Welcome to SEMCOG's Think Regional/Act Local blog! SEMCOG is the only organization in Southeast Michigan that brings together all governments to solve regional challenges and enhance the quality of life for the seven-county regions 4.7 million residents. With this regional perspective in mind, we work with member local governments to sustain our regions reputation as a great place to work, play, and do business.


Our panel of SEMCOG staff bloggers will post daily to this blog, discussing SEMCOG's data, federal and state legislative issues, and environmental and fiscal sustainability best practices for local governments all with the goal of creating a successful future for the region.



Think Regional/Act Local

Slower growth and less decentralization

(Data, Right-sizing) Permanent link

By now you probably have heard from us multiple times about the slow-growth trend in our demographic and socio-economic forecast. We are predicting a small increase of 110,000 (or 6%) households in 30 years from 2010 to 2040 in our region. By contrast, the region added 146,000 (or 9%) households in just 10 years from 1990 to 2000. What I would like to add to this comparison of the past and future is that we’ll experience not only slower growth, but also less decentralization (or “sprawl”). In the last 30 years, Detroit lost nearly a half million people. That will definitely not be repeated in the next 30 years. Detroit population will eventually stabilize, as we forecast (Figure 1). Meanwhile, growth in the suburbs has slowed down dramatically and will not return to the pre-“great-recession” level anytime soon.


Figure 1: Detroit Population History and Forecast

The maps below further illustrate the slow down of decentralization. The map on the left shows what happened in the last 20 years. This was the reality we faced. The City of Detroit was losing 5,231 households a year on average, which was more than 14 households per day. At the same time, Macomb Township led the gains, with 962 annually (2.6 per day). The map on right shows what we forecast for the next 30 years. Detroit’s loss of households will improve evenly, reducing from 5,231 to only 460 annually, on average. In other words, the rate of decline in the next 30 years is less than one-tenth of the rate in the last 20 years. At the same time, the growth rate of the suburban communities will be significantly slower.


Figure 2: Average Annual Household Change by Community (1990-2000)


Figure 3: Average Annual Household Change by Community (2010-2040)


Xuan Liu
Interested in knowing how SEMCOG’s data impacts local governments and residents in Southeast Michigan? Then, you’ll want to read Xuan’s weekly posts.

You must be logged in comment. Log in or Register to comment. 
By commenting, you are agreeing to the 
terms of use.

Green in Detroit

(Best Practice, Environment, Green infrastructure, Right-sizing, Stormwater management) Permanent link

Walking around Myra Jessie’s community garden with Dan Wyant, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and hearing her story as a resident of Brightmoor (one of Detroit’s more blighted areas) again reinforced that community gardens, forests, and meadows (sometimes called Green Infrastructure) are an important part of this region’s success – not just from an environmental perspective.




Residents of the Brightmoor neighborhood started this community garden to promote economic self-sufficiency and beautify their community. This and other community gardens throughout Detroit inspired the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to build on momentum of committed residents and expand the use of green techniques as a way to curb stormwater run-off that pollutes our rivers and lakes.


Director Wyant asked to see Brightmoor because SEMCOG is working with DWSD and MDEQ on implementing green techniques that will meet the State’s stormwater permit requirements and curb pollution to the Rouge River – a great way to reduce pollution if you ask me.


DWSD will be implementing millions of dollars in greening techniques in this area over the next 20 years. Who knows… maybe Myra’s garden will expand to a whole orchard!


Amy Mangus
You can leverage your SEMCOG membership to help your local government become more sustainable and effective. Amy’s posts will focus on SEMCOG’s member services.

You must be logged in comment. Log in or Register to comment. 
By commenting, you are agreeing to the 
terms of use.