The Land Forums address the need for clear information about buying and developing vacant land in Detroit. Every other month, the forum convenes organizations with knowledge and resources regarding land use, business development, location scouting and property acquisition. Each organization staffs a resource table at a community center – we have laptops, the forms one normally must pick up in person from city government offices and referral information. The one-on-one and small group format enables us to walk attendees through the resources available to them and then let them determine which tables they need to visit to have their questions answered.
The Land Forums series is a collaboration among diverse legal, environmental and technology non-profits who want the same thing: open access and real-time education that shrinks the gap between Detroiters who live in the neighborhoods and a land-buying system that, though improving, still favors those with disposable resources – often over the residents who’ve mowed grass, started farms and shoveled snow on abandoned land, keeping neighborhoods viable enough to support the large-scale development currently underway.
The founding coalition members include the Keith Center, Wayne Law’s Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law, Michigan Community Resources, Loveland Technologies and the Greening of Detroit. In addition to the coalition members, the Detroit Land Bank Authority, Wayne County Treasurer, auction experts and political representatives attend.