ULI Michigan LandLink

Eastside Story: 2017 Larson Center TAP Report to Focus on Three East Detroit Neighborhoods

ULI Michigan has partnered with the City of Detroit Department of Housing and Revitalization for the 2016-2017 Larson Center for Leadership Technical Assistance Panel (TAP), which will focus on three neighborhoods in east Detroit; Cornerstone Village, East English Village, and MorningSide.

The three neighborhoods, collectively referred to as the Far East Side, are bedroom communities with a solid, diverse housing stock, commercial corridor framework, and infrastructure assets to support a vibrant, livable, tight knit community. However, many areas within the Far East Detroit boundary struggle with high residential vacancies, sporadic abandonment, illegal dumping and many other nuisances to the community. Additionally, corridors within the area suffer from high rates of vacancy among commercial properties, requiring residents to travel to other communities for basic amenities and employment opportunities.

The City of Detroit has targeted the Far East Side as one of its seven target neighborhoods for redevelopment, investment and planning, an in-depth planning process will not take place for approximately 18 months. With very engaged community leadership, this 18-month gap has provided an opportunity to outline short-term goals and objectives, and empower the community leadership to progress and prepare for the community master plan.

Working closely with the City of Detroit, the participants of the Larson Center for Leadership will analyze the opportunities for creating responsible density in the housing stock, redeveloping key community assets, maximizing the mobility and transportation options, and utilizing the post blight removal open space for the community’s benefit, with a specific focus on the following:

  • What design/development opportunities exist to activate the two vacant archdiocese school sites that will fill a need in the community?
  • What innovative opportunities exist to utilize the open space created by significant blight removal in the neighborhood that will benefit the community?
  • What are the strategies to responsibly market, educate prospective developers on the true costs of rehabbing, and educate on landlord and tenant rights to fill the vacant housing in the neighborhood?
  • What design/development opportunities exist to activate E Warren corridor as the hub for a 20-minute neighborhood?
  • What opportunities exist to improve and expand the transportation and mobility in the neighborhood?

The cohort will evaluate existing studies, strategies and development tools, conduct stakeholder interviews and engage with community leaders to identify assets and opportunities for short-term development, investment and land-use in preparation for the city’s long-term master plan, ultimately producing a 15-25 page TAP report summarizing results of the research and additional findings and outlining a set of recommendations for the Far East Detroit neighborhoods. The group will present their findings and recommendations to the City of Detroit and community stakeholders in at the Larson Center for Leadership graduation in June 2017. The finalized report will be produced, published and presented to the City of Detroit within 90 days of the initial unveiling of the group’s recommendations.

Past Larson Center for Leadership TAP Reports:
Grandmont Rosedale, Detroit, Michigan
Wagner Hotel Block, West Downtown Dearborn, Michigan
Gratiot Avenue & 15 Mile Road, Clinton Township, Michigan
Daylighting Potential of the Clinton River: A Feasibility Study in Pontiac, Michigan


About Alison Watch

Associate, Urban Land Institute Michigan
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