DFC Implementation Office's 2015 Outlook

2014 was a pivotal year for the Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office. Through the support of our funders and community partners, we announced our two-year priorities, opened our bricks-and-mortar office in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood, activated about 50 initiatives, and engaged the community in several collaborative information and resource-sharing events. If you didn’t have a chance to see our 2014 yearend report, click here

As the DFC Implementation Office looks to 2015, our primary goal is to continue catalyzing innovation and participation in Detroit’s transformation.  

We look to build on our momentum through a strong focus on cultivating partnerships, driving impactful, collaborative and enterprising initiatives, defining an agenda for decision making, providing thought leadership, and ensuring equity and opportunity.

In addition to our 50-some initiatives, the DFC Implementation Office has two signature programs it is introducing this spring that demonstrate our 2015 focus.

The Vacant Land Transformation Guide
The DFC Implementation Office is developing a Guide that will provide a print and web-based interactive tool to help Detroit residents and contractors identify useful options and specifications to transform vacant land into an asset. The Guide is made possible through funding from the Erb Family Foundation.

The DFC Implementation Office is in the midst of an extensive collaborative design process with the City of Detroit, Greening of Detroit, community representatives and practitioners.Through this process, stakeholders are helping design the Guide so it reflects the needs of today's Detroit and provides achievable tactics and solutions for Detroiters.

"The Vacant Land Transformation Guide is one more useful resource to help Detroiters repurpose vacant land into healthy, green spaces that will enhance quality of life," said Rebecca Salminen Witt, president of The Greening of Detroit. "The Greening and other nonprofit partners are collaborating in a variety of ways to ensure Detroit residents are engaged and informed in the process of land acquisition and transformation.” 

Stay tuned for the Guide’s release in late spring, at which time the DFC Implementation Office will host a number of community events to introduce the tool. Visit our website for more information on this initiative.
Ideas for Innovation
The DFC Implementation Office will host a series of six events that will connect stakeholders to each other, the DFC Strategic Framework and implementation initiatives, and will create a dialogue with community members.  The events will focus on the following topics:
  • What makes great cities?
  • DFC’s Innovation Agenda
  • Stabilizing neighborhoods
  • Open space networks
  • Centers for growth
  • A vision for the region
The content from the events will be summarized in six publications, which will also provide guidance for putting the innovative ideas into action. Ideas for Innovation is made possible with support from the Knight Foundation.

"DFC's Ideas for Innovation effort ties to Knight's mission, to inform and engage communities," said Katy Locker, Detroit program director of the Knight Foundation. "It is a great vehicle for actively involving the community in participating in the development of concepts and actions that can transform Detroit."

The DFC Implementation Office will be announcing the six events soon. Stay tuned to our website, social media and e-newsletters to learn more.   

For more information about Ideas for Innovation, click here.

Here are some other transformative initiatives emerging in 2015:

Economic Growth - Mt. Elliott Employment District
Mt. Elliott is one of the seven “primary employment districts” in the DFC Strategic Framework. The City of Detroit and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) used the Framework’s employment district recommendation as the basis to secure $750,000 in grant funds to develop a comprehensive strategy for revitalizing Mt. Elliott as “the center” for manufacturing in Detroit. This will help attract investment to the city, and support job creation for Detroiters. Ken Cockrel, Jr, executive director for the DFC Implementation Office, will contribute to shaping the District Strategy as an Advisory Board member.
Click here to learn more about the collateral materials being developed to support the Mt. Elliott initiative and to market other employment districts across the city.
City Systems – HOPE Village Neighborhood Solar Development
In partnership with Focus: HOPE and Megawatt PV, DFC is exploring a neighborhood solar project. The HOPE Village Neighborhood Solar Development project would generate clean, affordable power locally through a 5MW solar power plant, potentially allowing portions of the neighborhood to go off the grid. The project would utilize former brownfield sites, transforming this vacant land into productive use.
Land and Building Assets – Integrated Open Space Network Plan
The DFC Implementation Office will lead a comprehensive open space planning process to fully realize the potential of transforming vacant land into a cohesive network that truly becomes an amenity for Detroit residents. We are currently in the beginning stages of engaging partners, including the City of Detroit, and gathering information to design the planning process. This includes assessing data from completed and active initiatives, as well as piloting new innovative initiatives to develop more critical information. Throughout the process, we will work with local and state partners to develop policy and regulatory recommendations to achieve the network.  This initiative is partly funded by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).  

DFC in the News

Street Beat: Detroit Future City, M-1 Rail, And The New District Detroit

Detroit Free Press: Detroit Knight Finalists Think Outside the Box

NationSwell: Why the Motor City's 50-Year Plan Should Be a Blueprint for Other Urban Areas

The Detroit News: Detroit, a living example of positive business 


2015 Social Impact Challenge

University of Michigan's Center for Social Impact's annual Social Impact Challenge brings graduate students together to address a pressing social issue in the city of Detroit using a multidisciplinary lens. 

Partners include: DFC, City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Vanguard CDC, and the German Marshall Fund.

Click here for more information.

Congratulations DFC's Erin Kelly and Dara O'Byrne

Congratulations to DFC staff members, Erin Kelly and Dara O'Byrne for having their projects chosen as Knight Cities Challenge finalists.

"Project Groundtruth by Detroit Future City" and "The Buzz by Detroit Future City" were two of 126 projects across the nation chosen as finalists.

Learn more about the two projects in this Detroit Free Press article.

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