The City of Detroit has launched community engagement plan that it hopes will results in sustainable actions to improve the quality of life, provide greater economic opportunities, protect public health, and address climate impacts in the city.
The City is not going it alone. It is committed to taking input from at least 7,000 Detroiters so community input plays a significant role in shaping what is called the Action Agenda. The direct community dialogue will help expand on the Office of Sustainability’s ongoing efforts to deliver the Action Agenda, which as of now includes the collection of more than 600 potential actions from existing studies, plans, and other documents.
Detroiters can get involved at www.detroitmi.gov/sustainability.
The Action Agenda is being led by the City’s Office of Sustainability, which Mayor Mike Duggan created in 2017 to elevate and coordinate the Detroit’s sustainability efforts, with support from the Department of Neighborhoods.
“Detroit deserves a city that is equitable, strong economically and preserves the environment for generations to come,” says Brad Dick, the city’s group executive for infrastructure. “Improving the quality of life in Detroit is a joint effort. Together we need to coordinate efforts around smart and strategic actions. Now is the time to build a sustainable Detroit driven by Detroiters.”
The goal of the Action Agenda will be to help align the city and residents, businesses and community organizations around a common set of goals. The goals are to:
- Make Detroit more cost- and energy efficient, which would include retrofitting older buildings so they use less energy to heat and light, expanding recycling to reduce waste, and replacing older vehicles with more fuel-efficient hybrid or electric vehicles
- Create denser population clusters that support local businesses, with safer routes for walking and bicycling and expanded transit
- Grow recreation opportunities with upgraded parks and improved natural and open spaces
Provide greater access to access to healthier foods in neighborhoods, some of it locally grown
- Improve water quality and reduce neighborhood flooding through greater use of green storm water infrastructure — from major sewer system upgrades to wider use of storm water retention ponds and permeable pavements that allow water to seep into the ground instead of running into sewer drains
- Focus on a growing green economy and provide more jobs and training opportunities in fields like storm water infrastructure construction, urban agriculture, local food processing and alternative energy
“A sustainable Detroit means a city that uses its resources responsibly while ensuring equal opportunity in the types of jobs that will help us create a more livable, environmentally friendly city,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “We want to make sure that longtime residents have a say in this city’s future and the opportunity for meaningful employment as Detroit embraces new technologies and industries.”
Some of the sustainability efforts are already under way or in the works.
Examples of those efforts include the QLine, the Mo-Go bike share program, adding hybrid buses to the bus fleet, converting all streetlights to LEDs, expanded bike lanes, O’Shea solar park, a $3 million a year commitment to green storm water infrastructure, Dequindre Cut and adoption of “green demolition” standards. In addition, community-led sustainability efforts have significantly advanced storm water management, greenways, urban agriculture and green jobs.
“We are committed to making this one of the most robust sustainability programs in the country and believe that starts with robust engagement,” said Joel Howrani Heeres, director of Detroit’s Office of Sustainability.
Detroiters can get involved in the Sustainability Action Agenda development in a number of ways:
- Go to detroitmi.gov/sustainability and click the Green Button that says: “Share your ideas!”
- Contact the Office of Sustainability at (313)224-9496 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like someone to attend your group’s meeting.
- Fill out the survey at https://tinyurl.com/SAA-ShortSurvey
- Stay in touch with the process at courb.co/detroit
- Attend town-hall engagements in July. Dates and locations will be announced soon.
To ensure a broad array of Detroiters are actively involved in the development of the Action Agenda, the Office of Sustainability is working with three local organizations to lead community engagement efforts – Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, EcoWorks and Saga Marketing, with support from AECOM.
The Kresge, Ralph C Wilson, Jr. and Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family foundations and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan provided philanthropic support to fund the development of the Sustainability Action Agenda.
The Action Agenda is supported by a Sustainability Advisory Commission with representation from more than 20 local organizations, businesses and community groups:
- Barton Malow
- General Motors
- Bedrock Detroit
- Develop Detroit
- Southwest Solutions
- I.B.E.W. Local 58 Detroit
- DTE Energy
- Kresge Foundation
- Erb Foundation
- Greater Grace Temple
- Henry Ford Hospital
- Detroit Environmental Agenda
- Great Lakes Environmental Law Center
- Wayne State University
- Detroit City Council
- EcoWorks Detroit Youth Energy Squad
- Congress of Communities
- Wayne Metro Community Action Agency
- Detroit Public Schools Community District
- Community Development Advocates of Detroit
- PizzaPlexone of the su
Lead picture: The Dequindre Cut is stainable efforts already underway.