Today, Detroiters go to the polls to participate in one of the most momentous elections in the city's history. For the first time in nearly a century, City Council will be elected by district, giving individuals and community development organizations the opportunity to have representatives increasingly accountable to their needs and desires.
As mayoral candidates have vied for the votes of residents across Detroit's 139 square miles, you have undoubtedly heard them bring up the dichotomy of two Detroits: Downtown/Midtown and "the neighborhoods."
Over the last seven months, we have reported from each of the city's newly minted seven council districts and provided a picture of the work that community development groups are doing at the neighborhood scale, providing a series of portraits that give shape to the vacuous term of "neighborhoods" used by politicians as they campaign.
Go here to view a map of our our coverage
Here is a look back at our Detroit by District series.
District 1: Brightmoor
When we covered this District, we visited the folks at the Brightmoor Alliance, who are working on a neighborhood driven plan for their community called "Restore the 'Moor."
District 2: Hope Village
Our visit to Focus:HOPE showed how a historic workforce development nonprofit is diversifying its work into place-based planning efforts.
District 3: Osborn
In this piece, we explored how the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance is working to harness a strong sense of community in Northeast Detroit.
District 4: Jefferson Chalmers
We visited the people at the Jefferson East Business Association and learned how they are promoting public safety through supplements to traditional policing along the Jefferson Avenue Corridor.
District 5: Gold Coast and the Villages
We met with Brian Hurtienne of the Villages CDC and bore witness to the momentum growing around neighborhood retail development in West Village.
District 6: Joy-Southfield
For this feature, we found out about how the Joy-Southfield CDC is building a healthy community by providing free medical services and running a neighborhood farmers market.
District 7: Claytown & Southwest Detroit
We visited the offices of Bridging Communities, a neighborhood non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life of seniors on Detroit's west side, as well as the Southwest Detroit Business Association, which is employing neighborhood kids to assist local businesses in building their social media presence.
Throughout the series, we have stayed above the political fray, instead focusing on the work that neighborhood groups are doing to improve their communities regardless of who is in power. Much of that work has been facilitated by the Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD
), our partner on this series.
Nonetheless, these community-based organizations will now have a more direct line into the processes of city government thanks to City Council representation by district. Keep this in mind as you go out today to cast your vote.
Model D thanks Matthew Lewis for his work on this series.