In the 1950s, about 1.8 million called Detroit home. But dramatic population and business losses over the last 50 years left Detroit with whispers of a tax base. And the city's current population of about 700,000 people is expected to continue falling.
The city also has a budget deficit of $327 million, and Bing could learn as early as Friday if a state-appointed review team will deem Detroit is in a financial emergency. If that happens, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder could appoint a manager to oversee Detroit's finances.
Bing has said he is focused on his own restructuring plans, which include the loss of 400 to 500 jobs through layoffs and eliminating vacant positions in the coming months. The mayor also has been tearing down thousands of vacant homes and buildings a year — with the goal of 10,000 by the end of 2013.
Along with addressing the dwindling housing needs, the report focuses on igniting business growth. It suggests relaxing business startup regulations to stimulate entrepreneurship, encouraging growth of businesses along economic corridors and developing retail areas accessible by foot.
Other recommendations include establishing neighborhood-based schools to anchor communities, and rezoning and holding land between industrial areas and neighborhoods for future green infrastructure.
The report predicts that improvements would be seen within 10 years, and transformation would occur between years 20 and 50.
"This represents an exciting opportunity for Detroiters to get involved in a process, the scale of which has never been matched on either the national or international stage," said demographer Kurt Metzger, who spearheaded a separate, earlier project that counted the number of abandoned and vacant houses in the city.
"This is not a time for naysayers. It is a time for all of us to take some time to study the plan and see where we can best fit in to truly make a difference."