At our quarterly meeting on September 11, Maurice Cox, the Planning Director for the City of Detroit, gave a candid, inspirational presentation about Detroit’s future to a packed house at NextEnergy. He mentioned that he wouldn’t have taken the job as Planning Director if the groundwork had not already been laid by the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework, acknowledging that much had been done prior to his arrival.

The director gave examples of how his experience, particularly in post Katrina New Orleans, gave him an understanding of how a city can rise from the ashes, with community involvement being a key to a successful rebirth. He discussed giving those who have stuck it out in Detroit equity in their communities, and how residents will buy into long term strategies if they can be shown immediate benefits – such as improved lighting and swales to handle storm water.

Cox also talked about the resiliency of many of our buildings, of nature, and of the people of Detroit – and gave examples of how Detroit can not only be a vibrant city but can serve as a laboratory for the rest of the country. He then answered questions from the audience – and received a standing ovation.

We are grateful that Director Cox took time out of his busy schedule to speak to us – and even more grateful that he has decided to be a significant player in making Detroit a sustainable and resilient city.