Fall/Winter 1999
Mon. and Wed., 1 1/2 hours between 1:30 and 4:30 (to be set in the first weeks of class), and arranged times.

Number of credits is most likely 3, but will be determined depending on the number in the class and the work plan. Urban planning students must take 6 credits for this course by the end of the school year. Other students may take the course for 3 credits for one semester with an appropriate work plan and permission of the instructor. Classroom to be arranged, Art and Architecture Bldg.

This class will work as a community planning team on a variety of projects with community partners in Detroit during the year. We will begin with three projects:

  • 1) Completing four parts of a plan for strengthening housing in the Gratiot Woods neighborhood. Our partner is the Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance.

2) Analyzing information collected from businesses in the West Vernor area of Southwest Detroit and laying out alternative ways for community-based organizations to strengthen the commercial district. Our partner is the Southwest Detroit Business Association.

3) Analyzing and presenting information and laying out ideas for directions for action to help with the planning for an in-place industrial park in the Grinnell/City Airport area of the Eastside of Detroit. Our partner is the Eastside Industrial Council and the steering committee for the industrial park.

Students working on different teams will meet for class at different times, to be scheduled as much as possible within the block of time reserved for this course in the class schedule. The scope-of-services statements detail the work our community partners and I expect that the projects will entail. You will revise these statements with me in the first weeks of class so that the work is consistent with our partners’ needs and the background and interests that students bring to each team.

Goals and approach:
This course aims:

      • 1. To allow you to use the range of skills gained during graduate study in helping to resolve urban problems;
      • 2. To produce work that helps our community partners in their work to strengthen their neighborhoods;
      • 3. To give you experience in working with clients/partners on issues that are at the heart of much urban redevelopment: finding ways to provide and reinforce affordable housing; planning ways to strengthen neighborhood-oriented retail and services in lower income areas; strengthening existing, often declining, industrial areas that can be an important source of jobs for residents of the city.
      • 4. To help you gain experience in organizing and working in teams;

5. To give you experience in using written graphic, and oral communication to convey information effectively.

This course differs from most other courses you have taken because of the work on a project with a community partner:

  • Faculty, students, and community partners will work together in a style that enables everyone to bring his or her different skills and talents to the projects. None of us has single “right” answers, but we will collaborate to discover ways to do excellent work. Our community partners will teach us a great deal in this process.
  • The course will be complete when you deliver a very good final product to the community partner. Unlike the writing of a term paper dashed off the night before, completing a high quality product will involve numerous drafts and revisions. Planning the work so that you are finished with that excellent final version at the end of the semester or the school year is one of the challenges of the course.
  • We will often be working with people with quite different life experiences than some of us, and, therefore, addressing issues of multicultural communication will be a theme throughout the course.
  • To the greatest extent we can, we will be doing “community-based” planning. This means that the agenda and the definition of need comes from our community partners. The scope of services statements are a result of my work to define needs with the community partners. Throughout the year, we will decide choices among alternative directions through consultation with our partners. We work with our partners as colleagues with complementary skills and resources rather than as technical experts who have the final answers.
  • We will expect and adapt to considerable change in the scope and definition of our work through the semester. Our community partners’ situations will change for numerous reasons–for instance, their funding will fluctuate, city policies and regulations will change, the membership of their community-based boards will turn over, staff will resign and new staff will join the organization. As a result, what they need from us will also change, and we will respond to this need as much as we can.

Initial schedule:

Student teams will meet with our community partners during the next week:

September 13: Gratiot Woods group will meet with Cleophilus Bradley of Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance for a tour and background information on the neighborhood. We will leave at 1:30 p.m. from the southeast corner of the building and will return by 5:00.
(The Gratiot Woods group needs to make sure that someone in the group attends the Housing Committee meeting on the fourth Monday of each month at 7 p.m.)

September 15: Vemor group will meet with Kathy Wendler of Southwest Detroit Business Association for an overview and background and discussion of the needs. We will leave at 1:30 p.m. from the southeast comer of the building, and we expect to be back by 5:00.

September 17: Grinnell/City Airport group will meet with Linda Stingl at the Eastside Industrial Council for a discussion of the in-place industrial park and the group’s needs. We’ll leave at 1:30, from southeast comer of the building, and return by 5 o’clock.

