More than 120 metro Atlanta leaders traveled to the Detroit region in early May for the 2017 LINK trip, organized by the Atlanta Regional Commission, to learn about Detroit’s renaissance and search for lessons that could help address key challenges back home.
On one hand, Detroit’s well-known struggles provide a cautionary tale about what might happen when a region’s urban core sharply declines.
But Detroit’s remarkable rise from the ashes of bankruptcy offered plenty of inspiration for metro Atlanta. The region’s determined entrepreneurial spirit and penchant for innovation generated a buzz among LINK participants.
LINK participants were inspired by the honesty and transparency of the “Detroiters” they met. Key takeaways included open discussions about race and equity, economic diversification, confronting difficult issues before they become overwhelming, and taking steps to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen in metro Atlanta. But perhaps the most surprising takeaway was the optimism felt by all.
“There was a very positive energy, and it was inspiring to see all these people who cared so much about their city,” said LINK participant Amol Naik, head of external affairs for Google in the Southeast. “It was also interesting to see how much race played a factor and how open they were about it.”
The LINK group will get back together in June to discuss the key takeaways from the trip and decide any next steps that might be needed.
Read about the highlights here.