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City partners with Detroit hospitals to train and provide jobs to 240 Detroiters

One strong industry in Detroit is healthcare. With three hospitals in the city limits, there's plenty of jobs available, and more in demand. It's also a sector Mayor Mike Duggan knows well, as he was CEO of the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) for eight years prior to running for mayor. 

As part of Duggan's Detroit at Work initiative, the city's three hospitals—DMC, Henry Ford Health System, and St. John Providence—have partnered with the city to provide job training for entry-level positions to 240 Detroiters in the healthcare industry. 

According to a City of Detroit press release, "All of the trainees will be identified through the Detroit at Work website or DESC One-Stop Service Centers and receive their instruction through a single program. Once the workers are trained, all three of participating health care systems will recruit from the same pool of talent."

The training will be three to eight weeks depending on the position and conducted by Focus: HOPE and the Oakland University School of Nursing Continuing Education. 

"The need to fill healthcare jobs continues to increase, especially the need for patient care associates," said Focus: HOPE CEO Jason Lee, in the press release.

Enrollment for the program is open through the first week of May. Register online here, and then visit one of three career centers located at 5555 Conner, 9301 Michigan Avenue and 18100 Meyers.

Detroit's Bunche Academy partners with wildlife refuge to foster environmental stewardship

Did you know that Metropolitan Detroit is home to the only International Wildlife Refuge in North America, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge? The Refuge and Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Ralph J. Bunche Academy have entered into a partnership to enhance conservation education and inspire a sense of wonder for natural resources in students. That makes Bunche Academy the first partnership school of the only international wildlife refuge in North America.

This partnership will continue for years to come. Each year, 4th, 5th and 6th graders will get multiple in-class visits from Refuge staff and a fieldtrip to the Refuge each fall and spring. All of the programs presented through the partnership are curriculum-based following the Next Generation Science Standards. Students have the opportunity to explore the natural world and all aspects of nature through hands-on educational activities. 

"The objective of this partnership is to help students to recognize that each and every one of them is a naturalist," says Jennie Braatz, park ranger at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.  "We start the year off by having the students make their own nature journals that they will keep with them throughout the year. We discuss what a naturalist is and we learn about famous naturalists, both historical and modern. The point we want to drive home is that no matter what the future holds, no matter what careers the students go into as adults, they can all be naturalists."

The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is unique in that it is one of only 14 priority urban refuges in the nation charged with bringing conservation to cities and helping make nature part of everyday urban life. The Refuge stretches from southwest Detroit to the Ohio-Michigan border and as far east as Point Pelee National Park in Ontario. It focuses on conserving, protecting, and restoring habitats for 300 species of birds and 117 species of fish. In total, over 18,800 acres of land in southeast Michigan and southwest Ontario are now being cooperatively managed for conservation and outdoor recreation for nearly seven million people living in a 45-minute drive.  

We should care about this because 80 percent of all Americans and Canadians live in urban areas, and most are disconnected from the natural world. This disconnect cannot continue. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to providing the reasons and opportunities for urban residents to find, appreciate, and care for nature in their cities and beyond.  That's why inspiring a sense of outdoor wonder in students and fostering a culture of stewardship are critical. All of this is being done to help develop the next generation of conservationists in urban areas because that is now where most North Americans live.  

The visits of Bunche students to the Refuge are made possible by travel funding from the Bruce Jones Environmental Education Fund of the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance. 

John Hartig is Refuge Manager at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.

Crowdfunding platform ioby to host first convening in Detroit

Neighborhood initiatives, spurred by crowdfunding, have allowed Detroiters to upgrade parks, reduce blight, and install public works of art. 

One of the newer platforms in Detroit's crowdfunding scene, ioby, is having their first-ever convening in the city later this month. Called "Conversations. Connections. Impact: Making change in our backyards," the event will "bring together residents, community leaders and activists to explore placemaking and racial justice, and to share ideas and tools to build and maintain better and more equitable public spaces in Detroit," according to a press release.

First there will be a speech given by Mitchell J. Silver, commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, followed by breakout discussions lead by community leaders on topics like "preserving black spaces in Detroit" and "social justice and public safety."

The event is free and open to the public. 

ioby's Detroit convening will be held at the Downtown Boxing Gym on Saturday, April 29th from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. In order to attend this free event, you must RSVP here

Grand Circus offers scholarships to coding bootcamp valued at $8,500

Coding is an in-demand skill. It also has a high learning curve and requires a great deal of training and patience to become proficient. That often means people can't afford the initial investment of money and time to learn how to do it. 

If that sounds like you, consider applying to Grand Circus's "Develop the Mitten" coding scholarship, designed for Michigan residents interested in becoming web developers. "The scholarship is open to Michigan residents and covers the full cost of a 10-week, full-time coding bootcamp," according to a Grand Circus press release. "Two applicants will be awarded; one to attend the bootcamp at the Grand Rapids campus and one to attend at the Detroit campus."

The bootcamp takes students through a course that culminates in a "demo day," where students "present a fully functional web application to an audience of potential employers, members of the Michigan tech community, as well as friends and family."

Each scholarship is valued at $8,500. 

Apply for the "Develop the MItten" scholarship here. Applications are due May 3 by 12 p.m. and winners will be announced on May 15. The winning candidates will begin coding bootcamp on June 26.

First Capital Fund established to help Michigan's early-stage startups thrive

Young startups across Michigan will get a helping hand from a new multi-million-dollar fund managed by Invest Detroit Ventures and supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the New Economy Initiative (NEI).

 

The First Capital Fund's goal is to raise $4.2 million in two years and offer up to $150,000 in capital to tech companies in the earliest stages. MEDC has made an initial $2 million investment in the fund, which Invest Detroit aims to double by bringing private capital into the fund. NEI will support the fund with $800,000.

 

Adrian Ohmer, principal with Invest Detroit Ventures, says the fund does not require startups to bring along any additional financiers because funding for early-stage startups has become harder to find.

 

"Something we've observed in our seven years of existence is that a lot of the capital pegged as early stage has moved down the pipeline," Ohmer says. "Even angel investor groups only want to fund startups in the post-production phase."

 

Ohmer says awarding up to $150,000 to startups means they don't have to spend months on the road, raising more capital from various investors, in order to move on to the next level and then do another road trip to raise even more funds a year later.

 

"We want to make sure they have enough money to meet certain milestones that we work with them to set in order to get them to a fundraising round that makes sense for them in their industry," Ohmer says.

 

While Invest Detroit is based in Detroit, it has always had a wider focus, Ohmer says.

 

"With the rebirth of Detroit, the city is certainly central to a lot of what we care about, but our team has always had a statewide focus," Ohmer says.

 

That focus includes Ann Arbor, which Ohmer calls a "hotbed for startups."

 

"Ann Arbor companies are more than likely going to be a prominent part of our fund," Ohmer says.

 

He notes that the fund hopes to engage a broad range of Michigan startups, including those in the Upper Peninsula.

 

"Companies from the Upper Peninsula have always come down to big events that the state hosts, like the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, so we're going to find ways to establish a presence there, though it might be mostly through web-based meetings," Ohmer says.


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Massive Herman Kiefer development progressing

Just because no shovels have hit the dirt, that doesn't mean there hasn't been progress at the vacant Herman Kiefer Hospital complex development near Detroit's Boston Edison neighborhood. 

According to a Detroit News article, head developer Ron Castellano is set to take over the site this spring as part of a $143 million, "multi-year development agreement to rehabilitate and reuse the seven medical complex buildings and 462,605-square-foot main hospital, the former Hutchins and Crosman schools, as well as the JTPA nursing school."

The deal was approved in 2015, but because of the complicated funding package and phased development plan, it took time to transfer the properties. "Castellano explained each piece of the project should raise enough money to support itself and also help fund another piece of the development," writes Christine Ferretti. 

An important piece of the total funds will come from potential brownfield development reimbursements totalling $47.7 million to clean up waste from prior developments. 

Also noteworthy, the project may be the first in the city to operate under Detroit’s new community benefits ordinance. "The law, approved in November, lays out a process for engaging the community to negotiate job guarantees and other factors for projects worth at least $75 million. The multiphase project is expected to produce at least 1,067 jobs."

Read the full article here.

Two years in, city declares Improve Detroit app a success

The city of Detroit has been trying to improve the way it handles neighborhood issues, like potholes and fallen tree removal. That's why it created the appropriately named Improve Detroit app. Now two years old, the app has "helped residents address 67,000 neighborhood issues," according to the city. 

The functionality of the app is simple: give a title and description to the issue, take a picture, and add a location. This information is then routed to the appropriate department to resolve. The app can also redirect users to sites for Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Detroit Police Department, and more. 

The city has been tracking both the number of problems they've addressed and how long it takes to do so. According to numbers from a press release, they've addressed: 
  • 8,913 illegal dumping complaints in an average of 5.9 days
  • 5,888 potholes in an average of 3.7 days
  • 5,412 tree issues in an average of 41 days
  • 4,237 abandoned vehicles in an average of 5.1 days
  • 3,448 traffic sign issues in an average of 5 days
"This new approach to addressing citizen concerns has really transformed how the City delivers its most basic services to its residents," Mayor Duggan said, in a press release. "I run into people all the time who tell me they reported an issue through Improve Detroit and how well it worked for them."

Cobo Center recognized for meeting green venue standard

It isn't widely known, but Detroit's Cobo Center is fairly sustainable for a building of its size. And an international standards organization continues to recognized it as such. 

The Cobo Center has once again met the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM International) "Venue Standard," which grades venues on such criteria as staff management and communications, as well as waste management and energy use.

The Cobo will also host this year's Sustainable Brands (SB'17) conference, which, according to a press release, is "the largest global convening of brand leaders and sustainability practitioners. 1,500 people from across the globe are expected to attend the May 22 to 25 event."

And ASTM isn't the only organization to recognize Cobo's sustainability efforts. "In 2012, Cobo became the largest Green Venues Michigan facility. In 2014, Cobo was designated an EcoWorks Sustainable Communities Champion, and in 2015 the Detroit Free Press named Cobo Center a Detroit Green Leader. In 2016, Keep Michigan Beautiful awarded Cobo Center their highest honor, the KMB President’s Plaque."

Cobo Center also lists the many "green initiatives" it's undertaken on its website. 

City of Detroit puts out RFP for affordable housing redevelopment in Banglatown

We at Model D are big advocates for strategic use of affordable housing (check out our piece from January on the topic). That's why we're excited about another affordable housing project, this one taking place in Banglatown, near the Detroit-Hamtramck border.

Curbed Detroit reports that the city of Detroit put out an RFP for a vacant Catholic school in the neighborhood. The Archdiocese of Detroit currently owns the building and will be collaborating on the project. 

21,500-square-foot Transfiguration School Building, writes Robin Runyan for Curbed, "could be converted into 15-25 residential units, 20 percent of which will be affordable housing. Many of the building’s original features such as terrazzo flooring, tin ceilings, and original woodwork are in excellent condition."

Check out the RFP here

Halfpipe to be temporarily installed in Fisher Building

In one of the more intriguing exhibits this publication has heard about, a halfpipe will be temporarily installed in the Fisher Building. Halfpipes are used by skateboarders, BMXers, snowboarders, and other practitioners of "extreme" sports to showcase in-air tricks. 

Fisher Halfpipe was designed by the group Mkr City and is sponsored by The Platform. The project, according to head curator Everard Findlay, "explores the idea of the commons, and the way that certain sports, such as skateboarding, transcend barriers of race, class, and culture to draw disparate groups into community." 

The halfpipe will bisect the main lobby with room for Fisher Building patrons to walk underneath. The ramp will be open to the public, and Mkr City will soon be posting information on their Facebook page about how to apply. 

Fisher Halfpipe will be open April 3 through 6. Check out the Facebook page for more information. 

15 Detroit businesses in running for national grant contest

Several Detroit businesses have made the semi-finals of a national, small-business grant contest. "The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest will award $25,000 and $7,500 in FedEx Office print and business services to one grand prize winner," writes Stephanie Steinberg in an article for the Detroit News

15 Detroit businesses have made it this far, but are competing against approximately 1,000 others nationally. After a round of voting that narrows the total to 100, FedEx will announce the three winners on April 25.

One of the local businesses profiled in the Detroit News piece is Detroit Bridal House, a clothing store that sells wedding gowns. "If she wins, London says she'll use the funds to move into a building on Livernois' Avenue of Fashion or in Woodbridge or Midtown."

Voting period for The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest ends April 5. 

Detroit Collaborative Design Center wins prestigious architecture award

The Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) has worked on some innovative projects since its inception in 1994. The University of Detroit Mercy's architecture and urban design firm that's partially composed of students has worked on bigger neighborhood strategies like RecoveryPark, and specific designs like The Alley Project.

And now they've been recognized for these efforts. The DCDC has been named the 2017 winner of the American Institute of Architects' prestigious Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. Named for the civil rights leader, the honor is given to an architectural organization that "embodies social responsibility and actively addresses a relevant issue, such as affordable housing, inclusiveness or universal access."

"For any architect or organization committed to public interest design, this is without a doubt the highest honor one could hope to receive," said Will Wittig, AIA, dean of the School of Architecture, in a press release.

The award will be officially presented at the AIA national convention in Orlando Florida in April. 

Major improvements coming to East Riverfront

In just the last few years, a lot of development has taken place in the East Riverfront area adjacent to downtown Detroit, such as Harbortown Apartments and Outdoor Adventure Center. Even more is still to come.

This week, the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, City of Detroit Planning & Development Department and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) released a strategic framework plan for the East Riverfront.

The plan establishes an expanded riverfront "parkland" that will be "free from development forever." There will also be two additional "Dequindre Cut-style greenways" and streetscape improvements to increase connectivity to the riverfront. 

"The riverfront belongs to all Detroiters," said Maurice D. Cox, director of the City of Detroit Planning & Development Department, in a press release. "Thanks to the involvement of hundreds of residents, we have principles that frame an international riverfront that can be accessed and enjoyed by all."

The DEGC also announced an RFP for the Stone Soap building at 1490 Franklin. According to the press release: "The RFP will envision an adaptive reuse of the historic structure with a mixed-use development that will increase density along the riverfront."

Read more about the plans for the East Riverfront here


Hamtramck community space Bank Suey to host local marketplace

Bank Suey, a community space in Hamtramck, has hosted a number of creative events in its brief history. We're really excited about this latest one.

Dubbed "Shop Suey," Bank Suey will be hosting its first local marketplace. There will be clothes, jewelry, housewares, and plenty of food and drink for sale. 

Bank Suey is a flexible event space. Previously, it's hosted musical shows, art exhibits, speeches and discussions, and various popups. 

Shop Suey takes place on March 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at corner of Joseph Campau and Caniff. For more information on vendors, check out the Facebook event page


Developers buy four New Center buildings for $3.1M

Optima Aegidius Group, a German-based development group, just purchased four buildings in New Center near TechTown Detroit for $3.1 million, according to a Crain's Detroit Business article.

The four buildings, writes Kirk Pinho, "total just more than 71,000 square feet. The company anticipates building additional space on top, totaling 21,000 square feet to accommodate the planned 60 units. As planned, the project would also have 29,000 square feet of retail space. Construction is expected to begin next year after financing and city approvals are received."

The group has contracted local developer Scott Lowell to carry out the project.

Read the full Crain's article here.

185-unit apartment complex set to open soon in Lafayette Park

Lafayette Park, the east-side neighborhood containing the acclaimed Mies van der Rohe townhouses, has had little new construction for decades. Until now.

DuCharme Place, a $45 million, 185-unit development comprising four apartment buildings, is set to open soon. It will be the first "new lifestyle community in 40 years," according to a Multifamily Executive article. 

The design, writes Jennifer Goodman, was inspired by Lafayette Park's own van der Rohe.

"The contemporary and energy-efficient design will feature a terraced live green roof complete with lawn, garden, fitness center, and swimming pool. Exteriors will include insulated glazing and be clad in a rain screen fiber-cement reinforced panel system with aluminum-framed windows, featuring railings of laser-cut painted metal."

Read the full Multifamily Executive article here.

BLAC Magazine lists best ways to celebrate Black History Month in Metro Detroit

Looking for ways to observe Black History Month in Detroit? Well, BLAC Magazine has compiled a helpful list of eight venues and events happening in February around Metro Detroit.

Included in the list are expected institutions like museums, libraries, and universities. For example, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn is will, for 20 days, "explore different aspects of Black history, from the northern migration and the civil rights era, all the way to present-day issues. Activities will take place throughout the museum, including in the Michigan Café, which will feature African-American-inspired recipes."

A surprising and intriguing inclusion on the list is the downtown PuppetART Detroit Puppet Theater, which is performing "Oh Ananse!", "PuppetART's popular annual hip-hop-flavored take on a West African story."

Click here for the full list with dates and times.

Allied Media Conference seeks session proposals for AMC2017

The Allied Media Conference (AMC) is an annual conference held every summer in Detroit dedicated to using art, media and technology to advance social justice and social change. Last year was the conference's 10th in Detroit, but according to event organizer Allied Media Projects (AMP), "AMC2017 will be the most important Allied Media Conference that we have ever hosted."

One unique feature of AMC is that attendees have the ability to shape the conference. And one major way they can do that is by proposing sessions, which anyone can do until the deadline on March 12. 

[Check out Model D's article on the AMC celebrating 10 years in Detroit]

AMP has some general criteria they look for in session proposals: "We especially love sessions that share interesting ideas, strategies, and tools in an accessible way, and that offer opportunities for continued work and connections beyond the AMC."

The organization is also hosting three online information meetings for people who want more info on the process.

Click here to propose a session or for more info on the AMC and session guidelines.

Downtown synagogue hires rabbi, plans major renovations

For the first time in 16 years, Detroit's only synagogue will have a new rabbi.

Arianna Silverman was named the rabbi of Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue last year, according to an article in the Detroit News. Previously, the synagogue was lay-led, meaning members of the congregation would lead services.

Silverman, a "a 39-year-old Manhattan transplant," said a major reason she took the post was because of the youth-led Jewish revival in the city. "They are a big reason I'm here," Silverman said in the article. "We have plenty of people who attend our services who are in their 20s and 30s. Many are involved in nonprofit work, community gardens, social justice, cultural issues."

