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Plan Unveiled For Smaller, Stronger Detroit

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DETROIT (WWJ) A plan was unveiled Wednesday to help the city thrive in the decades to come by shucking off the constraints of old to create a brand-new Detroit.

It involves making the city strategically smaller — and officials hope, stronger.

The new strategic plan, called Detroit Future City, was written over the last two years through a collaboration of land use experts, residents, public and private stakeholders in the city under the umbrella of the Detroit Works Long-Term Planning team. It’s a road map to handle blight and vacant land, alleviate the city’s overburdened budget and deteriorating infrastructure.

House swapping will be encouraged to move residents out of low-density, blighted areas and into more populated areas to save stretched city services. No one would be forced to move.

The report notes that 700,000 people now live in Detroit, a city built for 2 million. Population is expected to drop to 610,000 by 2030. “Detroit families make on average only $28,000 per year compared to families in the region making $48,000 annually, and one-third of Detroit families make less than that,” the report says.

There is only one job available for every four Detroiters, the report adds.

Planners call for new transportation modes, with bike lanes and a new light rail system, and easing water problems by turning empty areas into “blue zones” with ponds that keep rainwater out of the sewer system. The far-reaching plan covers everything from job training to the creation of public gardens. Read the entire report HERE.

“Every resident and business continues to have service, but we do propose that the transformation of those systems need to move toward reducing waste, inefficiency, and capacity where we just no longer need it,”  urban planner Toni Griffin said.

More than 100 people crammed into the Detroit Future City office on Russell Street to see the big reveal. Mayor Dave Bing narrated the presentation and a 347-page document full of recommendations to make Detroit thrive again was released. The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. will oversee implementation.

“I knew coming into office that it was going to be difficult for me, but I knew that there were so many great people in this city, so many people who cared for this city that they got engaged and they made it a work of love,” Bing said.

Alison Thompson, steering committee chair, said it was a serious group effort, adding, “Local, international planning experts joined with Detroit residents, doers in Detroit, with the governmental sector, business leaders, and also with nonprofit organizations.”

Kresge Corporation pledged $150 million to the project over the next five years. It’s expected to cost billions of dollars.

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