Urban settings and Detroit in particular, are important centers of innovation and problem solving for at least two reasons:

At a global level, international policy and humanitarian organizations, governments, and a variety of funding agencies are increasingly focused on issues raised by the rapid urbanization of the world’s population. In 1950 30% of the world’s population lived in urban settings, but that number is projected to increase to nearly 70% in 2050 (United Nations, 2009). With the greater part of the world’s population, urban settings now have the majority of the world’s social problems.

Detroit exemplifies some of the challenges and opportunities of the growing urbanism. Detroit is undergoing changes that are garnering national and international visibility. Long known as an iconic city of postindustrial decline, Detroit is increasingly seen as a frontier for experimentation in urban recovery, particularly in areas such as land and water use and food security.

SWAN is ideally situated to engage in a synergistic partnership with the city’s burgeoning, energetic, and creative “grassroots sector” by training academically strong students to become both globally aware and locally engaged educators and leaders.

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