THE STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK
Q. What is Detroit Future City?
Detroit Future City is a comprehensive strategic framework to help a variety of stakeholders –– community groups, philanthropy, business entities and economic developers, government, investors, and more –– make decisions around a shared vision that improves the quality of life for all.
Q: What should I expect to see when I read Detroit Future City?
Detroit Future City outlines recommendations to leverage Detroit’s strengths and assets —people, time, money, geography, brainpower, etc. — and coordinate investment and resources to move Detroit forward collectively. It will be a guide to:
You will see that Detroit Future builds on the good work that’s already being done in the community. It’s not based on a vision of only how the city looks, but also how it works. It is based on a realistic understanding of current resources; is flexible enough to respond to changing needs and opportunities; and can evolve over time as it’s used and conditions change.
Q: What makes Detroit Future City different than other plans that have been developed previously?
It’s not a static plan, but a framework for complementary projects, policies and partnerships of every size and scale, for near-term benefit and long-term transformation. It is grounded in one of the broadest, deepest and most comprehensive look at the city’s current situation ever conducted. It is based on a realistic understanding of the resources, steps and timing required to achieve its objectives. It gives equal consideration to every geographic area of the city, every constituent, and every component of a good and sustainable quality of life.
Q: Were the concerns and ideas of everyday Detroiters taken into consideration when developing Detroit Future City?
Yes. It was grounded in robust community engagement that included hundreds of meetings and 30,000 conversations. People were connected with over 163,000 times, and we received more than 70,000 surveyed responses and comments from participants. The people who engaged with the process will be able to see their influence reflected in Detroit Future City. The Long Term Planning team actively sought out the ideas, insights and views of Detroiters using a variety of methods to encourage participation. Participation included the most diverse array of Detroiters ever involved in a city planning effort. And, we plan on continuing this level of engagement as we move forward.
Q: Does Detroit Future City take into consideration the work that has already been done by groups such as CDAD, LEAP, Brightmoor Alliance and others?
Yes. Throughout the planning process existing community plans were examined; and community members were consulted about successful strategies they are already using to improve their neighborhood. Best practices locally and nationally were studied and where appropriate, incorporated into the strategic framework.
For example, similar to CDAD’s Strategic Framework, DFC uses land use and neighborhood typologies to represent the long term land use vision for the city. However, the major difference between the DFC and CDAD typologies is in scale: DFC’s land use typologies represent recommendations for citywide land use while CDAD’s operate at a block-by-block neighborhood-based level. Over the course of the project, the DFC long term planning team met with CDAD to coordinate a “nesting” of the two sets of typologies. Additional work remains in this regard, but there is general agreement between DFC and CDAD that the two sets of land use typologies are compatible and will facilitate the neighborhood planning process within the larger DFC citywide context.
Q: If I am part of an organization that has already created a plan for our community what should we be doing now that the strategic framework is complete?
DFC proposes a new way to invest and improve the city that is more collaborative, efficient and sustainable. We encourage those who have existing plans or are currently working on plans to review DFC to see where there are synergies or differences. We hope that DFC presents a compelling case for why making the changes it proposes. We also hope that you might find new solutions to some of the issues you may be trying to address in your neighborhood.
Q: Will the community have a voice in the implementation of Detroit Future City?
Yes. The Strategic Framework is a guide for decision making that is not exclusively for one entity, or mayor or one generation, but for each of us—and those who come after us. In our roles as citizens, philanthropists, developers, business people, parents, and neighborhood champions; the responsibility falls upon all of us not repeat the mistakes of the past. We must move forward collectively—everyone must work together to help implement Detroit Future City.
Q: How can the community access the Strategic Framework and get their questions answered about Detroit Future City?
Detroit Future City is accessible to everyone. There are multiple ways to access the strategic framework. They are:
Q: How does city government play a role in the implementation of Detroit Future City?
City government is just one of the many community partners that will be needed to implement Detroit Future City. Throughout the planning process leadership from the City Planning Department, the City Planning Commission, as well as city department directors; were involved in the development of Detroit Future City. Going forward they will continue to be involved, especially in the areas that require government involvement, such as regulatory reform and zoning.