In related news, "The synagogue is preparing to launch a multimillion-dollar campaign to restore the building," writes Louis Aguilar. "They want to convert the top two floors into more office space, add an alternative chapel, as well as community meeting and rental facilities."

Homegrown comics co-create Comedy Central show, "Detroiters"

A couple of local comedians have co-created a Comedy Central show set to debut on Feb. 7.

Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson wrote and star in "Detroiters," a show about two ad-men and good friends from Detroit. The New York Times recently published an article about the show and its creators, which labeled Detroit as "Comic City."

In it, the pair talk about their distaste for portrayals of Detroit: "'The typical depiction of Detroit is this blighted, 'RoboCop' post-apocalyptic world,' said Mr. Richardson, best known for playing the unflappable aide Richard Splett on 'Veep.'

"Mr. Robinson, a featured player and then a writer for "Saturday Night Live," described the look in even darker terms. 'It's ruin porn,' he said. 'It's all burnt-out buildings. It seemed like almost everything that was getting shot in Detroit for a while was a horror movie. We just wanted to show the city the way we saw it growing up.'"

Richardson and Robinson both honed their comic skills at Second City: Detroit before it closed. And if you're lucky, you can occasionally catch them improvising at the Planet Ant Theater.

Detroit Revitalization Fellows accepting applications for 2017-2019 term

Wayne State University is once again accepting applications for its Detroit Revitalization Fellows program.

The fellowship places talented, "mid-career" individuals for two-year full-time jobs in organizations or companies "working at the forefront of Detroit’s revitalization efforts." Previous placements have been at foundations like Hudson-Webber, companies like Rock Venture, and nonprofits like Jefferson East, Inc.

Prior fellows have been impressively diverse in race, gender, and origin. And many who come from outside Detroit end up staying after the fellowship ends.

"Being a Detroit Revitalization Fellow is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a role in the transformation of a great American city," said Asandi Conner, director of Detroit Revitalization Fellows, in a press release. "These are meaningful positions for emerging leaders ready to drive progress while building a strong network, learning firsthand about urban challenges and opportunities, and working side-by-side with Detroiters who are deeply invested in our city's future."

Other facts about the fellowship:
  • 67 fellows have completed the program since it began in 2011
  • More than 650 applications were received for the 2015-2017 program
  • Approximately 20 fellows will be selected this round
The application period runs from January 23 through February 10. To apply or learn more, visit detroitfellows.wayne.edu.  WSU is also holding a series of informational sessions to aid the prospective applicants. Here are the dates, times, and locations: 
  • Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Arab American National Museum (13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI 48126);
  • Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Matrix Center (13560 E. McNichols, Detroit, MI 48205);
  • Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. at Marygrove College, Madame Cadillac Building, Main Dining Hall (8425 W. McNichols Rd. Detroit, MI 48221)
  • Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 9 a.m. at TechTown (440 Burroughs St., Detroit, MI 48202);
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31 at noon (Virtual, visit detroitfellows.wayne.edu to register);
  • Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. at Detroit Cristo Rey High School (5679 Vernor Hwy., Detroit, MI 48209).

Former Model D managing editor offers smartphone photojournalism workshop

In today's media landscape, it's important to have a diverse set of tools, to have the ability to tell your story in a variety of mediums. For those looking to do just this, Model D managing editor Walter Wasacz is teaching a smartphone photojournalism workshop through Allied Media Project's media making academy, Co.Open.

[Read some of Wasacz's 100+ features for Model D]

According to the description, "This class will teach participants how to become independent documentary makers by using your phone as a creative instrument for written and visual communication."

The workshop will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday evening in February. To learn more or register, click here. To learn about other workshops offered by Co.Open, click here.

Public education news org Chalkbeat officially launches in Detroit

Journalism has taken a beating in recent years. So when something positive happens in news media, it's a pleasant surprise.

Just this week, Chalkbeat Detroit officially launched. Chalkbeat covers public education in local markets, and has been piloting in Detroit for the past year. According to a piece written by Chalkbeat co-founder Elizabeth Green, the response in Detroit has been great—people are desperate to know about public education here.

In just a short time, the scrappy, nonprofit news organization led by reporter Erin Einhorn has done some impressive work, whether it's describing the incredible commute some parents and kids take to school, or the unconventional solutions to Detroit's Head Start programs.

To sign up for Chalkbeat Detroit's newsletter, click here.

Detroiters utilize the gift economy to get by

While Detroit's greater downtown area has seen fantastic growth the last few years, much of the city still struggles. One way low income Detroiters survive is by making use of the gift economy, according to an article in Bloomberg News.

"When the city didn't have the capacity to provide, alternative systems were created," says Erik Howard, co-founder of the Southwest Detroit youth-development organization Young Nation, in the article penned by Model D contributor Valerie Vande Panne.

The article describes a potluck barbecue where attendees exchanged and gifted items, and which eventually morphed into the Free Market of Detroit.

Detroiters also exchange skills. "Jane Slaughter, who's on the time bank's volunteer-run steering committee, offers writing and fruit-drying services; in exchange, she's gotten rides to the airport, shiatsu bodywork, and a garbage disposal installed," writes Vande Panne.

The gift economy has other benefits as well. By lifting each other up, communities are strengthened.

Click here to read the full article. 

North End urban farm makes jams to benefit neighborhood

Oakland Avenue Urban Farm in Detroit's North End has always strove to tie their work back to the neighborhood and its history. The same is true for the farm's latest venture, "Afro-Jam," as described by Model D contributor Martina Guzman writing for NPR.

"The idea for Afro Jam was born out of a need to generate revenue year round while also keeping the community involved, says [Oakland Avenue Urban Farm director Jerry] Hebron. 'The community is at the root of everything we do,' she says."

Their idea was to create jams using old, local recipes, "including some that had been handed down for generations." Later, Guzman writes that some of these recipes were unearthed "from hiding places in attics and long-forgotten recipe boxes."

And the profits from Afro-Jams will directly benefit the neighborhood. "Proceeds from the jam venture go to Northend Christian CDC, a nonprofit that's aimed at revitalizing Detroit's North End historic district, where One Mile and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm are based."

[To read more about the recent developments in the North End, check out this Model D story]

Plans in the works for revitalization of Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, the historic star-shaped fortification located in Detroit's Delray neighborhood, is an underused landmark in the city. Aside from weekend visitors and the occasional event, the fort sits largely unused. But in the coming years, Fort Wayne may get considerably more use, perhaps even tenants.

The Kresge Foundation recently awarded a $265,000 grant for a two-year project of renovation and strategic planning.

The grant will help fund a project director, National Park Service urban fellow David Goldstein, to guide the planning process. "The consultant will also be charged with creating a leasing program for the City of Detroit, which will allow for the renovation and use of the more than 30 military buildings in the fort complex," according to the press release. "An RFP is expected to be released by spring 2018 to seek proposals from prospective tenants, including community and cultural organizations, to renovate and lease buildings on the fort grounds."

"For nearly 175 years, Historic Fort Wayne has stood as a cultural and historical landmark, today attracting some 150,000 visitors a year, from neighborhood soccer leagues to Civil War re-enactments," said George Jacobsen, senior program officer in Kresge’s Detroit Program, in a press release. "As we think about its place in the fabric of Detroit now and in the future, Historic Fort Wayne holds great promise as an active and connected point for the Southwest Detroit and broader communities to recreate, as a space to celebrate contributions of multiple cultures, and as a potential location to support the development of small and creative-sector businesses."

The project is a partnership between the City of Detroit, the National Park Foundation (NPF) and the National Park Service (NPS) Midwest Region.

National sports publication writes about DCFC's colorful fans

There's no doubt about the enthusiasm of fans for Detroit City FC. That's especially true after reading a recent article in SB Nation detailing the rabid fan base of the minor league soccer club that plays out of Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.

Part of that enthusiasm comes from something most professional teams lack—"a soccer movement that is also intrinsically tied to something bigger than just sport: building community," writes Liana Aghajanian. They've become embedded in their new home of Hamtramck and built goodwill with local residents.

The article also details a rally born out of frustration at the announcement of a possible Major League Soccer team in Detroit that took place between fans of DCFC and F.C. United—"a semi-professional team born out of frustration with the commercialization of English football owned and run by its 5,381 members"—based out of Manchester, England.

There's colorful descriptions of "Le Rouge," a nickname for DCFC and their fans, throughout the article, as well as figures like this: "This year, in addition to 15,000 people live streaming the event, more than 7,000 attended their opening match—a figure that some teams in higher leagues like the United Soccer League and the North American Soccer League fail to draw."

Click here to read the article in full.

How Detroiters can get involved with Standing Rock

Protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline have become a major national story and one of the most prominent environmental movements in years. People from all over the country have travelled to Standing Rock, the portion of the pipeline that was set to be installed near a Native American reservation, to support the Sioux tribe who fear about the contamination of their main water source, The Missouri River.
 
In large part because of the scale of the protests, The Army Corps of Engineers recently decided to halt construction of the pipeline. While considered a major victory, protests are not expected to end anytime soon, especially since president-elect Donald Trump has said he's in favor of the pipeline.
 
Detroiters have also come out in force to support the protests. There have been benefits and fundraisers at Trinosophes, El Club, Marble Bar, Citizen Yoga, the Tangent Gallery, and more.
 
The art gallery and studio Riopelle is hosting a "Solidarity Night," presenting some of the avenues people can support the movement.
 
A documentary filmed by members of Activate! 313 after their visit to Standing Rock will be screened this Thursday at the Universe Building on Montana Street. Model D contributor Michele Oberholtzer also visited Standing Rock and wrote a very moving piece about it for her website.
 
These are just some of the ways Detroiters are getting involved in the Standing Rock protests. What other events, fundraisers, screenings, and protests are taking place? Comment below or send more information to feedback@modeldmedia.com. This article will be updated as we receive more information.

Live6 Alliance and Model D host productive community conversation

On Friday, December 9th, the Live6 Alliance and Model D came together to host a productive community conversation. Attendees included students, faculty and leadership from both the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College, as well as residents and business owners who live and work in the communities along 6 Mile and Livernois Avenue.
 
Lead by the Live6 Alliance's executive director Lauren Hood, the event took place on the University of Detroit Mercy's campus. Over 50 people were in attendance, and participated in critical conversations around the role that higher institutions can play in the equitable growth of the area, how residents can be engaged, and addressing the diverse needs of everyone who lives, works and plays in the area.
 
Jay Meeks served as panelist for the event. He lives in a small community inside the Fitzgerald neighborhood, and would like to see Marygrove and the University of Detroit Mercy do more to community issues.

"I spoke about the institutions using their weight to tackle other community issues such as blight that are still very much a problem," he says. "I've called city hall, I've spoken to the district manager, I've talked to the land bank about open and trespass homes in the community. They haven't been boarded up, they've been torn down, so I would just like to see the college and the university call city hall as well, and join a coalition of people who are demanding if not immediate demolition or board up, then at least a response."
 
Reverend Dr. Gloria Albrecht, a professor in the master's of community development program at the University of Detroit Mercy, is also a Live6 resident. She gained a better understanding of the disconnect residents in the communities feel with the universities. "We have to go deeper than we did tonight," she says.
 
As the neighborhoods in the Live6 community continue to garner development attention, it's important to remember the unique makeup of this area. Neighborhoods like University District, and adjoining neighborhoods such as Sherwood Forest, Palmer Woods, and the Detroit Golf Club Community, are some of the most stable areas within the city, and have incomes significantly higher than the U.S. average. This flies in the face of the assumption that Detroit is a tabula rasa, and future development will have to delicately balance the needs and expectations of the strong communities that already exist in the neighborhoods of Live6.

Check out this video produced by Final5 on the event. 

656765339 from Final 5 on Vimeo.


Future Grandmont-Rosedale food hall could be huge boon for neighborhood

The residents of Grandmont-Rosedale have very few dining options. According to a recent Next City article, that's caused approximately $107 million of economic leakage as those residents travel to the suburbs or downtown Detroit for meals.
 
"To that end, Grandmont-Rosedale Development Corporation and FoodLab Detroit recently joined forces and won a grant from the state to begin planning for a food hall that could foster a more robust restaurant scene and be a boon for the local economy overall," writes Oscar Perry Abello.
 
The hope is that it will be a food hub for the neighborhood, possibly containing restaurants and a market, "while also creating a shared sit-down space for FoodLab."
 
There are not yet any details about when the hall will be completed.
 
To view the complete article, click here.

Photographer lists Detroit buildings that should be saved

Detroit has a mixed record of historic building preservation. Thanks to recent economic developments, many of it's building are not only being preserved, but restored.

[Check out this Model D article looking back at the last decade of historic preservation in Detroit]
 
But that doesn't mean there aren't buildings at risk of demolition. And one young photographer put together an excellent list titled, "Buildings in Detroit That Need to Be Saved in 2017."
 
Eric Hergenreder included seven buildings (many of which he photographed as well) in his list, such as the Belle Isle Zoo and Free Press Building.
 
Hergenreder also includes nice write-ups of each building, like this one for the United Artists Theater: "The United Artists Theater, which is currently owned by the Ilitch family, is in desperate need of a miracle. The Tigers Tycoon has threatened it with demolition a handful of times, but at this point, it still stands. The building has been secured (for the most part, my shattered heel says otherwise) and it sits empty on the corner of Bagley and Clifford."
 
Check out the full list here.

Regional Transit Authority looks to learn from other cities' transit wins

Regional transit in Southeast Michigan took a major hit this month.
 
"Metro Detroit had an opportunity to vastly upgrade its public transportation system this past election," writes Aaron Mondry in a recent article on income inequality for Model D. "A proposal was on the ballot that would have collected a millage across four Southeastern Michigan counties to fund a Regional Transit Authority for the implementation of BRT lines, commuter rail between Detroit and Ann Arbor, commuter routes, airport routes, and more."
 
But the proposal failed by about 18,000 votes.
 
A recent article in Next City details how Metro Detroit can move on from this setback and learn from other cities with robust regional transit systems. "Michael Ford, CEO of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Southeast Michigan—the group that sought the 20-year, $3 billion property tax for new and improved bus and train service—said the organization will look in particular at what made initiatives successful in Seattle and Los Angeles," writes Jen Kinney.
 
Some of those lessons include better advocacy for the plan and taxing districts instead of whole counties.
 
Click here to read the article.

Detroit-based journalist lists ways people can support journalism

Journalism as an institution, especially some of its most prominent national publications, came under intense criticism during the campaign. As if the industry's economic struggles weren't enough, the president-elect called coverage of him "unfair" numerous times and pilloried journalists.
 
But in a surprising twist, news organizations received a spate of new subscriptions in the wake of the election. There seems to be a new urgency around reviving journalism as a means of keeping public officials accountable.
 
One local journalist and Model D contributor, Anna Clark, has advice for those who feel similarly. In a post on her website titled, "How to Support Good Journalism," Clark lists seven potential ways to do just that, including "Subscribe, donate, and/or advertise," "Support the work of those fighting for a free press," and more for both members of the media and reading public.
 
"This near-erasure of a news infrastructure over huge stretches of the country has a serious impact on our democracy," writes Clark. "Omnipresent issues that might rise to the surface in, say, Michigan or Wisconsin, never does; the national press that is almost entirely clustered on coasts is never alerted. Locally, the news vacuum contributes to a profound cycle of disinformation that citizens are fed about what is happening in their disinvested regions, and why."
 
Click here for the complete post and list.

Y Arts fundraiser doubles as a celebration of '60s psychedelic rock

There's lots of good reasons to attend a fundraiser for Y Arts, the arts and humanities branch of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. Of course, it's an opportunity to support an important arts organization. But if that's not enough of an incentive, this year's theme, "Y Arts' Rockin' Art Bash," promises to be a thrill for fans of '60s rock music.
 
The fundraiser, which takes place on Saturday, November 26, will have a screening of Kresge Kresge Fellow Tony D'Annunzio's Emmy Award Winning rock documentary "Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story," about the east-side Detroit venue.
 
The Y Arts press release gives a great description of the classic venue: "The Grande Ballroom stood as the epicenter of the Detroit rock music scene in the late 60s Serving as the starting point for bands such as MC5, Iggy & The Stooges, Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, The Grande Ballroom not only influenced local Detroit musicians but inspired bands from all over the U.S. and Great Britain. Legendary acts like Led Zeppelin, Cream, B.B. King, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, and The Who graced The Grande Ballroom main stage on a regular basis. This is the story of the hallowed halls that started it all, told by the artists who helped create The Grandes legend."
 
The poster artwork of Gary Grimshaw will also be featured. And there will be a live musical performance followed by a Q&A with the director of "Louder Than Love."
 
All proceeds from the event will support Y Arts Detroit and the arts programming they provide to youth and families throughout Metropolitan Detroit. Tickets are available at http://rockinartbash.brownpapertickets.com/.

Startup Story Night accepting submissions for Detroit storytelling event

Everyone has a story to tell. And Southeast Michigan Startup and the New Economy Initiative want to help entrepreneurs tell theirs.
 
The two organizations are presenting Startup Story Night, the first of its kind in Detroit. It'll be a night of storytelling, hosted by a nationally renowned storyteller, and will take place in a unique venue in the wonderfully diverse city known for creation, creativity, boundless ideas—and the resolve to never quit.
 
The night will shine a spotlight on five local entrepreneurs who will share their "a-ha" moment—when they realized their idea or product would work despite the challenges. And readers who have attended Southeast Michigan Startup's High Growth Happy Hours or followed coverage of entrepreneurs who are scaling their businesses will have the opportunity to share their story and learn from their peers.
 
Here's how the process will work:
  • Submissions for stories are open until Dec. 9. Stories must not exceed 10 minutes.
  • A local committee will narrow down the submissions to five entrepreneurs and their stories.
  • The five entrepreneurs will be announced Jan. 3, 2017.
  • Startup Story Night will take place Jan. 19, 2017.
In addition, Detroit native Glynn Washington will be the featured host and storytelling coach. Washington is the host and executive producer of the WNYC-produced podcast Snap Judgment. Washington, a University of Michigan graduate who also received a law degree from U-M's law school, has a background of supporting and working with entrepreneurs. From 2007 to 2010, Washington was the director of the Center for Young Entrepreneurs at Haas, also known as YEAH, a program at the University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business that serves at-risk students in middle and high schools.
 
Washington has received national acclaim in publications like The Atlantic, which called him the "fastest-rising public radio star in memory."
 
