2020 vision: The people, trends, projects, and stories we're watching

From inclusive solutions that benefit all Detroiters to community benefits, here's what the Model D team is keeping an eye on in the new year.

Melinda Clynes, writer: I continue to be inspired by conversations that address how new Detroiters and longtime Detroiters find positive ways to work together so that those who have histories in neighborhoods don’t get left in the dust. When I reported on the Better Arguments Project in March of 2019, I was hopeful learning how both newcomers and long timers have good intentions — and good ideas. As Detroit attracts more and more young entrepreneurs and small- and big-business, real estate prices rise along with other costs of living in the city. Stories that spotlight creative solutions to bring everyone into the fold of prosperity and opportunity will be something I’ll be watching for in the new year.

Dorothy Hernandez, Model D managing editor: Culinary entrepreneurship continues to grow, from the women-led team behind Nest Egg to food activists in North End. I'm also looking forward to seeing more youth-led efforts at the neighborhood level from the Congress of Communities building a youth-led community space to the child-centric plan in Cody Rouge. And equitable development amid rapid change is another thing to watch.

Nina Ignaczak, writer and Metromode managing editor: Looking ahead—will the region embrace regionalism or continue to embrace Balkanization? What will the post-L. Brooks Patterson era bring?

Erin M. Miller, writer and photographer: I would keep a close eye on the emerging fashion and technology industries in Michigan. Detroit has a preexisting manufacturing infrastructure that could allow for a strong apparel manufacturing industry. At the state level, the government has already begun to set the stage for a tech industry in Michigan (specifically cybersecurity). Detroit might be especially appealing to both industries as many businesses in SF, NYC, and LA are being driven out by runaway rental costs.

I'm most excited to see what kinds of new independent businesses pop up around Metro Detroit in 2020. In the several years since I last visited, the city has changed and improved so much — I barely recognize Woodward! Since I've been living in the area again over the last couple of months, the business owners and entrepreneurs I've been lucky to engage with for stories I've covered have been some of the most inspiring, earnest, genuine people I've ever met. I'm thrilled to watch Detroit find its voice and take back its place as a major American city with a diverse array of businesses and industries.

David Sands, Live6 project editor and writer: The movement for community benefits is a trend we should continue to keep an eye on in the ensuing decade. It has helped reframe people's ideas of development, so that the needs of the community are front-and-center in the discussion of large-scale construction projects. Detroiters in 2016. I would not be surprised to see the issue revisited in a legislative capacity based on the experiences community organizers have had with the existing ordinance over the past few years.

Last year, during the July Democratic debate in Detroit, local activists with the Frontline Detroit Coalition rallied in the streets demanding to "Make Detroit the Engine of a Green New Deal." Detroiters and Highland Parkers have long been at the forefront of fighting for environmental justice and creating jobs through green technology and urban farming. I'm interested in seeing what Southeast Michigan organizers affiliated with this past summer's rally and groups like the Sunrise Movement Detroit do this coming year to address the climate crisis and advocate for a Green New Deal on a local and national level.

Jeff Waraniak, writer: The Joe Louis Greenway. The revitalization of the riverfront has had a huge impact on how Detroiters spend time downtown, especially in the warmer months. I think Detroit will get a lot out of a biking/walking trail that unites several neighborhoods.

(As for story most excited for) Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but... the continued influx of artistic and community development projects in the North End and New Center.

Sarah Williams, writer: Will climate change politicians be elected? Is this topic just lip service or will those pushing for deep regulatory changes really get the votes?




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Read more articles by Dorothy Hernandez.

Dorothy Hernandez is a freelance writer and editor who frequently writes about food at the intersection of culture and business. She has contributed to NPR, Midwest Living magazine, Eater, and a variety of other publications. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @dorothy_lynn_h.