2023: What our journalists are watching in Detroit

Harriette Brown is one of many small business owners in Detroit who want to see the city grow. Photo: Joe Powers.
What are Model D journalists keeping their eye on this year? Read on for their predictions for 2023, and the stories they'll be following closely. Got a tip? Let us know

Erin Marie Miller

I've spent the last three years covering small businesses and entrepreneurs in Detroit as they struggled to stay afloat amid a historic pandemic and the economic crisis that followed in its wake. Earlier this fall, my attention fell on the increasing needs of individuals and families in Metro Detroit as inflation took its toll, even impacting the local nonprofits working to continue serving them despite rising food and gas costs and insufficient government support. It's been an honor to tell the stories of so many inspiring, resilient people.

In 2023, I plan to continue keeping an eye on the impact of inflation — making sure Detroit's small business owners and workers continue to have a voice and area residents are able to access food and other necessities amid ongoing economic instability.

Biba Adams
Journalist, Project Editor

Photo: Supplied / Detroit Youth Choir.For 2023, I am looking forward to continued growth and development in Detroit's creative community. I would love to see more shows continue to come back and more artists able to make money from their work. I am also hoping for growth in our media representation and ensuring that diversity isn't just an initiative, but a way of life and inclusion is a priority. I would love to see Detroit use empowering language to describe itself...we are the comeback kid, but we are also a historically legendary city and we should embrace that. 

Personally, I'm looking forward to continuing to grow and give a voice to the young. I am also looking forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop culture and highlighting what that means for Black music culture here and abroad. 

Photo by Nick Hagen.
David Sands
Journalist, Project Editor

Looking to what the coming year might mean for Detroit, we really need to reflect on the ramifications of November's mid-term elections. In her Nov. 9 victory speech, Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policy priorities connected to taxation, education, and the environment that are sure to be felt over the coming year.

Here in the city, I'm interested to see the progression of the public-private Strategic Neighborhood Fund initiative to reinvigorate commercial corridors. A partnership between the city of Detroit, Invest Detroit, corporate donors, and local nonprofits, the project has focused on reinvigorating 10 corridors around the city. It's already met with some success in bringing new investment to Detroit's Live6 Neighborhood. I'm interested in learning more about how streetscaping and other investments might impact areas like East Warren Avenue or Kelly Road, especially with regard to how long-time residents are affected by the initiative.

Kahn Davison Santori
Journalist and Photographer

It will never be possible to physically, musically, or emotionally fill the void that Motown Records left when they relocated to California in 1972, but Detroit’s recent hip-hop surge has inspired many residents and fans. 

Legacy: Motown Museum's coming upgrade continues to honor Detroit's music history. Photo supplied / Motown Museum. Over the previous years, multiple Detroit hip-hop artists have signed to major record labels, won awards, and appeared on the cover of national publications. While Detroit is not necessarily solely on top of the hip-hop scene; this is the most influential it's been in several decades. And it's all been a collective effort as Detroit has multiple hip-hop all-stars.

Moving forward I hope the managers, music promoters, and business-savvy producers continue to build from within. It’s great that Detroit’s hip-hop artists are creating relationships with big brands and big names, but they shouldn't be dependent on them. As Detroit’s hip-hop scene continues to grow; so should its independent labels and inner-city businesses that can help cultivate and enhance the branding potential of these artists. 

A ‘Motownish’ inspiration is definitely back and that kind of inspiration triggers creativity for aspiring artists, and in order for that creativity to reach its max potential; more structure is needed.  

Sarah Williams
Journalist and Project Editor

I’m excited about what’s happening at Clark Park, the heartbeat of Southwest Detroit. My family has spent lots of time there over the years playing team sports, ice skating, picnicking, attending community events, and walking. It’s an amazing green space in the community. I’m excited to take my niece and nephew who live down the block to play at the brand-new playground and the splash pad opening next year. I also look forward to seeing the rain garden, the new landscaping, sports courts, and pavilion.

I’ll also be getting out to enjoy the continuation of the Joe Louis Greenway. I’m glad to see the city updating and investing in green spaces and exercise/mobility routes where communities can explore, connect, and get healthy. 

Renderings courtesy of Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.