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The Beacon Community Neighborhood Project

Project Overview

A neighborhood plan and coalition of community organizations to revitalize one of Detroit's most devastated neighborhoods.

Identifying the Problem

Detroit, Michigan used to be one of the wealthiest and most populous cities in the United States. Now, about one third of its properties are vacant, and it has undergone the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. Motivated by his passion for urbanism and social justice, Michael wanted to be an active participant in the revitalization of his hometown by addressing urban human rights issues of poverty, joblessness, crime, neighborhood stability and economic opportunity.

Creating A Solution

Michael wanted to help create the framework for a community revitalization plan for his neighborhood of Beaconsfield. He approached his home church's nascent community development corporation (CDC) about creating a partnership to pursue this project, which was received enthusiastically by the CDC leadership. Michael worked with the CDC advisory board to create a coalition of local community organizations to carry out the revitalization plan. 

The first step of the project is to develop a neighborhood needs assessment. Michael is working closely with the CDC leadership, members of the local community organizations and city government resources contacts to develop a proposal. The proposed revitalization plan will then be presented to the district neighborhood manager, councilman and the mayor of Detroit. Once the proposal is finalized and accepted, Michael and his partners will work together to begin implementing the various aspects of the revitalization plan.

Lessons Learned

Michael has found that the primary challenge has been working on the project remotely, particularly given its very local impact. However, he has been able to maintain a virtual presence through steady communication with the CDC advisory board. He suggests that anyone embarking on a similar project that involves management with community stakeholders and working from a remote location should be sure of guidelines and expectations with their partners beforehand, as well as ensure consistent methods of communication.


The beginning phase of this project has not required any funding.

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About This Project

HIA Program:

Poland Poland 2014

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