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When Foundations Do Planning: Assessing Impacts on Community Nonprofits and Governance in Detroit Future City

When Foundations Do Planning: Assessing Impacts on Community Nonprofits and Governance in Detroit Future City

Detroit Future City (DFC), as a multi-sectoral planning process and now strategic framework, reimagines the future of Detroit as a "shrinking city." At the center of DFC decision making is the philanthropic sector, including national and regional foundations. In the context of Detroit's bankruptcy, emergency manager, then Financial Review Commission post-bankruptcy, foundation influence in urban governance grew as City Hall's diminished. In this talk, Dr. Janice Bockmeyer presents early findings from her study of DFC governance. She explores the impact of foundations as strong external agents on community nonprofit organizations' (CNPOs) participation in urban strategic planning. The presentation urges scholars and practitioners to apply critical analysis to the changing institutional landscape, asking: What is the impact on urban communities when government fades from the planning arena? What access do urban communities have to foundation decision making when it impacts city planning? The talk explores the role of urban neighborhoods and CNPOs in planning under "shrinking city" conditions in Detroit and invites us to consider the implications of urban governance without government.

Bockmeyer is on the faculty of the Political Science Department, City University of New York, John Jay College.  She is well known to Detroit scholars for her research on the Detroit Empowerment Zone planning process--"A Culture of Distrust: The Impact of Local Political Culture on Participation in the Detroit EZ," Urban Studies 37(13), 2000.

The Detroit School Series asked whether it is time to establish a Detroit School of Urban Studies.  The central question is: How does thinking and research on Detroit-like cities change the questions we ask and the answers we pursue in the many disciplines that contribute to urban studies?  Detroit School Series Redux is an intermittent seminar and lecture series that continues to address these issues.  

 

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