TSDtv: Detroit city planner Maurice Cox talks about revitalizing neighborhoods — and how Memphis can do the same


Remember when people used to joke about how things had gotten so bad in Detroit that the city couldn’t even keep the lights on? Maurice Cox, Detroit’s Director of Planning and Development makes a point to bring it up — just to underscore how far Detroit has come since it became the largest city to declare bankruptcy in 2013.

Cox spoke to a packed Clayborn Temple audience on Monday afternoon, in a presentation that should inspire anyone who hopes Memphis can shake off its troubles and create a new era of prosperity for ALL its citizens. Cox points out how critical it is to invest in neighborhoods — and how Detroit requires developers to do the same.

“A city’s downtown is its heart, and you only have one heart,” Cox said. “If the heart stops beating, a city dies.

“But the soul of a city is in its neighborhoods,” Cox continued. “And there are many souls in every city. And the soul of a city must be nourished too.”

I’m working on a full story for this week’s print edition of The New Tri-State Defender. But to tide you over until then, check out this clip recorded before Cox’s presentation. In it, he talks about how Detroit leveraged its riverfront into a major engine for revitalization — and how Memphis might be able to do the same. And of course, read the story in this week’s TSD!