What a weekend in Detroit can teach you about urban renewal

Detroit’s ongoing renewal offers an ideal opportunity to enact modern urban planning practices, via both physical construction projects as well as the innovative relationships behind the scenes that bring plans to fruition. Public-private partnerships like the one between the city of Detroit and JPMorgan Chase pool the strengths of both parties—the city’s plans to move forward, built on community input and a shared vision for the future, can be supplemented by the expertise and support of a company with a deep history in Detroit and a shared interest in the growth and stability of an industrial hub.

Fortunately, the challenges of public and private sector specialists often overlap. Leaders both inside and outside the government are attempting to conserve natural resources, limit congestion and pollution, raise productivity, increase public safety, and foster pride and growth in places ripe for change. It shouldn’t matter where they work—if these like minds can collaborate to achieve common objectives more effectively, they should.

The stops featured above represent Detroit’s progress toward its contemporary goal: creating an inclusive city that both spurs economic growth and creates opportunities for its residents. And while these examples showcase Detroit’s downtown, the same approach is at work in neighborhoods around the city, ensuring that they can support community-based growth with thriving small businesses, housing, and services. The goals are not unique to Detroit, but rather represent the hopes of many American cities adjusting to evolving demographics and transforming economies while protecting the integrity of their neighborhoods.

Detroit serves as proof to these cities of the importance of adopting deliberate strategies for community growth through the allocation of limited public funds and private investment. By focusing on new economy job creation; cultural development; neighborhood beautification and green spaces; transit solutions; and empowerment of diverse communities, Detroit has captured the nation’s imagination and is primed to lead the way for other cities striving towards creating their own strong urban communities.