The City of Detroit is experiencing an era of growth, but the efforts to revitalize Detroit have been more than 20 years in the making. The first line of revitalization starts with the neighborhoods and the members of the Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD), who build communities, build parks, build homes and create neighborhoods.
Rebuilding Detroit’s neighborhoods is an opportunity to create a world-class city, inclusive of Detroit’s existing and new residents. It empowers the community and residents to determine their quality of life and determine how land is used to define their neighborhood. A new, stronger Detroit cannot exist without equitable and transparent policies and processes around land acquisition and disposition that includes the community and resident engagement. These values should be central to sales and transfers of large parcels of publically owned land by the city or the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA).
CDAD works to develop the capacity of Detroit’s community development organizations and neighborhood improvement groups through advocacy, training, technical assistance, information sharing, education, and facilitating common action. Many of our member organizations have spent years organizing projects and events, developing land use and community development plans, and working to improve their neighborhoods through community engagement. It is critical that the impact of any development, demolition, transfer, or sale from public to private ownership, or any other change in the status of publicly owned lands does not overlook existing community work.
As a voice of the community, and a catalyst for change in the neighborhoods, CDAD recommends a collaborative community engagement strategy based on community participation; that incorporates dialogue between the community and policymakers; and includes equal decision-making power from an intentionally authentic process. CDAD can provide resources to enable the city to identify and fully engage our member organizations and residents in decisions affecting their communities.
CDAD Recommendations to the City of Detroit and DLBA:
- Ensure that proposed uses for public land do not conflict with existing community plans for public space. Community groups and neighborhoods should be allowed first right of refusal when there is interest in holding public space for public use.
- Establish a collaborative community engagement process that is supportive of community to determine the future direction of large parcels of public land owned by the city that is proposed for sale or transfer.