January 11, 2021
People who aren’t “in the know” about the Detroit area may have some of the following perceptions from historic headlines – high crime, dirty water, vacant homes or a post-recession bankruptcy slump. Though Detroit has seen its share of trials and tribulations over the years, the city is now in the midst of a major revival, one even COVID challenges can’t hinder.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
Despite the ebbs and flows of the auto industry, the city’s entrepreneurial spirit has endured over decades[i]. From tech incubators aiding startups, highly rated restaurants alongside craft cocktail bars, and live music paired with arts attractions, Detroit bustles with energy[ii]. Named America’s first and only UNESCO City of Design, Detroit hosts an abundance of art deco and neo-renaissance architecture. Major in-progress and planned developments, including revamps of public spaces and iconic buildings, are set to further transform the city[iii].
Progress against crime
Talk of high crime rates has plagued Detroit’s reputation for years, but statistics show a steady decline year-over-year for the last five years – all the result of a coordinated, organized effort. For example, Ceasefire Detroit is an initiative where law enforcement and the community work together to reduce gun-related crime. Detroit has hired additional police officers, increased the use of technology, and launched Project Green Light which allows participating businesses to install high-definition video cameras with the live video feed monitored at the city’s Real Time Crime Center. These initiatives and more are enabling Detroit to make steady progress in creating safe communities[iv].
Clean water plan
Another perception to dispel is poor water quality. After the nation closely followed the Flint water crisis in 2014, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unveiled the Michigan Clean Water Plan to prioritize and continue focused investment in the state’s public health, environment and economy. The objective is to improve and protect the quality of Michigan’s drinking water and bolster its water infrastructure through lead line replacement, water quality protection and sewer system upgrades[v].
The cost of living in Detroit and the surrounding metro areas is significantly lower than many other cities throughout the country[vi], and as climate change progresses, Detroit is often named a “climate refuge site.” Due to its moderate temperatures and sources of clean water, food and recreation in the Great Lakes, it is predicted “By 2100, Detroit will be one of the nation’s most desirable cities”[vii].
“In thinking about career opportunities, one consideration that repeatedly came up for my family was ensuring that the location was a climate refuge,” said Chris Woods Yates of Ford Motor Company’s chief talent office. “From other places I have lived, I know firsthand the devastating impact of natural disasters caused by our changing climate. Michigan is now one of the safest places on the planet to live. It consistently comes high on any forecast, which looks at the impact of climate. We think this means space in Michigan will be at a premium. Moving to Southeast Michigan was a deliberate choice, a fantastic investment for our family for the long term. I have confidence we have a sustainable future here.”
To help shape climate action, our organizations are committed to reducing our carbon footprint on our path toward carbon neutrality. Bosch targeted 2020 to make its 400-plus global locations carbon neutral and actively works to reduce the carbon footprint of its products, purchased goods and logistics processes[viii]. Ford Motor Company has set a target to become carbon neutral by 2050 focusing on vehicle use, supply base and company facilities[ix]. Cooper Standard is looking at new innovations and manufacturing processes to impact overall carbon footprint. Their new Fortrex™ Chemistry platform reduces the carbon footprint up to 53% compared to traditional products and their new Liveline enabled extrusion process uses artificial intelligence to dramatically increase equipment efficiencies.
Detroit is a vibrant city full of arts and culture where past meets present. Though COVID has introduced challenges the world never could have imagined, the spirit and energy in Detroit is unwavering and its people resilient. The automotive industry is committed to aiding in the ongoing transformation and revitalization of our great city and surrounding areas. We invite you to learn about all Detroit has to offer.
Contributed by: Ford, Cooper Standard and Bosch