Despite the massive hardships facing Detroit -- and because of them -- residents are working everyday to make the city a better place to live.
With wildly inventive ideas, intense commitment to implementing change and wide-reaching community support, individuals throughout the city are making a difference in their own and neighbors' lives. Some work under the radar, while some receive national media attention. Some have been working in community development for years; others have just begun to turn their ideas into social change.
The Urban Innovation Exchange was launched earlier this year by the Michigan-based Issue Media Group and a host of media and community partners to highlight the work of individual social innovators. A partner of The Huffington Post, the UIX site creates a network of people whose projects range from from teaching fencing to under-privileged youth to providing self-employment opportunities to the homeless.
By sharing the stories of those who are turning their ideas into reality, they hope to inspire others to do the same. What you won't see on the site is a rote formula for community development; instead, the experiences and advice of others and compendium of resources offer many roadmaps for building future projects.
“Detroit’s transformation will not result from one or two significant events but from literally thousands of small-scale efforts,” said Issue Media Group co-founder Brian Boyle when the site launched in March.
Since then, they've hosted forums on education and government, profiled dozens of innovators, hosted online conversations to help those with questions and worked with Data Driven Detroit to begin collecting data about social innovation's impact in the city. UIX is supported by $508,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.