Detroit, MI (USA) – Live6 Alliance

Location Northwest Detroit, MI (the neighborhoods around McNichols and Livernois)
Name Live6 Detroit (also uses Live6 Alliance)
Date Initiated 2015
Shared or Co-Governance Live6 was founded in 2015 through a partnership of community, philanthropic, and city stakeholders led by the University of Detroit Mercy.  One of it’s core purposes is to ensure community input and involvement in the artistic, creative, cultural, commercial, and economic development of their neighborhood.  It was formed to be a conduit between the community members and the neighboring institutions, city officials, and other city stakeholders. It engages in a variety of projects to enhance the quality of life for residents in the McNichols and Livernois area, including the 6 mile commercial corridor, and it helps small businesses and homeowners survive the push for private development.  It advances it’s goals in a number of ways, including creating spaces for community members, local businesses, and other city stakeholders to come together to swap stories, socialize, engage in creative and artistic endeavors, and voice concerns. For example, they regularly hold community “speakeasies,” where residents and other community members and stakeholder can come together to share stories and express concerns on a particular topic, and to make suggestions for what projects Live6 should pursue. They are open, “anything goes” forums designed to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.  The current director is a prior city official who oversaw the City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department. The executive board is made up of one member from the private sector, one from the nonprofit sector, and the third is from academia. And a 23 member “Community Advisory Board” is described as providing the “guiding hand for Live6 activities by providing feedback, advice, and peer-review.” Their programs involve partnerships with a cross-section of the non-profit, private and governmental sectors. For example, Live6, in conjunction with a community bank, embraced a participatory budgeting approach to address public safety issues in the Livernois-McNichols area and determine how to spend a $40,000 public safety grant they were given.  After holding several speakeasies on the topic, Live6 organized a community-wide vote to determine how the money should be spent. Live6 makes many of its decisions this way, by holding community forums and providing opportunities for the local residents to shape their agenda. But it also employs a co-governance model in the way it creates spaces for the community to flourish, to sell their crafts and goods, to socialize, and to commune together on their own. In a way, it allows the community to self-govern itself by creating the spaces for it to do so. According to one description, Live6 always ensures that its “development efforts are in alignment with their [the community’s needs.” Before it embarks on any of its projects, it always seeks the community’s positions and perspectives first. According to one article, “[s]ince 2016, Live6 has obtained information from residents and community stakeholders about their interests, concerns and needs. Now the organization is prepared to implement projects that address those items in a comprehensive, well-designed manner.”
Relationship to State Live6 seems to have a good, working relationship with the state while operating autonomously from the state.  As previously stated, the current director, Cecily King, was a previous city official who worked on housing before joining Live6.  Live6, while working mostly with nonprofit and private sectors organizations and entities, at times works closely with state officials on certain projects, such as their safety initiative, which required them to work closely with the Detroit Police Department. And even when the state isn’t involved, they often require the state’s support and endorsement to move forward, such as with the implementation of the $40,000 safety grant they received (community members voted on how to spend the money, but the City had to sign off).  According to one report, Live6 is looking into participating in the Detroit Police Department’s Project Greenlight, a program that combines lighting and the use of real-time cameras to reduce crime, as well as using solar lighting for alleys. And they worked with the state in rebuilding a community center, which will house their new offices, and creating and beautifying a new park (the Ella Fitzgerald Park) as part of a city-led project referred to as the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project.  According to one article, Live6 was created, in part, to “complement City of Detroit initiatives along the McNichols and Livernois commercial corridors.” And they do in fact complement many of the city’s initiatives by providing additional support, resources, and assistance to local residents and businesses through their various projects and programs.
Pooling of Social and Economic Resources Live6 has worked on a variety of projects that have pooled social and economic resources, such as their participatory budgeting process to address public safety issues in the Livernois-McNichols area. This process was done with the input and guidance of the community, which got to entirely decide how the money was spent and distributed.  Live6 is devoted to revitalizing the commercial sectors in particular of the Livernois-McNichols area, and in this way, they are attempting to level the playing field for small businesses, who are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with larger, chain stores and who face the pressures of gentrification and redevelopment. Live6 spends its resources on not only revitalizing the commercial sector of the area where they work, but on increasing the quality of life for those who live in the neighboring area. They ensure that, whenever they hold an event or forum, its open to everyone in the community, and their projects and initiatives are always designed to equally benefit all in the community, not just one particular sector.
Local Need(s) or Services Provided Since its founding in 2015, the Live6 Alliance has offered a number of valuable services and satisfied a number of local needs to the residents and businesses in the Livernois-McNichols area. These include development and implementation of a community advisory board, the Speakeasy conversation series, business and attraction events designed to attract businesses to the area, public safety initiatives that help increase security, Market on the Ave (a bi-monthly community-led market where small business owners can sell fresh food and products), and a number of others.  They offer resources and support to local businesses hoping to revitalize, improve their facades, and attract more business, and they add culture and arts to the community by hosting a number of arts-based events and cultural programming. They also act as a liaison between the community, the business sector and city officials in certain instances, such as when they initiated a series of security reform measures in the area. They offer platforms for community residents to voice their opinions about the economic (and other kinds of) development of their community, and they take these opinions seriously in developing their own goals and agenda.
Digital Infrastructure, Open Data, Other Aspects While Live6 has an active Facebook page, and they seem to harness the internet to get their messages across (as evidenced by their beautiful website), expanding digital infrastructure and open data are not one of their six core goals, with one exception.  As part of their storytelling program, they solicit and post local stories written by local residents on the “stories” page of their website (as seen here).
Comments Live6 is more focused on commercial revitalization and cultivating the arts and culture of the Livernois-McNichols area, than on affordable housing or individual empowerment. Their focus and priority seems to be on raising the quality and economic vitality of the commercial sector, which is different than some of the other other US case studies we’ve examined so far.
References and Sources Live6’s Website: here.

Live6 Facebook Page: here.

“New Live6 Alliance Executive Director and Commercial Corridor Manager named,” Detroit Mercy, February 8, 2018, available here.

“With democratic budgeting, Live6 takes a nontraditional approach to community engagement,” Model D, “Features,” December 17, 20717, available here.

“New Live6 Alliance headquarters and its homegrown director bring energy to neighborhood,” Model D, “Features,” October 10, 2016, available here.

“New effort to spruce up Livernois and McNichols area,” Detroit Free Press, August 31, 2015, available here.

Detroit Michigan

Project Details

Added: 8.06.18