DFC's "New Urban Places" Collaboration in its 11th Month 

The DFC Implementation Office, community+public arts: Detroit (CPAD), The Greening of Detroit, and community residents are 11 months into their two year ‘New Urban Places’ collaboration to transform vacant and underutilized spaces in four Detroit neighborhoods into public arts projects with a substantial green infrastructure component that address unique community needs as identified through monthly meetings.

CPAD facilitated visual brainstorming activities, discussions of neighborhood challenges and opportunities, and presented artwork from a roster of local artists. The community heard how the citywide DFC Strategic Framework’s data, strategies and actions could help inform their projects at a neighborhood scale, and how they could be neighborhood leaders of implementing the Framework. The Greening of Detroit has brought their expertise in urban planting, gardening and community engagement to the project development so the green infrastructure can help the land ‘work’ for the neighborhoods.
The residents in each community have selected by popular vote the artists that would best fulfill their vision, and are assisting them further in developing the projects and deciding where it should be sited within the community.  Below is a current summary of each project:
The community is partnering with metal worker Keenan Nielbock on a sculpture park that integrates green infrastructure. Siting is still being finalized, but will likely include a “Prayer Park” established on an otherwise vacant lot acquired by a local church.  This presents a unique opportunity to serve as an implementation action for Brightmoor’s community plan: ‘Restore the ‘Moor’ and further enhance Brighmoor’s innovation around creatively and colorfully activating open space.

The community is working with Oakland Avenue Artist Coalition (OAAC) on a farmstand pavilion and public art to enhance currently vacant lots near Feedom Freedom Growers on Manistique Street. The team is working with Jefferson East Inc. to obtain lots through the Detroit Land Bank Authority Community Partnership Program.

Cody Rouge:
The community is working with Kef Parker to implement three creative bus stops. Detroit Department of Transportation and Detroit Department of Public Works are crucial partners to implement these non-traditional bus shelters and this project could help create a template for other communities that wish to participate in similar projects.

North End:
The community is working with Oakland Avenue Artist Coalition (OAAC) to create two artistic pavilions as showcases for local art and places to convene performances and events:  one will be built at MOORE Community Park on Oakland Avenue in the North End community and the other on 12th Street in the Virginia Park community which will enhance the recreation center on the site. The installation on 12th Street will be connected to the 50th anniversary of the 1967 unrest and remembering those who lost their lives.    

This process has been an incredible example of how residents, artists and city institutions can build partnerships to innovatively address issues unique to their neighborhoods.
If you would like to get involved with further project development and implementation, or if your community would like to develop a project please contact DFC at; CPAD at  (313) 664-1549 or Greening of Detroit at
Blight Bootcamp Continues for Second Year

After DFC launched a successful Blight Bootcamp in 2014, we are thrilled to be a partner with Impact Detroit as the program continues with Michigan Community Resources on Saturday, July 25 at University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) – Student Life Center. This event will bring together residents and organizations for a day of community learning about resources to increase impact of community led blight elimination efforts.

Detroit Blight Bootcamp will begin with an opening plenary session featuring Maurice Cox, Director of the Planning and Development Department. Following the plenary session, there will be breakout sessions that will last for an hour and a half on a number of topics related to blight mitigation and elimination.

Breakout workshop topics include:
  • Resident Led Safety in Neighborhoods
  • Land Bank Property Acquisition Step A-Z
  • Planning for Sustainability
  • Overcoming Blight Roadblocks: A Conversation with District Managers
  • Data Driven Decision Making
  • Using Community Design Media Tools in the Conversation Around Blight- A Discussion with Detroit Community Radio (96.7 WNUC)
Afternoon workshop topics include:
  • Demonstration on Creative Property Board-Ups
  • Voice of Youth: Youth-Led Engagement Workshop
  • Community Driven Community Art to Fight Blight
  • Rain Gardens at Smallville Learning Farms
  • Land Use for Urban Agriculture and Food System
  • A Little About Lots: Innovative Vacant Land Reuse in Detroit
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and continental breakfast and boxed lunch is provided. Learn more on Impact Detroit's website here

DFC in the News
Michigan Radio: With each new idea, momentum builds in Detroit
MLive: Detroit Future City stresses need for neighborhoods, new minds in city's comeback
Next City: On Detroit’s East Side, Managing Vacant Land Takes Collaboration
Michigan Radio: I can't wait 50 years to live well in my Detroit neighborhood

DFC Ideas for Innovation
  • A Case for Open Space: July 30,2015
  • Equitable Growth: September 2015
  • The Making of a Shared Regional Vision: October 2015
Learn more about DFC Ideas for Innovation here

DFC Tools
DFC is committed to participatory implementation of the Strategic Framework. DFC's website now include a Tools page to connect, inform and empower Detroiters and others in implementing the DFC Strategic Framework’s shared vision.

Visit the page here

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Detroit, MI 48202