Week 1- Hello! – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 1- Hello!

Hey everyone! My name is Malak, and I’m a rising sophomore planning on double majoring in Economics and International Studies with a Political Economy and Development (PED) sub-major or possibly switching to the Public Policy major at the Ford school.

To me, a community is a group of people brought together by their shared qualities and interests. After working with Nortown CDC for only a few days, I can already see what a strong community the Nortown neighborhood has and how passionate its members are about restoring and improving it. I was specifically interested in doing community work in Detroit because I’ve lived just over half an hour away from the city for the majority of my life, but don’t know very much about it. I’m excited to learn more about not only the city itself, but also about the relationship between nonprofit organizations and city government. 

One of my projects involves researching various properties in the Nortown area and establishing a database of key commercial target areas in other cities that can be used as models for vacant properties in Northeast Detroit. I think I can complete this project successfully because of my attention to detail and organizational skills. Another role I will have with Nortown CDC is to assist with land use policy matters. Today, I (virtually) attended a land use zoning hearing and two city council meetings, and the procedures and language were very new to me. A skill I’d like to develop this summer is to have a strong understanding of city government procedures. Something that would make me really proud is really understanding the importance of community engagement in government/policy decisions.

5 thoughts on “Week 1- Hello!”

  1. Hi Malak! I really enjoyed reading about your project and reason for wanting to join this program and work in/with the Detroit community. I’m also really looking forward to learning more about the city.

    From your description, I definitely think you will be able to meet you goal and have a better understanding of city government procedures. Especially with your major and potential interest in the Ford school, I think this is a perfect placement for you and I’m so excited to hear how the rest of this summer goes for you.

  2. Gabrielle Lilly

    Hi Malak! I feel the same way about living so close to Detroit, but not truly knowing the people in the community and their relationship with nonprofits and the government. Luckily we have DCERP to provide us with such an amazing opportunity to develop a better understanding of the Detroit community. Your project seems like a great way to start gaining an understanding of those relationships. I am really interested to hear more about your project as the summer continues.

  3. Tottionna Bushell

    Hello Malak,

    I would have to agree with you when you said that community is about a group of people with shared interests. Being in a community is so important because we are able to grow as individuals by learning from others. Having passion for community change is beneficial in the sense that we can create a better future for ourselves. I think your project sounds very amazing and I can’t wait to hear more about it.



  4. Hey Malak,

    I agree with you on saying a community definitely involves people that share same interests amongst each other. Your project sounds super cool and the fact that you’re already getting so much experience out of it in only the first week is crazy! Can’t wait to hear more about it and your progress!


  5. Hi Malak!

    The work you’re doing with Nortown CDC seems really cool. I can’t wait to hear more about it as you do more work in the coming weeks! I’ve also lived around 25 minutes from Detroit for my whole life, and have heard about the inequities Detroit residents face, but have not really had direct experiences with them. I too would like to understand city government procedures after this summer, and I hope we both get to share our experiences with each other in the end!

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