New projects explore solutions to health, education and urban planning challenges
When the automobile industry collapsed and the home foreclosure crisis ballooned, no place felt the crush more acutely than Detroit. The city’s problems have many connections to the plight of the urban poor. CARSS is committed to finding solutions in Detroit, funding four new Michigan-led projects there beginning this summer.
Healthy Neighborhoods: Incorporating Health Impact Assessment into Government Planning
As the Detroit Works Project (DWP) city planning is moving forward, there is need for a systematic, evidence-based method that brings health needs to bear on economic, land use, neighborhood, and capital infrastructure planning in Detroit. This project will support a UM-Public Health, Community and Government partnership to undertake Health Impact Assessments (HIA) of key DWP proposed investments, and sharing those HIA studies with leading Detroit community action/non-profit groups, and members of city government. Project principals have already met with the leadership of the DWP and obtained agreement that the HIA findings and recommendations will be incorporated into city planning.
This project builds on an ongoing Ford Foundation funded project pertaining to the links between economic need, residential instability and sexual vulnerability among Detroit youth. Research by U-M Public Health, Alternatives for Girls, Ruth Ellis Center and DHDC has underscored the health and violence risks of residentially unstable, and chronically under-employed youth in the city. CARSS is supporting a new complementary project to identify “lessons learned” from promising micro-enterprise projects with urban youth across the USA, and a convening of such projects in Detroit in winter 2012.
The UM National Poverty Center is using CARSS support to design a study to evaluate 3 complementary interventions to extend community college enrollments in Detroit. Drawing on successes in NYC and elsewhere, they will partner with Detroit colleges and potential employers to design an evaluation of performance-based scholarships, enhanced counseling, and occupational placements. CARSS is supporting the recruitment of college and employer partnerships, and the collaborative design of the proposed interventions. CARSS is enthusiastic about supporting this project due to its potential to help lower-income Detroit students earn college credentials and transition to the labor market in growing fields such as healthcare and 21st century manufacturing.
The Graham Sustainability Center at UM has partnered with Data Driven Detroit to gather sustainability-related data to that, when combined with Data Driven Detroit’s annual geo-coded data on housing, land use, population, crime, traffic and infrastructure, will help guide sustainable redevelopment in the city. While these online data provide accessible, user-friendly maps for public use, the added value of these data to city planners is unknown. To enhance the utility of the data, CARSS is supporting “hands-on” workshops that will bring Detroit city planning staff into the shared analysis and presentation of Data Driven Detroit statistical maps to public officials, building local government capacity to use the knowledge, and giving planners the chance to suggest how Data Driven Detroit might improve their value to city planning.
Based at the University of Michigan and organized under the Office of the Vice President for Research, CARSS is a small center committed to big ideas. We bring together leading scholars, business people, policy makers and practice professionals to take on the world’s most pressing problems, translating science into social innovation.