What is the Detroit Works Project?
It’s an initiative that was begun by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing in 2010 to create a blueprint that redefines the physical, social, and economic landscape of our city. Today, the goal is the same, but now there are two separate tracks for the project—Short Term Actions, which is led by city government; and Long Term Planning, led by a steering committee.
Why was the Detroit Works Project separated into two tracks?
It was a direct result of the feedback received from nearly 10,000 Detroiters who attended meetings, summits and forums between September 2010 and May 2011. Initially the project was all about the Long Term Planning for Detroit’s future, but the Mayor recognized a need to start using some of the data from a neighborhood analysis conducted as part of the Long Term Planning to help neighborhoods now.
What is the definition of Short Term Actions?
A process that uses data about Detroit neighborhoods gathered from policy audits, an analysis done by the Reinvestment Fund, and HUD; to guide decisions led by city government to leverage resources and make adjustments to how some city services are delivered today. It helps the city make some necessary adjustments that help neighborhoods today; and will provide useful data to help to inform some of the recommendations that will exist in the final Long Term Planning document.
What is a Neighborhood Analysis?
A study that examined the conditions of the city’s housing stock; vacant land and homes; the median sales prices of homes; subsidized rental stock; dangerous structures; foreclosures; and bank-owned property. It also took into account the feedback received from nearly 10,000 Detroiters who participated in meetings between September of 2010 and May of 2011 as part of the Detroit Works Project. The study revealed a lot of useful information about communities across the city, which then was used by the city of Detroit to develop the Short Term Actions strategy.
What exactly did we learn from the Neighborhood Analysis?
The analysis identified the conditions of our neighborhoods and separated them into three different market-types, which are:
How does the Short Term Actions strategy benefit neighborhoods?
- STEADY: A steady market has homes in good physical condition with the majority being owner-occupied. Homes in steady markets typically are valued high. There are limited vacancies in steady markets and a relatively stable population.
- TRANSITIONAL: A transitional market has changing dynamics; a relatively high presence of REO properties; a mix of rental and owner-occupied homes; and in a transitional market there has been some vacancy and some population loss.
- DISTRESSED: A distressed market shows signs of long term physical decline; near absence of market activity; high vacancy rates; and high concentrations of vacant land.
The Neighborhood Analysis data provided the City of Detroit with a clearer picture of how to best utilize limited resources based upon the specific needs of each neighborhood market-type. Some city services have been, or are being adjusted and some resources are being leveraged differently to make the most positive impact possible on the neighborhood while making best use of the city’s limited resources.
What services are being adjusted? What resources are being leveraged differently?
Services adjustments and resource leveraging is occurring with the following: Distribution of Home Fund subsidies; grass cutting services; lighting; code enforcement; blight elimination; improvements to the city infrastructure and beautification.
What is a Demonstration Area?
These are areas of the city that are made-up of steady, transitional, and distressed markets-types that were selected to be monitored more closely as to how their areas react to the Short Term Action strategy being implemented. made as part of the new market approach service delivery model. In these areas the city is applying a market-based approach to how it delivers some services and leverages some of its resources; and is working closely with the CDCs, nonprofits, block clubs, and churches to gain greater knowledge about the specifics services and resources they feel are necessary and how to align them based on the market conditions.
How many Demonstration Areas are there? Where are they?
There are three Demonstration Areas. The Demonstration Areas are: 1.)Hubbard Farms / Southwest: This area is generally bounded to the north by Vernor and Toledo, to the east and south by I-75, and to the west by Woodmere; 2.) Boston Edison / North End/ Virginia Park: This area is generally bounded to the north by Boston Boulevard and Holbrook, to the east by I-75, to the south by West Grand Boulevard, the rail road and I-94, and to the west by Linwood; and 3.) Palmer Woods / Sherwood Forest / University District / Green Acres / Bagley: This area is bounded to the north by Eight Mile to the east by Woodward, to the south by McNichols and to the west by Wyoming.
What does it mean if I do not live in one of the three demonstration areas?
The entire city benefits from the market based approach to service delivery. Areas of the city will not shut down. Weekly trash collection will continue to be implemented citywide. Water will continue to flow to faucets all across the city. And police, fire, and EMS will continue to respond to calls citywide. The City will deliver services to non-demonstration areas based on market type.
Are there plans to add more demonstration areas?
No, at this time there are no plans to establish additional Demonstration Areas.
How does the Short Term Actions and Long Term Planning work connect?
The Short Term Actions being executed now in three demonstration areas were informed by some of the technical and community data that was a part of the early stages of the Detroit Works Project. Results from the Short Term Actions strategy will be analyzed by the technical experts and help to inform the final outcomes of the process which will be reflected in the final Long Term Planning document.
Are the same people leading Short Term Actions and Long Term Planning?
No. The Short Term Actions of the project are led by Mayor Dave Bing’s Group Executive of Planning & Facilities Karla Henderson. She, Marja Winters, Deputy Director of Planning & Development, and Alfred Jordan, Group Executive for Utilities oversee the daily work.
The Mayor appointed an independent 13-member steering committee for the Long Term Planning to oversee the community engagement team and the technical professionals, and they report back to him regularly on the progress being made.
What type of progress was made during the first six months (July – Dec. 2011) in the Demonstration Areas?
In just six months market confidence has risen in the Demonstration Areas due in part to the formation of partnerships, and leveraging of resources with private institutions; the ability of the city to make very positive strides in street light repair and replacement; the removal of illegal dumping; and demolition of dangerous structures.
Will work continue in the Demonstration Areas now that the six month progress report has been released?
Yes. The Short Term Actions team will continue to stay the course in the three Demonstration Areas over the next six months and measure the impact. They will also use lessons learned in these areas to inform decision-making about leveraging resources and services more effective on a broader city-wide scale.