Current efforts to revitalize Detroit appear to be a mix of ad hoc green approaches (urban gardens, etc.) and traditional commercial development. That’s not going to turn the city’s wealth creation engine back on.
What’s needed is a rethink of how a city produces wealth and becomes economically vibrant.
A good place to start is with the urbanist Jane Jacobs. Her analysis showed that the wealth engine of a city is a bootstrap called import replacement. Essentially, a city become economically vibrant by finding ways to locally produce the things it is currently importing.