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Rethinking Detroit

Rethinking Detroit
By Amy Green Deines -

All eyes are on the City of Detroit and for good reason. Recently, I spoke with two of the most powerful women in Detroit who are making major changes by including civic engagement as part of the new vision. Toni Griffin an Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard has committed to serve as the Co-Project Director for the Detroit Works Project. Detroit Works involves a 12-18 month planning process that will produce a shared vision for the future. Karla Henderson is the Group Executive Planner and Facilitator for the City of Detroit that works directly with the Office of Mayor Dave Bing. The interview specifically questioned the void spaces within the city of Detroit. Other topics included: How can Detroit, designed for 2 million, shift to accommodate the current 800,000 residents? How does the city create a strategy to prioritize the amount of vacant land and create new rich environments? How is demolition and reclamation a vehicle for job creation and sustainable practices? Detroit is redefining its new vision and the current administration is the right team to lead us. Explicit objectives begin with stabilizing Detroit’s neighborhoods and instigating opportunities for job creation. Additionally the new administration is working diligently to establish a framework for the coordination of public and private ventures. Lastly, the desire to include citizen engagement in the process of defining and implementation of the new vision is high priority. One of Mayor Bing’s first priorities centers on demolishing 3,000 abandoned homes within Detroit this year. These demolitions have already started. The residents can visually see the action taken by the new administration of the city. Removing the blight is a major strategy of the Mayor to win back the trust of Detroit’s residents. Detroit has a long road ahead but most would say that Detroiters have stamina and tenacity. Detroit Works Project will create a Detroit that works again....

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