home


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

New normal for Detroit comparables

(Census, Data, Regionalism, Right-sizing) Permanent link

Comparable data from similar-sized local governments are typically used to analyze and benchmark the relative effectiveness of government services across the region. To that end, Southeast Michigan represents the 12th largest region* in the country as indicated in the list below, so we routinely associate and compare ourselves with the other regions our size like Atlanta or Minneapolis. Similarly, Detroit is the 18th largest city in the U.S., but with the shifts in population, we find ourselves among a whole new set of comparable cities as indicated below. Typically, we would not have grouped Detroit with Columbus, OH or Memphis, TN, for example.

 

This new normal for comparing Detroit, however, should not inhibit the city’s potential success, as the list includes several very successful cities with very well run local governments that hopefully will be benchmarked by city officials and the Financial Advisory Board as they strive to stabilize the fiscal situation, improve core services and redevelop the city as spelled out in the recent consent agreement.

 

Also included in the tables below are the surface area and population density for comparable metropolitan regions and cities. The data tends to debunk the theory that Detroit is too large for its population and the region has too much urban sprawl, as we are in the middle of the pack on both lists.

 

Rank

U.S. Metro Area*

Population

Area (sq. mi.)

Pop. Density

8 Miami, FL

5,564,635

1,116

4,986

9 Atlanta

5,268,860

1,962

2,685

10 Boston

4,552,402

1,736

2,622

11 San Fransisco

4,335,391

526

8,242

12 Detroit

4,296,250

1,261

3,407

13 Phoenix

4,192,887

799

5,248

14 Seattle

3,439,809

953

3,609

15 Minneapolis

3,279,833

894

3,669

16 San Diego

3,095,313

782

3,958

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rank

U.S. City

Population

Area (sq. mi.)

Pop. Density

14 Austin, TX

790,390

298

2,652

15 Columbus, OH

787,033

217

3,627

16 Fort Worth, TX

741,206

340

180

17 Charlotte, NC

731,424

298

2,454

18 Detroit, MI

713,777

139

5,135

19 El Paso, TX

649,121

255

2,546

20 Memphis, TN

646,889

315

2,054

21 Baltimore, MD

620,961

81

7,666

22 Boston, MA

617,594

48

12,867

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For no-cost assistance in dealing with your community’s fiscal challenges, contact Dave Boerger, SEMCOG Local Government Effectiveness.

 

*Based on the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) definition of Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

 

Dave Boerger
Learn how to navigate fiscal uncertainty by improving efficiency, fostering collaboration, and providing information on right-sizing. Through his weekly posts, Dave discusses legislative developments, best practices, and training opportunities.

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

Member Services? What kind of services?

(Transportation, Walkability bikeability, SEMCOG Member Services, Environment, Stormwater management, Green infrastructure, Best Practice) Permanent link

“I didn’t know SEMCOG did that…”
“How much does that cost?...”

 

These are typical comments and questions we hear at SEMCOG when we start working with our members on a specific project. At SEMCOG, I have the privilege of working with an extremely talented group of people focusing on providing direct services to SEMCOG members.

 

From transportation issues, including: traffic safety, pedestrian and bikeability, and access management – to environmental topics, like: green infrastructure and meeting Phase II stormwater requirements – to neighborhood stabilization techniques – to understanding the transportation funding options…our staff can help.

 

I look forward to sharing some of our success stories and encourage you to consider becoming one of them. You can start by checking out our Member Services Web page – and be sure to read my post next Wednesday. In it, I’ll be discussing how changes to the U.S. Census Urbanized Area might impact your Phase II stormwater permit requirements.

 

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.

Thinking about the Earth

(Air Quality, Environment, Public outreach, Regionalism, Stormwater management) Permanent link

On April 22, 2012, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day celebrations to help clean up the Earth. People of all nationalities and backgrounds will show their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection. On this day, communities around the country will unite for a sustainable future. I call upon individuals, organizations, and governments to do their part on this day. Please help celebrate this day, and join me at one of the following local Earth Day events around the region.

  • April 12th, Washtenaw Community College ,4800 East Huron River Drive,
    Ann Arbor, MI, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. – General Public – Rideshare, Ours to Protect.
  • April 18th, TACOM, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. – Employees Only – Rideshare.
  • April 19th, Chrysler Headquarters, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Employees Only – Rideshare.
  • April 23rd, Canton Public Library, 1200 South Canton Center Road, Canton, MI, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. – General Public – Ours to Protect, Rideshare.

As I attend these Earth Day events a few questions will be on my mind. Is the green movement still going strong? Do people still care about the environment? I’m going ask these questions of the public during the events. Attending these Earth Day events are great for a family outing, but do people care enough to go home and practice what they’ve learned? At SEMCOG, we like to say that everyone doing their small part does make a difference.

 

SEMCOG’s Ours to Protect program and the Seven Simple Steps to Clean Water make it easy to find something you can do and make a difference. Our MiRideshare matching service helps you join with other commuters to reduce gasoline consumption and air pollution. And the great part of all these programs is that while they improve the environment, they also increase our quality of life and economic prosperity. That’s how we create a successful region!

 

Grant Brooks
Grant is the Communications Specialist for the Membership/External Affairs Group at SEMCOG. Grant meets regularly with SEMCOG members to assure a quality membership experience, and to educate the public about SEMCOG’s outreach programs.

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