Neighborhoods: The Next Step in Detroit’s Prosperous Future

The day after Mayor Mike Duggan delivered a riveting State of the City Address, the focus on neighborhoods continued at the fifth annual Detroit Policy Conference at MotorCity Casino Hotel last Wednesday.

Bringing together about 700 business, civic and community leaders from across the city and region, the agenda looked at key issues through the lens of Detroit’s neighborhoods. While there has been much needed momentum downtown and in midtown, the event highlighted how Michigan’s iconic city will not be truly successful until prosperity is widespread from neighborhood to neighborhood in an inclusive fashion; a point made by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author David Maraniss during his keynote speech.

In taking a lead from the Mayor’s relentless leadership on neighborhoods and population growth, the agenda also featured speakers and panels focused on issues critical to infusing the city’s proud neighborhoods with opportunity such as education, blight reduction, regional transit and public safety. Continuing conversations from the Mackinac Policy Conference, Operation HOPE founder John Hope Bryant discussed efforts to increase financial literacy, while the closing panel focused on gentrification and inclusion as a continued discussion on uniting the city from the previous Detroit and Mackinac conferences. Former Mayor Dave Bing also shared his views on leadership in the city in a provocative Power Perspective presentation.

Filled with sponsor exhibitors and broadcast media, the Detroit Experience Hall also reflected the growing importance of small businesses in leading this economic transformation as aspiring Detroit-based entrepreneurs sold their wares throughout the day. In the afternoon, the Chamber hosted its first-ever pitch competition in partnership with the Michigan Women’s Foundation. The winner, Detroit Ento, now heads to Mackinac to pitch their cricket-based food products in the presence of serial entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” star Daymond John.

In staying true to its spirit, the Conference featured candid, yet critical conversations about the city’s future. Media coverage, including Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah’s appearances on WJR and DPTV’s “MiWeek” reflected how the Chamber continues to deliver thought-provoking dialogue on the biggest issues facing the city and state. This year’s presenting sponsor was MotorCity Casino Hotel.

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