Quarterly Newsletter – Spring 2022

March 18, 2022

News and Resources
Efforts to Expand Open Space Take Root
Detroit’s surplus of vacant land is an opportunity to transform the quality of life for Detroiters. Members of the Open Space Working Group come together bimonthly to identify best practices and discuss opportunities to transform Detroit’s 19 square miles of vacant land liability into an open space amenity, improving the social, environmental, and economic health of Detroit neighborhoods and residents. Members met again virtually on February 8, 2022, with the benefit of three guest speakers.

Renee Wallace of FoodPlus Detroit discussed composting efforts in Detroit and Michigan, including various legislation now under consideration in Lansing that could affect composting, recycling, and food waste reduction efforts in Detroit. Lisa Johanan of Central Detroit Christian CDC talked about food production, greenspace development, and youth employment work her organization is doing in the Piety Hill neighborhood. Finally, Tom Milano and Nancy Weigandt of Detroit Abloom shared their efforts to encourage community gardening and produce non-food plants, like cut flowers, on 18 lots in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood.

If you weren’t able to attend the meeting, a recording is available by clicking on the link below (passcode: xr7g1*ud).

The next meeting will take place on Tuesday April 19, 2022, from 3-4:30 pm (new date!) We will have a guest presentation from the Detroit Parks and Rec Department and will discuss their 2022 Strategic Plan. If you would like to be added to the email list to receive notifications about the Open Space Working Group, please email landuseandsustainabilityteam@detroitfuturecity.com with your request.

Watch The Meeting Here
Focus Groups Work to Expand Homeownership
Detroit Future City recently facilitated a pair of focus groups to better understand effective strategies for expanding home ownership among low- and moderate-income homebuyers in Detroit. Organized on behalf of the Detroit Neighborhood Housing Compact, the focus groups included a variety of community housing counselors and community development leaders.

“We know that expanding homeownership in Detroit will have a host of positive benefits,” said Kimberly Faison, Detroit Future City’s Director of Community and Economic Development. “What we are trying to determine for the Compact is how best to expand the pipeline of well-qualified low- and moderate-income homebuyers.”

Focus group participants gave a wide range of suggestions, including cataloguing and sharing widely existing mortgage products and down payment assistance programs; mapping real home buyer journeys and identifying common challenges encountered in the process; and helping neighborhoods showcase quality of life amenities to expand their market of homebuyers, among others.

Results from these focus groups will be shared with members of the Detroit Neighborhood Housing Compact for further consideration and planning. An immediate next step will include creation of an ad-hoc housing counselor workgroup; counselors who participated in the focus groups requested continued coordination with one another, to better serve their communities.

Learn More About the Detroit Neighborhood Housing Compact
New Report on Expanding Home Mortgage Originations in Detroit Coming Soon
At the end of March 2022, Detroit Future City will release a new research report on opportunities to increase homeownership in Detroit through mortgage lending. The report is co-authored with award winning journalist John Gallagher and combines data and interviews to explore trends, challenges, and solutions for mortgage lending in Detroit.

This report will be the topic of discussion at the next Economic Equity Innovation Series event, scheduled for April 20th, 2022. During this event, the Detroit Future City Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research will share its most recent research on current trends in home purchase lending and lead a discussion, facilitated by Bridge Detroit, with local and national practitioners to highlight innovations and solutions for improving homeownership through mortgage lending.

Pre-Register Today
Detroit Future City Relaunches Website with New Design
Detroit Future City recently relaunched its website with a fresh look and feel. Changes were made to the site to reflect the expanded nature of our work and to make the site easier to navigate. We would certainly appreciate any feedback you have on our latest website changes. Please feel free to send them on to our Development Director, Kate Cherry, at kcherry@detroitfuturecity.com
Explore The Website Here

Anika Goss Appointed to Federal
Reserve Bank of Chicago Board

Anika Goss, President and CEO of Detroit Future City, was recently appointed for a 6-year term to the Detroit-branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Through this role, she hopes to contribute a better understanding of low- and moderate-income families and how market conditions affect those families. She is also hoping to better understand and have an impact on how credit affects households, particularly in Detroit.

Ms. Goss believes people most affected by monetary policy are considered the least and sees this appointment as an important way to change this current reality. Please help us in congratulating her on this appointment when you see her.

DFC Welcomes New Staff Members

Four new team members joined the staff of Detroit Future City over the past few months. New team members are bolstering the organizations land use, community engagement, and research efforts in myriad ways. New staff include:

  • Landscape Innovation Manager – Patrick Crouch. Patrick joins the Land Use Team with an extensive background in sustainable land use practices. He is supporting the team’s Working With Lots program and other land use installation efforts.
  • Research Assistant – Rosie Liu. Rosie is supporting data and research projects, especially those being completed in Detroit Future City’s Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research. She has a diverse background in planning, data, analytics, and urban informatics, which she is using to help take the Center’s work to a whole new level.
  • AmeriCorps Engagement and Research Coordinator – Didi Adi. Didi joined Detroit Future City to support various engagement and research activities. She will also take the lead on completing the Detroit Future City Engagement Manual and Toolkit. Didi is a writer, editor, and educator, engaged with Detroit Future City through the Detroit LISC Americorps Volunteer program.
  • AmeriCorps Community Engagement Manager – Ryan Coker. Ryan joins the Community and Economic Development team to support the housing compact through engagement work and the housing resource library. He is a student at Central Michigan University studying Political Science, with concentrations in legal studies and public policy. Ryan is from Detroit and has focused much of his work on policy, advocacy, and voter engagement within the region.

Please help us in welcoming Rosie, Patrick, Didi, and Ryan as you encounter them around the community!

Detroit Future City In The News

Southwest Detroiters build a map for equitable industrial development

Study: Empty Southwest Detroit industrial sites target for new life

How Detroit’s public schools are meeting these families’ needs

How some Detroiters are building a better city by transforming vacant lots

Creating a path to middle-class wage jobs for Detroiters

How Detroit’s inequitable transit costs Black Detroiters more — and what we can do to change it


Detroit Strategic Framework
Economic Equity Dashboard