Q: With the appointment of an emergency manager, how will Detroit Future City be impacted?
Detroit Future City was developed with the understanding of the city’s current fiscal situation in mind. During the planning phase, and since Detroit Future City was introduced, project representatives have met with many different community stakeholders, including city, state, and federal officials to explain the important role the framework can play at improving the quality of life in Detroit. The response has been very positive, however it is important to remember that the strategic framework does not rely upon one entity, or mayor, or generation for implementation. In our roles as citizens, philanthropists, developers, business people, parents, and neighborhood champions; the responsibility falls upon all of us not repeat the mistakes of the past. We must move forward collectively—everyone must work together to help implement Detroit Future City.
Q: Will the Strategic Framework Plan require a formal adoption before implementation can occur?
It is expected there will be portions of the Strategic Framework Plan that will require a formal adoption process by City Council and/or the City Planning Commission (CPC), specifically if any recommendations are made for changes to zoning, which is standard practice for major land use changes. However, that will not prevent efforts to implement other portions of the plan from occurring.
Q: What prevents the Strategic Framework from being stalled by political agendas?
The work to be done in Detroit will occur over many years, starting now, and across different political terms. Detroit Future City has been developed in a way that is not reliant upon one entity, or mayor, or person for implementation to occur. It offers recommendations of actions that must be taken on by every sector of the community and over different periods of time. A dedicated group of community partners who support the work continues to grow. And both leadership and implementation teams that believe in collaborative action are being assembled. In our roles as citizens, philanthropists, developers, business people, parents, and neighborhood champions; the responsibility falls upon all of us to move forward collectively—everyone must work together to help implement Detroit Future City.
Q: Who is responsible for leading the Detroit Future City Implementation Team?
Dan Kinkead is the Director and Heidi Alcock is the Senior Program Manager, for the Detroit Future City Implementation Team.
As Director of the Implementation Team, Kinkead sets and maintains the implementation goals, priorities, and strategies for fulfillment of Detroit Future City recommendations. He will also establish the Implementation Consortium, and define the strategic means and methods for action and decision-making. This will include close coordination with Alcock, and staff members, to execute continued engagement, policy changes, and pilot projects. Kinkead will also foster and maintain important collaborative relationships with stakeholders across the city, region, and state.
As Senior Program Manager, Alcock works with the Director to set implementation goals and priorities. Her daily responsibilities include developing and executing strategy to achieve goals; leading day to day operations of the Implementation Team; coordinating the work of Implementation Team Staff and partners; establishing and strengthening stakeholder relationships; and tracking the performance of all internal and external implementers of the Detroit Future City Agenda.
Q: What are the qualifications of the Implementation Team leadership?
Dan Kinkead, a long-time Detroiter, served in a leadership role on the technical planning team for the development of Detroit Future City. As Design Principal at Hamilton Anderson Associates, he spearheaded the team that assembled the 349-page strategic framework, and developed the Land Use and Neighborhood elements it contains. He has 16-years of experience leading complex architecture, urban design, and planning projects in Detroit and many other locations nationally, and internationally. Dan’s experience also includes mentoring designers and planners to become leaders themselves, adding to the robust pool of talented urban innovators in the city. Kinkead graduated from Harvard University with a Master of Architecture in Urban Design; and Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kentucky.
Heidi Alcock served in a leadership role as part of the civic engagement team for Detroit Future City. As Chief Executive Officer of Michigan Community Resources, she was instrumental in developing the infrastructure and philosophy for the engagement efforts that resulted in the most robust participatory planning process in Detroit’s history that helped shaped the strategic framework. She has worked with, and on behalf of Detroit organizations focused on community development for 16 years. Under her leadership, Michigan Community Resources quadrupled its budget and staff, creatively expanded its programs to benefit the community, and successfully built and led the Detroit Vacant Property Campaign, which works alongside the community to address Detroit’s vacant property crisis. A graduate of Wayne State University with a Master of Public Administration, Alcock also served six years as a planner for the Detroit City Planning Commission.
Q: What’s next? When will implementation begin?
