Blog Archives

Putting untapped resources to work for the community: Resident-driven community safety initiatives

by Ulises Silva, Detroit LISC Communications Program Officer

From the Detroit LISC Building Sustainable Communities Symposium held on September 8, 2011.

Community safety in Detroit is an ongoing challenge compounded, in part, by factors beyond residents’ control. Unemployment and the foreclosure crisis have contributed to a rise in property crime. The struggling economy is forcing the city to make difficult choices, including possible cuts to the police and fire departments.

It’s a stark reality, but one that presents an opportunity for residents willing to play a stronger role in helping their community, and willing to put untapped resources to work in a city that needs every resource it can find. Now more than ever, the city needs Detroiters to work with law enforcement agencies through resident-driven community safety initiatives to complement police efforts.

This was the subject of a panel discussion at the Building Sustainable Communities Symposium, hosted by Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), on September 8, 2011. The panel, moderated by Detroit LISC Program Officer Brandon Ivory, was comprised of four community leaders from Chicago and the Metro Detroit region:

  • Jeff Bartow of Chicago’s Southwest Organizing Project
  • Bridget Vance of Focus: HOPE
  • James Albulov of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Phyllis Judkins of the North End Neighborhood Watch

All four panelists discussed community policing alternatives that have thus far proven effective in complementing police efforts and easing the burden on the criminal court system. Read the rest of this entry

Is something magical about to happen in Detroit?

by Ulises Silva, Detroit LISC Communications Program Officer

Photo: Detroit Free Press

There’s a lot of positivity converging upon Detroit these days. Businesses are starting to open up shop here. Ambitious projects like the New International Trade Crossing and the M1 Light Rail are in the works. And today, an NBA legend told a packed press conference that we can, in fact, work together to deliver a win to Detroit.

It would almost seem that, despite the lingering perceptions that Detroit is a dying city (“Why should we invest in Detroit?” being a common question, and one our Sustainable Communities director, Angelita Espino, responded to), the Detroit narrative is beginning to shift toward one of hope, revival, and transformation. And it’s starting to shift because of the efforts of businesses and residents alike whose faith in Detroit has never wavered—and whose faith appears on the verge of being rewarded. Read the rest of this entry

“Why Detroit?”

by Angelita Espino, Detroit LISC Sustainable Communities Director

This great city is in a situation that requires it to look around and assess its strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats. These are marvelous times in Detroit. Times that require a reinvention; keeping what has made us strong, discarding old thought patterns and ways of doing business that no longer work.

Therein lay the opportunities. Read the rest of this entry

What does it mean to build a Sustainable Community?

by Ulises Silva, Detroit LISC Communications Program Officer

It may be cliché (actually, it’s an old Chinese proverb), but it’s true: give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

It’s the same with community development work. Build a house, and you house a family. Build a vibrant community, and you give that family—and many others—a real home and the opportunity to sustain it. Read the rest of this entry

The importance of neighborhood marketing (or, How to make people want to move to your community)

by Ulises Silva, Detroit LISC Communications Program Officer

We don’t normally associate “marketing” with neighborhoods. We think marketing, and we think of glitzy ads on TV extolling the health virtues of calorie-laden food or showing SUVs blazing through the kind of mountainous terrain they’ll never once see in real life. But marketing can be just as vital to neighborhoods and community development corporations (CDCs) trying to attract new residents. And it’s just as vital for neighborhoods that are struggling with negative perceptions. Read the rest of this entry