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Community Research Collective

We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective (WPD CRC) is a collaboration between community activists, academics, researchers and designers. Our research is produced with and for the citizens of Detroit. This research has been used in a wide range of settings, from community organizing to legal and legislative work. We hope that our work will be of further use to Detroiters in their efforts to build a more democratic city.

The Community Research Collective has been working on aggregating and visualizing data about water, land and education issues in Detroit. As part of the data visualization project, the WPD CRC is currently publishing the first of a three-part series documenting the social consequences of austerity policies and Emergency Management in Detroit, focusing in particular on the racial inequity of these policies. We define austerity policies as public policies that prioritize financial goals over the well-being of citizens. The first publication is focused on water, and the following publications will focus on education and land ownership.


We have published our work around water in "Mapping the Water Crisis", which is available for a charitable donation and will help fund our research projects.


The research itself, led by We the People of Detroit, has four parts:​


Mapping and otherwise visualizing publicly accessible data to understand the geographic and systematic impact of austerity policies on the City of Detroit

A city-wide community survey, adapted from the Center for Disease Control’s CASPER toolkit for assessing health needs after a disaster


A citizen-science project to test the impact of water shutoffs on residential water quality


A story-mapping project to support youth in telling individual and collective narratives about the impact of austerity policies on their community



The CRC is working on publishing a three-part series of books documenting the effects of austerity and its relationship to race in Detroit. “Mapping the Water Crisis: The Dismantling of African-American Neighborhoods in Detroit” (2016) has been published. We are currently working on research into education and will then move on to land, as the other two parts of the series.

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