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March 2012

D3 is Moving!

D3 is currently in transition to new offices. During this transition, we may not be reachable at our old address or through our old office phone numbers. The best way to contact us is via email or through Ask Kurt.

It’s been an honor serving Detroit’s communities from this location, and we’ll always carry fond memories of the place.

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of the Barden building in 1910. (It’s visible just to the left of the D.A.C.) Just 92 short years later, D3 is departing from what was once apparently referred to as “Telephone Building.” Since 1988, the address has been part of the Madison Harmonie Historic District.

State Integrity Report Card: Michigan

By Louis Bach, Communications

The State Integrity Investigation has released corruption risk report cards for all fifty states, and Michigan is among the eight states that received an F for its vulnerability to corruption. Though Michigan received an A for its internal auditing and scores of B- for both its state budget process and procurement, it received scores of D or F on the eleven other measures of corruption risk. Michigan’s rating, though poor, is in broad company. As the New York Times notes, “No state got an A; five received B’s, and the rest grades of C, D or F.”

Considering the importance of transparency in preventing corruption, it’s only appropriate that any measurement of corruptibility engage in full transparency itself. True to form, the State Integrity Investigation’s methodology and data are available for anyone to examine. Notably, all of the Investigation’s scores were developed by surveying reporters and vetting survey results via expert peer reviewers.

Do you feel that Michigan deserves the grades that it received? Let us know in the comments.

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Diversity is the Future for Michigan

by Kurt Metzger, Director

The following originally appeared as a post on the Detroit Data Guru.

The Census Bureau released its newest compilation of 2010 Census data for Michigan on March 8.  This file allows us to understand the demographics of the growing racial and ethnic groups across our State and in our neighborhoods.  While Data Driven Detroit will begin to produce a series of Detailed Race/Ethnic profiles, I decided to take a quick look at how these new numbers better help us understand how these groups differ in their age distributions.

When we look at the share that persons of color (anyone who is not white, nonHispanic) represent by age, we see a gradual increase as age decreases.  While accounting for only 14 percent of the population 65 years and over,  the figure below shows a 34 percent share in the youngest cohort, less than 5 years of age.  Overall, persons of color represent 23.4 percent of Michigan’s population. (more…)

Meet the Staff: Erica Raleigh, Public Safety Analyst

by Louis Bach, Communications

D3’s data systems project manager and public safety analyst, Erica Raleigh, has been with the organization for nearly its entire existence. She was hired in early 2009 to compile the One D scorecard; since then, she has managed and contributed to projects including Detroit Kids Data, the Center for Michigan scorecard, the Woodward Corridor Initiative, and D3’s internal Data Management Enhancement.

During that period, Erica completed the Master of Urban Planning program at Wayne State University. The program culminated with the development of her thesis, “Crime and Vacant, Open, and Dangerous Housing.” It uses a block-by-block analysis to determine the relationship between vacant, open, and dangerous (VOD) housing and different types of crime.

Raleigh found that some types of crime (e.g. robbery, vandalism, and assault) but not others (e.g. burglary) were strongly correlated with VOD housing. It was only the second study conducted to examine VOD housing specifically and find that it correlated with crime more strongly than vacant housing alone. “Data was the fun part,” said Erica of her writing process. “Developing the theory was crucial, but it was more onerous.”

“I like being able to ask a question and then attack it,” she says, “so being paid to do research at D3 is my ideal job.”

Feeding Inkster With Community Gardens

By Katharine Frohardt-Lane, Research Analyst

In 2010-2011, the National Kidney Foundation Michigan (NKFM) received a capacity-building grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health‘s Office of Minority Health to reduce minority health disparities in the community of Inkster in western Wayne County.  The first year of the grant was devoted to identifying key community stakeholders and forming a coalition of these stakeholders. (As the program evaluator for the Inkster grant, I monitor and report on the program’s progress.) That coalition, the Inkster Partnership for a Healthier Community (IPHC), initially worked to define their vision, mission, and structure.  After several sessions in which the group participated in the identification of the main issues facing Inkster residents, the coalition organized itself into workgroups, each of which was to work on helping to solve one of the identified issues.  The “Feeding Inkster” workgroup decided to put its efforts into developing community gardens.