Their first few months for the new leadership team will be dedicated to hiring of key staff, confirming the office, and outlining the implementation agenda. They will also begin the process to establish the Implementation Consortium. The Implementation Team will partner with funders, CDCs, government, community organizations and others to develop and manage the Detroit Future City implementation agenda.
The agenda will include continued civic engagement, regulatory and policy reform, and the execution of early actions and pilot projects. The agenda will also build on important efforts already underway, working with community stakeholders to coordinate decision-making with the strategic framework to maximize impact.
Q: What is an Implementation Consortium?
The Framework calls for establishment of an implementation consortium, to be made up of community leaders who will help facilitate, manage, and inform the Implementation Team for the implementation of Detroit Future City. The Implementation Consortium would be the entity driving the change, serving as the central coordinating body that would connect the framework to resources, and would support, integrate, advance, and monitor efforts in order to enact the framework’s recommendations and strategies.
Q: What is the lynchpin in this plan to make it happen?
DFC believes that no one sector will be able to implement the strategic framework, but will require a broad-based and unified coalition across all sectors – public, private, philanthropic, non-profit and community-based – to achieve the long term vision of the project. Public sector policy and regulatory reform is an important piece, but only one of many that will be necessary to make the plan successful.
Q: What actions must take place to ensure this project will be successful for years to come?
The first 5 years are critical to the success of Detroit Future City. In addition to continued civic engagement and establishing the Implementation Consortium and Implementation Team; recognition of the changing needs of the city’s demographics must be addressed. To create new forms of land use suggested in Detroit Future City—and develop the long-term sustainability that is needed to improve the quality of life in Detroit—within the first five years one of the major actions that must take place are reforms to zoning, land use, and land disposition policies and regulations. Public sector policy and regulatory reform is an important piece, but only one of many that will be necessary to make the plan successful.
Q: How will projects be identified and selected?
The Implementation Team will work as a partner with the Implementation Consortium and others to establish and execute an implementation agenda that is in line with the recommendations and strategies of strategic framework.
Q: Does the strategic framework identify specific neighborhoods that should receive attention first?
No. It is a framework for decision making that offers recommendations and strategies to improve the entire city. No area of Detroit will be left behind; however not everything cannot happen everywhere. Once the Implementation Team and consortium are in place, an implementation agenda will be created to identify the best course of action to achieve an improved quality of life in Detroit for all. In the meantime, individuals, community groups, business leaders, and more can begin using the information now to make decision that will improve their piece of Detroit.
Q: Will Detroit Future City be used to guide decisions for major infrastructure decisions such as the Detroit Public Lighting Authority and the Regional Transit Authority?
The strategic framework makes recommendations to improve lighting, transportation, infrastructure, and other city systems. We would like officials to utilize the framework to guide their decisions. As those initiatives get underway we will work to make sure officials associated with those efforts are familiar with the strategies of Detroit Future City.
Q: What is proposed to happen in my community?
Detroit Future City provides a comprehensive set of recommendations. Each area of the city is assigned a future land use typology or vision and a menu of strategies to achieve that vision. It will be up to the individual neighborhoods to determine the best set of strategies to achieve its vision based on the menu of recommended strategies. It is available at the Homebase (2929 Russell St.), Detroit Public Library branches and the detroitfuturecity.com Web site.
Q: What recommendations does the strategic framework make to address crime challenges?
DFC advocates for a more strategic and coordinated approach to resources across all sectors: public, private, non-profit and community-based. Public safety provides an opportunity for this type of coordinated approach where, for example, neighborhood CB patrols or private security is more seamlessly able to communicate with the Detroit Police Department. An already successful example of this is the Midtown Compstat program where regular meetings between the Wayne State Police Department, the Detroit Police Department and community organizations have been able to significantly reduce crime in the Midtown area. DFC advocates for extending the Compstat program to neighborhoods throughout the city.
Q: What recommendations does the strategic framework make to address job and career training opportunities?
The Economic Growth element of the strategic framework offers a section that suggests recommendations to “Improve Skills Building and Education Reform” by advocating for six implementation actions:
Q: How is the topic of education addressed in the strategic framework?
