The City of Detroit’s Office of Sustainability is launching a series of focus groups to hear from residents and better prepare neighborhoods for climate change. (Detroit Stock City photo by Erik Hill)

The City of Detroit hopes at least 1,000 residents will help shape the way that City government cuts its greenhouse gas emissions and prepares Detroit’s neighborhoods for such things as flooding, power outages and extreme heat and cold. 


The City’s Office of Sustainability will launch six focus groups this month, with the first two starting this week, that will help the City drill down on specific ideas to cut greenhouse gas emissions and better prepare neighborhoods for climate change, said Joel Howrani Heeres, Director of Sustainability.

Greenhouse gases trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere, letting sunlight pass through but preventing the heat from leaving. That trapped heat is part of the climate change that has major environmental and health effects. The change contributes to respiratory disease like asthma from smog and air pollution. Climate change also causes the extreme weather that much of the world is now experiencing on a regular basis. In Detroit, that has resulted in heavy rains that caused major flooding this summer. It may also result in hotter summers and colder winters. 

The City says input from residents will help ensure equity in its policies, as well as provide tangible benefits like lower energy bills, better air quality, more parks and green spaces, and more accessible transportation.

Focus groups start this week 

The six focus groups each have a policy theme. All sessions will be held on Zoom from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., starting Tuesday. As of Monday, there were only a few spots left for the Tuesday session.  

Here’s the schedule and the links to register: 

  1. Housing: Tuesday, Sept. 14
  2. Health: Wednesday, Sept. 15
  3. Transportation: Tuesday, Sept. 21
  4. Waste and water: Thursday, Sept. 23
  5. Open space and food: Tuesday, Sept. 28
  6. Economic development and opportunity: Thursday, Sept. 30

Online surveys 

Another way to get involved is take one of these online surveys.  The primary survey takes 15-20 minutes to complete.

A condensed survey takes about 10 minutes to complete, and reduces the number of questions by 30 percent. 

Three townhalls in October 

The City will hold three virtual townhalls to report on what residents said. The events are open to all. 

The schedule: 

  1. Tuesday:  Oct. 12 – 6-8 p.m.
  2. Wednesday: Oct. 13 – 6-8 p.m.
  3. Saturday: Oct. 16 – 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Louis Aguilar is BridgeDetroit’s senior reporter. He covered business and development for the Detroit News, and is a former reporter for the Washington Post.

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1 Comment

  1. Pahleezz……

    My basement has been flooding since I was a kid.

    Are people thinking this is new or just new residents realizing it was left out in their purchase agreement.

    Its not climate change.

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