Poverty Solutions is partnering with the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research to pilot a new, cost-effective project to survey Detroit area residents about their community, including their experiences, perceptions, priorities, and aspirations.
The Detroit Metropolitan Area Communities Study (DMACS) Neighborhoods Project is a new endeavor that extends the DMACS work by focusing more narrowly, and deeply, on specific local neighborhoods within the City. A critical element of this work is engaging with key stakeholders in the neighborhoods in which we are working. This includes meeting with community organizations and residents before, during, and after the data collection, and also involves employing local residents and U-M students to work together in teams as data collectors.
The surveys are web-based, and accessible via smartphone, tablet, or computer; encouraging and facilitating on-line completion is an important focus of the project. The initial phase of the Neighborhoods Project was run as a pilot to test and perfect the survey and its delivery, as well as the opportunities for community involvement. Ultimately, we hope to extend this work into additional neighborhoods across the City in order to assess the impact of various initiatives and neighborhood improvements on area residents, and provide critical insights that will guide future policy decisions.
DMACS is envisioned as a long-term, large-scale investment in the people and communities of metro Detroit. At the core of the study is an on-going, on-line survey of Detroit area residents. This survey will provide data in a manner that is scientifically valid, accessible to a wide range of users, covers the entire metropolitan area, captures change over time, and reaches underserved/under-represented groups. It will have the capacity to rapidly deliver research-quality information about the impact of current changes and initiatives in the City, allowing dynamic tracking of how residents perceive, evaluate, and connect with their communities. It will be customizable to meet the needs of policymakers and other stakeholders so as to provide information that can inform future public policy decisions and investments. Finally, it will provide citizens a platform for communicating their needs, their visions of the future for both their local areas and the broader region, and their reactions to new initiatives. Two waves of DMACS data have already been completed from roughly 700 representative Detroiters.
Jeffrey Morenoff, Institute for Social Research, College of Literature, Science and the Arts, Department of Sociology
Elisabeth Gerber, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Institute for Social Research
Conan Smith, Washtenaw County Commissioner
Josh Rivera, Project Manager, Poverty Solutions