Who is leading the fight on blight?

Overall strategic coordination and direction

The responsibility for blight, and the consequences of its persistence, rest ultimately with the City of Detroit. The Mayor’s office, in collaboration with the Emergency Manager’s office, must lead within the framework of the settled bankruptcy terms to address blight head-on. The centerpiece of this work will be the newly enhanced Detroit Land Bank Authority, working in concert with the Mayor’s office and Department of Neighborhoods.

This work will not be easy for the city. Detroit must reinvigorate neighborhoods through a combination of tactics that will lead to redevelopment, including the swiftest and safest possible removal of tens of thousands of vacant buildings and the cleaning and maintenance of every neglected lot in its 139 square miles—all while meeting the highest possible standards for environmental protection and resident safety; engaging in open, transparent public exchange of information; and creating shared economic opportunities among all residents of the city. For that reason, it is not only important to identify who within the City of Detroit will lead in these activities, but also what public-private partnerships are still needed to accomplish this unprecedented task.

Mayor Duggan took an important step forward earlier this year with the creation of the new Jobs and Economy Team (the “JET”) and Department of Neighborhoods, the aim of which is to bring many different responsible agencies into two teams working together to implement the Mayor’s plan. The JET includes the Planning and Development Department (PDD), which is currently revising the city’s Master Plan to align with Detroit Future City’s goals. This will create the overarching land use strategy to guide the blight removal effort. The Department of Neighborhoods includes the Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED) and the Department of Administrative Hearings, which has several major roles to play throughout the blight removal process.

The following pages list current and recommended roles to create a comprehensive team to implement the blight removal strategy:

Recommended roles are highlighted. Existing roles are not highlighted.

Blight Strike Force


Coordinating overall blight tactical activities within the City of Detroit


  • Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department
  • City of Detroit, Chief Information Officer
  • City of Detroit, Chief Financial Officer
  • Department of Administrative Hearings
  • Department of Neighborhoods Director – Lead
  • Detroit Building Authority (construction & demolition)
  • Detroit Land Bank Authority
  • Detroit Law Department
  • Detroit Police Department
  • Detroit Public Works
  • Planning and Development Department

Tax Foreclosure Task Force


  • Identifying strategic solutions to re-invent the tax foreclosure process
  • Identifying ways to leverage technology solutions to improve efficiency and speed up the transition process
  • Leveraging Motor City Mapping to identify solutions to address the properties currently on their way to tax foreclosure (tax delinquency of less than 3 years)


  • Wayne County Treasurer – (lead)
  • City of Detroit Chief Information Officer
  • City of Detroit Chief Information Officer
  • Jobs & Economy Team Director
  • Loveland Technologies
  • Blight Task Force (Representation from Rock Ventures and Skillman Foundation)

Community engagement

  • Department of Neighborhoods is the overall lead
  • Within the Department of Neighborhoods, the District Managers serve as the field liaisons to community groups, the Planning and Development Department, Detroit Land Bank Authority, Detroit Future City and City Council
  • The Detroit Land Bank Authority fulfills several roles:
    • Providing an interactive, parcel-level technology tool to automate the conversation with community groups and citizens
    • Providing blight technology and process training to the District Managers
    • Providing materials and information to support the regular community meetings
    • Maintaining website as a single point of information regarding blight removal to the public

Technology implementation

  • Detroit Land Bank Authority will lead the development of the Motor City Mapping technology, in coordination with the City of Detroit’s Chief Information Officer
  • Data Driven Detroit will create the data management solution
  • Loveland Technology will create the technology dashboard and community interface tools

Policy + ordinance modifications

  • Detroit Land Bank Authority – Overall Lead, and also has these specific roles:
    • Identify and propose all code, ordinance, and policy modifications necessary to implement the blight removal strategy
    • Lead policy and law modifications
  • Buildings Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department will lead the city ordinance modifications
  • Mayor’s Office and City Council will have overall approval of proposed changes

Geographic prioritization + blight removal

Detroit Land Bank Authority should:

  • Lead the geographic prioritization effort in coordination with the Department of Neighborhoods, Planning and Development Department, and Detroit Future City’s implementation office.
  • Carry out parcel triage & specific intervention determination (SATT)
  • Contract with the Detroit Building Association to issue RFPs and award and oversee contracts for structure demolition and vacant lot clearing
  • Integrate neighborhood coordination and communication

Legal authority + title

  • Department of Neighborhoods, through the Department of Administrative Hearings will hold public hearings
  • Department of Recreation & Department of Public Works has legal authority to clear overgrown lots and to approve removal of dangerous trees, weeds, dangerous brush, noxious weeks, and other plant growth
  • Department of Neighborhoods, specifically Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department, has legal authority for demolition judgment liens and foreclosure
  • Detroit Land Bank Authority should have legal authority to lead the expedited demolition judgment lien foreclosure process
  • Detroit Land Bank Authority has legal authority to lead the nuisance abatement program

Job training + economic development

The City of Detroit Jobs and Economy team will lead with assistance from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. Priority should be given to:

  • Launching job training programs
  • Evaluating & selecting a Detroit based recycling center(s)
  • Leading the prioritization process for the large-scale, commercial blight eradication process


The Planning and Development Department and the Department of Neighborhoods will lead the rehabilitation efforts in coordination with the Detroit Land Bank Authority


  • Various city departments and private-sector partners will be identified to lead specific funding assignments
  • Members of the Blight Task Force will continue to work with the city to identify and obtain funding
  • The Emergency Manager will continue to lead the city’s bankruptcy process and any blight related funding

Property disposition

Detroit Land Bank Authority will lead on property disposition procedures