Detroit Development Tracker

About the Detroit Development Tracker

The Detroit Development Tracker was built by Kate Abbey-Lambertz and civic engineer Jimmy McBroom. It is maintained and published by local independent news nonprofit Outlier Media. The open-source tool launched in February 2022 through Detour Detroit, now a part of Outlier.

Our goal is to empower Detroiters to better understand the forces shaping their own neighborhoods. As development activity skyrockets in the city, we believe residents deserve more information about what is being built, and who is building it.

The Detroit Development Tracker takes this information out of the domain of developers, funders and city bureaucracy, making it more accessible — and actionable — for those most impacted by it.

We hope that tracking larger-scale residential and commercial development projects will give Detroiters another layer of understanding about land use and ownership in their neighborhoods.

What you will find in the Detroit Development Tracker

This site allows you to see a bird’s eye view of development at the city or neighborhood level from the map, or search within all development projects included in the tracker. Each development project page includes more information about the taxpayer, what is being built, the status of the project, zoning information and, when they are available, details like cost, timelines and site photos.

The tracker covers development projects within the city boundaries proposed, in progress or recently completed as of 2022 or 2023. New projects will continue to be added and existing projects will continue to be updated.

We collect information about developments from a variety of sources, including user-submitted tips and independent research. We use open data from sources including the Detroit Open Data Portal and the city's Parcel Viewer. Detroit Documenters contribute to research and maintenance and provide public documents and notes from public meetings.

The tracker also relies on reporting from local outlets including Crain's Detroit Business, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Urbanize Detroit, WXYZ and others. We believe the tracker will strengthen real estate development coverage for Detroit residents, and it wouldn't be possible without journalism from our peers in the local media ecosystem.

The Detroit Development Tracker is a work in progress, with more data being added all the time. The tracker is meant to be a participatory project, relying on users like you to share information. All submissions are verified by journalists.

How can you use the Detroit Development Tracker?

If you are a Detroit resident who wants to know more about development; a developer who is interested in democratizing the development landscape and building relationships with the people their projects serve; a member of a neighborhood group or other organization that serves Detroiters; or just have an idea for how the tracker could serve our city better, we want to hear from you.

Creators, collaborators and funders

Outlier Media Product and Engagement Manager Kate Abbey-Lambertz maintains the tracker with Jimmy McBroom, lead developer. (Disclosure: Jimmy is a data engineer with the City of Detroit, where his team manages the Open Data Portal. He works on the tracker in his personal capacity; the City of Detroit has no role in its operation or maintenance.)

Kate and Jimmy started collaborating on the project in 2020 after Jimmy responded to an audience survey and suggested creating it, based on a prototype he built at the City in 2017 with researcher Ivy Tran and web developer Jessica McInchak. In 2021, Kate was awarded a fellowship from the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism to build and launch the Detroit Development Tracker with Detour. The tracker is now published by Outlier Media, after Detour merged with the nonprofit in 2022.

Lindsay Farris designed the website. Rasha Almulaiki, Rukiya Colvin and Paul Warner contributed research assistance. Lauren Ann Davies, Nina Ignaczak, Noah Kincade and Ashley Woods Branch provided strategic support.

The Detroit Development Tracker project was funded by the Reynolds Journalism Institute, with support from RJI Executive Director Randy Picht and Director of Innovation Kat Duncan. It has received funding from the Detroit Equity Action Lab – Race and Justice Reporting Initiative, a program of The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, with support from DEAL Race and Justice Journalism Fellow Martina Guzmán. It has also received critical support from Detour Detroit members and individual donors.

Contact us

Have questions or want to contribute? Get in touch.