Posted by Rebecca Eggleston on July 08, 2009 |
Could the bicycle take over in the Motor City? Could the emergence of a greater biking culture re-enliven and re-use the city’s landscape in new ways?
Toby Barlow in this article makes the case for Detroit as a biking city. “With the legendarily affordable real estate and without needing to pay for car payments, gas or insurance, bicyclists could rebuild Detroit into a model of a two-wheeled economy. They could pass laws promoting bikes over cars and designate entire avenues motor-free zones, which, given the state of many of them now, wouldn’t be so much of a stretch.”
“Our abandoned landscape suggests an opportunity that alternative-transportation proponents should consider: instead of raging against their cities’ internal combustion machines, they might consider a tactical retreat to the city that cars have pretty much abandoned.”
The increase in cyclists and thriving new bicycle businesses give cause for optimism.
Posted by Carol Coletta on March 08, 2009 |
This story is a must-read. Detroit's cheap housing is attracting (at least three) artists and dreamers who are then attracting friends. "But the city offers a much greater attraction for artists than $100 houses. Detroit right now is just this vast, enormous canvas where anything imaginable can be accomplished."
It's only anecdotal (and modest at that), but it's a start. And it's lovely.
Posted by Carol Coletta on January 31, 2009 |
Detroit is a wonderfully complex city. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of Detroit civic leaders (members of the CEOs for Cities City Cluster) who are working to bring 15,000 college-educated young adults to Detroit by 2015. And they are focused on making Detroit an appealing place for them to locate by focusing on the vibrancy of downtown and Midtown along the Woodward corridor.
The Midtown area has a lot going for it. Two major hospitals, Wayne State University, the College of Creative Studies, the newly renovated and reinstalled Detroit Institute of Art, along with multiple other cultural institutions. What is obviously missing is the concentration of and connections among these assets. But they are now working on it.
In fact, Detroit is positioned to become one of the first cities (along, perhaps, with Cleveland) to get its anchor institutions working collaboratively. And in Detroit's case, most of the impetus for collaboration is emerging from the institutions (rather than from a monster funder).
Dave Egner and Katy Locker, both with Hudson-Webber Foundation, are the instigators of 15:15, and they are supremely talented convenors and very smart thinkers.
What a pleasure it is to sit around the…
Posted by Carol Coletta on January 14, 2009 |
At his always interesting blog, The Bellows, Ryan Avent poses the fascinating question, How many talented people would have to move to Detroit to create a tipping point that becomes a self-sustaining movement? What started as a Twitter joke ("Let's all go buy a mansion for a $1.") turned into an interesting thought experiment.
In certain rare cases, such as in the creation of a famous artist colony, a very low population will suffice -- maybe 5,000 or so. "Similarly, should I manage to open up a university of sufficient quality and amenities, then we could probably make it with anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 people," he concludes, and he figures the same is true for a "unique natural attraction."
"But," he writes, "if we’re hoping to create a true industry center, either tech or media oriented, or both, then the necessary population of professionals is probably much higher — I’d guess at least 100,000."
Why? Because cities are complicated economic ecosystems.
Read the rest of post here. In fact, scan his entire blog.
Posted by Carol Coletta on November 24, 2008 |
The Urbanophile blogs about the Midwest. Always provocative, today's post reviews the auto industry's options and what that means for Detroit. Definitely worth a read.
Posted by Carol Coletta on October 31, 2008 |
One of the best blogs on local economic development and politics continues to be Smart City Memphis, written by good friend and colleague Tom Jones. Today he's written another incisive post on the Aerotropolis strategy being pursued by a number of cities.
Posted by Rebecca Eggleston on October 08, 2008 |
With creative cities strategies increasingly gaining the attention of city leaders around the world, the Creative Cities Summit being hosted in Detroit October 12 – 15 will engage leaders with ideas on how to “rethink and redesign our cities for this age of innovation, knowledge and creativity”.
By hosting this event Detroit hopes to draw from the expertise that will be shared through the conference and inspire “cities shaped by the industrial revolution that now look forward to a new, vibrant creative economy” in their endeavors.
The extensive line up of speakers and sessions includes a discussion between “The Creative Big Three” Charles Landry, John Howkins, Richard Florida and our own Carol Coletta.
More information at the Creative Cities Summit website here.
Posted by Carol Coletta on September 23, 2008 |
Good for Detroit's suburban mayors. They are launching an experimental venture called Millennial Mayors Congress, in which mayors and emerging civic leaders will collaboratively develop action-oriented solutions to regional challenges. If it works, promoters believe it could break some serious SE Michigan barriers: increasing the access that young(ish) people have to decision making about their communities and crossing over the walls that prevent much-needed regional cooperation. According to GLUE's Sarah Szurpicki, "Those are two really large birds to hit with one ambitious stone, but, to cite a favorite GLUE descriptor: we’re nothing if not ambitious!"
So when will Detroit's new mayor join in?
Posted by Carol Coletta on June 24, 2008 |
A heavy two weeks of meetings with urban leaders in cities across the country left me with several thoughts:
Urban leaders are scrambling to figure out how to respond to high gas prices, and transit is a priority for mayors everywhere. Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio has made getting transit built in her city the top goal of her final three years in office. It was a top issue this morning in Baltimore, where even with light rail, leaders are dissatisfied. (That's not surprising, given our trip to the airport mid-day by rail took more than an hour and a transfer of trains.) I saw a handmade map of a proposed transit system in an unnamed major city that may be privately funded. I'll be in Raleigh Thursday at a transit forum organized by citizens but to be attended by several city council members. Transit fever is everywhere.
Commitment to local communities is so non-partisan. I've been working in Grand Rapids recently, and I've never seen a group of business people more committed to their community and more willing to take responsibility for its future. Any one who believes the urban agenda is only of…
Posted by Carol Coletta on February 26, 2008 |
The $100 million New Economy Initiative is an unprecedented commitment by philanthropists to transform a community -- in this case, Detroit and Southeast Michigan. The governing council of the fund is focusing on three high leverage drivers of transformation: Talent, Innovation, and Culture.
The group has only recently begun accepting proposals for grantmaking and has not yet hired its executive director. But the governing council members have taken a strong hand in shaping the new initiative, led by the very able and thoughtful Steve Hamp.
Talent and Innovation are, of course, two of the City Vitals identified by CEOs for Cities. (The others are Connections and Distinctiveness.) It will be important to watch what happens when civic leaders, acting with intent, tackle these City Vitals.
There has apparently been some tension there between the development of talent and the attraction and retention of talent. IMO, it is important to address these simultaneously. In fact, the governing council has floated at least two talent initiatives that could serve both objectives imaginatively. Either would be a model for other cities to follow.
Detroit is a city to watch. There is so much there to work with. Are there challenges? No doubt. But Detroit has the…