In addition to his hosting duties, Washington will conduct a workshop exclusively for the selected entrepreneurs to help them polish their stories and advise them in the art of storytelling onstage, under the bright lights and in front of an audience.
 
To submit a story for consideration, head over to Startup Story Night and fill out the short submission form.

Project Green Light offers to help businesses save money, improve safety through lighting rebates

For business owners struggling with the expense of installing external lighting, Project Green Light is here to help.
 
A collaboration between the City of Detroit and DTE Energy, Project Green Light is now offering thousands of dollars in rebates to "Detroit companies who install high-efficiency LED lighting and other energy-savings equipment at their businesses." Those that undertake these upgrades are eligible to receive as much as 65 percent off their purchases for an average savings of $7,000.
 
The program hopes to not only improve energy efficiency in the city, but also safety, as external lighting of business plays a huge role in crime reduction.
 
"DTE has taken great pride in supporting organizations that share our commitment to neighborhoods by promoting safety and implementing programs to revitalize our community—and Project Green Light is just one more great example," says Trevor Lauer, president of DTE Electric, in a press release.
 
Project Green Light was launched early this year and has continued to add incentives, including affordable external video cameras provided by Comcast, and now the rebate program. The program claims that those enrolled since its inception have experienced "a 50 percent reduction in violent crime."
 
52 Detroit businesses are currently enrolled. 

Bedrock gives sneak peak of units in their micro-apartment building

Curbed Detroit recently released photos and details of Bedrock's micro-apartment building, 28 Grand, currently under construction in Capitol Park.
 
The apartments are quite small—a dormitory-sized 260 square feet on average. But they do come fully furnished, with a kitchen and free Rocket Fiber internet connection included in rent.
 
Another cool feature of the building, according to Curbed Detroit editor Robin Runyan: "There will be 218 micro-apartments total, with 133 market-rate units and 85 apartments for those who qualify for low-income housing tax credits."
 
Click here to see more photos of the construction and some of the finished units.

Fitzgerald community meeting brings community, city together

City officials and community members met on October 24th at the University of Detroit Mercy's School of Architecture to continue discussions about the forthcoming Fitzgerald Revitalization Project, a city-led initiative to rehab over 350 plots of vacant land and houses in the Fitzgerald neighborhood of Detroit's northwest side.
 
This meeting was added after an October 4th meeting, where developers presented their proposed plans for Fitzgerald to community members. Questions and concerns that arose out of that meeting were part of the reason why the city wanted to give another opportunity for people to give feedback. Those at the October 24th meeting had the opportunity to vote on community priority areas for developers, which included issues like security, side lots, and affordable rentals.
 
Local hiring and workforce development was also a hot topic. This issue is particularly relevant in light of contractors for the Little Caesar's Arena being fined roughly $500,000 for their inability to hire the requisite 51 percent of Detroiters for the project.
 
"I want to make sure that the people who live there are well served by the project," said Frank Rashid, a University District resident. He expressed concern about the project fulfilling its intended purposes. "I want to make sure that the people who live there aren't priced out of their homes. I want to make sure whatever is done we're employing the people in the neighborhood."
 
On hand to field questions and feedback like those from Mr. Rashid were a number of city officials, including Alexa Bush, a senior planner with the City of Detroit, as well as Kim Tandy, the District Manager for District 2, which houses the Fitzgerald community.
 
Ms. Bush sees the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project as an opportunity for residents to take part in the future of their neighborhood and gain access to local jobs. "[W]e think that through the rehab of homes, through the transformation of some of these lots, that there's a real opportunity to find some of these jobs," Bush said. These possibilities, as a result, would benefit people living directly in the Fitzgerald neighborhood.
 
She also wants people to stay connected as the process continues to move forward. "I would encourage people who have concerns to come plug in with us, come out to a meeting, call us, check the website. Part of why we wanted to start so many months ago was to give time to get the word out," she said.
 
Community members like Stephanie Harbin are looking forward to what is ahead. Harbin has been a Fitzgerald resident since 1969 and is heavily involved in local community groups, including the San Juan Block Club and the Fitzgerald Community Council. "We are at the point where we need some new life in this area," Harbin said.

Midtown program seeks to prevent residents from being priced out of neighborhood

Gentrification is an issue being talked about a great deal in Detroit. It's a problem that's especially acute in neighborhoods like Midtown, where rents are rising so fast even tenants with steady jobs are having trouble keeping up.
 
That's one reason why Midtown, Inc. has launched their "Stay Midtown" cash assistance program.
 
According to a Detroit Free Press article written by John Gallagher, "The pilot program is aimed at residents of Midtown with annual household incomes that are 50 to 80 percent of area median income levels, or as low as $23,450 for a single person or $30,150 for a single parent with two children. Residents qualifying for help would receive up to $4,500 over a three-year period to bring their total housing expenses down to 30 percent of their income, a level considered normal under federal guidelines."
 
Funding for the program comes from the Kresge Foundation, Ford Foundation, and "the specialized lender Capital Impact Partners, which also helped design the program."
 
Midtown, Inc. hopes to help 100 households with the initial round of fund disbursements. 

New tool from Global Detroit demonstrates how immigrants can revitalize city's housing stock

In a recent column for The Renewal Project, Global Detroit director Steve Tobocman wrote about a new tool his organization helped develop for understanding the number of people that can afford a rehabbed home in a given city, and how many of these people are immigrants.
 
Global Detroit advocates for immigrants as a way to strengthen Detroit's economy. This tool was part of research conducted in collaboration with the Welcoming Economies Global Network and the Fiscal Policy Institute.

"[The results] suggest that immigrants represent some of the brightest potential for revitalizing urban communities, especially those with vacant and distressed properties," writes Tobocman.
 
Rust belt cities like Detroit represent a high percentage of these communities. The tool, meant for use by city planners, developers, and the like, "reveals that in 22 of 23 cities, immigrant households have the highest prospect among existing renters to be able to afford such a home."
 
Tobocman goes on to write: "While immigrants remain a smaller portion of the population of these cities (just 11 percent of the total), they remain a critical component for successfully revitalizing neighborhoods and stabilizing population loss. In fact, no great American city that lost population over the last 50 years has been able to grow its population without substantial increase in immigrant population."
 
[For more, check out Model D's article on the ways Metro Detroit is helping its immigrant population]

BizGrid Live! event to increase connection between entrepreneurs and service providers

If you're a Detroit entrepreneur in search of financial, consulting, or other business services (and what business isn't), you're probably familiar with the BizGrid. The resource, which comprehensively catalogues the organizations that constitute Detroit's business ecosystem, will supplement their directory with a resource fair that's "more like speed dating for business support."
 
Dubbed BizGrid Live!, the event will take place on November 2 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Eastern Market and feature networking, a happy hour, and the opportunity for service providers and entrepreneurs to connect.
 
"You can look forward to meeting face-to-face with service providers to help grow your business, networking among community stakeholders and entrepreneurs alike, educational small biz panel discussions, and a pitch session," according to a press release.
 
The BizGrid is a collaborative project between many organizations in the Detroit Business Support Network, including the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Bizdom, TechTown Detroit, New Economy Initiative, and more. It's regularly updated and available in both directory and infographic form. 

BizGrid Live! will take place on November 2 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Eastern Market. You can RSVP here.

Women innovators speak at next High Growth Happy Hour

The world of mobility is changing fast in Detroit. In recent years we've seen world-class incubators like Techstars mobility opening, and the big automotive companies investing in mobility startups like Lyft. What new technologies in transportation could be next?

Two Detroit startups are leading the way and the conversation at our next High Growth Happy Hour on Tuesday, October 25th in Midtown at Traffic Jam & Snug. Tatiana Grant Co-founder of Flash Delivery and Anya Babbitt Founder of SPLT will share with you how they’ve started up and are scaling in the region.

Tatiana's Flash Delivery just saw record growth, managing a fleet of drivers who deliver food and groceries to Detroit residents. Anaya's SPLT has won national and internationally honors for their ride-sharing technology.

Join us at this free, casual networking event to meet other entrepreneurs and learn from those scaling up in the city. RSVP to join us!

Live6 community meeting brings local business owners, residents together to discuss future of area

The Live6 Alliance hosted a meeting on Oct. 12, bringing together longtime residents, business owners, and property owners along the 6 Mile and Livernois corridor to discuss the future of their neighborhoods.

Over 20 people were in attendance at Detroit Sip, a soon to be opened coffee shop owned by Bagley resident Jevona Watson and located along the stretch of McNichols between Marygrove College and the University of Detroit Mercy. The gathering provided an opportunity for people to share information about upcoming events, as well as current development news concerning the area.

The group discussed an earlier community meeting with teams that proposed ideas for the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project, a city-backed initiative to rehab more than 350 homes and vacant properties in the Fitzgerald neighborhood

Investment is finally coming to the neighborhoods as the city looks to jumpstart growth in other parts of Detroit. Denise Kennedy of Martin Park, one of the Live6 Advisory committee members, notes that it was only a matter of time before interest expanded beyond the 7.2 square miles of the greater downtown area.

"People saw what was happening in Midtown, and they knew sooner or later the growth, the desire for other neighborhoods was going to be happening as Detroit came out of bankruptcy," Kennedy says. She emphasized that it was important to the people that live in her neighborhood and "stayed through thick and thin," that they weren't pushed out as development comes one step closer to becoming a reality.

Attendees also used the meeting as an opportunity to offer resources and tactical strategies to each other, particularly as services like lighting and trash removal takes time to catch up to the needs to the neighborhoods. One business owner said her nickname was the "Housekeeper on Livernois" because of all the extra work she's put in to make sure her building and the adjoining spaces around her building are clear of debris.

She and others encouraged newer business owners struggling with growing pains to stay the course, and reminded them of they support they have in the community.

All photos by Bree Gant

The Senate Theater launches crucial crowdfunding campaign

A classic Detroit theater needs your help.

The Senate Theater on Michigan Avenue, home to one of the largest Wurlitzer organs in the world, hopes to raise $150,000 in a GoFundMe campaign. The theater has opened and closed several times since it first opened in 1926, and is entirely volunteer-run today.

Most of the money will go towards repairing the rusted sign, both the steel and letterboard. It's difficult to tell that the Senate is even open for business without it.

Here's a brief history of the theater from Cinema Treasures: "The former theater was acquired by the Detroit Theater Organ Society (DTOS) in 1963 who renovated it and reduced seating from 1,200 to about 900. The Club moved the former Fisher Theater organ from the Iris Theater, where it was briefly kept in 1961-2, to the Senate Theater.

"Since then, the Senate Theater has been home to the DTOS, and features organ concerts. It no longer has its projection equipment, so unlike the Redford Theater, which features organ concerts and classic motion pictures, the Senate Theater became a concert hall only."

The crowdfunding campaign ends on November 5. To donate, visit the campaign page.

TechTown awards ceremony to recognize excellence in entrepreneurship

TechTown Detroit, a business incubator located in New Center, has done a lot to support entrepreneurship since opening its doors in 2004. And at The Salute! Awards, which takes place on October 13 at TechTown, they'll recognize a few of those standout entrepreneurs.

This year's winner of the "Entrepreneur of the Year" award will be given to Sean Ainsworth, CEO and founder of RetroSense Therapeutics, a biotech company that develops "life-enhancing gene therapies" based on research conducted at Wayne State University. Ainsworth and the company have received numerous accolades in the past, including being named one of the "50 Smartest Companies in the World" by MIT Technology Review.

The ceremony will recognize other people who've contributed to Detroit's business ecosystem. James Feagan IV will receive the "Business Champion of the Year" award for his consulting work with NEIdeas, Motor City Match, and more. Three current or former TechTown clients will receive Lab (technology) and Block (neighborhood) awards as well.

The finalists for the awards were nominated by a committee of "leaders in the startup and small business community."

"There is so much happening in Detroit's entrepreneurship and small business community, we could have given a hundred of these awards," says Ned Staebler, president and CEO of TechTown, in a press release.

Food, dessert, and drinks from local businesses will be served at the event.

The Salute! Awards will be presented at TechTown’s annual Toast of the Town celebration of entrepreneurship on Thursday, October 13 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at TechTown, 440 Burroughs, in Detroit.

Living Arts commemorates Mexican tradition with month-long series of events

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday of Mexican origins that takes place on November 1 and is dedicated to the memory of relatives and loved-ones who have died. Living Arts, an organization that supports youth arts programming and does a lot of work with Southwest Detroit's Mexican-American community, will be holding an event on October 29 to commemorate the holiday.

Beginning with a procession across the Bagley Street pedestrian bridge, "Teatro Chico—Dia de los Muertos: Nuestras Historias, Our Histories" will culminate with a community meal, music and dance performances, and an exhibition of ofrendas (altars) at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center.

The performances will be given by some esteemed dance and mariachi groups, including Living Arts' own youth dance ensemble.

"Living Arts is proud to be able to contribute to this important conversation about Dia de Los Muertos among all the other wonderful contributions taking place in the Southwest Detroit Community as well as in the greater Detroit area and in Southeast Michigan," stated Erika Villarreal Bunce, Living Arts' director of programs, in a press release. "Through this project we hope to help uplift the ancient roots of Dia de Los Muertos through examining its long history and acknowledging its future. We hope to reconnect with the significance of the tradition as well as help others to learn about and engage on a deeper level with Day of the Dead."

Throughout the month of October Living Arts will also offer art workshops on papermaking, pottery, along with other traditional crafts, using those art objects to create a Dia de Los Muertos Ofrenda. All activities will take place at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center.

The project is sponsored in part by Michigan Humanities Council, the Ford Motor Company Fund, and the Ideal Group.

Teatro Chico: Dia de los Muertos takes place on Saturday, October 29 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. beginning at the Bagley Street pedestrian bridge and moving to the Ford Resource and Engagement Center. The event is free of charge, but donations are encouraged. For more information about the event or workshops, visit the Living Arts event page.

Cleveland installation has Detroit inspiration

If you happen to find yourself in Cleveland between now and early January, be sure to head to the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) for an art installation that features Detroit.

Titled, "Unit 1: 3583 Dubois," the work by Anders Ruhwald recreates the a Detroit building's identity through a series rooms and corridors. "Using charred wood, ash, molten glass, found objects, and black-glazed ceramics, Ruhwald meticulously composes an immersive, richly sensorial experience that is at once dramatic, nostalgic, and uncanny," says a description on MOCA's website.

Model D's sister publication in Cleveland, Fresh Water, also visited the exhibit and came away with this fascinating description: "Unit 1 does include two sensual components the other exhibits lack," writes Erin O'Brien. "Not only does it smell of charred wood evocative of campfires as well as arson, visitors are encouraged to do something that might otherwise get them asked to leave a museum: touch all the interior components of the mysterious space, some of which offer a primal element of life: warmth."

At the end of its run in Cleveland, Ruhwald will transport the installation back to Detroit for permanent relocation.

"Unit 1: 3583 Dubois" will be on display at the MOCA until January 8, 2017. 

City of Detroit to develop two large, vacant Midtown sites; will include low-income housing

Demand for residential housing in midtown and downtown Detroit has increased so much in recent years that the city is seeing new building construction for the first time in a while.

Now, the City of Detroit is getting in on the action with two large parcels it owns in midtown. But these won't be typical developments—both will be upwards of 60 units, 20 percent of which will be dedicated to low-income housing. The city is seeking proposals to develop the property.

The larger of the two will be at the site of the former Wigle recreation center at 901 Selden Street, now "the largest publicly-held, contiguous development site in midtown."

According to a press release, "Competitive bids will include a well-designed, walkable, environmentally sustainable, mixed-income neighborhood of between 150-200 units, with open space that connects seamlessly to the Midtown neighborhood."

The city is accepting proposals for the second, approximately one-acre site just south of East Forest Avenue past Woodward, which will have ground-floor retail and 60 mixed-income residential units.

"The City expects to select developers based on the strength of their proposals by mid-December," according to the press release. "[The City's Director of Housing & Revitalization] Arthur Jemison said there will be a community engagement process that will allow residents of these areas to have a voice in the selection of the developers."

5 tips for growing a startup with Rocket Fiber's Marc Hudson

In the last three years, Rocket Fiber co-founder Marc Hudson has expanded an admittedly precarious and bold pitch for a high-speed internet venture into a successful, rapidly expanding Detroit startup in the face of major, multimillion-dollar competitors.
 
Hudson first pitched the idea for Rocket Fiber in 2013 while working as a software engineer for Quicken Loans. He says he thought of the idea while reading an article on Google Fiber in Kansas City, and the subsequent influx of technology and entrepreneurship following the launch.
 
Hudson says a light bulb went on, thinking it could be a "game changer" for Detroit. He pitched the idea through the Cheese Factory, Quicken Loans' internal ideas website where employees are encouraged to pitch concepts big or small that could improve the company.
 
This idea was definitely big and quickly caught the eye of Dan Gilbert, who backed the project financially.
 
The gigabit internet connection, which launched commercially in January, is 1,000 times faster than the average residential connection. The service is currently being used in both Detroit homes and businesses.
 
"Since January, we've been lighting buildings all over the central business district," Hudson says.
 
So far, Rocket Fiber has put down over 20 miles of fiber optic cable in Detroit. Various residential buildings in downtown and Midtown such as the Willy's Overland Lofts, Cadillac Square Apartments, and the Forest Arms Apartments already have Rocket Fiber connections available.
 
Hudson says Rocket Fiber is actively working to expand farther into Midtown, Brush Park, and New Center. They recently connected their first commercial customer in Corktown, as well.
 
"In 2017, we'll be setting our sights even bigger than just the downtown area," Hudson says. "We've always said that we want to expand, we want to grow, and we think there's a lot of opportunity to continue to build this company and network in the city of Detroit." 
 
Although solid plans aren't in place yet, Hudson says he hopes to eventually bring Rocket Fiber into the suburbs.
 
Beyond physical expansion, the company plans to soon break into the cable market, providing HDTV cable channels and on-demand services.
 
"We're still trying to work the bugs out," Hudson says. "TV is actually pretty hard to do--it's actually harder to do than the internet." Still, he says announcements regarding the new service will be made in the "not too distant future."
 
