With a mix of community development and economic development, Detroit is focusing on its low-density commercial corridors and redeveloping select properties to provide residents with a variety of services. The city is participating in the Project for Municipal Innovation (PMI), the Integration Initiative (TII), and the Catalyst Fund with the goal of increasing opportunity for residents.

Currently, Detroit’s low-density commercial corridors are not meeting their potential to be high-quality districts that drive local business success. Detroit’s Woodward Corridor Initiative (WCI) is one of the efforts working to “redensify” Detroit’s urban core by improving safety, schools, employment and small business opportunities. Specifically, WCI is encouraging anchor institutions to “live local, hire local, and buy local” and fostering land use planning, transit corridor development and neighborhood revitalization designed to secure direct benefits for residents while attracting new investment.

Additionally, Southwest Housing Solutions, a leading provider of human services, and housing and economic development in Detroit, has leveraging funds from Living Cities Catalyst Fund to purchase a four-story historic building on Michigan Avenue to provide low-income community residents with access to a one-stop shop for primary medical care and counseling services.

Living Cities continues to work with partners in Detroit to deploy blended capital solutions that improve outcomes for the city’s low-income residents and communities of color.

The Project on Municipal Innovation 

We work with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center to convene and support a network of mayoral chiefs of staff and policy leaders who advance transformative change through innovation in city government to improve the lives of residents.

Blog Post Rip Rapson on Sep 21, 2016

Philanthropy Must Increasingly Become Comfortable in Engaging the Changes and A… 

Philanthropy has acted boldly in Detroit to re-imagine the city’s future, and has contributed to a larger conversation in cities across the nation about how we can collectively confront and overcome …

Blog Post Tynesia Boyea-Robinson & Bradford Frost on Apr 4, 2016

The Evolution of Collective Impact in Detroit 

After five years as part of The Integration Initiative, the Detroit Corridor Initiative will move forward by working with Living Cities on their capital strategies.

Person The Skilman Foundation

Tonya Allen 

Mrs. Tonya Allen is President and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, a private, independent foundation whose mission is to improve lives of children in Southeast Michigan. Mrs. Allen’s work consists of managing and aligning the complexities of educatio…


Community Development 



Community Development Finance 



Economic Development 

Reimagining what should be done with underinvested neighborhoods and finding new ways to connect low-income people to economic opportunities wherever they exist in a region.

Blog Post Tynesia Boyea-Robinson & Benjamin Kennedy on Jul 1, 2015

$30 Million Now Available for Detroit’s Main Street 

An interview with Benjy Kennedy, who led the Kresge Foundation’s work to raise the Woodward Corridor Investment Fund in Detroit, about what others can learn from its closing.





Impact Investing 

Deploying capital with the intent of not only generating financial return, but also producing measurable social and environmental impacts.

Blog Post Rip Rapson on May 7, 2015

What We Can Learn from Detroit 

Detroit's resilience through bankruptcy revealed three overarching principles that are applicable to other cities facing seemingly insurmountable challenges.



Disrupting disparate outcomes in income, wealth, and access to opportunity.

Blog Post Jeff Raderstrong on Mar 6, 2015

Four Lessons from Three Years of Building a New Urban Practice in American Citi… 

Lessons from Living Cities' nine-city Integration Initiative that aims to dramatically improve the lives of low-income people in America's cities.


Mixed-Income Communities 


Blog Post Jeff Raderstrong on Oct 31, 2014

World Cities Day: Making A Difference for the Lives of Low-Income Residents 

For World Cities Day 2014, we asked representatives from four of The Integration Initiative sites what they thought was the one thing from their work that has made the most difference for the lives o…




Blog Post Erica Raleigh on Aug 11, 2014

Overcoming Barriers to Using Data: Insights from Data Driven Detroit 

Erica Raleigh of Data Driven Detroit explores the challenges to using data in Detroit's reinvestment efforts and way the city might overcome those obstacles.

Blog Post Leslie Lynn Smith on May 19, 2014

No Victory Without Inclusion 

We cannot claim victory if the economies we create leave our poorest people out.

Person The Kresge Foundation

Benjamin Kennedy 

Benjamin Kennedy joined The Kresge Foundation in 2009 and currently serves as a deputy director on the Community Development and Detroit teams.

Blog Post Nadia Owusu on Apr 4, 2014

Celebrating the First Three Years of the Integration Initiative 

In the first 3 years of the Integration Initiative, we gleaned important lessons on realigning institutions across issues, sectors, and disciplines. We also have seen significant evidence pointing to…

Blog Post Brian Reilly on Apr 2, 2014

Building and Sustaining Thriving Mixed-Income Communities 


Small Business