While educational policy reform is not specifically addressed in the framework, DFC recognizes that K-12 schools are an integral part of healthy neighborhoods and communities. The school itself provides a physical center for a neighborhood, a place for the community to meet, learn and recreate. DFC calls for neighborhood stabilization to begin around K-12 schools, calling for the demolition of vacant and dangerous structures along Safe Routes to Schools and within a ½ mile radius of K-12 schools.
DFC also calls for expanding the role of the school throughout the neighborhood to better engage residents by creating Community Learning Centers. Cincinnati Public Schools provides a successful model CLC program that provides services such as continuing education and shared community resources to residents.
Q: How does the strategic framework suggest managing areas of Detroit where land vacancy is high, but population is low.
As part of the implementation of DFC, vacant land must transform to become an asset instead of a liability. Within the strategic framework there are several recommendations for how to address the 20 square-miles of vacant land that exists in Detroit by creating new opportunities for land to contribute tax dollars, produce jobs, or become a public amenity. Some examples outlined in Detroit Future City include creating a new and diverse open space system to help the environment, adding recreational amenities to neighborhoods, and using the land to develop new types of productive neighbors that help create economic opportunities, and improve the overall quality of life in a community.
Q: Does the Strategic Framework suggest people should be moved from their homes?
No. The framework does not call for forced relocation; Detroit Future City believes that this is neither right nor possible. The Strategic Framework’s vision has a place for every resident of Detroit, wherever residents choose to live. We believe that it has been imperative to provide all Detroiters with more high-quality, affordable neighborhood choices that serve and attract residents so they have more options for where to live and work. Detroit Future City does propose to work with and guide the significant voluntary movement of people within Detroit over time–a movement that is already happening.
Each year, a significant number of Detroiters move within the city, and new arrivals choose a place to live or set up businesses.
Q: What is the House-for-House Swap program?
DFC’s proposed House-for-House Swap program is one of many possible strategies intended to improve quality of life in High Vacancy neighborhoods. The specific design, funding and implementation of a House-for-House Swap program have not been developed at this time. DFC looked at New Orleans’ “Project Home Again” as a possible precedent for a home swap program, providing families affected by Hurricane Katrina to move into newly constructed homes. Project Home Again was a very popular and effective, though expensive, program that required major philanthropic financial support.
Focusing on rehabilitation of the high quality existing housing stock in Detroit may offer one possible variation on the Project Home Again success. Whether a House-for-House Swap program is implemented in Detroit will be determined across multiple sectors with significant input from the community.
Q: Does the Strategic Framework suggest a reduction in services in Detroit?
Detroiters have a right to core services such as water, trash removal, and other essentials for quality of life. The Framework is not intended to reduce the availability of these services. Instead, it addresses the gap between the current pattern of population distribution in the city and the scale of infrastructure and services that the city can sustainably afford in the long term. Detroit Future City sets out ways in which the city can change the location and intensity of service distribution so that this will better serve residents and businesses while reducing the cost to serve them.
Q: Who will fund the Implementation Team?
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Kresge Foundation to date have committed to fund a substantial portion of the Implementation Team operating costs for the first two years. The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is administering the funds and is the fiduciary for the Implementation Team.
Q: Has a dollar amount been placed on how much will need to be invested to implement Detroit Future City?
At this time it is difficult to place a specific dollar amount on the cost of implementation. Implementing Detroit Future City is going to require an infusion of new investment dollars, however the redirection of existing, available resources—city, state, federal, private, non-profit and philanthropic funds—that align with the recommendations of the strategic framework will be a major factor in its success.
Q: Who will pay for implementation?
Much of framework is about aligning and prioritizing resources that will result in much-needed, long-term savings, so it’s not always about spending. There are also current dollars on the table –– from local, state and federal government that can be used towards achieving a shared vision. In addition The Kresge Foundation has committed to aligning all of its grant-making in Detroit with Detroit Future City, representing at least $150 million of investment over the next five years. It will take much more than one sector to achieve this vision but there is tremendous energy and momentum behind it.
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