Hudson will be the keynote speaker at Southeast Michigan Startup's High Growth Happy Hour starting at 6:00 p.m. at Cafe Con Leche in Detroit. There will be time for networking and drinks, a casual chat and Q&A. The event is free, but advance tickets are required. Hudson will highlight Rocket Fiber's expansions and how the company has scaled an innovative tech startup across the city. To encourage this sort of growth from other ventures, Hudson has shared five of his tips for growing an innovative startup in the city.
 
Have partners
"I've been involved in a bunch of different startups, pretty much since I was in college, high school even," Hudson says. "One of the big difference makers for me in this startup environment was having partners. I tried to do a lot of it alone in the past, and it doesn't matter how well-rounded you are, there's always going to be some skill set that you just don't have."
 
Don't just have partners—have good partners
"For me, having Edi and Randy as my partners has been a huge part of the success of the Rocket Fiber story," Hudson says of Edi Demaj and Randy Foster. "They were the ones that we showing up, and doing things, and following through, and not just saying they were interested but showing they were interested. … So, to me, it's one thing if someone shows interest but if they actually jump in and roll their sleeves up and start building with you, that's a pretty good indicator that they want to be around for a while."
 
Trust the partners you put in place as you grow
"As a founder of a company, you have a vision, you have a dream, you have an idea and you want to do everything," Hudson says. "As you grow, you really have to trust in the people you put in place to pick things up for you because you can't be everywhere at all times. You have to have people you can trust to take and run with things. And you as a founder, a manager of those people, you need to be able to let go sometimes and let them go and build things. It might not be the exact same way that you would have done it, but that's OK."
 
Persevere
"Perseverance is one [tip] that is talked about a lot but is still understated," Hudson says. "There are so many times when this project, this idea, could have died along the way for different reasons. It was all about just rolling up our sleeves and just understanding, in our case, that this project was so important for the city of Detroit and for our organization that we weren't going to let the normal things that get in the way slow us down."
 
Ignore the noise
"We have a saying within our organization which is, 'Ignore the noise.' I think there's a lot of noise out there when you're building a business. It's other people trying to do something similar, it's your competitors dropping press releases, it's the naysayers telling you it can't be done. At the end of the day, it's really about putting the blinders on, focusing straight ahead on you, on your business, your dream, your vision, and shutting everything else out."
 
Lexi Trimpe is a freelance writer living and working in Detroit. You can find her on Twitter @LexiTrimpe or on Instagram @thewestvillageidiot.

Conference on preserving Detroit's musical legacy enters third year

Detroit has one of the greatest musical heritages of any city in the world. And a local conference is intent on preserving it.

Hosted by the Detroit Sound Conservancy (DSC) and presented by Lawrence Technological University, the 3rd Annual Music Conference will convene people integral to music preservation for the purpose of discussing how to harness the city's musical legacy.

The conference, which takes place on October 15, will have panels, a speech from Soul music legend Melvin Davis, as well as a remembrance of James T. Jenkins, founder of the Graystone International Jazz Museum and Hall of Fame, who would have turned 100 this year. 

The conference will be held at the Detroit Center for Design & Technology (DCDT).

"The DCDT prides itself on aligning with local initiatives, programs and organizations who look to foster and expand the role that art and design play among the local community, growing industry and educational pedagogy," says Karl Daubmann, DCDT interim executive director. "With the DSC's history of working towards increased awareness of Detroit’s musical heritage, along with their efforts in advocacy, preservation and education in the local community, the DCDT is proud to support our neighborhood partner in their endeavors to reinvigorate Detroit's ever present musical culture."

The DSC's 3rd Annual Music Conference takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 at the Detroit Center for Design & Technology. For more information on the conference schedule or to RSVP, click here.

Bedrock Real Estate to spend an estimated $400 million on restoration of Book Tower

In one of the more surprising stories about redevelopment in a city full of them, the Book Tower and Book Building will get an estimated $400 million worth of restoration, according to a recent Crain's Detroit Business article.

It's all part of Bedrock Real Estate's massive investments along Washington Boulevard and downtown generally. "The projects range from new apartments, to retail, to renovated housing for low-income seniors in what developers predict is going to build upon the brothers' original vision," writes Kirk Pinho for Crain's.

The price tag is so high for the Book Tower, vacant since 2009, because of the numerous features in need of repair, from the windows to the comically-long fire escape to its mansard roof.

Here's a great description of the building from Historic Detroit: "No skyscraper in Detroit, let alone the Midwest, looks quite like the Book Tower on Washington Boulevard. It's a rather awkward-looking building, whether you look at its unusual maze of an external fire escape or the intricate, over-the-top details on its crown that are tough to appreciate without a pair of binoculars. It's an undeniably unique piece of the city's skyline and a rare breed of classical Renaissance-style architecture and skyscraper."

International bike conference to take place in Detroit

With so much emphasis placed on non-motorized transit in Detroit, it's no surprise that a prominent bike conference would come to the city.

Bike!Bike!, an international conference for bike enthusiasts, will be hosted by The Hub of Detroit and held at various locations from September 28 to October 2, according to a Mode Shift article. Expected attendance is around 300 from 50 community bike projects around the world.

"The four-day event will offer a variety of workshops, rides and evening events for out-of-town visitors and local folks interested in learning more about the community bike scene," writes David Sands.

"Bike!Bike! got its start in New Orleans in 2004 and takes place in a different city every year. Detroit narrowly won over Winnipeg, Canada to host this year's  event during a vote that was taken at last year's gathering in Guadalajara Mexico ... Bike!Bike! participants were curious to learn more about what's happening bike-wise in a place that's become so famous for its automotive history."

If you're interested in attending or volunteering, contact one of the organizers on the The Hub's event page.

Michigan Science Center forum to pose the question, "Should we eradicate the mosquito?"

If you could eradicate the mosquito from the face of the earth, would you?

That's the essential question being asked at a forum taking place at the Michigan Science Center on September 22 titled, "Should We Engineer the Mosquito?"

The forum will be the first a series on on synthetic biology, a field that may soon give humanity the power to alter the genetic code through a technology in development called CRISPR. Other future forums will include topics like engineering "algae that can synthesize fuel or bacteria that can eat plastics."

To register for the forum, go here.

Fitzgerald neighborhood receives $4 million grant to support revitalization efforts

The Fitzgerald neighborhood in northwest Detroit has seen a lot of abandonment and disinvestment in recent years.

While that's been devastating to the neighborhood, it's also what made it eligible to receive a $4 million grant from the "Reimagining Civic Commons" initiative, a collaboration between four major foundations, including Kresge and James L. Knight.

The initiative, which also pledged sums for neighborhoods in Akron, Chicago, and Memphis, "intends to be the first comprehensive demonstration of how a connected set of civic assets—a civic commons—can yield increased and more equitably shared prosperity for cities and neighborhoods."

A press release from Mayor Mike Duggan's Office states that, "The grant funding and local match is a critical element in advancing Mayor Mike Duggan's recently announced 20-Minute Neighborhood initiative … the Mayor has proposed investing in targeted communities to better link residents to key assets."

A recent City Lab article details other important pieces of the grant. "Detroit is partnering with the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College to improve a civic commons located between the two institutions: a roughly half-mile future greenway in the city's distressed Fitzgerald neighborhood," writes Kriston Capps. "Together, with these colleges and the Live6 Alliance, a nonprofit community-development corporation, Detroit aims to build a greenway through vacant or abandoned lots along the Livernois Corridor."

Detroit has also raised matching funds to bring the total investment in the Fitzgerald neighborhood to $8 million.

Elementary school in Southwest Detroit fights neighborhood blight

For eight years, the community around Neinas Elementary in Southwest Detroit has worked to transform the blight around their school. They're very close to bringing that vision to reality, but need a little more funding, and are looking to acquire it through an ioby crowdfunding campaign.

Three abandoned buildings in unsalvageable conditions stood near the elementary school. So the Friends of Neinas purchased the land and got the buildings demolished. Their last goal is to design nourishing spaces for children to play and learn, and they even enlisted the students to help with ideas.

Some of those ideas include a soccer field, butterfly garden, and exhibit space for student art.

The crowdfunding campaign, called Building a Brighter Neinas, ends on September 16 and has a goal of $10,000. To donate or visit the campaign, click here.

National startup boom reaches Detroit

Conditions are just right nationally and in Detroit for a startup boom, according to a Detroit Free Press article. And that's exactly what we're seeing.

The article begins at the business incubator and coworking space TechTown Detroit, where "the interest is so intense from start-ups seeking space there that the organization may need to find more to squeeze them all in," writes Frank Witsil. "The co-working space … is nearly full at 67 companies; many are start-ups. At this rate, it could eventually overflow."

The article then gives national figures demonstrating that startups are being founded at the highest rate in seven years.

Several economic conditions are just right for the recent startup boom: people have found greater work stability (unemployment has decreased 5 percent since 2009) and homeownership is on the rise. In Detroit, many grant-giving competitions and foundations, like Motor City Match and Hatch Detroit, have arisen to support the small business community.

The article concludes with this hopeful quote from Lester Gouvia, owner the food truck businesses Norma G's. "Detroit is coming back from such a place that it was in a few years ago that I think the excitement level and opportunity, while it's similar to the rest of the country, is even greater. There's so much to be done. There's a lot of opportunity here."

In surprising turn, classic Detroit venue may reopen

John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press opens his article on the potential reopening of the Vanity Ballroom with these hopeful words: "Whenever I get discouraged about Detroit's redevelopment efforts I think about all the projects we once thought utterly impossible that eventually opened and thrived."

The glorious venue on the far east side of Detroit, whose facade is adorned with Aztec-influenced tiles, hosted many seminal musicians throughout the years before closing in 1988. Today however, it's "in rough shape," according to Gallagher. "Scrappers have been working, the ceiling is open to the sky, debris litters the floor everywhere. But it's still possible to glimpse the former glory."

Jefferson East Inc., the economic development organization supporting neighborhoods in and around East Jefferson Avenue, is putting together redevelopment designs and a funding packaging for the ballroom.

The plan is to have mixed retail on the ground level with the whole project as the centerpiece for much bigger development efforts along the Jefferson corridor.

Michigan leads Midwest in hop production, craft beer industry

Michigan has been a national leader in the craft beer boom. Brands like Founder's and Bell's can be found in many states across the country, and Detroit breweries like Jolly Pumpkin and Batch are getting plenty of acclaim, too.

Another piece of evidence that Michigan is uniquely thriving in the craft beer movement is by comparison to their Midwest neighbors. In that regard, there really isn't much of a comparison.

An article earlier this month in the Chicago Tribune identifies Michigan as the top hop producer in the Midwest with over 800 acres dedicated to the crop. Illinois has a paltry 30.

"Hop farms are popping up throughout the Midwest, a trend driven by craft beer's continued growth running parallel to the increasing popularity of locally grown food," writes Greg Trotter for the Tribune. "But in Illinois, unlike in neighboring Michigan, there's no state university-coordinated effort among brewers and growers to break down potential barriers to business. There's no research underway to determine the best varieties for Illinois farmers to grow that might give them a competitive edge."

The article then details the number of ways Michigan state government and institutions support its craft beer industry, whereas the same institutional support doesn't exist in Illinois. Trotter also writes about the industry's economic potential, which is already being harnessed to a large degree in Michigan.

Diversity increases amongst downtown business owners

About two-thirds of all businesses in Detroit are black-owned. But many feel that minorities have been left out of the economic upswing taking place in the greater downtown area. 

Perhaps, suggests a recently published article
 in the Detroit News, that disparity is shrinking.

Ian Thibodeau of the News writes about several minority, women business owners who've opened storefronts downtown, including Detroit Is the New Black owner Roslyn Karamoko.

That said, caveats do remain. Thibodeau spoke with House of Pure Vin co-owner Regina Gaines and CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce Ken Harris, both of whom expressed cautious optimism at these recent developments.

"Gaines opened as one of the only retailers on her side of the street," writes Thibodeau. "In 2014, when she started negotiating with Bedrock for the space, Gaines said some African-Americans didn't feel included in the downtown boom.

"Her business challenges that narrative, she said. She feels now that some of the tension has subsided since 2014, though there's still plenty of room for better minority representation downtown.

"Harris says, 'We're finding African-Americans wanting now to be part of the benefits from the resurgence of business in the city.'"

New pilot program could rewrite zoning codes for the better

Detroit's outdated zoning codes slow development and prevent businesses from opening in locations they're best suited for. Fortunately, according to the Detroit News, a new "pink zone" pilot program, meant to ease zoning restrictions, could be on the way next summer.

Through a grant from the Knight Foundation, "three multidisciplinary teams will put together visions for walkable, mixed-use activity in three commercial sites in Detroit," writes Christine Ferretti. "Later, the concepts will be tested against the city’s zoning ordinance and building code to identify roadblocks and work with city departments and others to identify strategies for reforms."

Detroit planning director Maurice Cox is fully on board with the plan, and described Detroit's present zoning system as "crazy" and inhibiting development.

This, and other recent reforms, have "earned Detroit a nod in the Wall Street Journal this spring as one of five cities 'leading the way in urban innovation.'"

Detroit automakers and Silicon Valley app-makers increase collaboration

Detroit is teaching Silicon Valley a thing or two about technology in the arena it knows best: cars.

An article on MSN details all the ways the auto industry has grown and modernized since the Big Three went through reduced market share and bankruptsy. General Motors, for example, invested $500 million in the ride-share app Lyft and is one of the leaders in autonomous vehicle design.

Auto sales are up across the board for 2016 as well.

Meanwhile, write Matthew DeBord, "Silicon Valley has started to encounter some investor turbulence. Startups with hefty valuations don't see IPOs as a way to pay back their investors. That leaves getting acquired as an option, but a level of saturation with social networking and apps might have set in."

This has resulted in a surprising collaboration between auto and app makers. Perhaps though, it shouldn't come as a surprise, writes DeBord. "Detroit was the Silicon Valley of the early 20th century, a hotbed of entrepreneurship, fascinated with the most high-tech contraption of the time—the automobile."

National business leaders bullish on Detroit, Kresge report indicates

The Kresge Foundation, a national nonprofit that supports America's cities and offers numerous Detroit-specific grants, recently released its "Detroit Reinvestment Index," which gathered data on what national business leaders think about Detroit and how the city compares to perceptions of cities generally.

Overall the document offers some hopeful conclusions. Perhaps the most encouraging is that 84 percent of those surveyed—senior leaders at global companies of over 250 employees—believe that Detroit "can become a great city again."

In a letter about the index, Kresge Foundation president Rip Rapson writes, "With caveats, I think it's fair to say that Business is very bullish on Detroit."

Other "key findings" include...
  • Business leaders believe Detroit has a number of assets, like "its racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, rich cultural history, effective local government, low cost of living and low taxes as key reasons."
  • Surprisingly, "Only 16% of business leaders are aware that Detroit is out of bankruptcy."
There's a lot more to digest in the 43 page report, which is available for download on the foundation's website.

Keegan-Michael Key to invest, spend more time in Detroit

Comedian and Detroit-native Keegan-Michael Key says he's going to invest more in his hometown.

According to an article in The Detroit News, "[Key] makes several trips a year to Detroit and is planning on spending even more time in the city." Part of that plan entails purchasing property here.

Key, most well-known for the groundbreaking comedy show, "Key and Peele" which he wrote with co-star Jordan Peele, has already engaged quite a bit with Detroit: he was one of the co-founders of Hamtramck's Planet Ant Theater and a member of Second City Detroit's mainstage cast (see Model D's article on the local improv scene). He recently filmed for a role in the upcoming Detroit-based comedy television series, "Detroiters."

Model D interviewed Key before his show at the Detroit Film Theater supporting the Detroit Creativity Project last year.

And there's more. "He also wants to tell Detroit stories; he says he's in the early stages of putting together a project that dramatizes Detroit's bankruptcy," writes Adam Graham.

Help select which mural gets painted at the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex

Every year, the 8-week Summer in the City program culminates in a celebration and mural painting. This year, they've chosen to adorn the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex in northwest Detroit with a hockey-themed mural.

And you can help decide which mural is selected. The Detroit Red Wings Foundation, along with the youth-led summer program, and the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department have come up with seven mural designs, all hockey-themed, as the section of the rec center to be painted is the Jack Adams Memorial Hockey Arena.

The mural that gets the most votes will be painted on the Finale Friday celebration, which includes more than just painting, and takes place on August 12. All are encouraged to vote for their favorite design and volunteer for painting.

Summer in the City is an organization that offers programming and volunteer opportunities in Detroit for youth. One project they commonly undertake is mural-painting—the organization says they've painted over 100 in the city.

Model D covered last year's Finale Friday at Crowell Community Center, also in northwest Detroit. An estimated 1,200 volunteers showed up.

To vote for your favorite mural design, click here.

Detroit Free Press strongly denounces county executives' efforts to derail regional transit

A prominent columnist at the Detroit Free Press, Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Henderson, and the paper's editorial board have come out staunchly against recent efforts to scuttle regional transit by county executives L. Brooks Patterson and Mark Hackel, respectively of Oakland and Macomb counties.

"Twenty-six times this region has tried to create functional transit across three or four counties, and 26 times, we've come up short. Way short," writes the editorial board. "Until 2012, when the state Legislature created a Regional Transit Authority for southeast Michigan. This time, with state support and a rock-solid structure built to harness cooperation among the various parties in the region, things would be different. This time, we would get it right."

But then the two county executives objected to the plan, which had been in the works for many months, two weeks before the millage needed to get approved for the November ballot.

Here's what the editorial board thinks of the last-minute antics: "[R]epresentatives from Oakland and Macomb objected, blindsiding RTA officials and other board members who'd negotiated in good faith. Oakland's representative delivering a 19-page list of grievances, ranging from the quasi-legitimate to the asinine."

Part of their argument is that Oakland and Macomb fail to see the region as a cohesive whole—they are stuck in a balkanized mindset.

Henderson's column, titled "Hackel, Patterson trying to build a wall in S.E. Michigan," demonstrates he feels similarly. Like the editorial board, he questions the timing, and goes point by point through their objections, which he calls "selfish." But again, county executives fail to see that the "dividends pay back region-wide."

He ends the column with a plea: "Time is short. For this to get onto the November ballot, something has to be approved by early August. If that doesn't happen, we're looking at 2018 before another opportunity comes up. And that would be near-criminal neglect. Think of the stranded and isolated lives, kept from opportunity by our lousy transit, that will unfold over those next two years."

