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Urban Bean Co., a Capitol Park stalwart, looks for help to modernize equipment

 
Capitol Park is one of the hottest areas in downtown Detroit. The neighborhood, which is home to some of downtown's oldest and most inspired architecture, is seeing the development of high-end apartments and arrival of new businesses at rates unheard of in recent decades.
 
Before Capitol Park's current boom began, however, Josh Greenwood was making a big investment in the future of the neighborhood. He started renovating his space on the northwest corner of Grand River and Griswold in 2005. By 2008, he was finally able to open the Urban Bean Co., only to see it close shortly thereafter, a victim of the national economic downturn.
 
In 2013, however, Greenwood and a new partner were able to re-open the shop.
 
Today, as new competition moves into the neighborhood, Greenwood and the Urban Bean Co. are hoping to secure a crowd-funded, interest free Kiva Zip loan of $5,000 to modernize its equipment and remain competitive with national chains.
 
"Now other organizations are looking to move in, which is great," writes Greenwood on Urban Bean Co.'s Kiva ZIp page. "But as an independent retailer, we need to upgrade to compete to stay in this neighborhood."
 
According to Kiva Zip, "Repayments on the borrower’s loan will be in monthly installments of $208.33 over a period of 24 months. The first payment will be due from the borrower one month after the loan has been fully funded and the funds have been disbursed to the borrower.
 
At the time of this writing, Urban Bean Co.'s loan is 67 percent funded.
 
Read more: Kiva Zip

Can Greece learn from Detroit's example?

While some publications are comparing Detroit to Brooklyn (or at least pointing out how a handful of ex-Brooklynites are finding opportunity in the Motor City), CityLab sees a similarity between Detroit and Greece, the most financially distressed member or the Eurozone.
 
"For all sorts of reasons, a comparison between Greece and Detroit falls short of useful…" writes CityLab's Kriston Capps. "But the coming debate in Greece may nevertheless echo Detroit on the one point: How can Greece afford not to sell off cultural assets when people are suffering?
 
Capps points to the so-called "Grand Bargain" of Detroit's bankruptcy that saved the Detroit Institute of Arts' world class collection from being auctioned to satisfy the demands of creditors as an example Greece's leaders should study as they consider selling cultural artifacts for which the country is famous.
 
Read more: CityLab
 

RIP Park Avenue Hotel, 1924-2015

 
For 91 years, the 13-story Park Avenue Hotel stood tall in the lower Cass Corridor neighborhood of downtown Detroit, an outer extremity of the city's skyline. The building, once a luxury hotel that eventually went vacant in 2003, was imploded on Saturday, July 11, to make way for the loading dock of a new hockey arena currently under construction in the neighborhood.
 
Read more about the building's 91-year history on HistoricDetroit.org, then watch the building crumble in seconds on the Detroit Free Press.

YouthfulCities seeks Detroit research fellow

What makes a city "youthful"?
 
According to YouthfulCities, a global initiative to rank the world’s top 100 cities from a youth perspective, a city's youthfulness is more nuanced than just the number of young people living there.
 
YouthfulCities, which is based in Toronto, ranks cities in terms of 20 urban attributes important to youth. Those attributes are determined by surveying people ages 15 to 29 in 75 large cities around the world. The initiative claims that its survey is "one of the biggest surveys of urban youth ever."

Last year, Detroit ranked 25th out of 55 cities for youth aged 15-29, finishing ahead of Moscow, Miami, Johannesburg and Shanghai on the index.
 
To help create its latest index of youth-friendly cities, YouthfulCities is hiring research fellows in cities around the world, including Detroit. Interested in becoming Detroit's YouthfulCities research fellow? Here's what you need to know:
 
Each fellow is expected to collect 1,000 responses to YouthfulCities' Urban Attitudes Survey from their city. Fellows will also add their own qualitative research to build a picture of youth in their city. Fellows will be compensated with a stipend and a free trip to the 2016 YouthfulCities Summit (location and exact date to be determined).
 
The deadline to apply for the YouthfulCities Detroit fellowship is Sunday, July 12.
 
For more details about the fellowship, click here.

Fortune Magazine highlights growth of black women-owned businesses in Detroit

 
The number of women-owned businesses is on the rise in the U.S., having grown by 74 percent over the last 18 years.  The number of businesses owned by black women, however, is growing at an even more astounding rate of 322 percent over the same period. That makes black women the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country, according to a recent story by Amy Haimerl for Fortune Magazine.
 
