The plan, which began in 2010 under the auspices of the Detroit Works project, and is now being called Detroit Future City, is oriented around five key elements - economic growth, land use, city systems, neighborhoods and land and building assets. According to Fleming, it "involves everything from creatively reusing large swaths of empty land and expanded public transportation to supporting local businesses and finding ways to help foster economic growth."
One of the primary challenges for the authors of the plan was how to reconcile a shrinking population of about 700,000 with an infrastructure and environment built to support a population that reached nearly 2 million in 1950.
"Organizers said parts of the plan could take up to 50 years to implement, but other changes intended to stabilize neighborhoods could happen sooner. Residents living in less densely populated areas, for example, would not be required to leave but could expect natural areas and hiking trails built around them in years to come. And in some areas where services are more prevalent, rezoning efforts could lead to business growth in areas that are now considered residential." As Fleming notes, the city would also provide incentives to encourage residents to move into more populated areas.
"Organizers said they wanted to build a "framework for decision-making" with specific goals in the first five years to stabilize the city through more reliable services, improve the city through 2020 with economic growth, sustain Detroit through 2030 with a more stabilized population and an increase in jobs, and by 2050, transform it into a premier city."