Building on the face-to-face meetings and in attempt to reach out to a broader population, an introductory zoning survey was prepared and released.The survey was made available on-line and distributed in hard copy at a number of public meetings. The survey was also emailed out via the project’s digital newsletter, and posted on the project website and Facebook page. The survey was also made available in Spanish, Bengali and Arabic. The survey asked respondents to rank specific zoning issues related to residential, commercial and industrial areas based on what was most important to them. Respondents also had the opportunity to note additional ideas not listed that they thought were missing from the conversation. In the first effort, a total of 818 survey responses were received over a 3-month time period. In the end, the number of responses from African-Americans and people 17 years old or younger was not fully representative of Detroit’s demographics.
However, even with its shortcomings, the survey provided some essential demographic and zoning information. Findings were used to help identify neighborhoods and populations that needed additional attention. During the summer and fall months of 2019, efforts were increased to reach more African-Americans and young people. Some of the events held or attended included the District 6 Zoning 101 meeting, the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance meeting and Council President Brenda Jones’ 10th Annual Senior Citizens Lunch that hosts thousands of African-American seniors. A Zoning Game Mixer was held in Eastern Market as part of Detroit’s Month of Design. Additionally, meetings were held in District 7, District 4 and District 2, focusing specifically on getting more African-Americans to fill out the survey. A Zoning Game event was also held to solicit African-American student participation at the College of Creative Studies. Overall, over 200 additional people were engaged and over 100 additional surveys were received.
Ultimately, the survey provided invaluable feedback to add to input from verbal interactions throughout the City. It showed areas of the City that needed more focus, which was subsequently done and will continue to be done throughout the project. The survey serves as one of many tools for public participation. The hundreds of verbal comments and conversations that have been had with community members is just as important as the survey. As the project moves into the drafting phase, at least one more survey will be prepared and distributed to solicit feedback from the entire community.