Reminisce on this: We take a fresh look at the best of Model D in 2010

In 2010, we talked less of incubating ideas and more of turning ideas into action. It's what Detroit does best: getting a steam of energy behind it and making some bold moves. That energy, that action by a growing number of makers and doers made headlines in Model D this year. Oh, sure, if people had good ideas that could be seeded for a better future for Detroit, we were listening, reporting and writing about those, too.

Our feature and news writers, our photographer Marvin Shaouni and videographer Tom Hendrickson, were on the hunt for people doing interesting things in one of the world's most interesting places: yep, that's Detroit. Along the way they bumped into researchers, reporters and feature and documentary filmmakers from all over the world. Sometimes the media attention became the story -- especially in our Buzz section, which dedicates itself to that very thing week after week.

Our Innovation & Jobs wing of Development News evolved into Startup, which follows the bouncing ball from project concept to project realization.

Throughout the year, we continued evolving, overall, into a media vehicle that has its eye on all the potential and opportunity we see breaking out across the city. Once a month, we organize that energy into a speaker series event that brings prime movers -- and our readers -- together. We are out front, looking to find what's next, bringing it back to you as quickly as we can process it.

Our top picks in Dev News, authored by Kelli B. Kavanaugh, covered a large range of neighborhoods across the city:     

In East Riverfront, the Elevator Building made news, while hacker space OmniCorpDetroit became part of the growing creative life of Eastern Market. Once-vacant houses got some attention and new life through efforts of Grandmount Rosedale Development Corporation on the city northwest side. Artist Jerome Ferretti's Monumental Kitty sculpture settled into a new home in North Corktown, where Hostel Detroit also announced plans it was opening in spring of 2011.

Other top news hits included a piece on the Dequindre Cut extension, Wayne County Port Authority starting wharf construction by the end of this year, the City of Detroit landing $21.5M in grants, loans and investments for the Woodward Corridor, an update on Midtown's Green Alley and the exciting news that Detroit-bred (OK, make that Oak Park-bred) Don Was is to open a Detroit recording studio at a former Detroit Public School property on MLK Jr. Blvd.

Startup News -- which also contains innovation and growth content -- featured more than 10 solid stories, but here are writer Jon Zemke's top choices: Blue Cross Blue Shield moving 3,000 staff downtown; GalaxE Solutions hiring dozens for new downtown location; Urban Science expanding its Ren Cen space for 23 new positions; in TechTown, the Bank of Ann Arbor injected new capital with a financing deal; Stunt3 Multimedia converted documentary film projects into jobs downtown; GM Ventures invested $3.2 million in Ann Arbor-based Sakti3, downtown-based Renaissance Venture Capital Fund closed out a $50 million investment vehicle and Detroit Venture Partners made moves to grow a downtown tech hub.

We reported that Quicken Loans was going Google creative with new downtown offices and NextCat collected $100,000 in seed capital from Ann Arbor SPARK's Boot Camp.

In features, former editor Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey did a memorable Q&A with an insect in BEE Green buzzes through Detroit. Dennis Archambault caught up to Detroit Free Press journalist John Gallagher, who authored a visionary book on reimagining Detroit, for another Q&A. Southwest politician-activist Steve Tobocman essayed a piece on how immigration is key to building a Global Detroit, and Dev News specialist Kavanaugh penned an important piece on the status of Woodward light rail and caught the pulse of where the action is with a piece on how the Power House project is turning Art into action in a neighborhood on the Detroit-Hamtramck border.

We had some great food and drink stories in 2010. Two of the best were Rachel Harkai's What Detroit Drinks and Liquid Assets, Nicole Rupersburg's piece on the long-awaited opening of downtown's MotorCity Wine boutique. Two video features showed the range of what we cover: Tom Hendrickson's piece on CreateHere, the Tennessee-based group that organized a weekend of thought-into-action conversion at Corktown's Roosevelt Park; and Terry Parris Jr's story on the Detroit Futbol League, a neighborhood-pride-building phenomenon that was a huge hit this summer (with buzz already starting for next season).

I did two stories that I especially liked: Hanging in Midtown, about the power of flowers making the Forest Arms rehab come alive; and a piece on Popps Packing, another art space/project in the Detroit-Hamtramck borderlands pushing our creative communities forward.

It was a "wow!" kind of year for the multiple local vibes that inspire us all. It leaves a taste of something better beginning. We'll keep following that bouncing ball into the new year and beyond, rest assured.

Walter Wasacz is Model D managing editor. He plans to bounce through the holidays and come back refreshed and ready for more action in 2011.

All photographs © Marvin Shaouni Photography
Contact Marvin here


New developments begin in Roosevelt Park

Vistas Nuevas Headstart at Clark Park

Detroit Works Project held at the Charles Wright Museum

Detroit Restaurant Week

Power House Project

The abandoned Roosevelt Hotel lights up with a new installation, created by the art duo known as the Hygienic Dress League.


First ever Detroit Chicken Race

Detroit City Futbol League

Motor City Wine

Ruth Ellis Center

Haute to Death

Read more articles by Walter Wasacz.

Walter Wasacz is a writer and the former managing editor of Model D. You can find more of his writings here.
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