The Center for Equity, Engagement and Research

The Center for Equity, Engagement and Research

With equity and engagement as two guiding principles, Detroit Future City (DFC) is positioned to provide relevant and accessible research centered around advancing the quality of life for all Detroiters. Recognizing an opportunity to grow in this important role, DFC incorporated a new division within the organization, the Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research. To equip Detroit stakeholders with data and research, DFC will engage and encourage cross-sector leaders to increase economic equity.

The Center continues to build upon DFC’s research portfolio of publications and special reports, which provides up-to-date information to residents and key stakeholders. The portfolio enhances DFC’s Community and Economic Development and Land Use and Sustainability programs and provides easy-to-understand data and metrics on key issues facing Detroit.

The Center’s Strategic Goals

  • Influence and engage corporations, investors, policymakers, and civic leaders to promote equity
  • Establish a common definition 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

Stakeholder Groups

The Stakeholder Group consists of individuals that represent various sectors, in Detroit and the region, who each have an interest in advancing economic equity in Detroit. Their diverse perspectives will inform the development of a shared definition of economic equity and its indicators for the Detroit region. DFC will hold small meetings throughout the year to engage this group.

Upcoming Events: 


DFC would like to hear your feelings and experiences as a member of the community around the concept of economic equity. Send us a short video, audio, or written response answering ONE of the following questions:

1. What actions do you want to see from leaders in the region with regard to advancing economic equity/minimizing economic inequity? How could greater economic equity minimize some of the impacts of the pandemic?

2. What are some obstacles that hinder economic equity in Detroit right now? How have these obstacles changed considering COVID-19?

3. Why is the Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research relevant/important?

Click here to view the 2021 Equity Forum

Click here to share your thoughts with us!



  • The Kresge Foundation
  • Hudson-Webber Foundation
  • Ralph C.Wilson Jr Foundation
  • JP Morgan Chase & Co


  • Brookings Institute
  • Connect Detroit
  • Mass Economic
  • Strategic Growth Group
  • Van Dyke Horn

The Center's Research and Publications

The State of Economic Equity in Detroit

Detroit Future City’s (DFC) report, “The State of Economic Equity in Detroit,” illustrates the deep disparities that persist in Detroit and provides recommendations that provide a path to 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 within a thriving city and region.

This report is the result of a yearlong planning process that engaged nearly 500 community stakeholders. “The State of Economic Equity” presents 22 economic equity indicators through the lens of geographic and racial/ethnic equity, in six focus areas: income and wealth building, access to quality employment, business and entrepreneurship, education, health, and neighborhoods and housing.

Our goal is to inform and engage decision-makers, community organizations, and others so collectively we can identify and address the systemic structures that perpetuate economic inequity in Detroit and our region, and work to eliminate them.

Click here to watch a video introduction to the report.

Economic Equity: A Vision for Detroit

Through the collaboration and engagement with over 500 stakeholders from community members and leaders to national experts, Detroit Future City is pleased to release a shared vision for economic equity in Detroit. This shared vision for economic equity will serve as a guidepost to galvanize our collective actions to confront the systems that are rooted in and perpetuate these injustices.

Entrepreneurship and Economic Opportunity in Detroit – Perceptions and Possibilities

Detroit Future City’s (DFC) Center for Equity, Engagement and Research, the University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study (DMACS), and the New Economy Initiative (NEI) team up to produce a report that reveals Detroiters’ perceptions of entrepreneurship and economic opportunity.

COVID-19: Future Resilience Demands Greater Equity Today

As Michigan begins to reopen from stay-at-home orders put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, many are hopeful that we will start taking steps toward “returning to normal.”

This report highlights data on the conditions that led to the detrimental impacts of COVID-19 in Detroit and also looks to the future with policy considerations that could address these inequities.

The 2019 Detroit Reinvestment Index

The Detroit Reinvestment Index tracks perceptions of Detroit’s revitalization among several groups to gain a better sense of local and national perspectives of economic growth in the city.

Growing Detroit’s African-American Middle Class

Detroit Future City’s (DFC) report “Growing Detroit’s African American Middle Class” builds off of previous work in “139 Square Miles” Detroit Future City takes a deep dive look into the African American middle class in Detroit.  This demographic is one of importance for the city and can be used as a measure to track the equitable growth of the city.

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.

More of DFC's Research

Understand Detroit’s current conditions better.
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The Strategic Framework

A blueprint of Detroit's future.
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DFC Priorities

Learn about our local resiliency.
Read More

All DFC Programs

Catalyzing equitable change.
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