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The Urbanist podcasts from Detroit again

Glossy and dense with words and pictures, British magazine Monocle we love you, let us count the ways. Well, for one you appear to give us a lot of love us back, evidenced by podcasts produced under The Urbanist series. Here's another that focuses on bringing people and money back to the city.

Enjoy!

MSNBC drops in on city's green scene

Sure, we all know urban farming has been a big part of the Detroit redevelopment narrative for some time. But it's still awfully nice to see national media paying attention and updating the story. Make that multiple stories.

Check out MSNBC's report here.

Reserve table for Detroit Restaurant Week

Take a look at this list of restaurants below, click into the menus and grab a table for one of our favorite weeks of food and drink indulgence. 

There are some tasty new additions -- including the Jefferson House at the Crown Plaza (formerly the Pontchartrain Hotel) -- and some old favorites (Roast, Rattlesnake Club, many more) to choose from. 

It runs through Sunday, Sept. 29.

Find your spot here.

Sign up now for TEDxDetroit Oct. 2 conference

We couldn't say it any more enticingly ourselves, so here is the mighty lowdown on the fifth TEDxDetroit conference straight from the source.

Q. Who is TED?

A. TED isn't a who, it's a what. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, three broad subject areas that are shaping our future. TEDxDetroit is an independently produced offspring of the annual TED gathering of big brains and cool creators. Learn more about the TED conference at TED.com. To learn more about TEDxDetroit, keep reading or see the FAQ.

Q. And the X?

A. We are the X. The multipliers. The catalysts. The connectors. The amplifiers. We challenge the status quo. We come together to collaborate, to share fresh ideas and to find inspiration. We are optimistic about our future. We believe Detroit's best days lie ahead. We are the people who are making it happen. We believe that is an idea worth spreading.

Q. Why here?

A. Because we love Detroit. And we're not alone. Innovation, artistic expression and entrepreneurship in Detroit are on the rise. Detroit is where the young, bright, creative & entrepreneurial are making it happen. But don't take our word for it: Read The New York TimesThe Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal. This is the fifth year of the TEDxDetroit conference. It's Oct. 2. That's this Wednesday. Register here now.

Are you ready for some cornhole?

Yes, we love some cornhole action at Model D. We encourage one and all to attend the 2013 Detroit Cornhole Championship this Sunday, Sept. 22, in Corktown's Roosevelt Park. It begins at 11 a.m. and festival fun goes on and on until 10 p.m.

The tournament will be part of the R. Park Festival with all proceeds going to the all-important Roosevelt Park. Music, food, roller skating, kids zone and more are all part of the event festivities. 

Sponsored by Opportunity Detroit and Kresge Foundation. Festival Hosts are Roosevelt Park Conservancy, Detroit Future City, Soul Skate, Party Time Cookin', and Urban Organic Entertainment.

For more info go here.

Join Let's Save Michigan Twitter Town Hall today at noon

Join Let's Save Michiganon today (Tuesday, Sept. 17) for a live discussion – via Twitter – with three leading experts on urban planning, design, and how transportation planning is an integral part of building healthy communities.

The panelists on our town hall are:

Angie Schmitt: a writer and activist working for Streetsblog, a national transportation advocacy group, and founder of Rust Wire, exploring urban issues in industrial cities.

Stefanie Seskin: Deputy Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition at Smart Growth America, assisting in the implementation of Complete Streets Policies across the country. 

Jess Zimbabwe: Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute's Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadershipand the ULI Center for Cities, guiding education, policy and practice forums on topics in public/private real estate development. 

To participate in the conversation, follow the hashtag #HighwaysforHabitats on Twitter today, noon – 1 p.m. You can also follow the Twitter feed @LetsSaveMich and Tweet with #HighwaysforHabitats between now and the event, with questions for panelists during the town hall.

We've got winners for Knight Arts Challenge

The winners are mostly small groups and individual artists, homegrown talent working across a range of disciplines. If they have one thing in common it’s that they keep the community at the heart of their projects. The arts don’t just inspire, they help build community, the kinds of common experiences that get people excited about their neighbors and neighborhoods.