A Model D article from last year speculated whether the suburbs would buy in to regional transit. Perhaps, sadly, we have our answer. 

Small businesses multiply, crime declines along Jefferson Avenue corridor

A recent article in Crain's Detroit Business details the rapid growth of five neighborhoods extending along Jefferson Avenue, stretching all the way to the Grosse Pointe border.

A number of new businesses have opened up along the Jefferson Avenue corridor recently. "Beautiful Bridal, along with a new Caribbean restaurant, a Christian yoga center, women's clothing boutiques, a casual branded clothing store, a used record store, and a coffee shop and bakery, are a few of the more recent businesses that have planted roots along the eight miles between downtown Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park," writes Marti Benedetti.

Some significant numbers accompany these developments. The most salient is the approximately $1 billion in new investment since 2009.

Also notable, writes Benedetti, "Since 2014, crime along the Jefferson corridor declined more than 31 percent. In 2015, there was a 38 percent drop in auto theft and a 22 percent reduction in robberies, according to JEI's 'Safe Jefferson' program."

In addition to new businesses, several apartment and housing developments are finished or underway. Lakewood Century Apartments, for example, is a $7 million, 35-unit project at Lakewood and Jefferson—no opening date was mentioned.

There's also the Jefferson streetscaping, which will include the first protected bike lanes in the city.

Josh Elling, Executive director of the economic development organization Jefferson East, Inc., credits economic development in Detroit's greater downtown area, as well as "business-supporting" institutions, for the economic spillover taking place in the Jefferson corridor.

U.S. cities, Detroit included, are rethinking the alley

An article in The Atlantic's City Lab begins on a poetic note:

"The alley is dark no longer.

"In the United States, these almost-accidental spaces between buildings have existed in a sort of limbo: not quite streets, but still thoroughfares; not private, but not public enough to feel protected; backdrops to crime, or filled with trash heaps."

The article continues by detailing the way cities, including Detroit, are creatively rethinking use of these "almost accidental" spaces. For years, writes Eillie Anzilotti, "[alleys] were a place to conduct activities considered unfit for the main street," like big deliveries or trash collection.

But urban planners are beginning to recognize how much untapped space exists in alleys. One of these new approaches was adopted by Detroit's own Tom and Peggy Brennan. The Green Alley, adjacent to their business-incubator and coworking space the Green Garage (profiled in Model D), is a prototype for the green alley movement being adopted by many U.S. cities.

The Green Alley, writes Anzilotti, "incorporates permeable surfaces and gardening space, and has transformed a space once filled with mattresses and hypodermic needles into a community gathering place."

There's many other interesting cases mentioned in the article, and one wonders which alleys in Detroit would make for promising redevelopment opportunities. 

Next High Growth Happy Hour focuses on real estate

Detroit's rapidly fluctuating real estate market has no shortage of entrepreneurs breaking into it. There's an opportunity to hear from two fast growing local startups at the next High Growth Happy Hour, August 3rd from 6 to 8 p.m., in Detroit’s North End neighborhood.

The speakers will be David Alade of Century Partners, a real estate development company with a holistic revitalization and innovative funding approach, and Max Nussenbaum, CEO & co-founder of property management startup Castle (read Model D's profile on Castle and their rapid growth). David and Max will share insights into Detroit's real estate market, including how they have broken in and created a new model for their businesses.

Agenda

6:00 - 6:30: Networking & Drinks

6:30 - 7:30: Casual chat and Q&A with attendees

7:30 - 8:00: Networking

RSVP here to attend. Space is limited for this free special event. Drinks and light appetizers will be served, and you’ll also get to be the first to see a brand new space Century Partners is redeveloping into a restaurant at 9425 John R Rd., Detroit.

Learn more about the High Growth Happy Hour series, which connects entrepreneurs and inspires them to scale in Metro Detroit.

Subscribe to our sister publication Southeast Michigan Startup to follow more companies scaling in Detroit.

Hatch Art launches fundraiser to save Hamtramck Disneyland

The Hamtramck art collective Hatch Art, using the local crowdfunding platform Patronicity, has launched a fundraiser to help save Hamtramck Disneyland, the famous folk-art site started in the backyard of Ukrainian immigrant Dmytro Szylak.

Syzlak immigrated from Ukraine to Hamtramck with his wife in the 1950s. For the last 30 years of his life, he constructed and renovated the whimsical, vivid artwork that contains tributes to his new and past home countries.

Syzlak passed away last year, and his estate sold the artwork to Hatch Art in May 2016.

If they reach their goal of $50,000, Hatch Art will, according to the fundraiser, "repair and maintain the outdoor, site-specific folk art installation as well as establish an artist's residency program and gallery space."

The installation hasn't been properly cared for in some time and is indeed in need of numerous upgrades. "The garages that support the art suffer from rotten roofs and sagging structures," reads the fundraiser. "Much of the art is weathered, falling apart and in need of immediate attention to be saved."

The "Save Hamtramck Disneyland" fundraiser ends August 20. 

Article explores overlooked beauty of east riverfront housing

Former Model D managing editor Matthew Lewis wrote an article for Hour Detroit about the attractive, and relatively overlooked housing on the Detroit River. Titled "Strait Outta Downtown," the article profiles apartments and houses in The Jeffersonian, "a 30-story, 410-unit midcentury masterpiece," and the Joseph Berry Subdivision, "a small neighborhood consisting of just four streets and fewer than 90 homes."

"But the beauty of its residences—and the influence of its residents—are outsized," writes Lewis.

The article notes that the East Riverfront is a potential growth spot given the skyrocketing real-estate values in downtown and midtown, and its location along Detroit's most distinctive natural feature.

The Jeffersonian, Lewis writes, "features views of cityscapes that are uniquely Detroit—the downtown skyline, blocks of the near east side that are lush with greenery and sparse of houses, Chrysler's sprawling Jefferson North assembly plant, Waterworks Park, and the tidy Berry sub immediately below."

The article then profiles the 5,200 square foot Georgian Colonial located in the Joseph Berry Subdivision and owned by the Linn family since 1983. The houses in the subdivision Lewis writes, "rarely go on the market. A non-waterfront, 5,200-square-foot Tudor described as a 'renovation opportunity' sold last year for $220,000. The Linns' newest neighbor, Kid Rock, moved in two years ago to a house on the west end of Dwight Street."

The article also lists other housing options along the riverfront and is accompanied by attractive photographs of housing, owners, and views of the river and city. 

Forward Cities nominee discusses scholarship for "mapping the world"

Forward Cities nominated Detroiter Jerry Paffendorf of Loveland Technologies to receive a scholarship to the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival earlier this month.

In addition to be able to attend the event for free, Paffendorf was invited to pitch his idea of mapping the world, which he discusses here with The Lift on Aspen 82.

The Lift | Jerry Paffendorf from The Lift on Vimeo.

 

Developers take lead installing public art in downtown Detroit

Public art is becoming an increasingly common sight as developers both big and small (including Model D's startup editor Jon Zemke) integrate murals and sculptures into their redevelopment projects in the greater downtown Detroit area.

The Detroit News profiled Midtown-based artist Nicole Macdonald's work creating murals of the Motor City's great leaders, including her largest work to date, a billboard-sized tribute to Mary Ellen Riordan on the side of a duplex in North Corktown.

"A group of students were walking by and they stopped and asked, 'Who's that?' and I had the opportunity to tell them," Nicole MacDonald is quoted in the article. "That's what public art is all about. It's empowerment."

Model D broke the story about the mural of the legendary former president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers earlier this year.

Group seeks to make two streets temporarily car-free

An article in the Detroit News reports that an organization called Open Streets is applying for permits to convert stretches of Michigan Avenue and Vernor Highway into exclusively pedestrian and bike streets.

"If the city and state gives permission, the two major thoroughfares would be shut for several hours, from noon to 5 p.m., on two consecutive Sundays, organizers said. The planned dates are Sept. 25 and Oct. 2," writes Louis Aguilar for the Detroit News.

While it's only for a matter of hours, twice, on parts of each road, this is a big deal. The car-free zones could demonstrate new planning possibilities for Detroit, which has been heavily reliant on automobile transportation for decades.

Also noted in the article, Detroit is late to the game in offering pedestrian roads. Other cities offer an example of what might take place on those Sundays.

"They inspire local businesses to set up sidewalk booths," writes Aguilar. "Musicians play. Yoga and other exercise classes are held on the street along with other family-friendly activities. A street-fair atmosphere takes root, with the actual street and the community it supports as the focus."

Cleveland's bus rapid transit system could be a model for Detroit

Next fall, residents of Southeast Michigan will have an opportunity to vote on a property tax millage to fund a new regional public transportation system. One of the components of that system is bus rapid transit, or BRT. Since we've never had a system like that in place, it's understandable to wonder what it might look like.

But Cleveland's BRT HealthLine has been around since 2008. And for those wondering, The Detroit Free Press recently published an article with the title, "Curious about bus rapid transit? Check out Cleveland."

There are many benefits and services of HealthLine. "Buses generally arrive at each station every 5-7 minutes during busier times of day," writes Eric Lawrence. "They travel on separate lanes for about 80 percent of the route and get traffic signal preference that is controlled by GPS. Service also runs all day. Level platform boarding makes getting on and off easier. Stations are covered and have seating and message boards, and riders purchase passes ahead of time."

That dedicated lane and traffic signal preference means commutes have been shortened considerably, which has resulted in a 60 percent increase in ridership. This does contribute to a complaint, expressed by rider James Hunt: "He said the 'only downside' to the HealthLine is 'how full it'll get.'"

BRT has had measurable effects on Cleveland's economy as well: "$6.3 billion in economic development," according to experts. HealthLine has been so successful, that it's the only BRT line in the United States to receive a "silver" rating by the New York-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

If Cleveland is any indicator, it would behoove Southeast Michigan to approve the millage next election.

Stroh's to once again be brewed in Detroit

It's been over 30 years since Stroh's beer was brewed in Detroit, the city in which it was founded. But that's about to change, according to a Crain's Detroit Business article.

Brew Detroit, a brewery and tasting room located on Abbott Street in Corktown that makes a number of beers for Michigan brands, got label approval to brew Stroh's Bohemian-Style Pilsner on June 8. 

Though the exact date Detroit-brewed Stroh's will be available is unknown, Crain's Dustin Walsh writes that beers typically appear on the market "within weeks or months of receiving label approval from the federal regulatory body."

Stroh's Brewing Company was founded in Detroit in 1850 by German immigrant Bernhard Stroh. The company stayed in the family for generations, though it stopped brewing in Detroit in 1985 and "razed its 1 million-square-foot brewery, bottling and warehouse buildings on Gratiot Avenue at I-75," writes Walsh.

Stroh's was eventually acquired by Pabst Brewing Company in 1999. So while the Stroh's that will be brewed again in Detroit bears little resemble to the 31-million barrel a year company when it was last here, it's still exciting news for lovers of beer and Detroit history. 

Emerging leaders convene to talk #solutionsjournalism

As humans, we learn best through stories. So what better way to grapple with the complex history, policy and movements in our region than through great reporting and storytelling?

That's why Metromode, Model D and Metro Matters are thrilled to announce the first convening of our Emerging Leaders Advisory Board. Over the next year, this group of local leaders will meet quarterly and online to advise our solutions journalism coverage of metro Detroit's most pressing issues. The project is made possible with support from the Southeast Michigan Community Foundation.

We received over 50 applications from talented and bright leaders in a broad range of fields from across southeast Michigan. It was a difficult task to select only 19 to serve on the board.

These talented folks came together in early June at the Urban Consulate in Midtown to brainstorm and prioritize the regional issues and solutions that we'll be writing about in the coming months.

They are a group driven by love, passion and pride for metro Detroit.

"I love Detroit and want to contribute as much as I can to the revival of a great city," says board member Jonathan So of Huntington Woods. "Every time someone sees that I'm from Detroit they want to talk about the city and where it is going. We are all ambassadors."

They also want to get involved and make a difference.

"I applied to the board to help shape the future of my city and region," says board member Kate Cherry of Hamtramck. "I hope the project results in greater awareness of urban issues and knowledge of regional growth strategies among people in our area."

They're looking for an opportunity to connect with one another and expand their knowledge.

"I hope that serving on the board will be an opportunity to connect with professionals in the area from a variety of disciplines to hear new takes on regional issues," says board member Sonja Karnovsky of Ann Arbor. "By harnessing our collective abilities and experiences, we can find ways to leverage resources in southeast Michigan."

They even want to help foster leadership among younger residents.

"I want to inspire other millennials to enter politics," says board member, millennial and Madison Heights mayor Brian Hartwell. He's also interested in keeping the area attractive to residents. "Another goal is to retain homegrown talent by giving emerging leaders an opportunity to make a difference here in Michigan. This program will slow the export of new thinkers."

Our first conversation ran the gamut from race and immigration to land use and sprawl to infrastructure, digital justice, civic engagement and more.

Board member Sean Kammer of Pontiac sees political fragmentation as the region's greatest hurdle.

"Political fragmentation has reinforced segregation of the population by race and income more so than it would be if we had stronger regional authorities and more services that are regionally provided," he says. "This fragmentation has led to disparities in public service provision and real estate values that have made some cities more vulnerable to economic recessions than others."

Karnovsky echoes that sentiment.

"This disconnect leads to a lack of resources in parts of the region that need them most," she says. "Money, ideas, and resources don't get shared equitably between parts of the region and this leads to inequality. "

Arquette Palermo sees water as an important regional challenge. 
 
"The impacts of climate change, especially on our water resources,  is a looming issue. This can impact quality of life, disease, economics and so much more, and I think the average citizen does not realize this."

Hartwell sees infrastructure as the top issue facing the region.

"The tragedy unfolding before our eyes is the continued disinvestment of infrastructure in our urban core and inner-ring suburbs for the benefit of far-flung exurbs," he says. 

We'll be digging in to help you understand how these issues affect our daily lives in metro Detroit. We'll also take a careful look at how government, business and citizens are proposing (or already implementing) solutions to address them.

Below is a list of our Emerging Leaders Advisory Board members, as well as a form you can fill out to let us know about solutions to the issues. We want to hear from you!

2016 Solutions Journalism Advisory Board Members

Zubeyda Ahmed, Highland Park
Michele Arquette-Palermo, Orion Township
Mohamed Ayoub, Dearborn
Lauren
Bealore, Southfield
Kate Cherry, Hamtramck
Ghida Dagher, Dearborn Heights
Jon Dones, Detroit
Gillian Gainsley, Ypsilanti
Garlin Gilchrist II, Detroit
Lesley Hairston, Detroit
Melissa Halpin , Northville
Brian Hartwell, Madison Heights
Sean Kammer, Pontiac
Sonja, Karnovsky, Ann Arbor
Ash Nowak, Detroit
Michael Radtke Jr., Sterling Heights
Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Detroit
Jonathan So, Huntington Woods
Jeremiah Wheeler, Detroit

 
Photos by Nick Hagen.

Demand still far outstripping supply in Detroit's greater downtown rental market

In an analysis of greater downtown Detroit's rental market, the Detroit Free Press estimates that for 2016, 700 new units are set to open by the end of the summer. And the ones that have already opened are at or near 100 percent capacity. 

"It is also giving landlords reason to continue raising rents, although the size of the year-to-year jumps could subside as more new apartments hit the market," writes JC Reindl.

The article cites several recently-opened apartment buildings in the area that have already leased out their units. One case, profiled by Model D, is the Forest Arms Apartments. Rehabbed after a devastating fire in 2008, the Forest Arms rented out all 70 of its units the first month they became available, with rents for one-bedroom units going for around $1,000 per month.

The very high end units and those reserved for low-income tenants aren't going at quite the same rate. The Waters Edge at Harbortown, also profiled by Model D, whose two-bedrooms rent for about $1,700 per month, still has 42 of its 134 units unleased. 

The Strathmore in Midtown has leased out all of its market-rate apartments, but only a handful of its lower-income ones. In the article, the building's property manager, Derrell Jackson, explains that the reason for the difference is due to the difficulty in proving one's income. 

Who are these renters? "Those filling the new Detroit apartments are typically young professionals as well as some empty nesters, leasing agents say," writes Reindl.

These cases suggest that demand is far outstripping supply. The market is obviously still adjusting, so renters should expect fairly dramatic increases in rental rates (10 to 20 percent) in the near future. 

Summer program at downtown YMCA teaches teens about media arts

Y Arts, which does arts programming for the downtown Boll YMCA, is offering a summer program for teens interested in the media arts. The Y Media Works Summer Institute gives campers the opportunity to learn from local media talent and "produce their own film ideas, photography projects, stop motion animation, and digital music compositions," according to promotional materials.

The program, now in its 9th year, is run by Y Arts executive director Margaret Edwartowski, who's had a lengthy career in theater as a writer, director, actor, and improvisor. The team, which is rounded out by other artists with expertise in media, will provide daily instruction and take the campers on field trips to production houses, museums, and studios.

The camp runs from Monday, July 11 to Thursday, August 11, with camp days being Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Every campers' final film will be shown on Saturday, August 20 at the YMCA's Marlene Boll Theatre. 

"We hope that our campers gain experience in photography, digital film production, and visual storytelling working alongside local artists," said Edwartowski by email. "But most of all we seek to provide a fun and creative experience where youth explore and celebrate downtown Detroit."

The camp costs $500, but full and partial scholarships are offered. 

The Y Media Works Summer Institute begins July 11. To apply or learn more, contact Margaret Edwartowski at medwartowski@ymca.org.

City of Detroit to offer municipal IDs by end of 2017

Whether it's because they lack documentation, can't afford the fee, or fail a diver's test, many in Detroit don't have a driver's license. At minimum, it's an enormous inconvenience. People without a license can't access basic services like opening a bank account, getting a library card, or becoming a member of their local recreation center.

Fortunately, the city of Detroit will soon alleviate some of the challenges associated with not having a driver's license by offering municipal identification cards. These IDs, while not a replacement for a driver's license, are an important step to improving access to all of Detroit's residents. 

"This card will help the homeless, undocumented, returning citizens and senior citizens obtain access to services and is a step forward to enabling integration for all of these communities," said Office of Immigrant Affairs director Fayrouz Saad by email. Saad will also administer the program. "All too often do these communities face challenges in day to day activities simply because they don't have an ID."