September 20: Chris Bray, director of housing for DCPA, will meet with the Gratiot Woods group in Ann Arbor to discuss the needed work and to offer more background.

After the orientation meetings, the first task will be to develop a work plan for the fall semester based on the scope of services, additional input from the client/partner, and the skills and interests of the students. This plan will be as detailed as we can make it, with the dates products are due and with steps in completing products.

October 1 (optional): Urban planning students are organizing a tour of Detroit, which you can join for a more general view of the city. In addition, we can organize a broader tour for the class for a Saturday, if that context would be helpful.

Beginning about a month into the project, you will have meetings and presentations with the clients/community partners. We will plan the meetings in detail and do “dry runs” or “rehearsals.” We will give each other extensive feedback on the dry runs. After the presentation/working session, we will have a “debrief” session to discuss what went right and what could have gone better and how better outcomes might have been achieved. At the meetings we will likely get extensive feedback from the community partner that will lead to revisions and determine next steps.

For written and graphic materials to be presented to the community partners, you will do drafts, often several drafts, on which I will provide feedback. Before drafts, we will work on outlines and plans for graphics. Drafts, dry runs, and interim presentations are learning experiences and will not be graded. Grades will be determined primarily by the quality of the final products, the work you ultimately deliver after the processes of feedback and revision to respond to faculty’s, other students’, and community partners’ input:

Final product quality – 75 % of grade.
The written products, the oral presentations of final products, and any other forms of final products are included. I will assess this with input from our community partners. My views about the quality of the work will be heavily influenced by how well you have addressed the needs the community partners have expressed throughout the work period. Your views about the quality of products, both of your own and others’ are also welcome. A major difference between this and other courses is that the coursework will only be complete when it is of quality that will meet the community partners’ needs.

Team and class participation – 25%.
This relates to the extent of your involvement with your team’s work and with the class. I may ask for your views on this through a form I will distribute. I will also be interested in your assessment of your own contribution and others’, if you wish to give it.

Your expenses that exceed those of a normal course will be paid by funds from grants to the Urban and Regional Planning Program. See the written policy on cost reimbursement. The Gratiot Woods project is part of a much larger, two-year University of Michigan/Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative partnership to strengthen the capacity of nonprofits to do large-scale development of affordable housing. This is funded by a grant from the Fannie Mae Foundation.

Resource materials and readings:
We will collect readings and reference materials as needed and will place them somewhere that the class agrees upon. These materials will often be someone’s personal property and are available for you to borrow for your convenience. We will add to the reference list throughout the year.

Library-owned books will be on reserve, as needed, at the Media Union.

Scope of Services
Urban Planning 634

The Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance works to strengthen housing in the Gratiot Woods neighborhood. Most of the organization’s work in the past has involved the rehabilitation of individual houses. DCPA has developed a plan for affordable housing development, current as of March 1999. The “target area” is the Gratiot Woods neighborhood, bounded by Gratiot, 194, Cadillac, Rohns, and Warren (see attached map).

The plan that DCPA developed identifies five strategies: expand community involvement in affordable housing development activities; build organizational capacity by expanding and diversifying funding sources and obtaining training for staff and committee members; increase the quantity of quality, affordable housing through rehabilitation and infill construction for resale or rental; increase the quality and value of owner occupied homes by coordinating home repair; and coordinate demolition of houses that cannot be rehabilitated.

DCPA would now like to develop the plan further. The needs include looking at traffic problems and how to deal with them; examining commercial opportunities, especially on Gratiot; and analyzing how to phase development to achieve certain goals.

Students will work closely with Chris Bray, Housing Director of the Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance, on the following tasks:

1. Plan ways to address traffic problem. Residents feel that heavy traffic, moving at high speeds, is a major problem for the strengthening of the neighborhood. McClellan, which runs through the middle of the neighborhood, is a connector between Warren and 194. Students will collect information on traffic volume and speed and other issues to analyze the traffic problems and will develop alternative ways to solve the problems, including the calming of traffic on McClellan.

