Our Programs

Our Programs


Land Use & Sustainability

Land Use and Sustainability Programs

DFC has conducted research related to open-space planning and developed programs to empower residents and stakeholders with tools and information to begin addressing how to best use the city’s vacant land. This includes:

Achieving an Integrated Open Space Network in Detroit”: A report that takes the essentials of the DFC Strategic Framework around open space and outlines a set of considerations that advance the vision of transforming vacant land into a cohesive open-space network.

Open Space in Detroit”: A report that helps to advance the transformation of Detroit’s vacant land into an open-space amenity through addressing two key barriers: ownership of open space and how to fund its use.

Land + Water WORKS: A campaign led by DFC to amplify Detroiters as land and water stewards through education and installation of green stormwater infrastructure and to help residents transition to DWSD’s restructured drainage fees. The Detroit Property Owner’s Guide to Bioretention will provide details on how to plan for and implement a bioretention basin on non-residential properties to better manage stormwater.

Working with Lots Program: A program that financially supports the installation, activation, and maintenance of Field Guide designs paired with comprehensive technical assistance. The “Field Guide to Working with Lots” is a user-friendly tool that offers Detroiters step-by-step instructions on how to transform vacant land in their neighborhoods.

Community & Economic Development

Community and Economic Development Programs

DFC’s initiatives are focused on strategies to encourage safe and affordable housing, stabilize neighborhood housing markets, and encourage the productive reuse of vacant industrial land and buildings. These initiatives include:

Detroit Neighborhood Housing Compact: DFC is organizing a cross-sector stakeholder group focused on strengthening the single-family housing market in Detroit neighborhoods, including both for-sale and for-rent market segments. Modeled after a successful 10-year collaborative initiative in Chicago, DFC is bringing together public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic stakeholders to take collective action and regularly collaborate around strategies for building healthier housing markets in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Single-family Rental Housing Study: Working with the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, DFC sponsored a study of single-family rental housing in two Detroit neighborhoods. The study developed recommendations for incorporating safe, affordable, single-family rental housing into an integrated strategy for neighborhood stabilization and revitalization.

Adaptive Reuse of Industrial Property: DFC is leading an effort to explore strategies for the innovative reuse of vacant industrial land and buildings. Working with a broad group of public- and private-sector partners, DFC seeks to catalyze development in ways that reduce blight, mitigate environmental hazards, create neighborhood jobs, and promote healthy, safe and sustainable neighborhoods. Special emphasis is placed on support for small-scale manufacturing as a vehicle for job creation and equitable development.

Technical Assistance and Collaboration: DFC can lend support and expertise to a variety of collaborative initiatives on diverse issues, such as commercial corridor revitalization, economic mobility, entrepreneurialism, equitable development, community land trusts, and neighborhood planning. In 2019, we assisted Detroit LISC and Vanguard CDC with the creation of an equitable development framework plan for the Milwaukee Junction district.


The Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research

The Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research

To provide thought leadership, evidence-based research and community engagement to promote economic equity in Detroit and the region.

The Center’s Strategic Goals

  • Influence and engage corporations, investors, policymakers, and civic leaders to promote equity
  • Establish a common  vision of equity to be shared among stakeholders and decision-makers
  • Develop Metro Detroit-specific indicators dashboard to measure the long-term impact
  • Provide high-quality accessible research on economic equity to advance the quality of life for all Detroiters

From the release of the Detroit Future City (DFC) Strategic Framework in 2013 to establishing the organization as an independent nonprofit in 2017, DFC led a wide range of initiatives that empower Detroiters and advance the DFC Strategic Framework. This important collection of work and resources is included in these archives.

DFC Strategic Framework

The Blueprint for Detroit's Future
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Growing Detroit's African-American Middle Class

A deep dive look into the growth, attraction & retention of the middle-class households.
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The Field Guide to Working with Lots

View the full, interactive Field Guide online now.
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Detroit Property Owner's Guide to Bioretention

Manage stormwater on a non-residential property.
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