Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroit Policy Conference > Four Local Change-makers Deliver Dynamic Power Perspectives to Inspire the City

Four Local Change-makers Deliver Dynamic Power Perspectives to Inspire the City

January 11, 2023

Throughout the 2023 Detroit Policy Conference, four local changemakers took the stage to deliver TEDx Talk-style impact stories that highlighted industry-specific calls to action that can continue elevating downtown Detroit.

These Power Perspectives were sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Creating an Inclusive Downtown: Antoine Bryant, Director, Planning and Development Department, City of Detroit

“A vibrant, active, inclusive downtown has nothing to do with the buildings that are erected and everything to do with the people that are selected,” is the motto when it comes to curating a space that is welcoming to Detroiters and not just visitors, according to Bryant.

With 77.9% of the city’s residents identifying as African American, it’s essential that they feel ownership over this space they have historically felt uncomfortable using. The city can combat exclusivity by curating diverse activities, dining, shopping, and entertainment that will ensure they feel comfortable, which will make them feel empowered, which in turn will make them feel invited. Once they feel invited, they will invite others, and downtown will continue to grow into a destination where everyone feels welcomed.

The Future of Greektown: Melanie A. Markowicz, Executive Director, Greektown Neighborhood Partnership

Until 2018, Greektown, a centrally-located neighborhood with rich cultural roots, was 50% vacant until 2018, according to Markowicz. Since implementing the Greektown Neighborhood Framework Vision, the future of Greektown includes projects that will connect it to the downtown core, activate public spaces, and increase building density.

Creating Community in Downtown: Jason Hall, Founder, RiDetroit

Hall said community activation and great cycling infrastructure are keys to creating a more “cycling-friendly Detroit.” By making cycling safer and getting more people on bikes more often, Detroit can develop and foster a vibrant Detroit cycling community.

Empowering Black-Owned Businesses: Charity Dean, President and Chief Executive Officer, Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance

When addressing the racial wealth gap in the city of Detroit, Dean thinks there is no measure too absurd—especially when there is $92 billion on the line. In fact, “What might seem absurd to others is not to Detroiters,” she said. “We attempt the absurd to achieve the impossible in Detroit.”

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