Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Detroiters Show Unwavering Passion for Their City at Town Hall Meeting

Dec. 1, 2010, 5:03 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

By Paul Wiseman

Detroit is unique because its young people are consistently among the most attached age group in the community, according to the 2010 Soul of the Community study – a characteristic many cities hungry for talented college grads would love to have. The city’s schools and universities are also now a strong driver of attachment, along with social offerings and openness.

These were the main themes yesterday morning at a meeting in the Detroit Public Library auditorium where a diverse group of about 300 people gathered to discuss the findings of the 2010 Soul of the Community study. The presentation was about survey results for the Detroit metro region – the metropolitan statistical area – which includes six neighboring counties.

There was a palpable passion for the area in the room that reflects what the study found – attachment to the Detroit metro region is higher than when the survey started in 2008.  The questions were probing, and, at times, applause broke out signaling approval of a question or its answer. The Detroit Free Press called the presentation a silver lining on a day with plenty of dark clouds overhead.

The New Economy Initiative (NEI) for Southeast Michigan was the event organizer, and Detroit Public Television was on-site to film the meeting for a program they are producing. NEI is now exploring ways to use the SOTC findings, and CEOs for Cities received a grant from Knight Foundation to put the SOTC findings to use in the Detroit metro area. So the work has already begun.

We thank NEI and the residents of Detroit who showed us again that their intense passion for and loyalty to their city can’t always be quantified.  You just have to be there to understand it.

Paul Wiseman works with Knight Foundation and Gallup on the Soul of the Community project