2. Assess commercial development opportunities. Gratiot, once a thriving commercial corridor, now has much less activity, although it carries a high volume of traffic. Gratiot is not pedestrian-friendly. Students will address the question of where neighborhood-oriented commercial activity might be encouraged and why. They will consider opportunities on Gratiot as well as other neighborhood streets.

3. Develop a plan for the phasing of infill housing development and housing rehabilitation. The DCPA housing plan lays out several strategies for strengthening housing. The plan needs to be extended to detail the phasing of activities. The questions to address are where the efforts should focus and why and what order of activities will have the greatest impact and why.

4. Satisfy ways to develop neighborhood identity through the nature of the physical fabric of the area and the character of the housing and other structures. The DCPA details numerous guidelines for housing design and community design. However, these are not yet detailed enough to be implemented. The plan will be extended to illustrate concepts of architectural design and to map and illustrate alternative ways to create a neighborhood identity through physical design.

Students will work with Bray, members of the Housing Committee, and others as appropriate to lay out alternative ways to address the four topics. They will meet intermittently with Bray and others for presentations and feedback.
At the end of the students’ work on this project, the students will deliver a report that details the plans they have developed with Bray and community residents.

Contact information:
Chris Bray, Housing Director, Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance (DCPA). Cleophilus Bradley, Housing Coordinator, DCPA. Sister Cathey DeSantis, Executive Director, DCPA.
Office address: 5807 McClellan. Phone: 313-922-1435 Fax: 313-922-8888 Mailing address: DCPA, 1641 Webb, Detroit, MI 48206.

Urban Planning 634 Scope of Services

The Southwest Detroit Business Association is involved in planning and encouraging the redevelopment of Southwest Detroit in ways that improve the quality of life for people who live and work there. Its major focus is on strengthening the commercial areas along West Vernor from Dearborn to the former train station near Corktown and the old Tiger Stadium.

Our work will relate to two distinct areas that SDBA serves, the Vernor/Junction area and the Vernor/Springwells area. Vernor/Junction is one of the most active commercial areas in the Detroit Empowerment Zone. It serves a residential area with a large Latino, population; its dominant physical feature is the Holy Redeemer Church and School. Vernor/Springwells is the last commercial node on Vernor before one reaches Dearborn. It is an even busier retail area than Vernor/Junction, serving a diverse residential population.

A year and a half ago, I began working with students on a community-based research and planning project to assess the effects of the Detroit Empowerment Zone on employers and to make recommendations for strengthening the Empowerment Zone efforts. Although we were working most closely with the Empowerment Zone leaders at the time, I also worked with leaders of community-based organizations to make sure the interviews with employers included questions for which they needed answers and reflected their knowledge of the commercial and industrial areas. I worked with Southwest Detroit Business Association on the plan for the work in the two West Vernor areas. The interviews are complete, and the data, combined with other information, can now be used to give SDBA considerable information on the status of the area and to build on employers’ suggestions for making a range of recommendations for SDBA’s action.

Students will work on three related tasks:

1. Analyze the data from the interviews and other information to detail the characteristics of each of the two areas. The analysis will address questions such as: What kinds of businesses operate in each area? How many people work there? Why are the businesses located there? What changes have they made in the way they operate in the last four years or so? How many offer jobs for low-skilled, inexperienced workers? What are these jobs like? What are the characteristics of the workers and where do they live?

2. Analyze the employers’ views about the changes most needed in the area. Write out alternative ways that SDBA might address these needs, if the are not already doing so. These recommendations should draw on information from cases of community-initiated commercial revitalization around the country, on understanding the nature of the market the commercial area serves, and on knowledge of what SDBA already does.

3. Assemble and present all information directly related to SDBA from each site so that SDBA knows the views expressed. Some interviews include statements about SDBA, and these need to be collected and interpreted.

The data cover interviews with 36 employers in the Vernor/Junction area and 56 employers in the Vernor/Springwells area. In addition, we have photos of the street face, aerial photos, Sanborn maps, CAD versions of the Sanborns, and data on employee zip codes to use to map the geographic distribution of workers’ residences using GIS.

We will work with Kathy Wendler, the director of SDBA. The final products for Wendler will be a presentation of the findings and recommendations and a report that details these.

