There are 50,000 stray dogs in the city of Detroit. People get murdered all the time in Detroit. Detroit hasn’t grown at all recently and is now a sunken cause. People make false statements such as these ones all the time, unaware of the consequences such assertions may entail. This is the first issue Detroit Future City’s 139 Sq. miles report is trying to solve. The report lays out hundreds of important facts about Detroit, ranging from health statistics to economic growth to vacancy rates and aims to provide an easy to read base of facts about Detroit, all in one place. The report attempts to reduce rumors surrounding Detroit, which harm the city in more ways than people think. Increasingly negative perceptions can inhibit population and job growth. If people think Detroit is a barren wasteland with nothing to offer, they won’t move here or start their companies here.
Although the 139 sq. miles report does not offer strategies to combat the issues surrounding Detroit, it sets the current realities for the city, no matter how hard they are to believe (both the positive statistics and the negative statistics). The report will serve as a basis of facts and as a launch pad for new ideas. If people wish to make an impact in Detroit, they can look to this document to learn about the most pressing issues. In this way, the 139 square miles report will start conversations about solutions and new initiatives to revitalize Detroit. It will be useful and available to everyone, including citizens, innovators, and leadership members. The report will serve an essential role in providing the platform for change in the future.
Among several other projects, we have also worked on the maintenance fundraising program for the Detroit Future City Field Guide. The Field Guide is a tool which provides Detroiters with the necessary instructions and ideas to transform vacant, trash-filled lots, into beautiful neighborhood pieces capable of purifying storm water or growing produce. Filled with myriad lot design ideas, The Field Guide has the potential to bring Detroit residents, businesses, and institutions together in order to revitalize vacant land. While improving the appeal of vacant lands and purifying storm water are important aspects of The Field Guide, the goals of The Field Guide go beyond that. Transforming vacant lots is about enabling Detroiters to take pride in their neighborhoods once again. It is about making neighborhoods more livable and enjoyable for all ages. It’s about being able to walk around a neighborhood with confidence and peace. It is about building community spaces where people can once again come together. It is about lifting communities to their potentials. Our work on a maintenance fundraising project provides Field Guide users with the funding to maintain their lot designs and continue what they started.
While we understand that our work at Detroit Future City will not immediately transform Detroit, we believe that the projects we contributed to will have lasting impacts on Detroit for decades to come. Any positive impact I can make, no matter how small, is especially worth it if it comes together with other efforts to change Detroit.