Another in a series of firsts for the administration of Mayor Mike Duggan, the city of Detroit has established an Office of Sustainability, and named Joel Howrani Heeres as its director.
According to a press release, the new department and director will "guide the city's efforts to strengthen the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the city's residents, neighborhoods and businesses."
Sustainability has been a priority for this administration. There have been efforts to improve green infrastructure in Detroit, clean up air quality, and promote urban farming, among other initiatives. More were touted in the press release:
"Detroit has achieved several sustainability-related milestones in recent years, including the launch of the QLine streetcar, conversion of the city's 59,000 streetlights to LEDs, adoption of green demolition practices for vacant home demolitions, securing $9 million in Federal funding to enhance the city's resiliency, opening a 10-acre solar array at O'Shea Park, and $11.7 million in investments to renovate 40 city parks and playgrounds. Howrani Heeres' appointment and the creation of a sustainability office will support and accelerate these types of projects."
Howrani Heeres has lived in Detroit for 13 years and worked in a variety of fields related to sustainability, including as a staff member for EcoWorks Detroit and as managing director of the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office.