The Key to Effective Neighborhood Development: Scale

Lots of great ideas, but few resources to back them up—the story in Detroit is probably familiar in cities all over the country.
September 23, 2018, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments
University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment

"A $2.5-million gift being announced [earlier this month] will create a new mortgage fund to help up to 60 households in southwest Detroit transition from renters to homeowners," reports John Gallagher.

"If successful, the program run by the nonprofit civic group Southwest Solutions could become a model for matching private philanthropy with civic and city expertise to create more quality affordable housing in Detroit," adds Gallagher.

Judith Yaker, widow of the late Sam Yaker, a Detroit-area real estate developer, made the donation to create the new fund. The news article by Gallagher includes more details about the need for housing policies and programs that support low-income residents of Detroit.

Compelled by the news, Gallagher wrote a follow up commentary on the promise and challenge of neighborhood development in Detroit. Gallagher writes here that the Southwest Solutions program is one of many devoted to supporting neighborhoods. "These programs are thoughtful, innovated, promising — and modest, at least compared to the size of the problem. In a city teeming with poverty and abandonment and joblessness, our most innovative programs still measure out relief by the cup rather than by the bucket," writes Gallagher.

So Gallagher's reveals his ongoing concern with the scale of the challenges facing neighborhoods compared to the ability of these programs to solve them. "That's our dilemma in Detroit: How do we scale up our many creative, workable efforts citywide so we're helping not just a few dozen or few hundred people at a time but thousands or tens of thousands?"

Gallagher concludes the article with some suggested strategies for scaling up neighborhood development programs.

Full Story:
Published on Friday, September 21, 2018 in The Detroit Free Press
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email