TechTown receives $545,600 grant to support Detroit Urban Solutions program

TechTown Detroit plans to use a $ 545,600 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Agency to address mobility, energy, agriculture, and health issues in the city and increase civic engagement.

The grant will support TechTown’s Detroit Urban Solutions, a program that involves residents as well as local businesses, nonprofits, startups and educational institutions to create positive change and accelerate innovation in areas that need it most, said Paul Riser, CEO at TechTown.

Detroit Urban Solutions launched in the summer of 2019 and had little time to get going before COVID-19 hit the city and nation. The federal grant received earlier this month will help restart the program. TechTown was one of 44 organizations across the country to receive the grant.

“There’s some gas for us in the gas tank,” said Riser. “It will expand and scale the services and programs that we have already set up.”

In addition to addressing health and safety issues caused by the pandemic, other initiatives include maximizing building and energy efficiency, monitoring water quality, and deploying technology in every neighborhood in Detroit.

According to Riser, the organization is in talks with local construction companies and the city’s planning department to provide the inCitu software platform for projects in Detroit. The app uses 3D modeling to bring developments “into their urban context” and to enable designers, residents and politicians to work together, according to its website.

“By creating opportunities to bring together some of the most creative and innovative minds in the state, we are showing the nation and the world that we here in Michigan know how we can get the job done,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a news release.

Detroit Urban Solutions is led by a steering committee chaired by Riser and Emily Dabish, represented by more than a dozen organizations, including Bedrock, Bosch, Ford Motor Co., Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan Economic Development Corp.

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