Detroit's Innovation District
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Politics and Activism

Detroit's Innovation District

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Detroit's Innovation District
Downtown Detroit Partnership

"I'm born and raised in Detroit, and it's different than it's ever been."
-Gerry Phillips
Co-founder and CFO of Prism Plastics


TechTown: Creating Opportunities

From robust to ruin, bailout to revival, Detroit has seen an indescribable roller coaster of evolution and regression that has changed the business industry of the unyielding city. Since 2014, Detroit has pushed through it's prolonged climb out of economic disaster—including its $18 billion debt brought on by the city's bankruptcy—into a period of rebirth with small businesses taking back the city that was once theirs.

Downtown colleges, attractions, and previously established Motor City businesses have begun the battle to reclaim the city by building a network of industries and business professions dedicated to the growth of hometown businesses and education. Hoping to recover lost jobs and to improve the diminished employment rate, these organizations plan to encourage local citizens to establish businesses, support their local community, and create a safer, inspired, and connected community.

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This 'innovation district' stretching up Woodward Avenue from the riverfront to New Center is essentially Detroit's 'new beginning'. Inspiring millennials with its shell of previously-existing Motor City companies and businesses, TechTown, an innovation district in metro Detroit, is sparking business potential. TechTown provides entrepreneurs and start-ups in Southeast Michigan with programs and partnering opportunities to flourish, including Wayne State University, a nearby university. The area has its own unique infrastructure that has played an important role in Detroit's making and has the potential for extensive growth and development. Rich in opportunities, the area's legacy is to be passed on to the booming design, research and development hub.

With several programs supporting the creative effort to re-establish the innovative industry, Detroit's innovative-network of connections is sparking hope for its revival. Organizations including: Wayne State University, University of Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health System, Next Energy, the College of Creative Studies and many others are changing the way students and business leaders view Detroit's business industry.

See the Full List of Partnerships

By collecting the industrial momentum of the city and redistributing it to the rest of the world, creative thinkers and innovators are seeing a potential for massive growth in the city's open-ended possibilities. Changing old into new, small business owners and local metro-Detroiters are giving back to the city, bringing new life to the broken pieces left behind by the economic downfall that had Detroit in shambles.


The Future of Detroit

Environmental, economic and cultural sustainability are foundational elements of the TechTown game-changing plan devised by group forums and strategic planning by the organization, which involved outside input from local citizens. Not only does the plan contains an exercise circuit and integrated bicycle network to promote health and wellness, but public open-space improvements that will create a walkable district that reduces demand for parking and provides access to new light rail transit. Landscape strategies include bioswales to enhance infiltration and reduce surface run off, while streetscape improvements increase pervious surfaces. The economy of the district focuses on local production of goods and services, and job creation around innovation. Techtown's new plan for Detroit preserves the district’s history and character through adaptive reuse of the city's historic buildings.



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