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Read excerpt from John Gallagher's 'Revolution Detroit - Strategies for Urban Reinvention'

In his new book, the Freep's John Gallagher looks at steps taken by medical and educational leadership in Cleveland to improve public safety with strategies that come out of the private sector. Interesting solution to a growing problem not just in the rustbelt but all over the country.

An excerpt: 

That's the truth in so many towns. Perhaps the time has come to stop looking at groups like UCI as a backstop for weak or nonexistent city services and more as a model for a new way of governing urban places. These hyper-local, government-like bodies might be combined with regional entities -- some of which may not even exist yet -- to provide flexible, efficient delivery of services. Ronayne, for one, is already thinking along these lines:

"The new construct is less federal-state-local and more neighborhood-regional-global. I would envision a day when we're given the rights to tamp potholes and maintain basic infrastructure, to plow streets. ... (Y)ou're going to see groups like ours grow in municipal services. Now, some people argue that (by) providing the service, you're giving the city an out. I don't, as a former chief of staff, look at it that way. I look at it as somebody's got to get the job done, and however it can get done most economically and efficiently, let's do it."

Read on here.

Gilbert gets extension on developing Hudson's site

Billionaire and savvy downtown investor Dan Gilbert received an extension until June 30, 2016 to develop plans for the site of the former Hudson's flaghip department store on Woodward, between Gratiot and Grand River. Gilbert has launched an international design competition for the site and plans a mixed used project made up of commercial, residential and parking.  

An excerpt:

The city-controlled site has been vacant since the city demolished the flagship store for the J.L. Hudson Co. in 1998. The vacant Woodward block sits atop an underground parking structure, with infrastructure already in place to have a building constructed above it.

More from the Detroit News here.

Camp Detroit calling for entries for Movement installations

Here you go, artists and artisans: a message from the Community Arts Moving Projects (aka CAMP) people to let you know they are now accepting proposals for projects to be displayed at this year's Movement Festival, held during Memorial Day weekend.

An excerpt:

We believe that the continued progress of Detroit may be augmented through the exhibition of the region’s exemplary creative talent on the global stage. The CAMP (Community Arts Moving Projects) program aims to facilitate this by giving Detroit artists, makers and thinkers the opportunity to create beautiful and inspired projects that will be displayed at Detroit’s Movement Electronic Music Festival before they are relocated into our neighborhoods.

We are challenging creators to make pieces that will reflect the heart and future of Detroit while taking advantage of the unique resources available to the city.

Read more here.

Whole Foods opening Midtown store in June

Yes, we knew it was coming. It is still impressive to note that Whole Food Market is opening its first Detroit store, at Mack Avenue and John R, on time.

An excerpt:

(WFM), the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket, will open a 21,650-square-foot store in Detroit, on Wednesday, June 5 at 9 a.m. The much-anticipated store will add to the vibrant, growing food scene in Detroit. The store joins more than 345 other Whole Foods Market stores in North America and the United Kingdom.

More here.

HuffPost Detroit: North End Photographer lives father's legacy

Many of us knew Ameen Howrani, a pioneering photographer whose studio on E. Grand Blvd. was (and still is) a beacon of creativity. He died in 2010, but his son Ara was there to take over this unique Detroit family business.

An excerpt: 

Ara Howrani had some big shoes to fill. After a stint in Los Angeles, the young photographer and videographer returned home in 2005 to take over Howrani Studios in the North End neighborhood of the city, carrying on the studio's legacy with a style that is truly his own.

Read more here.

Richard Florida reacts to 7.2 greater downtown study

In a piece last week in Atlantic Cities, Richard Florida tackles the recently released 7.2 study that shows greater downtown to be better educated and more diverse than the city at large. There is much complexity to this finding, such that we plan on following what it all means in a variety of ways in the near future.

Here's an excerpt from Florida's story:

The Greater Downtown corridor has a population of 36,550 people or 5,076 people per square mile. It might not be not downtown Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, or Philadelphia, but it compares favorably to other Midwest city-centers, like downtown Minneapolis, with 3.4 square miles and 28,811 people; downtown Pittsburgh at 1.3 square miles and 4,064 people; and downtown Cleveland at 3.2 square miles and 9,523 people. Of these downtowns, only Minneapolis has greater density than Greater Downtown Detroit.

Read more here.

'Sugar Man' wins best doc feature Oscar

It was a huge favorite to win an Academy Award so, no, we weren't surprised to see Searching for Sugar Man come away with the Oscar for best documentary feature. And, no, were't entirely surprised when the subject of the film, Detroiter Sixto Rodriguez, didn't attend the spectacle.

Good stuff all round, summarized in this excerpt from a piece in HuffPost Detroit:

The film was the leader of a strong pack of nominees. The documentary focused on the search for Sixto Rodriguez, a failed singer-songwriter from the 1970s who was an unexpected hit in South Africa. Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, Searching for Sugar Man was an audience award winner at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and won Best Documentary from BAFTA and the Producers Guild of America.

Read the rest of the story in HuffPost Detroit here.

The News: Detroit Soup stays hot

Always nice when our friends at Detroit Soup get some media love from near and far, this time from the Detroit News.

An excerpt: 

These days philanthropy is being fueled by regular folks funding local projects they feel a passion for. And their modest contributions really add up for projects that may need only a few hundred (or thousand) dollars to get off the ground. 

