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Bridge Magazine: Redesigning Detroit – Mayor Duggan’s blueprint unveiled

Aug 18, 2015

by Bill McGraw

Nadia Dolphus, 7, and Shanna Bennett, 19, with a “Youth Grow Brightmoor” sign Shanna painted for one of numerous agricultural projects in the neighborhood. City officials see places like Brightmoor as pivotal to transforming Detroit’s vacant land into productive assets.
Credit Bill McGraw / Bridge

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is a disciplined speaker whose message rarely varies from the nitty-gritty ways he and his administration are repairing the wounded city they inherited: improving emergency response times, auctioning vacant homes, turning on streetlights, demolishing abandoned property, and trying to lower auto insurance rates.

The mayor does not appear to consider himself a master builder, and virtually never talks about what grand vision he might have for Detroit beyond a community that works like most large American cities.

Yet inside Duggan’s administration, his top officials are working on groundbreaking plans that could transform large swaths of Detroit. If the plans come to fruition, they could turn the city into a global showplace for how struggling cities can capitalize on shrinking populations.

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Support for the Detroit Journalism Cooperative on Michigan Radio comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism's Michigan Reporting Initiative, and the Ford Foundation.