With no further adieu, here are the winners. Congrats to all!



Link Detroit, extension of Dequindre Cut, set to begin construction

Our friends at Mode Shift Move Together updated a story near and dear to us: the extension of the greenway that currently cuts through the near East Side from the riverfront to Gratiot, just south of Eastern Market.

An excerpt:

To start with, Eastern Market will be getting a major upgrade. The street curbs on Russell Street will be lined up in a consistent manner, and the area will be spruced up with trees and greenery. In addition, new bike parking structures will be installed at the district's main parking lot and at the corner of Russell and Wilkins.

The market will also feature easy access to the Dequindre Cut, a below-street level biking and walking path built on an old railroad line in downtown Detroit, which will be extended as part of the project. Currently, it runs from Woodbridge Street near the Milliken State Park at the riverfront to Gratiot Avenue. The extension will take it a mile north to Mack Avenue. Three bridges spanning the Cut will also be repaired and another taken down.

Read more here.

Artists from Detroit and Zimbabwe connect via bedroom portal

A struggling economy, a population exodus, huge swatches of blight and abandonment, and a flurry of artists moving in to respond and fill the gap. Sounds like Detroit but it actually describes Zimbabwe, too. So just how do artist respond to similar circumstance -- from one continent to another, from an entire country to a city, and from the visual arts to song to the written word, and beyond?

Find out at Public Pool’s upcoming show Kumusha, running Sept. 14 -- Oct. 19. Kumusha, the Shona word for home, displays the results of cultural exchange happening through a digital portal in separate but identical bedrooms –- one in the new Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit and another in the new Detroit Cultural Center of Zimbabwe. 

For one installation, artists received photographs of scenic views from the collaborating city, and turned them into drawings in postcard format. For another, a video recording of Zimbabwe singer Hope Masike sings Eminem’s I’m Sorry Mama, inspiring a response from Detroit singer Monica Blaire. In another, Chido Johnson carves on the living room floor of the Zimbabwe Cultural Centre in Detroit, turning the house into a printmaking woodblock. This is a reproduction of an image carved by Admire Kamudzengerere onto the wooden floor of a house in Harare, Zimbabwe. A radio station, films, t-shirt screenprinting, Dj’d mixed tapes and more are all part of this ambitious project. 

Kumusha opens on Sept. 14 with an opening party. Public Pool patrons are also encouraged to visit the Detroit Portal at the Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit throughout the run of the show.

Public Pool is at 3009 Caniff, Hamtramck.

Tonight at WSU: "Beauty in Unexpected Places"

Can beauty be used as a catalyst for urban revitalization? The 2013 Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum at Wayne State University will pair a nationally renowned author, public art specialist and creative entrepreneur with existing and emerging community leaders to explore this very idea.
 
Speakers include author of The Geography of Bliss and Man Seeks God, Eric Weiner; ArtWorks Cincinnati’s Executive Director Tamara Harkavy; and Alison Cross, Founder of the Atlanta-based BoxCar Grocer.
 
The public lecture and panel discussion begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10 -- that's tonight -- in Wayne State’s Community Arts Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.
 
Additional details and speaker bios are available here.
 
The 2013 Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum is being presented by Wayne State University, with support from: Hudson-Webber Foundation, D:hive, Model D Media, DPTV and Recycle Here.

Folk-rocker Audra Kubat revives open mic at Union Street

Yes, we love our Detroit art and music talent. Unapolegetically. When that talent keeps producing and performing year after year after year, well, our love tends to grow along with it.

We're mighty happy to see singer-songwriter-poet-artist Audra Kubat getting her open mic scene back up and running at Midtown's Union Street. The Freep's Rachel May has the scoop:

Back in 2006, Kubat hosted the weekly series, which was wildly popular among all types of local players. "When I started the open mic at Union Street, there wasn’t really a place for young, up-and-coming artists in the heart of the city," says Kubat. "It ended up being pretty big. We would have a huge list of players and a ton of people just coming to listen."

