Detroit Names First Sustainability Director


Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has hired Joel Howrani Heeres to serve as the city’s first Director of Sustainability. In the role, Howrani Heeres will guide the City’s efforts to strengthen the economic, social and environmental well-being of the City’s residents, neighborhoods and businesses.

Howrani Heeres started in the role yesterday.

This isn’t the first role Howarani Heeres has had with the city, previously, he led Detroit’s efforts to improve its enterprise data governance and expand public access to City information as Director of Open Data and Analysis in the City’s Department of Innovation and Technology.

“Sustainability is an important part of my administration because it has a direct impact on our health, environment, neighborhoods and economic growth, and it can help us more efficiently deliver City services,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “These are things that are important to all Detroiters.”

More than 150 cities nationwide have created sustainability offices in order to focus on municipal resiliency issues. Detroit has achieved several sustainability milestones including the launch of the QLine streetcar, conversion of the city’s 59,000 streetlights to LEDs, adoption of green demolition practices for vacant home demolitions, securing $9 million in Federal funding to enhance the city’s resiliency, opening a 10-acre solar array at O’Shea Park, and $11.7 million in investments to renovate 40 city parks and playgrounds. The sustainability office is the latest initiative to codify those projects into a more formalized slate of projects within Detroit.