Northeast Detroit residents steward $500,000 in community development projects

Under-resourced communities across Detroit’s District 3 have begun bringing their own land use plans to life, thanks to a partnership between a coalition of neighborhood organizations known as Restore Northeast Detroit and Allied Media Projects. This partnership, called Create NED or Create Northeast Detroit, offers a tangible example of the best outcomes for meaningful, resident-led development. Upon the conclusion of a $500,000 grant from ArtPlace America, Create NED has released two short videos describing the results of their work.

Over the course of eighteen months, Create NED worked with community organizations, neighborhood associations and local businesses to implement a $500,000 Artplace America grant in Detroit’s largest district. The focus of the project was to transform and enliven District 3 green spaces through landscape improvements, public art, and community festivals. The project also included programming for resource sharing, communications, and skill-building.

Create NED was the fruit of many years of community organizing

“Create NED was the fruit of many years of community organizing,” says Karen Washington, Executive Director of Emmanuel Community House and one of the lead organizers with Create NED. Through our partnership with Allied Media Projects and artists like the Work Department we were able to bring in art and technology elements. But the land use vision came directly from the minds of District 3 residents.”

From 2011 - 2013, with support from the Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) the Restore Northeast Detroit Coalition led a visionary land-use planning process through which they surveyed every parcel of land in District 3 and convened 40 resident planning meetings to generate a “people’s plan” for the future of the district. It was this process that produced a vision for creating and maintaining public green spaces to fuel the area’s revitalization.

According to Pat Bosch, Executive Director of Nortown Community Development Corporation and Create NED co-lead organizer, this process revealed how rich Northeast Detroit is with creativity and vision. “We met residents who had been stewarding and transforming vacant lots for decades. ArtPlace funds allowed us to make those small scale efforts stronger and more connected while advancing a collective land-use vision for our parks and green spaces."

Huge injections of funding in places that have been historically under-resourced can make or break relationships.

Two years later, and they have done just that says Jenny Lee, Executive Director of Allied Media Projects. “Huge injections of funding in places that have been historically under-resourced can make or break relationships. Pat and Karen effectively managed this project to not only execute tangible physical improvements to parks and vacant lots, but they’ve woven a network of people and organizations who will be continuing to carry out the vision of Create NED long into the future.”

As 2017 comes to a close, District 3 residents prepare for more farmers markets, festivals, murals, and computer classes to come, and Create NED seeks continued investment for the next phase of their work. Here’s to a vibrant, safe, and empowered District 3 Detroit! Learn more at

Read next: