An international team of experts met in central London this week to attend a crucial event studying the challenges faced by the post-industrial city. The WAN Think Tank was supported by Buro Happold and arranged in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office in Detroit and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
The intense day saw twenty-five leading experts drawn from a spectrum of fields including branding, master planning, engineering, banking and finance, architecture, development and planning to look at the issues caused by this unique phenomenon. In a rounding up of the day, Deputy Director of the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department Marja Winters said that many of the experts’ views ‘validated’ and affirmed some of the city’s strategy and its evidence-based approach to renewal. Buro Happold has been involved in an extensive consulting programme with the city to help it assess and fully understand the current situation as a basis for its new evidence-based plan which it is in the process of forming under the auspices of Mayor Bing.
The day started with a stark presentation of the facts by the Detroit team. A declining population inextricably linked to a progressive reduction in revenues was the underlying issue manifesting itself across the city. The dilemma of service provision for far flung communities on diminishing budgets inevitably resulted in a reduction of standards. When the city of Detroit was measured against both regional and national figures the big three issues, health, education and crime were all woefully below par...more