Between new businesses and residents moving downtown and improvements to city services, there is plenty of opportunity to make the future better for all Detroiters. Yet plenty of issues remain when it comes to building a better city, which was the subject of conversation at "Future Proofing Detroit," a panel discussion held last week at Bamboo Detroit.
Moderated by Model D's managing editor, Matthew Lewis, the panel featured April Boyle of Build Institute
, Tim Johnson of NextEnergy
, Marc Hudson of Rocket Fiber
, and Eric Williams of Wayne State University. The audience, too, had a lot to contribute.
These four ideas emerged as ways Detroit can work together as a community towards a smarter future.
. Right now the city of Detroit is focused on making necessary infrastructure updates to its parking and streetlight systems, all while tackling a serious blight issue. Panelists suggested that we seize the opportunity of integrating technology into these upgrades to make Detroit more connected. We can install smart lights, smart meters, smart traffic lighting systems, and more to better inform residents and city service operations.
Again and again the call for reliable and updated transportation in the city was raised by the crowd. Though we have Uber and M-1 Rail on its way soon, there was a resounding theme that better public transportation would help connect Detroiters to jobs. Transportation is absolutely critical to getting Detroit ready for a more urban and equitable future. More Internet access could help make jobs accessible from home, too, which may sometimes help offset a lack of transportation.
Poor transportation can sometimes mean lack of access to medical care. The city of Detroit has been working hard to address emergency service response times, but non-emergency transportation for checkups and other healthcare related visits for the elderly and others is still a major issue. With better Internet access, telehealth virtual doctor’s visits could happen in Detroiters' homes who can't as easily travel to a doctor's office or hospital.
Because it is ideally situated at the heart of the Great Lakes system, Panelist Eric Williams suggested that Detroit's geography makes the city an ideal location for a logistics hub.
We'd love to continue the conversation by hearing your ideas below on how we can help to create a stronger, more connected city.