The legislation was introduced by council member Castañeda-López and passed by the city council with a vote of 7 to 0. 

The city hopes to begin issuing IDs in late summer and have it fully operational by 2017, according to Saad. Residents will have many options for proving their identity, from veteran cards to lease agreements, and more. The IDs will be valid for two years and cost no more than $25. 

The city also hopes to obtain support from "community partners, foundations, banks, museums, City departments, law enforcement and other institutions to ensure the card is widely accepted and offers different benefits."

Unique program offers grants for "narrative shifting" Detroit video projects

These days, many filmmakers bootstrap their video projects. And while films can be produced cheaper than ever before, it's still a relatively expensive art form. 

For those interested in telling video-based stories about Detroit, a unique funding opportunity put out a call for applicants this month. It's called the Detroit Narrative Agency, or DNA, and it will be offering up to 12 grants from $5,000 to $10,000 for "moving image projects...in and of Detroit." 

The grants, sponsored by Allied Media Projects (AMP), are unique because they prioritize Detroiters with "narrative shifting" projects, or stories that "advance the narratives of justice and liberation." The grant advisors' mission is based on the idea that Detroiters can best tell their own story, and that it should not be shaped by people less familiar with the city. Examples of "tired narratives" about Detroit include: "Detroit schools are bad," "Fetishizing Detroit," and "Detroit is a blank slate."

At least one member of a potential project must live in Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park. 

The advisors, comprised mostly of Detroit artists, are also sensitive to issues of access, so AMP is offering use of their computer lab to fill out the online application. They held an informational workshop at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History earlier in the month. Also, grantees will participate in a "capacity building program" from August 2016 to March 2017.

Application deadline for Detroit Narrative Agency grants is June 24 at midnight. For more information, go to https://www.alliedmedia.org/dna.

Detroit Ento to host five-course dinner featuring edible insects

Detroit Ento, a sustainable protein R&D firm that focuses on locally reared insects, is offering a truly unique dining experience on May 26. 

Hosted by Salt and Cedar in Eastern Market, Detroit Ento describes the meal as "Detroit's first edible insect culinary event." The five-course dinner will consist of locally-farmed insects such as crickets and mealworms, "as well as other notable and unique species," according to the event notice. "The meal will be paired with cocktails and wine, prepared by local chefs, and served in a great local space. This event will highlight the techniques and palates of the chefs and forefront the versatility of insects as an oft overlooked, yet rekindling, food source in the West."

Detroit Ento was founded last year by Theodore Kozerski and Anthony Hatinger, who both have extensive experience in Detroit's urban agriculture scene. Insects, which are high in protein and raised with minimal energy investment, can be an efficient way to feed animals and a potential food source for humans.

Before that can happen, however, people need to overcome their instinctive aversion to eating insects. And that's one of the dinner's goals. 

"We are having this dinner to showcase and demystify insects as a real food and protein source, while highlighting local chefs," writes Kozerski by email.

The dinner will also help kick-off the first edible insects conference in North America, hosted by Wayne State University and taking place from May 26-28. 

The meal will have two seatings at 6 and 9 p.m. To be notified when tickets go on sale, click here

Big Ideas+Small Projects wants you to present your small-scale project

Countless small projects take place in Detroit every day -- projects that don't get much fanfare outside the community, neighborhood, or even block in which they have an impact. If you've worked on something small but special in the last year, we'd like to hear from you.

Model D will be co-sponsoring -- along with Key Public Strategies and Incremental Development Alliance -- the Big Ideas+Small Projects happy hour event on Thursday, June 9 as part of the Congress for the New Urbanism's NextGen programming. Six projects will be selected to make 10-minute presentations during the event, which starts at 6 pm at the Detroit Beer Company.

The event is meant to highlight and celebrate small-scale projects from the past year. Examples could include transforming an abandoned property, reclaiming a vacant lot for public space, or any number of other undertakings.

A statement from the event notice reads, "We believe that small-scale, incremental development projects make our communities vibrant, and do so in a way that is financially sensible and environmentally responsible."

Want to present at the happy hour? Big Ideas+Small projects is accepting submissions until 5 pm on May 14. All we're asking for is your contact information and a short description of your project. To apply, click here

Congress for the New Urbanism, a nonprofit organization that advocates for walkable and prosperous places, holds their annual, flagship event in a different city every year. 2016's will be in Detroit from June 8-11. To register, click here

DDOT offers bus service to Belle Isle seven days a week

In an important step for improving access to Belle Isle, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) has partnered with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide bus service to Belle Isle Park via the existing #12 Conant route, according to a press release from the city of Detroit. Service has been in effect since April 23. 

The standard fare ($1.50) will apply to riders in transit to and from the island. Moreover, visitors who take a bus won't need a recreation passport, which costs $11 for a registered vehicle in the state of Michigan and is required for all visitors accessing the island by car. 

Currently, there's only one Belle Isle bus stop -- on Loiter Way near the Belle Isle Conservatory -- which runs approximately every 50 minutes. The route goes from Monday – Friday between the hours of 5:50 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The issue of access inequality to the island was addressed in Model D last month in an article titled, "Belle Isle and Olmsted's forgotten legacy." The author, Brian Allnutt, writes, "Landscape designer Erin Kelly says that Belle Isle is one of the few places where a person can really get close to the water, which is strange considering how much Detroit’s identity -- indeed, it's very name -- relates to the river. For these reasons, we must find a more equitable way for residents to visit the island."

Fortunately DDOT and DNR recognized this problem and made a step towards fixing it. 

"The DNR and DDOT have been working together for months to introduce bus service to Belle Isle Park," says DNR chief of parks and recreation Ron Olson in a press release. "As attendance at the park increased to more than 3.5 million visitors last year, it became increasingly important to provide additional transportation options to the island. It has been a pleasure to work with DDOT on providing this bus service."

Final year of NEI's challenge to grant local businesses a total of $500K

On April 20, the New Economy Initiative (NEI) kicked-off the third and final year of the NEIdeas challenge, "a two-tiered challenge awarding $500,000 to existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park for their ideas to grow," as described in a press release.

The half-a-million dollar sum is divided into two grant tiers. For businesses that gross under $750,000 annually, NEI will award 30 grants worth $10,000. And for businesses that gross between $750,000 and $5 million annually, NEI will award two grants worth $100,000. Applying is as simple as explaining, in 500 words, an idea to expand your business that requires investment and is "impactful, courageous, interesting, achievable, and understandable." The application deadline ends June 1.

A key component of the NEIdeas challenge is that these grants are for existing small businesses -- those three years or older. So much reporting and grant-giving is devoted to new businesses that it's refreshing when a challenge like this rewards established businesses that haven't benefited as much from renewed interest in Detroit entrepreneurship. 

"This is a really special challenge that has had an incredible impact on local businesses and communities," says NEI communications officer Matthew Lewis by email. "In fact, we think NEIdeas is the only philanthropic challenge in the country that directly awards small businesses for their contributions to neighborhoods."

Past winners include Goodwells Natural Foods Market, which invested their reward in growing their inventory and marketing services for new bulk herbal apothecary offerings; The Hub of Detroit, which made improvements to the appearance of its storefront; and many, many more. They also released a fun hype video featuring some of those past winners

NEI will hold a series of informational events throughout May to help applicants. The next one takes place on May 4 at the Matrix Center in Osborne on Detroit's Northeast side. Click here for a complete list of those events.

NEI is a philanthropic effort that supports small businesses and entrepreneurs. It's funded by a host of foundations and institutions, and, since 2009, has awarded over $96 million in grants.

Disclosure: Matthew Lewis is a former managing editor of Model D. 

Week of events celebrating and supporting Detroit entrepreneurs starts May 2

Are you a Detroit small business owner? Then you have no reason not to attend at least one of the many free offerings during Detroit Entrepreneur Week (DEW), a six-day festival starting May 2 that takes place across three Detroit neighborhoods through events, workshops and seminars.

Each day of the festival, which is in its fifth year, is themed. Friday, May 6, for example, is dubbed "Show Me the Money" and focuses on financing a small business. The final day, May 7, "The Small Business Legal Academy," is hosted by the Wayne State Law School and will have a series of panels covering legal nuances in real estate, intellectual property, non-profits, and many more. 

Wednesday, May 4 will focus on social entrepreneurship. The morning session takes place at Tech Town and features a keynote address by New York Times best selling author Shaka Sengor, a leading voice in criminal justice reform. Following is a panel discussion composed of local social entrepreneurs, social impact investors, and resource providers.

The afternoon and evening festivities take place at Build Institute, a small business support organization. Build will host a curated dinner and pitch night in partnership with Detroit SOUP, an organization that awards microgrants based on the votes of attendees. The SOUP pitch winner will receive a cash price and suite of professional services valued at over $3,000. 

From DEW's website: "This grassroots approach to entrepreneurial development is truly transformative and will position Detroit as a beacon for entrepreneurs citywide. Detroit Entrepreneur Week’s network of resources provides and community leaders will ensure that entrepreneurs of today and the generations to follow will have access to the necessary tools, supportive communities and culture to succeed."

DEW is presented by Comcast Business.

To reserve a spot at any of the festival's events, go here

Emerging leaders: Help us tell the story of metro Detroit

What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the metro Detroit region? What issues are undercovered—or poorly covered—by the media and deserve more attention? And how can the media better communicate both the complexity of these issues and possible solutions?

These questions are at the heart of a new partnership between Model D, our sister publication Metromode, and Metro Matters, an organization dedicated to recognizing and building on our regional commonalities rather than our divisions.

Our goal: Tackle metro Detroit's most persistent challenges through the power of story.

As humans, we learn best through stories. So what better way to grapple with the complex history, current policy, and ongoing movements around our region than through great storytelling?

To help guide this process, we are looking to convene a group of emerging leaders from various communities and professional backgrounds to form an editorial advisory board.

Every few months, these up-and-comers will come together to discuss what they see in the region: the problems, the promise, and the varied perspectives. These conversations will highlight not only the priority issues for metro Detroit, but also the people and projects working to make a difference.

We’ll turn that input into reporting. But not just any reporting. Metromode writers will embrace "solutions journalism," an approach that emphasizes in-depth investigations into the context surrounding an issue, and, critically, the possible (and often in-progress) solutions that could work for metro Detroit.

We believe metro Detroit has a moment of opportunity. The investment and energy pouring into the core city is creating momentum that can fuel not just improvements, but transformation. To make the most of this opportunity, residents should benefit from the smartest, best possible coverage of the issues that need addressing.

And that's where you come in. To guide our first year-long series, we're looking for emerging leaders to serve on our inaugural regional editorial advisory board. You could be a fit if:
 
  • You are passionate about exploring creative, collaborative solutions to metro Detroit’s contemporary challenges.
  • You're upwardly mobile. You might not be making all the decisions yet… but you’re on track to make some of them.
  • You're a student with a focus on policy, government, urban planning, business, or another relevant subject.
  • You can point to something and say "this demonstrates my passion for metro Detroit." It can be a resume, a project, a social media presence—anything, really. We just want to know you share our love for our region.
  • You're a skillful listener who likes to hear others' perspectives just as much as you like to share your own.
  • You're excited about being part of something new, and helping shape a nascent program into a useful platform for the region.
  • You can commit to quarterly meetings on the following dates:
    • June 1, Wednesday
    • August 4, Thursday
    • November 3, Thursday
    • January 18, Wednesday
?When we think of our emerging leaders, we usually think of people between the ages of 18 and 35—but that’s not a hard requirement. If you've recently changed careers or gotten involved in your community, you could be a great fit. We want the editorial board to be diverse in terms of race, gender, geography, and thought, so whatever your background or perspective—we value it and encourage you to apply.

To that end, we've made it easy for you. View and complete the application below, then go directly to social media and share it with everyone you know. If this opportunity isn't for you, consider sending it to your best and brightest employees, students, colleagues, children, grandchildren, etc. With your help, we'll recruit a strong board of connected thinkers who will, in turn, help us cover the most important issues in a way that will help us better understand this place we all call home.

APPLY HERE by May 15, 2016.

Model D seeks new managing editor

Last month, we quietly wished managing editor Matt Lewis a fond farewell as he moved on to a new role as communications officer at New Economy Initiative. We are grateful for the leadership, vision, and energy Matt brought to Model D over the past two years and we are so excited to see what he will accomplish at NEI.

And we're excited about what's next for Model D — and we want to invite you, our readers, to help us find the next Model D editor. We're asking for your help — we encourage you to send this call for candidates to your most talented friends and colleagues, especially those with a strong vision for "What's Next for Detroit?"

We're looking for a smart editor with a strong understanding of Detroit's neighborhoods, its history and culture, the places that make it special, and the people and projects that are moving the city forward.

Model D's managing editor will direct the publication's coverage of development, innovation, talent, and transformation in Detroit. The ideal candidate will have several years of experience writing and editing high-quality magazine-style features, demonstrated experience in online journalism and social media, and an interest in urban and social issues, economic development, innovation and technology. This candidate will also bring a willingness to learn and experiment, a collaborative spirit, a knack for spotting emerging urban trends, and a strong set of connections to thought leaders and creative talent. Candidates must be based in Detroit and should have a good grasp of its neighborhoods.

The full job listing is here: https://careers.jobscore.com/careers/issuemediagroup/jobs/managing-editor-model-d-dVZYqO8i8r5yzpeMg-44q7

In the meantime, longtime IMG contributor Aaron Mondry will be leading Model D as interim managing editor. Please address all of your pitches and editorial inquiries to him at aaron.mondry@gmail.com or contact me (Alissa) if you have any questions.

Biking institution celebrates coming of spring with annual open house

On April 23, Back Alley Bikes and the Hub of Detroit will be hosting their annual spring slate of events promoting the shop's programs and services, as well as cycling generally in Detroit. It's a great opportunity to support a biking institution in the city, and get access to the shop's singular collection of bikes and bike parts.

Festivities begin at 2 p.m. with a youth bike ride (parents welcome) led by Back Alley Bike staff and volunteers. 

An open house at the shop follows around 3 p.m. where attendees can take a tour of Back Alley's workshop. There will also be a garage sale on shop's bottom floor, which "is a great opportunity to purchase affordable bikes and bike parts and to help clear out old inventory to make room for the new," according to a Back Alley Bikes press release.

Snacks and games will also be available. The event is free and open to the public.

Those who want to ride must meet in the alley off MLK behind 3611 Cass Avenue at 1:30 p.m. "All riders are required to wear a helmet and have a signed permission slip and waiver. A small amount of bikes and helmets are available to borrow."

Back Alley Bikes is a nonprofit community bike shop, which has been operating in the Cass Corridor for 15 years. 

For more information, visit bikealleybikes.org or email meg@thehubofdetroit.org.

Detroit Tigers experience explosive financial growth

The Detroit Tigers had a rough season in 2015, missing the postseason for the first time in four years. Financially, however, the franchise did exceptionally well.

According to Crain's Detroit Business, the team is valued at $1.15 billion, though as recently as 2006 it was $292 million. In other words, they've grown nearly 300 percent in just a decade.

"Fueling the valuation growth for the Tigers and the rest of Major League Baseball is a blend of national and local broadcast rights deals and steadily increasing profits from digital operations," writes Bill Shea in his analysis of a Forbes report.

The Tigers are not the only baseball team that's benefited financially in recent years. In fact, their valuation is just below the average for all 30 franchises, despite higher than average attendance. Even with a losing record of 74 wins and 87 losses, "Detroit still finished ninth in all of baseball with 2.7 million in attendance," writes Shea. 

They also get among the best television ratings and have a $50 million contract with Fox Sports for local broadcasts. 

So while a 300 percent in valuation is large, perhaps we should be wondering why the Tigers didn't grow more. 

U.S. Census Bureau says metro Detroit grew in 2015

City Lab recently summarized the data on population estimates for 2015 released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Buried among the larger population patterns was an interesting note about metro Detroit.

First the good news: our metro area is growing. The bad: it's at the 14th slowest rate in the country -- an anemic 0.01 percent. That's not too surprising, given general national trends of population movement to the south and west, and our still recovering housing market and economy. 

But at least it's positive. As recently as 2008 and 2009, metro Detroit experienced the largest population losses in the country. The "winner" of this dubious distinction for the past six years running is the Youngstown, Ohio metro region. 

Other statistics of note from the report:
  • "Population is growing faster in the South and West than in the Northeast and Midwest, and faster in suburban areas than in urban counties"
  • "Six of the ten fastest growing metros in 2015 were in Florida and Texas, while none were in the Midwest or Northeast"
  • Oil towns and metros, especially those in "micropolitan" regions like Williston and Dickinson, North Dakota, experienced some of the biggest increases
The metro area with the largest projected growth for 2015 was Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL at 3.3 percent. 
 

Knight Arts Challenge Detroit accepting submissions now through May 2

For the fourth straight year, the Knight Foundation will be awarding up to $3 million in grants to Detroit artists. The submission period begins today, April 4, and runs through May 2.

The Knight Arts Challenge has a broad concept, and is "open to anyone with an idea for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts." The application is also simple. All you need to do is distill your project idea into 150 words and follow these three guidelines: 1) The idea must be about the arts. 2) The project must take place in or benefit Detroit. 3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

Two of the 170 prior winners include Hardcore Detroit, which explored the ‘70s Detroit dance craze in a documentary, and Detroit Fiber Works, a gallery and learning space that claims to be the only fiber arts studio in Detroit. 

“Almost everywhere you go in Detroit, you see Knight Arts Challenge winners inspiring and engaging our city,” said Katy Locker, Detroit program director for Knight Foundation, in a press release. “What’s next? We can’t wait to see what Detroit comes up with.”

The Knight Foundation will host two free community events on April 11 at the MOCAD and April 15 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The events are meant to support potential applicants, with past challenge winners and Knight Foundation arts program director Bahia Ramos in attendance. 

To submit your application to the challenge, click here

Build Institute hosts speed coaching event for small business owners

If you're a beverage, food, or hospitality small business owner, you should consider attending a free coaching event at the Build Institute Wednesday, April 13.

Dubbed "Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Speed Coaching," entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to get advice from experts in marketing, finance, legal advice, and much more. Attendees can sign up for stations most relevant to their business needs and receive quick consulting sessions. The organizers encourage entrepreneurs to bring samples of their product and come prepared with specific questions to facilitate the process. 

