Developing the Agenda

Group of attendees at Detroit Sustainability Action Agenda Engagement event


Community input was central to the creation of the Agenda. We focused on engaging a diverse array of Detroiters in every neighborhood across the city – with a particular emphasis on communities historically underrepresented in planning processes. We reached thousands of Detroiters and heard their feedback on the challenges faced by residents and businesses, opportunities to improve quality of life, and suggestions on how to build a more sustainable city.  Click here for a closer look at our engagement process.

  • 6,800 Detroiters engaged
  • 1,600 surveys collected in Spanish and English
  • 1,200 online comments collected on coUrbanize
  • 2,000 Detroiters reached by attending 100+ existing community meetings
  • 860+ Detroiters met with 14 Sustainability Ambassadors
  • 370 Detroiters engaged through 4 Town Halls
  • 50+ Detroit-based organizations engaged through 8 Practitioner Workshops
  • 7 Focus Groups targeting under-represented communities

Our Sustainability Survey was available on-line and on paper in 5 languages. It was distributed at events, through email and social media, and by 14 Sustainability Ambassadors. We received 1,600 responses. Here is a sample of what we learned:

Sample of survey results and answers from the Detroit Sustainability Action Agenda
Sample of survey results and answers from the Detroit Sustainability Action Agenda

Sustainability Ambassadors 

Sustainability Ambassador Group2


Without input from communities and a channel to engage them, sustainability programs can can fall short. To keep a finger on the pulse of our neighborhoods and empower them to join the movement, we employed Sustainability Ambassadors in the creation of the Agenda. These Detroiters reached out to members of their own neighborhoods to inform and listen. They also gathered insights to inform city policy on everything from transportation and housing to community gardens. As we create and refine the programs that will affect all of Detroit, Sustainability Ambassadors ensured that every group in our city is visible and heard.


Recognizing that sustainability in Detroit is not a new concept, we inventoried 39 existing, Detroit-focused strategic plans and documents to build upon existing work and address the identified needs of Detroiters. Some of these are listed here:


City Council President
City Council Pro Tem