HCED Seminar: Detroit Future City: Aiming to Transform the City through Economic Assets, Transformative Landscapes, and Community Values


Detroit Future City: Aiming to Transform the City through Economic Assets, Transformative Landscapes, and Community Values

Discussion of the newly released Detroit Future City plan


Toni Griffin

Team leader for Detroit Future City, Professor and Director of the Max Bond Center for Architecture at the City College of New York and former lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Teresa Lynch

Founding Principal, Principal, MassEconomics, DUSP alumna, former Senior VP, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City

Chris Reed

Founding Principal, Stoss Landscape, Adjunct Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


Cities are constantly changing.  Since the late 1950’s, change in Detroit has resulted in fewer jobs, fewer people living in the city, and more and more vacant land left behind.  Now, with 4 residents for every job and over 150,000 vacant and abandoned parcels accounting for 20% of the city’s land area, business as usual -- in terms of investment, operations and daily life -- is not an option. But a smaller population should not mean a lower quality of life for the residents and businesses of Detroit. By identifying viable in-town assets that can create new and broad-based economic opportunities, creating adaptive and productive ecologies that  give rise to a new urban form, and embracing the imperative of moving towards a more sustainable approach to managing land and public services, the newly completed Detroit Future City is a comprehensive and action-oriented blueprint for near and long-range decision-making. The Strategic Framework records a shared vision for Detroit’s future and provides a blueprint for guiding the city’s transformation in economic growth, land use and landscape ecologies, city systems and the environment, neighborhoods and public land management -- all in the context of expanded civic capacity. Can it work if the public, private and nonprofit sectors work both harder and smarter together? What supports are needed from the State and federal governments and others?