• New: Community Development How-to Guides

    Impact Detroit has developed a series of Community How-to Guides for communities and organizations that highlight lessons learned and share helpful information for new projects and processes. These informational guides seek to build the capacity of local organizations providing access to information that can often be difficult to find. The guides seek to simplify city processes and provide community-building support.

  • 01: Mission

    Impact Detroit is an initiative that provides expertise, knowledge, and resources to help implement community-driven strategies as they relate to the built environment. Impact Detroit will form a collective hub leveraging the interdisciplinary expertise of professionals, local organizations, emerging leaders and community stakeholders to foster collaboration and realize local projects.

  • 02: Organizational History + Overview

    Impact Detroit, an initiative of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture, was launched in 2011 to support Detroit’s capacity for community development. The DCDC is a nonprofit architecture and urban design firm established in 1995.

    Community development in relation to Detroit’s built environment is at a critical crossroads. Strategic plans developed through citywide efforts outline ideas and craft long-range goals, but typically do not provide direction for project implementation. On the other end of the spectrum, grassroots efforts thrive in Detroit but do not always define a broader strategy or build capacity across neighborhoods. Impact Detroit seeks to bridge between long-term plans and on-the-ground actions by developing interdisciplinary teams to support project implementation, building the capacity of emerging leaders and organizations, and creating a local network that opens the lines of communication and allows for a more organic collaboration process.

  • 03: How We Work

    This collaborative network will contribute knowledge and technical expertise to community-based organizations working to revitalize neighborhoods through investment in the physical environment. Impact Detroit will serve as a bridge between emerging and established organizations, identifying and linking resources required to shepherd community-driven initiatives from planning to implementation by:

    • Linking organizations with professional expertise in design, technology, law, health, economic development, non-profit management, and project stewardship
    • Providing technical assistance, skill and capacity-building training, and mentoring opportunities in areas such as improvement of the built environment, ownership and re-use of existing properties, and new development opportunities
    • Identifying complementary organizational efforts and brokering partnerships for sharing resources and pursuing mutual goals
    • Facilitating collaboration among city planners, architects, economic developers, legal prefessionals, non-profit management professionals, community organizers, social entrepreneurs, emerging community leaders, local universities and colleges, and other stakeholders to create a team that addresses needs of nascent community-based development efforts
    • Identifying and nurturing new community leaders

    With a goal to establish an independent storefront operation, Impact Detroit will draw on the city’s talent, tradition, and passion for innovation to support the revitalization of Detroit neighborhoods.

  • 04: Involvement

    Colleges and Universities
    Academic partnerships are one of several teaming opportunities for Impact Detroit. The University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), particularly the School of Architecture and its Master of Community Development program is an integral partner. Impact Detroit is also in the process of developing partnerships with UDM’s extensive network of outreach programs. As Impact Detroit grows, it is seeking partnerships with universities across the city. Impact Detroit has already established its first partnership with Marygrove College for the Livernois Corridor Initiative.

    Emerging Leaders and Organizations
    Impact Detroit seeks to support and develop partnerships with emerging organizations and leaders. Impact Detroit will support relationship building between community partners, stakeholders, project teams and senior community organizations. In the long term, we are seeking to develop fellowship opportunities to build the capacity of our future community leaders.

    Impact Detroit has developed a three-part funding structure that includes foundation support and private sponsorship. While some projects will generate a fee for service, Impact Detroit is seeking funding for project implementation. This funding would support staffing, individual community projects and provide fellowship opportunities to emerging leaders.