Contact information:
Kathy Wendler, director of the Southwest Detroit Business Association, 7752 West Vernor, Detroit, MI 48209. Phone: 313-842-0986; fax: 313-842-6350.

Urban Planning 634 Scope of Services

The Eastside Industrial Council’s mission is to strengthen industry on the Eastside of Detroit. The organization’s major current program is the creation of in-place industrial parks. In-place industrial parks are areas of older, already existing industry within cities. The businesses in the in-place parks organize themselves to work together to improve the environment for the businesses and to address common needs.

The director of the EIC, Linda Stingl, is now working with a steering committee to do a plan for an in-place industrial park in the Grinnell/City Airport area. The City Airport part is within the Detroit Empowerment Zone; Grinnell is outside the EZ. Renaissance Zones, where businesses are exempt from state and local taxes, are nearby.

Over the last year and a half, I have worked with students to interview as many of the employers in the Grinnell/City Airport area as possible. Although the main purpose of the interviews was to learn about the effects of the Detroit Empowerment Zone, I also worked closely with the leaders of community-based organizations in the areas where we interviewed so that we could incorporate questions that they needed and so that the questions reflected their knowledge of the area. Linda Stingl was one of those leaders, and the information from the interviews and other sources can now be useful to her in planning the in-place industrial park.

Students will work on three major tasks:

  • 1. Analyze the data from the interviews and other information to detail characteristics of the area. Explain who the employers are, why they are in the area, what they do, whom they employ, the kinds of entry-level jobs available, and any other important findings from the interviews and other available information.

2. Analyze the employers’ views about changes most needed in the area and lay out the recommendations for EIC that come from the interviews. Lay out the major challenges the employers face in operating in this area.

3. Recommend ways to strengthen an industrial area through an in-place industrial park, other than the ways EIC is already using. To do so, draw on case studies and information about ways to strengthen existing, old industrial areas and to enable them to benefit neighborhoods as they themselves become stronger.

The final products for the project will be a presentation to Linda Stingl and/or the steering committee and a report detailing the findings. We may have interim presentations with Linda as well because she may need information as soon as it is ready.

Other preparation already completed in connection with this project are: Sanbom maps and aerial photos acquired, some photos taken of the Grinnell area, zip codes entered in a file ready for ArcView, and–soon–CAD versions created of the Sanbom maps.

On Detroit:

Joe T. Darden, Richard Child Hill, June Thomas, and Richard Thomas, Detroit: Race and Uneven Development (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987).

Thomas J. Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).

June Manning Thomas, Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997).

On community development planning:
Peter Medoff and Holly Sklar,Streets of HgM: The Fall and Rise of an Urb Neighborhood (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1994).

John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight, Building Communities from the Inside Out (Evanston, IL: Center for Urban Affairs and Research, 1993).

Jim Rooney, Organizing the South Bronx (Albany: State University of New York, 1995).

On industrial and retail/service areas:

Bennett Harrison and Marcus Weiss, Workforce Development Networks: Community-Based Organizations and Regional Alliances (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998).

William Julius Wilson, When Work Distances: The World of the New Urban Poor (New York: Knopf, 1996).

Harry Holzer, What Employers Want(New York: Russell Sage, 1996).

Katherine Newman, No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner C4 (New York: Knopf, 1999).

UP634/Integrative Field Experience
Initial Resource List

For Gratiot Woods:The DCPA neighborhood housing plan.
The City of Detroit’s Community Reinvestment Strategy plan for this area.
Traffic circulation plans for the Eastside by Kami Brown

For West Vernor: Background on Southwest Detroit Business Association. Livernois and Vernor commercial development plan from Auerbach class. City of Detroit Community Reinvestment Strategy plan for this area.

For Grinnell/City Aims: Background on the Eastside Industrial Council. Report from an architecture/planning studio on the Grinnell area. East Williamsburg In-Place Industrial Park. Background on another in-place industrial park plan in the city–Islandview industrial area. Plan for industrial redevelopment in Delray, by Jackson, Robinson, et al. Delray industrial development plan from Laura Auerbach’s class. City of Detroit Community Reinvestment Strategy plan for this area.