On Friday, December 9th, the Live6 Alliance and Model D came together to host a productive community conversation. Attendees included students, faculty and leadership from both the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College, as well as residents and business owners who live and work in the communities along 6 Mile and Livernois Avenue.
Lead by the Live6 Alliance's executive director Lauren Hood, the event took place on the University of Detroit Mercy's campus. Over 50 people were in attendance, and participated in critical conversations around the role that higher institutions can play in the equitable growth of the area, how residents can be engaged, and addressing the diverse needs of everyone who lives, works and plays in the area.
Jay Meeks served as panelist for the event. He lives in a small community inside the Fitzgerald neighborhood, and would like to see Marygrove and the University of Detroit Mercy do more to community issues.
"I spoke about the institutions using their weight to tackle other community issues such as blight that are still very much a problem," he says. "I've called city hall, I've spoken to the district manager, I've talked to the land bank about open and trespass homes in the community. They haven't been boarded up, they've been torn down, so I would just like to see the college and the university call city hall as well, and join a coalition of people who are demanding if not immediate demolition or board up, then at least a response."
Reverend Dr. Gloria Albrecht, a professor in the master's of community development program at the University of Detroit Mercy, is also a Live6 resident. She gained a better understanding of the disconnect residents in the communities feel with the universities. "We have to go deeper than we did tonight," she says.
As the neighborhoods in the Live6 community continue to garner development attention, it's important to remember the unique makeup of this area. Neighborhoods like University District, and adjoining neighborhoods such as Sherwood Forest, Palmer Woods, and the Detroit Golf Club Community, are some of the most stable areas within the city, and have incomes significantly higher than the U.S. average
. This flies in the face of the assumption that Detroit is a tabula rasa, and future development will have to delicately balance the needs and expectations of the strong communities that already exist in the neighborhoods of Live6.
Check out this video produced by Final5 on the event.
656765339 from Final 5 on Vimeo.