelopment. One example of a recent success was the ground breaking for automotive parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate’s 350,000-square-foot, $95-million-dollar plant on 30-acres of vacant land on Detroit’s east side. The new facility will generate up to 750 new jobs, 51 percent of which are guaranteed to go to city residents.

Large-scale, industrial development projects like the one being developed by Flex-N-Gate are important to the city’s revitalization, but such shovel-ready projects aren’t ample enough to redevelop large swaths of the city.

That’s why the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework advocates for innovative, adaptive reuse of some of the city’s vacant industrial sites. The goal: to put these properties back into productive use; economic, creative, and ecological reinvention for the benefit of Detroit residents and communities, and the preservation of some of the city’s history.

In the report, the Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office examines the opportunity to transform vacant industrial buildings and sites in the city into viable alternatives, including not only commercial, residential, and recreational uses, but food production, energy generation, and green infrastructure as well. This report also outlines key challenges vacant industrial sites pose for redevelopment and offers up creative solutions.

Click here to read the full report.

In the Media

To Make Cities More Sustainable, Let Go of Tradition

Urban Studies Theorist Richard Florida interviews Gabriel Metcalf, president and CEO of SPUR, regarding his book, Democratic by Design, which talks about the importance of making “better use of alternative institutions like cooperatives and community land trusts to help build more sustainable, socially responsible, and prosperous communities.”

To Make Cities More Sustainable, Let Go of Tradition
By: Richard Florida
Dec 10, 2015

“Things aren’t right in America today”: In his important new book on social innovation, Gabriel Metcalf—executive director of the urban policy think tank SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) and a CityLab contributor—opens with this all-too-familiar sentiment. Rising inequality, deepening segregation, and increasingly unaffordable housing are just a few of the many problems currently plaguing the U.S. These issues are no more evident than in America’s dense, large urban communities, which boast some of the greatest technology and innovation in the world, but also some of the harshest economic and class divides.

To make things right, Metcalf argues in Democratic by Design, we need to make more and better use of alternative institutions like cooperatives and community land trusts to help build more sustainable, socially responsible, and prosperous communities. Drawing from his experience as an urbanist and one of the founders of the car-sharing movement in North America, Metcalf documents how a range of alternative institutions—which operate outside of traditional government agencies and differ from traditional companies—can help U.S. cities tackle some of the major issues they face today.

To delve deeper into this, I put a series of questions to Metcalf about exactly how he sees these alternative institutions helping to build better and more sustainable cities in the future.

Click here to read the full article on

In the Media

Detroit’s Tax Foreclosure Crisis

Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree and Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson talk about Detroit’s tax foreclosure crisis, in which thousands of people lose their homes each year due to unpaid back taxes. Sabree and Henderson spoke on WDET 101.9FM’s Detroit Today show earlier this month.

How’s Detroit’s Housing Landscape Doing?
By: Stephen Henderson
WDET 101.9FM’s Detroit Today
June 12, 2017

There are plenty of questions about how Detroit is doing with housing in 2017. Are people paying their property taxes? How are the thousands of tax foreclosures at the county level affecting the city’s efforts? How is the city doing at reducing blight — are the home demolitions keeping up with newly abandoned or foreclosed houses?

As part of WDET’s work with the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, Detroit Today Host Stephen Henderson discusses the issue from a city and county level.

Wayne County Treasurer, Eric Sabree, talks with Henderson about the county’s response to housing foreclosures.

“Wayne county is unfortunately the leading entity dealing with this problem,” says Sabree, “because of the fact that the foreclosures are so severe… This discussion really can’t be a complete discussion unless we’re talking about education, job training, and jobs… It’s a poverty issue.”

Sabree also discusses strategies the county and city have implemented to inform residents of their options to avoid foreclosure as well as potential alternatives to the current auction system.

Click here to listen to the full interview on WDET. 

In the Media

Changing how philanthropy works in Detroit

President and CEO of The Kresge Foundation Rip Rapson was one of a select few named “Change Makers” by Crain’s Detroit Business earlier this month. As Crain’s points out, the Troy-based foundation has served as a “convener on important issues and helped bring private investment back to Detroit by taking the first risk.” 

Changing how philanthropy works in Detroit
By: Sherri Welch
Crain’s Detroit Business
June 1, 2017

Home mortgages in Detroit are up 25 percent across the city. The QLine has spurred $1.3 billion in economic development in downtown alone.

Both are examples of the wide-ranging work the Kresge Foundation has done to show the world Detroit is on the way back — and of how Rapson is changing philanthropy in Detroit.

In the decade since Rip Rapson joined the Kresge Foundation, he’s taken its work well beyond grants. The Kresge Foundation has served as a convener on important issues and helped bring private investment back to Detroit by taking the first risk.

He and the Troy-based foundation have played a role in “table-setting” — helping to convene community conversations around important topics like the one that led to the Detroit Future City plan, a 50-year blueprint for revitalizing the city and neighborhoods in Detroit, released in 2013.

Click here to read the full article.