Doing this online via sites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter is easy enough, but what if you'd like to feel more personally involved or would like to meet face to face with the artist/educator/entrepreneur who will use your money?

Detroiter Amy Kaherl has an answer: Check out Detroit Soup.

Read the rest of the story here.

Metro Jacksonville.com finds Detroit's Villages impressive

So nice to see observers from distant lands (sure, northern Florida qualifies) come up to one of Detroit's historic neighborhoods and see the simple, elegant beauty of the place. Well done, Metro Jacksonville.com, well done.

An excerpt:

Indian Village is a historic neighborhood located on Detroit's east side and is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The district has a number of architecturally significant homes built in the early 20th century. A number of the houses have been substantially restored, and most others well kept up.

Many of the homes were built by prominent architects such as Albert Kahn, Louis Kamper and William Stratton for some of the area's most prominent citizens such as Edsel Ford. Many of the homes are very large, with some over 12,000 square feet. Many have a carriage house, with some of those being larger than an average suburban home. Some of the houses also have large amounts of Pewabic Pottery tiles. The neighborhood contains many historic homes including the automotive entrepreneur Henry Leland, founder of Lincoln and Cadillac, who resided on Seminole Street.

And there's more. Read on here.

Short film shows glimpse of current Detroit music scene

Detroit, music city. Yeah man, we're all over that plain but huge matter of fact. This is the original (and only) home of Motown (c'mon L.A., stand down, please); the birthplace of the sickest garage rock (Stooges, MC5, Gories) and electro (Adult., Drexciya, Dopplereffekt) ever made, trailblazing hip hop (foremost Slum Village, James Dewitt Yancey aka J Dilla) and, of course, techno (Cooley High peeps alone -- notably Carl Craig, Mike Huckaby, Anthony "Shake" Shakir -- produced more talent than most Johnny-come-lately "dance music capitals" anywhere in the world, baby).

So, yes, we're well aware of our innovative sound heritage. This short film helps us understand part of what's happening now, in Midtown, Hamtown and other bars, and especially at next gen private house parties.

Check it out here.

Get to know the makers rebuilding Detroit by hand

Shinola, OmniCorp Detroit, Ponyride, the Detroit Creative Corridor Center and other havens for the doers and changemakers literally reconstructing Detroit are profiled in part II this story (with video) by Matt Haber. Good stuff. Well done.

Catch up to part I then take a look at part II here.

MOCAD renovation winning awards even before construction begins

Great news from the Museum of Contempory Art Detroit last week about MOCAD's upcoming redesign by Rice+Lipka Architects and urban design/landscape architects James Corner Field Operations.

This excerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

The design won the Architectural Review's 2013 Future Project award in the "Old and New" category.

The judges hailed the MOCAD design as "an inspirational project that combines past and present in a well resolved and convincing manner. It creates new space for new creativity in a post-industrial city."

The two firms will work to make the interior more energy-efficient. They'll also reconfigure exhibit, event and storage area. Exterior changes will also create a brand-new outdoor event space.

Read more here.

Study: Greater downtown growing in wealth, diversity

A report published today and to be shared with investors, developers and city planners, found that greater downtown residents are wealthier than Detroiters at large, but less affluent than the average for the full populations of cities such as Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, which some see as prime examples of successful urban rebirth.

John Gallagher of the Freep has the scoop. An excerpt:

(Data Driven Detroit's Kurt) Metzger pointed out that things are changing so rapidly in the areas that the report may already be slightly dated. For example, gains from the Live Downtown and Live Midtown incentive programs that have bought hundreds of new residents who work for participating businesses into the area in the last two years are not fully captured in this report.

Read the rest of the story (and the full reporthere.

Kresge's Art X reloads for April Midtown return

The second edition of Art X Detroit: Kresge Arts Experience will take over Midtown for five days starting April 10. The event, to be held in multiple locations, is free. 

The Detroit Free Press has the scoop. An excerpt:

Event producer Midtown Detroit Inc., announced today that the cultural celebration, funded by the Kresge Foundation, will be held at more than two dozen venues. The inaugural Art X event was in 2011. 

There will be visual artworks created by the 38 Kresge Eminent Artists and recipients of Kresge Artist Fellowships. A special visual arts exhibition will be on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit. This year’s programming will also feature dance, musical and theatrical performances, literature readings, workshops and panel discussions. 

The complete schedule of Art X events will be announced soon, organizers said. To learn more about the event, go here.

CCS photo show features Detroit entertainment icons

Fashion photographer Jenny Risher, who graduated from College for Creative Studies in the late 1990s, has a show up now at CCS of her pictures of Detroit popular culture figures. It will be up there until March 2, before moving to the Detroit Historical Museum in July.

An excerpt:

Risher started working on the project in 2010. Talking to her friend and model Veronica Webb, who hails from Detroit, Risher started thinking about the many famous and interesting individuals who come from the city.

"I said to her, wouldn't it be cool if someone did a book of all the amazing people who have came out of Detroit," Risher said. "For three months the idea just kept bugging me and I couldn't let it go so I thought I would make a list of all the people I would love to photograph from the area and reach out to them, reach out to five and if they said no, leave it, but all those five said yes."

It snowballed from there. From Eminem to Lee Iacocca, Risher was pleased to see how many of the illustrious Detroiters agreed to participate in her project.

Read more here.
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