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Draft Neighborhood Strategies can be used to stabilize, grow and cultivate a broad range of sustainable residential densities across traditional and non-traditional neighborhoods in Detroit.

After months of research, analysis, and dialogue with residents and community leaders; the Long Term Planning team is asking residents and stakeholders to review and provide additional feedback on draft strategies and actions that can make the city’s neighborhoods safer, healthier and more prosperous.

The draft strategies seek to empower Detroiters to develop and sustain a diverse array of regionally competitive neighborhoods with differing amenities, services and programs that can be implemented in the near, mid, and long term.

Improving Detroit’s neighborhoods has to be a collaborative effort and Detroiters must be empowered to be change-agents within their own communities. Neighborhoods, even those that are considered challenged, will have a future, though that future may need to be different than it was in the past.

Local precedents of neighborhood successes were then gathered from Detroiters and analyzed along with national precedents by the project’s technical planning team.

The next step was to establish the best formula for applying them in way that would grow and sustain varying neighborhood densities within the three Framework Zones, low vacancy, moderate vacancy and high vacancy.

The Draft Neighborhood Strategies below have been identified for each of the three Framework Zone types, each with its own unique assets and opportunities, and if leveraged effectively, can be utilized improve the quality of life for Detroiters living in those areas.





Image Above: Framework Zones Map
Prioritized Low Vacancy Draft Strategies

1. Safety

a. Utilize new crime data mapping technologies to improve crime prevention and resource allocation.

b. Encourage community-based youth programs to improve neighborhood safety.

c. Foster the creation and implementation of community-based crime preventative design guidelines.

2. Education

a. Co-locate community learning centers within existing successful public schools.

3. Community & Identity

a. Create online, interactive ‘Quality of Life’ database of home ownership, crime, environmental conditions, etc.

b. Establish policy and funding to leverage city-wide organization of block clubs, neighborhood organizations.

c. Create neighborhood resource kits to provide a range of resources to residents and local business owners, including:

i. Proper channels within city government to address problems

ii. Financial support service contacts

iii. Vacant land management techniques

iv. Tools for small scale community planning, consensus building.

d. Historic district way-finding and marketing.

4. Housing

a. Maximize homeownership with programs focused on credit counseling and the refocusing of subsidized rentals to low cost home ownership.

b. Prioritize developer/market based infill housing units.

c. Create and market a new green housing standard.

5. Public Service

a. Establish neighborhood-organized special assessment districts to improve core service delivery (similar to a BID – Business Improve District).

b. Prioritize renewal of all city infrastructure systems to current or proposed capacity (water, gas, electric, etc.).

c. Implement city-wide recycling programs.

6. Retail Services & Amenities

a. Establish CDC-organized retail cooperatives to develop neighborhood retail amenities.

b. Create incentives program for focused development of retail services and amenities (Development tax credits).

c. Repurpose underutilized/vacant commercial corridors for blue infrastructure and alternative land uses.
Prioritized Moderate Vacancy Strategy Concepts

1. Safety

• Utilize new crime data mapping technologies to improve crime prevention and resource allocation.

• Encourage community-based youth programs to improve neighborhood safety.

2. Education

• Create continuing education programs to focus job training around emerging local economies.

• Co-locate community learning centers within existing successful public schools

3. Prosperity & Income

• Create job training programs based off of emerging economies (Ex: Deconstruction, Urban Agriculture, Land Based Research, Advanced Manufacturing, CNC, etc.).

• Incentivize the further development of the existing green products industries.

• Develop more aggressive policies in support of naturalizing undocumented immigrants.

4. Physical Condition

• Create neighborhood-based vacancy management programs.

• Prioritize code enforcement programs targeting absentee property owners and landlords.

• Coordinate purchase program for side lot disposition to adjacent home owner.

5. Housing

• Coordinate large-scale deconstruction pilot projects.

• Develop programs to assist Section 8 recipients’ transition from subsidized renters to homeowners.

• Assemble land adjacent to natural assets (River, parks) for Green Mixed Rise housing developments & ecological restoration.

6. Recreation

• Realign/consolidate city parks to better serve neighborhoods and promote alternative park maintenance strategies where community capacity exists.

7. Design, install, and connect networks of bike lanes and greenways. Retail Services & Amenities

• Establish CDC-organized retail cooperatives to develop neighborhood retail amenities.
Prioritized High Vacancy Strategy Concepts

1. Safety

• Provide support to community-based patrol programs and safety strategies to remove blighting influences.

2. Community & Identity

• Create neighborhood land utilization and management plans.

3. Create neighborhood land utilization and management plans. Physical Condition

• Revise zoning ordinance to allow for a much wider spectrum of alternative productive land uses.

• Organize neighborhood-based demolition and clean-up programs.

• Vacant Lot Maintenance Strategy.

4. Environment

• Prioritize funding for large-scale productive land use or blue-green infrastructure projects

5. Recreation

• Realign/consolidate city parks and promote alternative park maintenance strategies where community capacity exists.

• Design, install, and connect city-wide network of bike lanes and greenways.

6. Culture

• Provide support to programs that creatively link available vacant land to innovative, creative, or artistic uses.

• Promote innovative alternative land uses as unique Detroit asset.

DOWNLOAD the Neighborhoods Summary here and the Greater Downtown Insert here or view the documents below:

Land Use
Featured Image

For the past 60 years, Detroit has experienced sustained decline in population, employment and investment. This trend has continued and will do so into the future. In order to improve quality of life for Detroiters, we must change how we use our land.

The enormity of vacant and underutilized land that underlies many of Detroit’s struggles today can be the most powerful tool to create a more viable, sustainable and healthy future. To achieve this goal, we need to make coordinated and strategic decisions about how to use our land, and the structures built on top of it. With this in mind, the primary goal for the Land Use planning element is the development of a framework for decision making, ensuring an efficient coordination of how our city and others invest in our natural and built environments.

This new land use direction is based on four significant, and related overarching land-use transformations that we would like to achieve or amplify:

1. Employment districts: Based on existing patterns of business activity, potential for future growth, location of key economic assets, and land availability and ownership patterns, there are seven primary employment districts and multiple secondary districts where we can concentrate growth.

2. Connected transit network: We need to modify our current system to allow for express and local lines of transit while introducing additional modes of transit that better connect people to jobs and services while still encouraging walking and bicycling.

3. Innovative landscape system: Landscapes can offer opportunities for economic growth, support for infrastructure, and recreation opportunities for neighborhoods and the region.

4. Traditional and innovative urban neighborhoods: In order to retain our current residents and attract new ones, we need to implement strategies to create thriving, regionally competitive neighborhoods with a range of sustainable densities and housing options.

Using the above four transformative ideas to inform all our land use decisions will help us create the new land use vision for Detroit. We can achieve this by guiding our short and long term decisions with defined Framework Zones, applying Land Use Typologies to structure our future zoning, and using the Future Land-Use map to move towards an integrated vision for the future.

Framework Zones should guide how we make short and long term decisions

The Framework Zones are divided into three large categories, based on a careful data analysis of the city’s current physical and market conditions: Low Vacancy, Moderate Vacancy and High Vacancy. They act as a guide in making future investment decisions in Detroit’s built environment.

Land Use Typologies should serve as the structure for future zoning.

Land use typologies are intended to provide the future vision and direction for land use within the city, while addressing the unique conditions presented within the framework zones. There are three primary categories: Neighborhoods, Industrial, and Landscape. Within each of the typologies might be a mix of vacancy outlined in the Framework Zones.


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