Wednesday (9th January 2013) saw the launch of the new strategic framework plan for Detroit, Detroit Future City, marking the culmination of a key three year role for Happold Consulting in the Detroit Works Project Long Term Planning team.
Working through the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and jointly funded by the Kresge, Ford, Kellogg and Knight Foundations, the planning team led by Toni L Griffin has developed a comprehensive, integrated plan to guide the resurgence of Detroit overcoming linked economic, spatial, infrastructural and environmental challenges to become a model 21st century American city.
“This is not a patch, this is a revolution.” (Detroit Free Press)
"This plan is unprecedented: Detroit Future City is grounded in the broadest, deepest, and most comprehensive look at Detroit that’s ever been done during a planning process. No American city has ever attempted to address its economic, land, infrastructure, and neighbourhood challenges as we have done here with Detroit Future City" (George W Jackson Jr, President, CEO DEGC).
Detroit Future City breaks new ground for major American city planning; it is one of the first plans to fully integrate strategies for economic transformation with plans for spatial, systems and environmental remediation with a view to changing not only the way that the city is planned but also its operation and governance.
“This isn’t the end of the process, this is the beginning.”(Dave Bing, Mayor of Detroit).
The hard work to develop the plan represents only the start of a long process to ensure that the recommendations are implemented. Detroit Future City provides a framework for the transformation of the city over the next 20 or even 50 years but it contains many recommendations for high impact actions which can start tomorrow and will deliver real benefits within the next five years. A plan of this scale and ambition is bigger than any one department or administration: the long term planning process has undertaken one of the most extensive stakeholder and community engagement processes ever carried out for a plan of this type ensuring that the plan has backing and continued support into implementation from a broad range of community, business, governmental and philanthropic groups.
Direct commitment to implementation has already been forthcoming with Rip Rapson, president of the Kresge Foundation, pledging at the launch to channel all of the foundation’s very significant support to Detroit through the Detroit Future City framework and pledging $150 million of new funding over the next five years to support Detroit future city projects.
Lawrie Robertson, project lead for Happold Consulting, said “It’s been a great privilege for us to be involved in the project. Few cities in the world have as dynamic a civil society as Detroit and the ideas coming out of the community engagement programme have really steered the plan towards its current form. A key theme of the project was to develop a vision of not just how the city looks but also how it works – and that means socially as well as technically.”