The proceeds begin at 6:00 p.m. with networking, and light fare and beverages, followed by speed coaching. 

The event takes place the Build Institute, a small business support organization that helps small businesses through classes, networking events, mentorship, and connecting owners to resources. 

Attendance to the American Dream Speed Coaching event is free. You must be over 21 to attend. To learn more, visit the facebook event page. To reserve your spot, visit the eventbrite page

Third annual Freep Film Festival kicks off

On Thursday, March 31, the Freep Film Festival (FFF) begins its third year of showcasing documentary film relevant to Detroit and Michigan. 

The festival is building on its success and expanding its scope. This year there will be nearly double the number of screenings, including 18 premiers, shown at six venues in Detroit plus Emagine Theater in Royal Oak. 

“The Freep Film Festival’s emphasis on films that have a strong tie to Michigan and/or Detroit set the Festival apart from others in Michigan and throughout the country," said Steve Byrne, executive director of the FFF, in a press release. "The films will showcase the best and most intriguing elements of our residents, our city or our state."

Opening night of the FFF starts Thursday, March 31 at the Filmore in downtown Detroit with a live recording of Kevin Smith's podcast "Fatman on Batman," who's best known for directing such films as Chasing Amy and Clerks. This will be followed by a live screening of T-Rex, a documentary about a 17-year girl from Flint, Michigan pursuing a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

Other highlights of the festival include films on the controversial Hantz Woodlands project in Detroit and a double feature about Belle Isle. The festival comes to a close April 3.

For more information on tickets and screenings, visit freepfilmfestival.com.

Community space hosts small scale development "walk and talk" in downtown Hamtramck

Those interested in local, brick and mortar development should attend a walk and talk this Monday in Hamtramck. The event will take place around 4:30 pm at Bank Suey, a community space on Joseph Campau that's undergone a number of transformations since its construction nearly a century ago (it was once a former bank branch, then bar, then Chinese take-out). 

Minneapolis-based IncDev's executive director Jim Kumon will begin the proceedings with a talk about small scale development. Then attendees will continue the dialogue with a walk along Hamtramck's main commercial thoroughfare, Joseph Campau. The tour will end its journey at Bumbo's for drinks and pizza. 

This walk and talk is an example of the kinds of events Bank Suey plans to host in the future (the space is active, but still being renovated). Their website states: "We want to explore new ways to fill main street spaces...We want to create a space that supports community ideas and needs, focusing on the value of local economy and building community wealth."

The event is donation-based, and you can reserve tickets here

Disclaimer: The publisher of Model D, Alissa Shelton, is the owner of Bank Suey and an enthusiastic supporter of development in Hamtramck. 

New data suggest that metro Detroit's 'brain drain' is over

For over a decade, conventional wisdom has had it that metro Detroit is hemorrhaging its college grads to more prosperous metro areas. It's a phenomenon known as the "brain drain," and it's a problem that metro Detroit's policy makers and leaders have been trying to solve for years.
 
New data from the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program, however, suggest that it is simply not the case that hordes of local college grads are fleeing the region post-graduation. In fact, metro Detroit (the Detroit-Warren-Livonia statistical area) leads the nation's largest metro regions in retention of graduates of local two- and four-year colleges, ahead of Houston, New York City, and Seattle, it's closest competitors. Over 77 percent of graduates of area colleges stay in metro Detroit after
 
Economist Richard Florida writes in CityLab, "This high retention level is likely due to the fact that the University of Michigan is located nearby, while smaller colleges and universities like Wayne State and the University of Detroit Mercy, as well as community colleges, serve a more locally based group of students."
 
Read more: CityLab

Detroit's SXSW? Corktown Strut festival has bold ambitions


Last week, Brian McCollum of the Detroit Free Press reported that a large-scale music festival is coming to Corktown in July. Organizers have dubbed it Corktown Strut, saying that it will feature an eclectic range of performers spanning a wide variety of genres.

Corktown Strut, which is scheduled for July 1-3, will join a number of other large-scale music festivals that take place during the summer in Detroit, including Movement, the Hoedown, and Jazz Fest. It will differ, however, in that its musical acts will represent a variety of genres and that it will place a greater emphasis local food and drink, specifically the restaurants and bars of Corktown.

Organizers hope that Corktown Strut will fill the void left by City Fest (formerly Taste Fest), an annual summer festival that featured a variety of musical acts and local food businesses before it was discontinued in 2009.

Forward Arts, an organization that creates programming to promote Detroit's arts community, is putting on the event in collaboration with a variety of local bookers and event producers, who are curating a musical lineup that will be announced in mid-March.

"We're taking the overall model of [City Fest] and some of the model of (Austin's) South By Southwest, and fitting it to the Corktown neighborhood and our arts community," Dominic Arellano told the Detroit Free Press.

For more information, visit http://www.corktownstrut.com/.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Electronic music legends Kraftwerk to headline 2016 Movement festival

 
It's the dead of winter (19 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of this writing), but we at Model D just got got really excited for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff of summer. That's because local event production company Paxahau just announced that legendary German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk will be headlining this year's Movement Electronic Music Festival.
 
Kraftwerk has never played Movement, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer, though they've performed in Detroit sporadically over the last 35 years. Listen to their first ever Detroit concert, which took place on July 25, 1981 at Nitro, a now-defunct club that was located in a shopping mall at Telegraph and Schoolcraft on the city's west side:


 
By all accounts, Kraftwerk's most recent Detroit show, which took place Oct. 6 at the Masonic Temple, was a real crowd pleaser. The Detroit News's Adam Graham described the performance, which involved audience members wearing 3D glasses, as "eye popping." According to a press release by Paxahau, Kraftwerk's upcoming performance at Movement will also incorporate 3D elements.
 
Detroiters who attended the October show's after party at MOCAD were treated to DJ sets by Detroit techno legends Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and Eddie Fowlkes, as well as a surprise appearance by Kraftwerk members.
 
Kraftwerk has often been cited by the pioneers of Detroit techno as a critical musical influence since the group's music was first introduced to Motor City audiences by the Electrifying Mojo, a legend of local radio. Members of Kraftwerk, meanwhile, were recently quoted in Rolling Stone as saying that they feel a "spiritual connection" to Detroit.
 
Movement is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Other acts scheduled to perform at the 2016 festival, which will take place at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit over Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30) include Caribou, For Tet, Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and more. Visit movement.us for details.

Enjoy vintage video games and cocktails at Michigan Science Center After Dark

We got excited last month when the Michigan Science Center opened its doors one evening for After Dark, a happy hour that invited adults ages 21 and over to explore the science of mixology ("I wasn't just out drinking, I swear. I was learning chemistry!"). Over 170 people attended.

We're even more excited for the return of After Dark on Thursday, Jan. 21, when the Science Center will add vintage video games to its monthly happy hour. Attendees will be able to play some arcade favorites and classic console games like Duck Hunt and Super Smash Bros, all while enjoying a cash bar. It's all in conjunction with the Science Center's latest exhibit, Toytopia, which explores the science of play through multiple eras of games.

After Dark events take place on the third Thursday of every month. This month's event starts at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. Admission is $10 and includes a complimentary drink. Attendees must be 21 or over to attend.

Tickets are available here.

Disclosure: Michigan Science Center provides funding for Model D's "STEM Hub" series documenting the importance of STEM education in southeast Michigan.

Motor City Muckraker shifts focus to education in 2016


If you don't already know who Steve Neavling is, it's time to start following Motor City Muckraker, the investigative news site he runs with co-founder Abigail Shaw. Last year, Neavling dedicated himself to tracking the Detroit Fire Department's struggles to deal with the city's 3,000-plus fires. His reporting revealed a mismanaged and under-resourced department, eventually leading to the ouster of Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins and his deputy Craig Dougherty.

This year Neavling, who was a reporter for the Detroit Free Press before striking out to launch his own site focused on "independent news dedicated to improving Detroit," is turning his attention to the issues of education and the mayor's administration.

If Neavling's reporting on the Detroit Fire Department in 2015 is any indication, you'll want to keep an eye on what the Muckraker turns up in 2016.

Follow Neavling's work at MotorCityMuckraker.com.

Fort Street drawbridge over Rouge River reopens


In May 2013, the Fort Street drawbridge that spans the Rouge River in southwest Detroit closed for repairs. Built in 1922 by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the bridge serves as an important connection point between Detroit's Oakwood and Delray neighborhoods, as well as between the Downriver region and southwest Detroit. Yet its closure might have proven only a minor inconvenience to area motorists and pedestrians had the West Jefferson Avenue bridge two-thirds of a mile to the south not closed in the same month. That bridge was damaged when its operator, who was suspected of being intoxicated, lowered the span on top a passing ship.

Since then, people in the area have had their options for crossing the Rouge cut in half: they could either take the Dix Avenue Bridge in Dearborn or the I-75 bridge in Detroit, making their journeys more circuitous.

That changed, however, on Thursday, Dec. 31, when the bridge finally reopened after 31 months of repairs that cost the Michigan Department of Transporation $46 million. The Detroit News reports that the repairs were completed nearly a year behind schedule because of the complexity of the job and interference by river traffic. Currently one lane of traffic is open in each direction, but MDOT told the News that it expects to open the bridge's three other lanes by the end of January.

The West Jefferson Avenue drawbridge is expected to reopen in August.

Check out this time-lapse GIF of the reconstructed Fort Street Bridge in action:



Read about locals' reactions to the reopening of the Fort Street Bridge: Inside Southwest Detroit.

Read more: Detroit News
 

Free Press talks to 50 Detroiters about the state of their city

In a sprawling, must-read series of 50 profiles, the Detroit Free Press did something news media often neglect to do when trying to make sense Detroit's many challenges: it talked to residents -- young and old; black, white, Arab and Latino; small business owners, executives, and blue collar workers; immigrants, natives, and transplants -- about the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis and the opportunities they see in spite of them.

"One year since the City of Detroit's bankruptcy ended. Two years after the state takeover. Nearly 60 years since the city began its painful decline. One year since it started the slow climb back up. What’s life like for the Detroiters who never left or those newly arrived?" asks Detroit's paper of record.

Read more: Detroit Free Press

MiSci After Dark, the thinking person's happy hour, comes to Michigan Science Center


There's no shortage of great places to grab a cocktail after work in Midtown these days, but if you're looking for a change of pace that's more intellectually stimulating than your average trip to the bar, the Michigan Science Center has something special for you. On the third Thursday of every month, MiSci is hosting After Dark, a happy hour that allows adults to experience the museum after hours while enjoying adult beverages.

According to a statement, "After Dark will feature demos with a mixologist, vintage video competitions, extreme dot-to-dot challenges and more." Admission is $10 and includes a drink.

The next After Dark happy hour is happening Thursday, Dec. 17, from 5-8 p.m. Click here for details.

The insidious setback to recovery in Detroit's neighborhoods

In a 4,500-word longform piece for Next City, Detroit author and journalist Anna Clark digs deep into a setback to Detroit's recovery more insidious than high crime rates or a sluggish economy--the mortgage industry.

Clark describes a serious disconnect between prices reached between would-be home buyers and sellers and the appraisals banks conduct before they issue mortgages. In many Detroit neighborhoods, auction sales of tax-foreclosed properties for $500 or $1,000 could be the only available comparables, making it difficult to arrive at appraisals, which are based on sales of nearby homes, that reflect the actual price buyers are willing to pay.

"The result is a system where loans are not available across most of the city," writes Clark. "In Detroit, only 12 percent of home sales are financed, compared to 65 percent in Ferndale and 90 percent in Grosse Pointe. And they are not all at those infamously low price points. An $87,000 house in the Woodbridge neighborhood was recently bought with cash. So was the $1.6 million Fisher Mansion in Palmer Woods."

Clark reports that only 462 single family homes sold in Detroit in 2014 were purchased with a mortgage, and that nearly 87 percent of sales were cash deals, more than double the national average.

To learn about why the conventional mortgage system is failing Detroit and how groups like the Detroit Land Bank Authority and Talmer Bank are working to fix it, read more in Next City.

Ron Scott, Detroit peace activist, dead at 68

 
In the midst of a national epidemic of deaths of black men and women at the hands of white police officers, Detroit has lost one of its most outspoken critics of police brutality and staunchest advocates of peace.
 
Ron Scott, a founding member of the Detroit chapter of the Black Panther Party and, later, the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 29, after a battle with cancer.
 
"The Detroit Police Commission knew Scott's face well, as he spoke often at meetings, challenging decisions and procedures within the department," wrote MLive's Gus Burns in his Nov. 30 remembrance.
 
"Scott… dedicated his life to civil rights issues and worked up to the minute he took his last breath, his family said," write Robin Erb and Katrease Stafford in the Detroit Free Press.
 
Read more about Mr. Scott's life and legacy in the Detroit Free Press and MLive.

Washington Post examines 'unconventional' fixes for Detroit's unconventional housing market

 
From low appraisals to a dearth of conventional mortgage lending to a glut of supply (often in desperate need of renovation), Detroit's housing market faces a slew of issues that make it one of the most challenged and unusual in the country.
 
So how do you "restore a functional housing market in a city in which neighborhoods are disappearing, banks aren’t lending and property values are among the lowest in the nation?" That's the question the Washington Post asks in a recent feature story.
 
What they found in Detroit is that unusual circumstances are being met with unusual measures to prop up housing values throughout the city.
 
"Civic and business leaders are targeting eight neighborhoods that they determined have the best chance of turning around," writes the Post's Kathy Orton. "To clear out the inventory of vacant houses, the city is moving aggressively to demolish structures that are beyond repair and auction ones that are salvageable."
 
Read more about efforts to restore the weak housing market in Detroit's neighborhoods in the Washington Post.

How to do Small Business Saturday the easy way


With the holiday season (and all of the shopping it entails) upon us, there's good reason to feel stressed. Thankfully, several Detroit nonprofits are teaming up to make shopping easy and enjoyable, all while promoting city-based small businesses.

This Saturday, Nov. 28, the Downtown Detroit Partnership is hosting its 12th annual Shop Detroit event in conjunction with American Express's Small Business Saturday. Participants will be able to hop on busses at any of nine pickup locations around the city and be shuttled to a handful of retail districts, including the Cass and Canfield district, the shops at the Park Shelton, the Fisher Building, the Livernois Avenue of Fashion, and downtown. Along the way, the good folks at the Detroit Experience Factory will provide background on the shopping options, as well as historical tidbits about the city. The best part? The tours and shuttles are free and open to the public.

In conjunction with Shop Detroit, the Build Institute will be hosting a Build Bazaar in the atrium of One Campus Martius. Build Bazaar is a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from Build Institute's small business development program. To learn more about Build Institute's Shop Detroit Build Bazaar, click here. Can't make it this Saturday? Check out one of the other Build Bazaars happening between now and Christmas.

To RSVP for Shop Detroit, click here.

'Give grass a chance,' says Navin Field Grounds Crew about Tiger Stadium site

Since the demolition of Tiger Stadium in 2009, a group of unpaid volunteers calling themselves the Navin Field Grounds Crew have worked to maintain the site where the likes of Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Hank Greenberg all played. Since then, countless people have enjoyed the historic site, from youth and vintage baseball players to Corktown residents walking their dogs to people trotting around the bases while imitating Kirk Gibson's legendary 1984 World Series home run off of Goose Gossage. A handful of couples have even gotten married at home plate.

The way people enjoy the historic site of Navin Field could soon change, however. Last summer, Detroit PAL, a sports organization serving youth in the city, was granted development rights for the site at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. The group's plans call for housing, retail, and office space around the perimeter of the playing field, which will be replaced with artificial turf for the purposes of continuous youth sports programming.

That's where the Navin Field Grounds crew takes issue.

"All we are saying is give grass a chance," says Dave Mesrey, co-founder of the Navin Field Grounds Crew, which recently printed shirts sporting the same slogan.

Mesrey and the Grounds Crew point to recent stories suggesting that artificial turf could have negative health effects on children, as well historical importance of the original field as reasons for keeping the grass.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Navin Field Grounds Crew and the Corktown Community Organization are hosting a forum on the future of Navin Field at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local at 1358 Abbott St. in Corktown. The event, which starts at 6:30 p.m., will feature a public discussion on public access to the Navin Field site, artificial turf versus natural grass, retail and residential development, and more.

Representatives will be on hand from the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, the Navin Field Grounds CrewDetroit PAL, and Tiger Stadium Partners.

To learn more, click here.

Detroit Experience Series returns with Oct. 24 tour of northwest Detroit

Since 2005, Model D has told stories of positive neighborhood transformation, from the development of new businesses to the redevelopment of old buildings to the perseverance of long-term residents in the face of challenges. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we invite you to experience neighborhood transformation in Detroit firsthand through the Detroit Experience Series, a partnership between Model D and the Detroit Experience Factory.
 
Our tours will re-introduce (or simply introduce) you to the small businesses and people in the following neighborhoods:
  
Northwest Detroit (Saturday, October 24, 10 a.m.-noon) – Includes Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, University District, and the Avenue of Fashion. (Get tickets)

Jefferson East (Saturday, November 14, 10 a.m.-noon) – Includes the Villages, the East Riverfront, and Jefferson-Chalmers. (Get tickets)
 
Tours cost $25 for early bird tickets and $30 for general tickets and last approximately 2 hours.
 
Whether you're a long-term resident wanting to learn more about your neighborhood or a complete newbie, you'll discover something new through the Detroit Experience Series. Sign up today!

Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit activist and philosopher, dies at 100

 
Democracy Now! and the Metro Times are reporting that one of Detroit's most well-known and best-loved activists, Grace Lee Boggs, has passed away at age 100.
 
Ms. Boggs was known for her work in the civil rights, labor, and black power movements. She inspired generations of leaders in the world of social justice activism. She founded the Detroit Summer youth program in 1992. Her live and work were documented in the 2014 PBS film "American Revolutionary" by director Grace Lee.
 
The James and Grace Lee Boggs School, named in honor of Ms. Boggs and her late husband, also a beloved local activist, issued the following statement on its Facebook page:
 
"With heavy hearts, we want to share the passing of Grace Lee Boggs today. She was 100 years old. We want to give families a chance to talk about it with children before we talk about it here. We will be talking about it as a school tomorrow at our all-school morning meeting. Our school community will miss her deeply."
 
