Evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Teams Pilot: Final Report. A3.4 Conclusion

08/25/2014

The Detroit SC2 team was able to further the goals of the pilot in a substantive way through its contributions to enhancing local capacity and brokering improved relationships between the city and other community stakeholders. Although its efforts were frequently transactional, the impact was significant for the struggling city, whose most urgent needs were immediate, basic, and simple.

The SC2 team was hampered by the city’s lack of advance planning and strategy for the initiative. Work was described as “putting out fires,” and team members would have been more successful in some respects if certain conditions and priorities had been identified at the outset for SC2 team projects.

The best legacy of the SC2 pilot in Detroit may be enhanced trust. Trust between the community and the federal government was built through the daily, active engagement and responsiveness of the federal government. Importantly, the pilot helped to foster trust within the Detroit community as well. The challenges of Detroit’s years of decline had fractured many relationships in the community. Whether through the DOT representative’s effort to improve relationships between the business community and the city on the M-1 rail project or the HUD representative’s resolution of legacy tensions between the city and the housing commission, the SC2 team’s presence appears to have set the stage for further collaboration as Detroit’s crisis environment subsides and a renewed focus on the city’s long-term revitalization takes hold.

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