Read the rest of the story here. Then get over there to check it out.

Ride It Sculpture Park readies for phase II upgrades

One of our favorite Detroit neighborhoods -- dubbed NoHam, Bangtown or Power House, after the off-the-grid residential project launched by artist-architect couple Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert -- is featured in this Metro Times story on the area's unique skateboard scene that attracts vistors from as far away as Germany. Not to mention kids from the immediate neighborhood.

An excerpt:

The park, dubbed Ride it Sculpture Park, has grown over time as Power House has continued to raise the money necessary to build it along a stretch of East Davison, off Klinger, in the Detroit neighborhood north of Hamtramck where several artists have bought houses in recent years. The park is gaining some notoriety in the skate world -- and among neighborhood kids, some of whom have never seen a skateboard.

Cool stuff, yes? Read on here.

Young men, looking for educational options? Check out Loyola

After a recent City Kids features, we got a message from Loyola High School of Detroit, a West Side Catholic school in the Jesuit tradition. Last year, the school celebrated its 20th Anniversary educating young men in Detroit. 

Loyola High School is open to any male student of high school age from a private or public school background, provided the student meets the admissions criteria and provided he and his family are supportive of the mission and philosophy of Loyola.

Loyola charges a tuition of $4100 plus fees, and makes every attempt to take qualified students regardless of their financial resources. Scholarships are available up to the full tuition amount.

A student interested in Loyola High School takes an entrance exam and furnishes the school with a record of his last several academic years. Then he and his parents/guardians meet with the director of admissions or the principal. During this conversation, the student's test scores and previous academic records are reviewed, and the school's mission philosophy and policies are discussed. This interview allows the family and the school to get to know more about each other and to help determine the appropriateness of Loyola for the student.  

Loyola is designed to start with its students in the ninth grade. However, varying from year to year, the school might be able to take in a very limited number of transfer students who meet all of Loyola's requirements. The principal and the dean will handle these cases, at most few in number, on an individual basis. 

For more info on Loyola, go here.  

Remembering Colin Hubbell on fifth anniversary of his passing

In August 2008, shortly after developer Colin Hubbell lost his battle with cancer, we published this heartfelt remembrance of one of Detroit's truest and dearest friends. His spirit lives on in developments accelerating throughout Midtown and in other parts of the city.

We also found this video that, for those not familar with Hubbell's life and work, provides an excellent introduction.

Please note there is mention in the video of the Colin Hubbell Fund, which is now closed. During its over 5-year existence, the fund supported improvements for small businesses and public spaces in Midtown Detroit, where Colin was instrumental in developing housing (most notably on Canfield and Ferry Streets) and advocating for more walkable, bikeable neighborhoods.

Does high auto insurance impact Detroit elections?

Something everyone knows but is rarely seen in print is how high insurance costs in Detroit impact the quality of life and, yes, the quality of electoral politics.

From Bridge Mag via the Freep:

Vince Keenan, founder of Publius.org, a Michigan voter-education and civic-participation program, says the link between insurance rates and one’s registered address is "the most well-known single fact" about voting in Detroit. And he doesn’t like it.

"It's an unintended consequence of Motor-Voter," he said, or the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which tied voter registration to one’s driver’s license. "It was very successful at getting people registered, especially in Michigan, because we drive so much. But by marrying the two, we have to think about (the auto-insurance issue), and we shouldn’t have to. For a voter to have to worry about where their car insurance is, is stupid. We’ve made it easier to commit community fraud, where you’re living and working in a community that you’re not voting in, than to commit insurance fraud."

Keenan knows the price of honesty from experience. In 2002, he moved two blocks -- from one block north of Eight Mile Road, in Ferndale, to one block south, in Detroit, and saw his annual premium jump from $1,700 to $3,700.

"We need voters in Detroit who are active and engaged about it," he said. "Where you choose to vote should not be governed by your car insurance, period."

Read more here.
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