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"Detroit Future City" emerges, and so do critiques, questions

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Details of the so-called “Detroit Future City” plan are out in the open, and people are weighing in on its detailed, long-term vision for the city.

The plan stems from the two-year-long Detroit Works Project. It started as an effort to deal with Detroit’s vacant land problem. But it evolved into a highly-detailed, 50-year vision for a future city.

Kurt Metzger, head of the group Data Driven Detroit, calls the plan a “great, comprehensive framework” for the future.

“This is our best chance,” Metzger said.  “And I think if we don’t embrace it and see if we can make it work before we start complaining, we’ll be a lot better off.”

But Metzger adds he hopes there’s “more transparency” in the implementation process. He wants officials to tap more local knowledge and expertise moving forward.

Charity Hicks served on an advisory task force that helped come up with the plan.

She says planners haven’t leveraged the existing groups—like block clubs--who will really make or break its success.

“Until you get grassroots men and women, on blocks, in the room, that’s respected, with standing, agency, and voice…it’s doomed,” Hicks said.  “It’s planning for people, and not with people.”

Hicks says she does like aspects of the plan, such as its emphasis on “blue-green” infrastructure.

City officials say they will move implement certain short-term aspects of the plan quickly. So-called Detroit Works “demonstration areas” are running in a few corners of the city.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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