Community Mapping Project Pays Off in More Ways Than One for Flint

The community's hard work has helped Flint planners take an inventory of its building stock, as well as secure needed funding from the federal government.

2 minute read

September 8, 2017, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Michigan Map

sevenMaps7 / Shutterstock

Scott Atkinson reports on a unique participatory planning process that helped the city of Flint with some of the hard work necessary for a master planning process launched in 2012, and has since helped the city secure funding from the federal Hardest Hit fund.

The key to the story has been community participation in a neighborhood inventory process, that helped not only identify the city's existing development strengths and weaknesses, but also helped take the message about the master plan and build trust for planning among the community.

"That first year, 2012, community-based groups inventoried the balance of residential properties" not yet inventoried by city planners, according to Atkinson.

In 2013, residents hit the streets again, this time taking inventory of the city’s commercial properties. In 2014, they updated their residential data and documented the state of the city’s streetlights. In 2015, they took inventory on sidewalks. In 2016, they turned to residential again (an every other year project), and in 2017, residential and commercial properties.

Those inventories have also been integral to helping the Genesee County Land Bank and the city of Flint secure $20.1 million from "the federal Hardest Hit Fund, a program that helps communities struggling with high foreclosure rates." According to Atkinson, "[a]s of July, Flint has received a total of about $67.5 million in Hardest Hit money. About half of that has been spent so far, resulting in the demolition of 2,248 structures."

This article is the fourth in a five-story series on resident-led revitalization efforts in Flint, Michigan. 

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