Week Four – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week Four

Instead of our usual seminar, last Tuesday we attended a lecture and panel hosted by 8 80 Cities. The speaker, 8 80 Cities’s founder Gil Penalosa, sermonized about creating a Detroit that is accessible for all. He exalted the benefits of protected bike lanes, vibrant public spaces, and a strong sense of community. Mr. Penalosa asserted that if a city works for an eight-year-old and and eighty-year old, then it will work for all people. This, coincidentally, reflects the mission and culture of Detroit Future City.

Detroit Future City’s implementation office has a culture that would definitely make Gil proud. At DFC we work with community organizations to continue the renaissance of Detroit. The goal is similar to that of 8 80 Cities: an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable city for all Detroiters. At the heart of┬áthe many initiatives, from implementing green infrastructure to creating a field guide for residents to transform vacant lots and open space, is that central belief in a city for all Detroiters.

And on Thursday, I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Penalosa speak once more, this time at one of our events. Every several weeks, Detroit Future City holds “Ideas for Innovation” events in the community. These meetings allow the community and stakeholders to let their voices be heard by providing feedback on what DFC is doing and learning ways to take action themselves. The event on Thursday was called “Strengthening the City’s Neighborhoods,” and Gil was the perfect person to lead it. The culture elucidated by Gil Penalosa this week and promoted daily by Detroit Future City isn’t just some pipe dream about the city’s future culture. If the people of Detroit continue their hard work, it will become Detroit’s spirit.

2 thoughts on “Week Four”

  1. It is nice to know that Detroit is making a positive impact in your life and the citizens of Detroit. The resources of the city are life-lasting and I hope the community can come together to produce an environment that is comfortable for an 8 and 80 year old.

  2. Enjoyed reading your post! Based on DFC’s strategic plan, I am so excited as to what is to come of this city. This is the first time I’ve heard about Ideas for Innovation. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend a couple before school starts back. Sounds interesting!

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