The Influence of Equity and Land-Use Sustainability in the Planning of the District Detroit

May 2020
Senna Catenacci

The city of Detroit, Michigan, is undergoing a development boom unlike anything it has seen in recent years. The District Detroit is one such project, pioneered by one of the city’s most recognized families. What is difficult to discern, though, is to what extent the District actually provides a benefit to the city’s residents. By way of a case study, this research seeks to determine the influence that factors of social equity and land-use sustainability had in the formation of the designs for the District, as well as their ultimate outcomes. Results indicate that while these dimensions initially played a role, neither was implemented to their full extent, and in fact few of the original commitments were realized. These findings implicate the need for more extensive government involvement than that which was seen in Detroit, and can be applied to some degree in the District's own future, as well as any developments which aim to utilize Smart Growth practices.