Very good overview of the changing landscape happening here in Detroit. Midtown Detroit Inc. is an influential CDC that has been working diligently to transform several aspects of Detroit’s Midtown cultural corridor. They are also the engine behind the Whole Foods store (sign of the bourgeoisie times?), which broke ground in May in an otherwise vacant lot.
The people behind Midtown Detroit Inc. seem to be good at getting things done, even in a city that has been on the brink of state emergency management. The question(s) remains: what are the risks of ceding public sector work to non-profits? And…is there a risk when common-good public services are defined by neighborhood borders rather than city ones?
I don’t know. Change is happening here. Time will tell if it’s lasting I suppose.
Sidenote: It was Sen. Robert F. Kennedy who announced the nation’s first community development corporation in 1966, after a tour of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. It was this public/private partnership which laid the groundwork for community development nationwide. Built out of the organizing structure of churches, unions and block associations, CDCs were envisioned as a way for citizens to have direct control over their neighborhoods while leveraging the tools of government and business. Interesting.