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February 2013

7.2 SQ MI: New report released on the Greater Downtown Detroit area

7.2 SQ MI: New report released on the Greater Downtown Detroit area


The Hudson-Webber Foundation recently released a new report, “7.2 SQ MI”, which focuses on the data story of Greater Downtown Detroit, a 7.2 square mile collection of neighborhoods: Downtown, Midtown, New Center, Woodbridge, Eastern Market, Lafayette Park, Rivertown and Corktown. The report was prepared with the assistance of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Invest Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Midtown Detroit Inc., and D:hive.  Data Driven Detroit (D3) was the data partner.

D3 is pleased to have played a role in the development of the report.  Representing the culmination of months of work, the report combines secondary data sources that track demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the population with primary data collection on rental vacancies and rates, pedestrian counts, business counts and much, much more.  The ultimate importance of this document is that it represents the first time that a collaboration of organizations came together to tell the story of Greater Downtown Detroit.  For too long other cities have trumpeted their downtowns with reports that represented a common voice and a common vision.  Detroit had never had such a document, until now.  We have set benchmarks that we will be able to revisit, update, improve and expand upon in the years to come.


Photo Courtesy of Salam Zahr, Salam Zahr Photographer

“7.2 SQ MI” is the first report of its kind to offer insight into the changes occurring in these areas. The data used to support the report provides “current information about residing, working, employing, visiting, living, playing and investing in Greater Downtown.” The data has set a baseline for measurement and the organizations involved intend to update “7.2 SQ MI” to understand future progress and provide information for investments. The website also links to the Flickr stream of Greater Downtown Detroit, where photos of the reported 7.2 square miles are available for download.

A New Main Street in TechTown

by Dana Politi, Communications

In early 2012, TechTown graciously opened their doors to Data Driven Detroit when we needed to quickly find new office space. After seven months in a temporary office space, D3 has moved to a new permanent home on the third floor of the entrepreneurial incubator. While we are getting comfortable in our new space, we thought we would take the opportunity to share some of the great things happening within our “new” home!

TechTown will begin its own changes this winter with renovations to its first floor. The proposed plans will expand the current space and utilize the buildings existing windows for natural lighting. A variety of event spaces will be created, and each individual event space will house up-to-date technology capacities. The changes will also include a membership-based co-working space for entrepreneurs interested in sharing creative collaborative space or connecting with other organizations or businesses in the building. TechTown resident Centric Design Studio was asked to lead the architecture plans, and Patrick Thompson Design will lead the interior design project.  The renovations are expected to conclude by the summer of 2013.

The entrepreneurial incubator is also in the process of launching three new programs aimed at small businesses:  Labs, Blocks and SWOT City. The Labs program has three components that will be directed toward technology-centric startups in Detroit. There will be three, highly competitive components include Venture Accelerator, D-Venture and Launch Detroit. These have been created to encourage and develop Detroit-based start-up companies. The Blocks program is aimed to assist entrepreneurs launch retail or wholesale businesses in the city.

TechTown began working with entrepreneurs in the Brightmoor neighborhood during the fall of 2012 to coach and provide support to established businesses that are in need of assistance.  The program, SWOT City, is designed to strengthen “small business districts in partnership with local community or economic development organizations.”  SWOT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, provides the opportunity for business owners to receive feedback on their business plan or receive advice on possible improvements from the entrepreneurial staff. SWOT City is also being implemented in New Center and Midtown.

At the end of January, TechTown’s website was re-launched after receiving a few changes. Details regarding the Labs and Blocks programs were released with the new website design. D3 is grateful to be a part of such a caring and innovative community!