Twelve Imperative Actions

  1. We must re-energize Ypsilanti’s economy to increase job opportunities for Ypsilantians within the city and strengthen the tax base.
  2. We must support our current residents and attract new residents.
  3. We must use innovative approaches to transform our vacant land in ways that increases the value and productivity and promote long-term sustainability.
  4. We must use our open space to improve the health of all Ypsilanti’s residents and passer-by.
  5. We must promote a range of sustainable residential densities.
  6. We must focus on sizing the networks for a smaller population, making them more efficient, more affordable, and better performing.
  7. We must align city systems in ways that promote areas of economic potential, encourage thriving communities, and improve environmental and human health conditions.
  8. We must be strategic and coordinated in our use of land.
  9. We must promote stewardship for all areas of the city by implementing short-term and long-term strategies.
  10. We must provide residents with meaningful ways to make change in their communities and the city at large.
  11. We must pursue a collaborative regional agenda that recognizes Ypsilanti’s strengths and our region’s shared destiny.
  12. We must dedicate ourselves to implementing this framework for our future.

The Things We Must Do

The Ypsilanti community and City of Ypsilanti Planning staff worked together to identify the important core values, project goals, and other important elements that have driven the recommendations published in the Shape Ypsilanti Master Plan (circa 2013). Early engagement efforts revealed that issues of access to jobs, safety, education, human health, and neighborhood appearance where universally critical to address. The sentiments were uniformly raised regardless of the neighborhood population, ethnicity, income, or geography. Residents and community stakeholders alike wanted an improved city and a better quality of life and business environment.

Through these public conversations, the Steering Committee focused its work on defining what an improved quality of life and business would require, and created a set of benchmarks that must be established if Ypsilanti is to achieve visible and sustainable change. These twelve imperatives (coupled with the ten guiding values) are drawn from the quality-of-life and quality-of-business elements identified in the collaborative dialogue between technical and community experts.¹

Looking carefully at the data revealed by the Shape Ypsilanti initiative, it became clear that “if we did nothing,” the quality of life and business in Ypsilanti would continue to plateau. The scope of the planning effort focused on priorities for change as defined by the ten guiding values and twelve imperatives.

Encourage Local Entrepreneurship and Minority Business Ownership

  • Promote short-term approaches to increase the number and success of MBEs in the City, and in Depot Town.
  • Support the development of low-cost, shared spaces, for clusters with high levels of self-employment.
  • Provide young Ypsilantians with experience in digital and creative clusters, and the new innovation economy. 
  •  Develop a comprehensive long-term strategy to increase and strengthen the City’s MBEs.
Examples of Ypsilanti minority-owned business:

A Taste of Soul By Biggie, 1004 East Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Puffer Reds, 13 West Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Currie’s Barber Shop, 432 Harriet St., Ypsilanti, MI 48197

United Sonz, 105 West Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Friends Closet, 310 Perrin St., Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Sun Tax Service, 740 Emerick St., Ypsilanti, MI 48198


Durr, Matt. “Ypsilanti wins award for Shape Ypsilanti Master Plan.” 28 August 2014

Burg, Natalie. “Shape Ypsi master planning launches new website, public outreach.” 30 January 2013

Schreiber, Paul. “State of the City 2013: Shaping Ypsilanti, Office of the Mayor.”

¹Detroit Future City.