Haimerl highlights Build Institute, an organization dedicated to helping local entrepreneurs grow their businesses, and Detroit small business owners Danielle Smith of Detroit Maid and Carla Walker Miller of Walker Miller Energy Services.
 
Writes Haimerl:
 
"In Detroit, where city leaders, foundations, and even President Obama have promoted entrepreneurship as an economic development tool, a tiny nonprofit is making outsize efforts at helping black women become business owners. Since it was formed in 2012, the Build Institute has graduated nearly 600 students from its eight-week courses, which teach the basics of starting and running a business, including such topics as money management and how to determine your break-even point. Nearly 70% of those students are women, and 60% of them identify as a member of a minority group."
 
Read more: Fortune

WDET asks Detroit residents to collect data on local parks

This summer, WDET 101.9 FM is asking Detroiters to help monitor the condition and usage of their local parks by joining Detroit Parks Watch.
 
Volunteer monitors can visit a local park or greenway, observe what's happening, and report back by filling out a survey on your smartphone or tablet.  

WDET is rebooting the program, which first launched last summer.
 

What if metro Detroit public officials strictly rode transit for three weeks straight?

Imagine a city or region where public officials actually understand the importance of transit because they ride it every day.
 
It actually doesn't require much of an imagination. Starting on June 1, several San Francisco city officials, including Mayor Ed Lee, began to fulfill a pledge to ride public transit for 22 straight days.
 
According to KRON 4, "The challenge, spearheaded by the advocacy group San Francisco Transit Riders, will continue until June 22 and aims to help city officials gain familiarity with public transit and inspire them to improve the experience."
 
Now imagine if metro Detroit's public officials, from county executives to mayors to city council people, undertook a similar challenge. Do you think they'd gain a new appreciation for the challenges faced by transit riders throughout the region and a new perspective on our system's shortcomings? Chances are they would have plenty of time to contemplate these issues and more while they wait on their buses.
 
Read more about San Francisco's transit challenge: KRON 4

ESPN digs into the origins and beauty of Detroit's singular sport, feather bowling

The Cadieux Café on Detroit's east side is one of only four places outside of Belgium where the sport of feather bowling is played. The sport's objectives are similar to those of bocce or horseshoes or curling or shuffleboard, but its instruments are unique. Feather bowlers hurl heavy wooden balls shaped like cheese wheels down dirt trenches toward a single pigeon feather sticking out of the ground. Whoever's ball lands closest to the feather scores.
 
In a beautifully written longform piece for ESPN, writer Chris Koentges digs into the idiosyncratic traditions kept alive on the east side of Detroit through the sport of feather bowling, documenting the specialness of the Cadieux Café and its community of feather bowlers and celebrating Steve Gosskie, the unlikely feather bowling champion who passed away last year from cancer.
 
Read more: ESPN

70 Knight Arts Challenge finalists anounced


On June 15, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced the 70 finalists it is considering for 2015 Knight Arts Challenge grants in Detroit. Over 1,000 ideas were submitted to the challenge.

The Knight Arts Challenge first launched in Detroit in 2013. According to its website, the Detroit program "is a $9 million initiative [designed] to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals seeking to engage and enrich the community through the arts."

Winners of the 2015 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit will be announced on Oct. 27, "once the finalists’ detailed proposals are reviewed by a panel of local artists and arts advocates."

To learn more about this year's 70 Knight Arts Challenge finalists, click here.

Ponyride seeks artists for new residency programs


Corktown's Ponyride is many things – a co-working space, a business incubator, a production space for social enterprises, and a carpentry workshop, to name a few. This summer, you can add artist residency program to the list.
 
According to a press release, Ponyride's Applebaum residency, which is geared towards artists already living and working in Detroit, will include "a $2,500 award, free accommodations, and a materials budget," as well as "a professional practice stipend for travel to New York with the intent of making connections with galleries, art spaces, and collectors."
 
The residency is not a completely free ride, however. Each resident is expected to "host public programing based on their art practice."
 
Additionally, three artists will be selected to take part in the Knight Artist Residency Program at Ponyride. One established artist will receive a $4,000 award and two emerging artist will each receive awards of $1,000.
 
To apply for a Ponyride artist residency, click here.
 
