20 Minute Neighborhoods and you!
In May of 2016 Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan introduced the concept of the 20-Minute neighborhood as part of revitalization and development plans for the future of Detroit. The objective of the 20-Minute neighborhood is to create pedestrian and cyclist friendly communities where residents are able to meet their basic needs within a 20 minute walk or bike ride from their front door.
While not a new concept, similar plans have been implemented nationally including in the cities of Portland and Baltimore.
Mayor Duggan’s plan has at least one very Detroit specific metric:
20 minutes from Blight! One should not encounter blighted buildings, derelict streetscapes, nor crumbling infrastructure within a 20 minute walking radius.
In theory the concept of 20 minute neighborhoods appears positive:
- They create higher density neighborhoods.
- Reduce or eliminate the need for a car.
- Lead to better community health outcomes and the reduction of negative environmental impacts.
However, there are real concerns about how existing residents of the targeted areas are included or excluded from the planning process.
- Historically, mass development of “blighted areas” especially when tagged with a revitalization label, has led to mass scale push out of existing neighborhood residents.
- As areas become more desirable, the rising rates of property costs make the goal of homeownership less accessible for the existing and often low income residents, as seen in the former Cass Corridor area.
- In the case of Downtown Detroit as rental housing stock has gone into high demand, outright displacement of existing residents, primarily seniors, has occurred.
The current neighborhoods in some form of the planning or implementation phase of the 20-Minute Neighborhood are:
- West Village
- West Grand Blvd.
- The North End
- Russell Woods/Nardin Park
While these areas are all in need of resource development, revitalization should not mean the removal of long-time members of these communities.