Placed-Based Initiatives

The Turnaround of Detroit Using NRSA Concept

The Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA) concept is an innovative, holistic approach to community revitalization that moves beyond piecemeal interventions. Here’s how cities like Detroit, under the guidance of Michelle Bush and C-FACTS, successfully implemented this approach:

  1. Stakeholder Collaboration: The NRSA approach believes in forming strong collaborations between local governments, community organizations, the private sector, and residents. By ensuring that all stakeholders have a voice and are actively involved, there is a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and potential solutions.

  2. Focused Geographical Approach: Instead of trying to tackle the entire city’s issues at once, the NRSA approach emphasizes focusing on specific neighborhoods or regions. This allows for a deeper understanding of local issues and a more targeted strategy.

  3. Holistic Interventions: Instead of isolated initiatives, the NRSA concept promotes integrated strategies. This could mean linking housing development with job creation, infrastructure improvements, and social services, ensuring that all aspects of a community's needs are addressed.

  4. Community Engagement: The success of NRSA lies in its commitment to community engagement. The strategy is not imposed from the top-down but is instead co-developed with community members. This ensures that interventions are culturally sensitive, relevant, and have local buy-in.

  5. Leveraging Public and Private Investments: A major strength of the NRSA approach is its ability to attract both public and private investments. By showcasing potential and creating a stable environment for growth, private investors are more willing to fund projects.

  6. Continuous Monitoring and Feedback Loop: The NRSA process is not static. It requires regular evaluations and adjustments based on feedback and changing circumstances. This ensures the strategy remains relevant and effective.

  7. Capacity Building: The NRSA approach recognizes that for sustainable change, local capacity must be built. This means investing in local leaders, community organizations, and institutions so that they can continue the work long after the initial interventions.

  8. Transparency and Accountability: With multiple stakeholders and significant investments involved, the NRSA strategy emphasizes transparency in its operations and decision-making processes. Regular updates, open forums, and channels for feedback ensure everyone is kept in the loop and any concerns are addressed promptly.


Detroit's success story is a testament to the potential of the NRSA approach when executed with dedication, collaboration, and a clear vision. It demonstrates that with the right strategy, even the most distressed cities can experience a rebirth and offer better lives for their residents. Other cities facing similar challenges can learn from Detroit’s experience and consider adopting the NRSA framework as a guiding principle for their own revitalization efforts.

Click here to view the application.


Case Study: The City of Toledo's NRSA Designation with C-FACTS' Guidance

Introduction: In the quest to revitalize cities, HUD's NRSA program presents a viable and comprehensive pathway. The City of Toledo's journey in achieving this designation, under the leadership of C-FACTS, serves as a model of how thorough planning, community involvement, and data-driven decision-making can lead to impactful outcomes.

Background: Toledo, like many cities, faced challenges in specific neighborhoods that required an integrated approach for community revitalization. C-FACTS and its Collaborative aimed to bring the promise of the NRSA program to Toledo to address these challenges.


  1. Educating Key Stakeholders: Before any real progress could be made, it was crucial that those in positions of power, like the City Council, were fully informed about the NRSA program. C-FACTS took the initiative to enlighten them about the requirements, benefits, and long-term impacts of the NRSA designation.

  2. Data Analysis: Using a combination of technology and on-the-ground assessments, C-FACTS led a comprehensive data analysis phase. This involved identifying neighborhoods and census tracts that met the criteria for NRSA designation based on socio-economic parameters, housing conditions, and other relevant metrics.

  3. Community Engagement: Recognizing that any successful revitalization initiative requires the involvement and buy-in of the community, C-FACTS organized several community engagement sessions. These sessions provided a platform for residents to voice their concerns, hopes, and aspirations for their neighborhoods.

  4. Focus Groups: To delve deeper into specific challenges and potential solutions, focus groups were conducted. These smaller, more intimate sessions allowed for a more detailed examination of issues and facilitated the gathering of qualitative data.

  5. Planning Sessions: Armed with data and community feedback, several planning sessions were orchestrated to draft the strategy. These sessions involved synthesizing all gathered information and formulating a roadmap for the NRSA application and subsequent implementation.

Outcome: The rigorous and collaborative approach undertaken by C-FACTS and its Collaborative bore fruit when the proposal was promptly approved by HUD. This approval wasn't just a testament to the meticulous planning and execution of the application but also an affirmation of the potential transformative impact the NRSA program can have on Toledo's designated neighborhoods.

Conclusion: Toledo's success in achieving the NRSA designation is an illustration of how structured planning, community-centric approaches, and expert guidance can bring about meaningful change. It serves as an inspiration and a blueprint for other cities aiming to harness the potential of the NRSA program for community revitalization.

Click here to view the application.


"C-FACTS consultants have provided expert advice on HUD rules and regulations, worked closely with our staff and partners to create an innovative Home Repair Loan Program, strengthened our financial management systems and established the platform for NSP compliance."
— Arthur Jemison, Director, Housing and Revitalization Department for the City of Detroit

Placed-based Projects

Cody Rouge
Initiative to revitalize the Cody Rouge neighborhood in Detroit, MI
Detroit NRSA
Detroit, MI Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area