All applications are due by noon on Monday, June 29. Awards will be announced the week of August 3, 2015.
 
Learn more at ponyride.org.

Model D talks about re-imagining I-375 on Michigan Radio

Last week, Model D editor Matthew Lewis and contributor Beth Szurpicki appeared on Michigan Radio's Stateside program to discuss the possibility of re-imagining I-375, America's shortest signed Interstate that runs through the near east side of downtown Detroit.

Click here to listen to their June 3 conversation with Stateside host Cynthia Canty.

Could city ID cards make Detroit more inclusive?

 
Last week, Newark, NJ became the latest U.S. city to issue local ID cards to residents.
 
In a recent story in CityLab, Vicky Gan writes: "In 2007, New Haven, Connecticut, became the first city in the U.S. to offer city IDs, followed by several cities in California (including San Francisco and Los Angeles), Washington, D.C., New York City, and a few others."
 
The thinking goes that city IDs help people who have difficulty presenting documents typically required for obtaining state IDs, namely undocumented immigrants, the recently incarcerated, and homeless people. More recently, however, city ID cards have become ways for municipalities to express gender sensitivity to their residents.
 
In 2009, San Francisco became the first city to issue ID cards that did not specify the holder's gender. In 2014, New York City became the first municipality to issue ID cards that allowed holders to specify their own gender identities.
 
Writes Van, "In a 2013 report on municipal ID programs across the U.S., the Center for Popular Democracy wrote that 'cities that offer ID to their residents regardless of immigration status are making a powerful statement of welcome and inclusion.' The same goes for cities who do so regardless of gender identity."
 
Currently, no cities in the Midwest offer municipal ID cards. Could Detroit become the first?
 
Read more: CityLab

Celebrate the 100th birthday of legendary Detroit activist and philosopher, Grace Lee Boggs

 
Grace Lee Boggs is a name most Detroiters should know. For the last 75 years, Ms. Boggs has been a leader in the labor, black power, and civil rights movements in the city and beyond, influencing generations of activists along the way.
 
On June 27, Ms. Boggs turns 100. Her birthday will be celebrated with a party on June 26 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Midtown.
 
Born in 1915 in Providence, Rhode Island, Grace Lee Boggs earned a PhD in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College before eventually moving to Detroit. She and her late husband James, a former auto worker and revolutionary author, rubbed shoulders with the likes of C.L.R. James and Malcolm X as they developed their own political and social philosophies.
 
Later in life Boggs founded Detroit Summer, "a multi-racial, inter-generational collective in Detroit that has been working to transform communities through youth leadership, creativity and collective action since 1992." In 1995, she served as a founding member of the Boggs Center, an organization whose mission is "to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities."
 
Most recently, the Boggs School on Detroit's east side was named for Grace and James.
 
You can celebrate the life and legacy of Grace Lee Boggs at her 100th birthday party from 6 to 10 p.m. on June 26 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Midtown.
 
Click here for details.

We're hiring!

 
Looking for some extra work, or know someone fabulous who is? Issue Media Group, Model D's parent company, is hiring a program manager to assist with the delivery of a few strategic custom content and underwriting programs. 
 
This person will serve as a liaison between clients, project teams and IMG leadership to ensure client expectations are met while contract deliverables are completed at the highest quality, on time, and within scope and budget. The role is tied to a few specific content programs, but there may be opportunities for this role to grow as we bring on more projects that require extra support.
 
Here's a complete job description. We prefer a candidate based in southeast or mid-Michigan, but we're open to the right remote candidate, so all are welcome to apply.
 

Small business in Detroit: a romantic notion, but no picnic

In a recent feature for the Detroit Free Press, John Gallagher reminds us that "it takes more than a clever idea or catchy product to make a go of a small business in Detroit." Highlighting three stalwart businesses – Russell Street Deli in Eastern Market, Lovio-George in Midtown, and White Construction in New Center – Gallagher points out the challenges to being an entrepreneur in Detroit.
 
Despite operating in different sectors, each of the featured business struggled in the years following the economic downturn of 2008, experiencing declining revenues that made them reconfigure their operations. Owners also site challenges unique to the city, such as higher taxes and increased competition.
 
"These firms show that running a small business in Detroit requires both smarts and stamina – and can offer lessons for those hoping to start their own firms," writes Gallagher.
 
Read more in the Detroit Free Press.
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