Read more: Democracy Now!, Metro Times

Knight Cities Challenge returns, wants your ideas to help Detroit succeed

 
For the second year, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is accepting applications for "the best ideas for cities to succeed" as a part of its Knight Cities Challenge. The application period is open now through Oct. 27 for anyone living in one of the 26 communities where the Knight Foundation invests, Detroit included.
 
According to a release from the Knight Foundation, "winners will receive a share of $5 million and become part of a network of civic innovators; funding will be granted at all levels from small to large amounts." Last year, 32 Knight Cities Challenge winners were selected from over 7,200 applications. Five of those winners were located in Detroit. For descriptions of those projects, click here.
 
One of the hallmarks of the challenge is its openness with regard to who can apply. "The challenge is open to anyone from anywhere: neighbors, architects, activists, artists, city planners, entrepreneurs, students, educators, city officials, as well as governments and organizations," writes the Knight Foundation.
 
If you have questions about the challenge, the Detroit office of the Knight Foundation invites you to virtual office hours or in-person events to learn more. Two public information sessions will be held at TechTown (440 Burroughs, Detroit):
• Tuesday, Oct. 6, 6 – 8 p.m. Limited seating. RSVP here.
• Monday, Oct. 19, 6-8 p.m. Limited seating. RSVPhere.
The schedule of all in-person and virtual office hours, which is regularly updated, can be accessed here.
 
Learn more and apply to the Knight Cities Challenge at knightcities.org.

What will Detroit look like in the next 25-50 years?

If we think of the city as a platform, how can we make sure Detroit is ready for the next 25 or 50 years and beyond? What changes should happen in the world of technology and city infrastructure? We want to hear your thoughts at a discussion taking place on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 5:30 p.m. at Bamboo Detroit.

Join us for food and the following: 

5:30 p.m – 6 p.m. - Meet and greet 
6 p.m. – 7 p.m. - Panel discussion 
7 p.m. – 8 p.m. - Mingling and networking

Joining us on this panel is April Boyle, executive director of Build Institute; Marc Hudson, co-founder of Rocket Fiber; Eric Williams, head of entrepreneurship at WSU; and Steve Baker, director of IT strategy and innovation at DTE Energy. This discussion will be moderated by Matt Lewis, managing editor of Model D.

This event will be hosted at Bamboo Detroit, a co-working space on the second floor of 1442 Brush street. Parking is located in lots off of Gratiot and Brush, and nearby at the Opera House and Z Lot.

Learn more: Facebook

Stunning short film showcases design in Detroit

Detroit filmmaker Stephen McGee has put together one of the most impressive short films we've ever seen on Detroit.
 
Clocking in at just under 4 minutes, "Detroit: City of Design" depicts the city's architecture, people, and products in stunning detail. The film was commissioned by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center to showcase the city's design talent and aesthetic. It is set to a soundtrack of compositions by Detroit artists that was curated by Assemble Sound.
 
"I hope it compels more people outside of our circles to support our city," writes McGee in a Facebook message to Model D.
 
The montage of Detroit scenes is composed of long tracking shots, drone footage, hyper lapse shots, and detailed zooms.
 
"The film has many creative camera angles," writes McGee. "Hyper lapse is one creative technique. It's traveling a traditional time lapse over a variable distance, which can be by foot, car or boat -- or plane even. The fluidity of shooting across many scenes took a fair amount of planning and the payoff could only really be realized in the edit. Every camera movement was made to inspire the next to integrate with the work happening at each location."
 
McGee, who has been shooting footage in Detroit for the last nine years, recently announced on Facebook his intention to create a feature documentary film about the city. "I think this film will stand as a visual bookmark of our past decade," he writes.
 
To learn more about his upcoming documentary project, visit http://www.thedetroitfilm.com/.
 
Watch "Detroit: City of Design" below:


NAACP branch in the works for the Grosse Pointes

 
Historically the Grosse Pointes have been closed to people of color, but that has begun to change in recent years, particularly in Grosse Pointe Park, where now over 10 percent of residents are black. Yet the Pointes have a long way to go before they are seen as welcoming communities. That's why two Grosse Pointe residents, Greg Bowens of the city of Grosse Pointe and Elaine Flowers of Grosse Pointe Park, have decided to organize a new chapter of the NAACP representing the five Pointes and neighboring Harper Woods.
 
According to Bill Laitner of the Detroit Free Press:
 
"Flowers wants the group to produce fine arts programs such as plays and concerts, organize discussion groups, arrange integrated youth activities and more. Bowens wants it to foster community-wide conversations about such local, pragmatic issues as whether the school district would benefit from having more black teachers — in fact, any black teachers, he said."
 
A meeting to discuss the potential for forming a Grosse Pointe NAACP chapter will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. at Rockefellers Oyster Bar & Grill in Grosse Pointe Park.
 
Read more: Detroit Free Press

Get down with Banglatown at Oct. 3 block party

 
In recent years, Detroit's Banglatown neighborhood (located just north of Hamtramck) has become known as much for resident artists and community-based art projects as its sizeable Bangladeshi population. Community arts organization Power House Productions, performance art group The Hinterlands, the Bangla School of Music, and winners of Write a House (a permanent artist residency giving away homes to writers) all call Banglatown home, resulting in a neighborhood with many cultural assets.
 
That cultural richness will be on display on Saturday, Oct. 3, during the Banglatown Block Party. According to its Facebook event page, the party will feature arts and culture programming the showcases various project sites Power House Productions has been working on over the past 5 years. Events and activities are planned for houses on Moran, Lawley and Klinger streets, including a workshop with The Hinterlands, music by Bangla School of Music, screenprinting with One Custom City, badminton matches at Sqaush House, and exhibitions by poet Casey Rocheteau and photographer Corine Vermeulen. Later in the day, hip hop duo Passalacqua will emcee a neighborhood talent show and food will be available at Ride It Sculpture Park.
 
Learn more: Facebook

What new Census data reveal about demographic changes in Detroit

Last Wednesday, the U.S. Census released new data that tell us a lot about demographic trends in the city of Detroit. In a series of insightful reports, the Detroit News breaks down those data. Here is what they found:
 
- Detroit's population is still declining, but at a much slower rate than in recent decades. "Detroit’s population was at 680,281 in 2014, down an estimated 8,459 residents from 2013, according to the data. That’s a smaller loss than the previous year’s drop of 12,784," write Louis Aguilar and Christine MacDonald for the Detroit News.

- For the first time in over half a century, Detroit is showing statistically significant gains in the number of white residents. "The new data, paired with the recent estimates of small gains, suggests an increase of more than 14,000 whites since 2010," reports The News. The city's white population is now at 10.2 percent, increasing by 1.3 percentage points from 2013 to 2014. The city's black population (79.1 percent) and Latino population (7.2 percent) both showed small, statistically insignificant declines in 2014. The data suggest that the influx of whites has helped slow the overall decline in the city's population.

- Detroit is the poorest big city in the U.S. The median household income for a family of four in the city is a paltry $25,769, and 39.3 percent of all Detroiters live below the poverty line.
 
Read more in the Detroit News:

"Detroit's white population up after decades of decline"

"Census bureau: Detroit is poorest big city in U.S."

Slows Bar B Q turns 10

Model D's not the only Detroit institution celebrating its 10th birthday this year. Corktown's Slows Bar B Q turns 10 on Wednesday, September 16, and you're invited to celebrate.

According to Susan Selasky of the Detroit Free Press, Slows will be "giving away 200 free limited edition commemorative 10-Year T-shirts from the Dirt Label, which is donating its fee to charity (while supplies last)"; "donating money from all purchases of The Reason sandwich and mac & cheese to D-Town Farms, the urban agriculture initiative of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network;" and "charging $2 for all Michigan draft beer."

Want to learn more about the Slows story? Check out this Model D special report about the growth of this iconic Detroit business and its impact on its neighborhood.

Slows' 10th anniversary party takes place this Wednesday, September 16, from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Read more: Detroit Free Press

Parking enforcement ramps up this week

You may have noticed that parking enforcement in Detroit has been lax over the last few months. That's because the Municipal Parking Department has been allowing local motorists to get acquainted with its new $3.5 million parking system that replaces antiquated meters with state-of-the-art parking technology.
 
Starting Tuesday, however, the free ride (er, park) is over, and "parking enforcement officers…will resume writing tickets citywide for violators of Detroit’s new parking regulations," reports the Detroit News.
 
In addition to having a new way to pay for parking, motorists also have a new way to contest tickets they think are undeserved. "[T]he city has also established a new process of contesting tickets through the website www.ParkDetroit.us, eliminating the need for motorists to physically appear," officials told the Detroit News.
 
Read more: Detroit New

Did someone just write the first honest review of Detroit's food scene?


There's no denying it: Detroit's food scene is growing like a pubescent adolescent. New spots are popping up every week, and there's more delicious food being served in the city than there has been in quite some time. It is important, however, to keep some perspective.
 
That's exactly what Jenny Miller does in her refreshingly honest and rather insightful review of Detroit's emerging food scene for Food Republic, a national blog covering food and food culture.
 
While Miller is a tough critic ("Nothing blew my mind," she writes), she presents an incredibly fair and well-reasoned big picture view of the city's food scene (as well as Detroit's development flux).
 
She writes:
 
"Detroit at the moment simply isn’t the kind place where you can dash off a list of the top ten spots to eat and leave it at that, because you’d be missing most of the story. What’s more fascinating is how this city in flux came to be what it currently is, and where it’s going. Restaurants are one lens onto that."
 
On Townhouse, a new restaurant operating in the Dan Gilbert owned One Detroit Center, Miller writes:
 
"If this place opened in New York, it would be another clubby spot for the bridge-and-tunnel or finance crowd, but here it’s significant. There just aren’t many restaurants like this in central Detroit: somewhere to dress up and make an evening of dinner out, or to head to after an event for drinks and late-night snacks."
 
Miller also proves an astute observer of the culture of development that's on the rise in the city:
 
"For some, there’s a feeling that the era of opportunity in Detroit has already passed, but not for the group of fresh-faced Harvard Business School graduates whose barbecue I crashed one night. These young people, mostly transplants and recent arrivals, spoke quickly and excitedly, describing their real estate ventures with an intensity that contrasted with the laid-back Midwesterners I’d been chatting with until then."
 
Finally, she points out that Detroit's growing food scene isn't something that magically sprang from the ground, but rather something that is the result of a lot of people's hard work:
 
"Still, this kind of entrepreneurship often has to be pulled off creatively, since one of the great ironies in a city with so much vacant real estate is that mortgages and financing can be extremely difficult to come by. [Slows Bar B Q owner Philip] Cooley describes how it took a team effort to open his latest restaurant, nine-month-old Gold Cash Gold, down the street from Slows on Michigan Avenue. 'All of our friends with full-time jobs were willing to show up and start cleaning or sanding and still go to their 9-to-5’s,' he says."
 
Read more: Food Republic

Free Press explores Detroit's top 35 street art pieces


Detroit is a Mecca for street artists. That's part of the reason why Eastern Market-based 1xRun decided to host the upcoming 9-day mural festival called Murals in the Market, which will bring street artists from around the world to Detroit from Sept. 17-25.
 
Before they get here, however, take some time to explore what's already in Detroit. Start with this amazing feature by Detroit Free Press writer Mark Stryker and photographer/videographer Romain Blanquart, which lays out Detroit's top 35 street art pieces, from the Alley Project in southwest Detroit, to Charles McGee's untitled 1974 modernist mural in downtown Detroit, to the many pieces of the Grand River Creative Corridor, and more.
 
Enjoy!
 
Read more: Detroit Free Press

Write a House, Detroit's permanent writer's residency, announces 10 finalists

 
Last year, Write a House renovated a vacant house it had purchased at the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction, then gave it away to poet Casey Rocheteau -- for free. This year, Write a House will give a second formerly vacant house away to another worthy writer.
 
According to the organization's website, "Write a House is a twist on the 'Writer's Residency.' In this case, the writer is simply given the house, forever." The idea is to contribute to the neighborhood just north of Hamtramck (known to some as Banglatown) and strengthen the literary culture of Detroit.
 
This year, Write a House received 220 applications in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from all over the United States and abroad, as well as right here in Detroit.
 
The finalists for this year's Write a House residency are:
 
Liana Aghajanian
Tujunga, CA
Nonfiction
http://www.lianaaghajanian.com
http://www.ianyanmag.com
@LianaAgh
 
Liana Aghajanian is an independent, Armenian-American journalist whose work explores the issues, people and places that remain hidden and on the fringes of society. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, BBC, Al Jazeera America, GOOD and The Atlantic among other publications. Reporting from Kenya, the UK, Germany, the South Caucasus and across the West Coast of the U.S., she covers issues at the intersection of culture, immigration, social justice, displacement and identity. She edits Ianyan Magazine, an independent-online journal on Armenia and its diaspora and authors a column for L.A. Times Community News on under-reported issues. Her work has received support from the Metlife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship, the California Health Journalism Fellowship and the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University.
 
Selected by dream hampton.
 
Glendaliz Camacho
New York, NY
Fiction
http://becomenzando.com
@Glendaliz

Glendaliz Camacho is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee, 2014 Jentel Foundation Artist in Residence, and 2015 Caldera Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Hedgebrook Artist in Residence. Glendaliz is an alum of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation Fiction Workshops. Her work appears in All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin Press), The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women (Shade Mountain Press, 2015), The Butter, and Kweli Journal, among others. Glendaliz is currently working on a short story collection, fantasy novel, and essay collection.
 
“This piece surprised me the most of any of the submissions—it quickly drew rounded portraits of its characters and pulled me into their sure-to-be-tense relationship. More than any of the other pieces, I would have happily kept reading more.” Sean MacDonald

Katie Chase
Portland, OR
Fiction
www.katie-chase.com

Katie Chase's short fiction has appeared in The Missouri Review, Five Chapters, Narrative, Prairie Schooner, ZYZZYVA, Mississippi Review, and the Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she was the recipient of a Teaching-Writing Fellowship, a Provost’s Postgraduate Writing Fellowship, and a Michener-Copernicus Award. She has also been a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San José State University. Born and raised outside Detroit, she lives currently in Portland, Oregon. Her first book is forthcoming from A Strange Object in 2016.

“Devil’s Night is an oft-explored theme, and yet this felt fresh, compelling, and true. Wasn’t really sure what to make of the last paragraph, but it held me nonetheless.” Toby Barlow

Allison Hedge Coke
Arcadia, OK
Poetry
http://www.hedgecoke.com
http://allisonhedgecoke.com
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/allison-adelle-hedge-co
 
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke's authored books include Dog Road Woman, Off-Season City Pipe, Blood Run, Streaming, and Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer (memoir), and anthologies she edited, including: Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas, Effigies and Effigies II. She also performs with the band Rd Kla. Hedge Coke came of age working fields, factories, and waters, and serves as an alternative field mentor. Awards for her work include an American Book Award, a Paterson Prize, a Sioux Falls Mayor’s Award, and residencies with MacDowell, Black Earth Institute, Hawthornden Castle, Weymouth Center, Center for the Great Plains, and Lannan at Marfa. Hedge Coke directs the annual Literary Sandhill Crane Retreat and is currently at work on an environmental documentary film, “Red Dust: resiliency in the dirty thirties.”

“(In her work), there is seriousness and ambition and scope for growth. It is densely packed and is mostly story-telling, anchored in a myth of blue-collar world. This is worth exploring.”  Michael Stone-Richards
 
Nandi Comer
Detroit, MI
Poetry
@NandiComer

Nandi Comer is the lead writer for Techno Poetics, a collaboration between Detroit music makers and writers. She has received fellowships from Indiana University, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in To Light a Fire: 20 Years with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project (Wayne State University Press, 2014), A Detroit Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2014), Another and Another: An Anthology From the Grind Daily Writing Series (Bull City Press, 2012), Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Southern Indiana Review, and Sycamore Review. She lives and works in Detroit.

“This poet plays with poetic form and verbal music in such a way that art amplifies social consciousness, violence, and cultural inheritance. This is the hallmark of literature that aims high, a kind of redemption song … I admire the maturity evident in this poets' work.”  Major Jackson
 
Jaquira Díaz
Miami, FL
Fiction
http://www.jaquiradiaz.com
@JaquiraDiaz
 
Jaquira Díaz is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, the Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, a Bread Loaf waitership, and an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts. She's been awarded fellowships or scholarships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, The MacDowell Colony, Summer Literary Seminars, and the Tin House Writers' Workshop. A finalist for the Richard J. Margolis Award in journalism, her work is noted in Best American Essays 2012 and 2014, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014, anthologized in Pushcart Prize XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses, and appears in Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, The Sun, The Southern Review, Salon, Five Chapters, TriQuarterly, The Rumpus, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications.   
 
“The author has a strong sense of voice and language that drives these three short pieces. Even in the single paragraph that is ‘December’, the language has a natural cadence and sense of urgency that propels the narrative in two lyrical sentences. ‘Seasons of Risks’ captures the adolescent appetite for danger.” Tamara Warren
 
Matthew Fogarty
Columbia, SC
Fiction
www.matthewfogarty.com
@ThatMattFogarty

Born and raised in the square-mile suburbs of Detroit, Matthew Fogarty has an MFA from the University of South Carolina, where he was editor of Yemassee. He also edits Cartagena, a literary journal. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Passages North, Fourteen Hills, PANK, Smokelong Quarterly, and Midwestern Gothic. His short story collection, Maybe Mermaids and Robots are Lonely, will be published in Fall 2016 by Stillhouse Press, a publisher based at George Mason University.

“The first two shorts in this packet were the most interesting, in part because they're so different. The first tells of a man obsessed with telling and retelling the story of Pope John Paul II being elected, but the story varies wildly depending on the day, and ‘depending on what we'd eaten and how much he'd had to drink.’ The second is a more absurd story about two con artists staging fake accidents for cash, while traveling under the names of characters from The Legend of Zelda. There's a lot of varied imagination here, and I appreciated the range.” Matt Bell

J.M. Leija
Detroit, MI
Nonfiction
@j3mleija

J.M. Leija is a Detroiter at heart and proud to claim all the accompanying trials, travails, and joys that accompany such a statement. By day she is a teacher/disguised superhero who tries to convince her students that reading is cool. On nights and weekends, she turns into a writer who tortures herself over whether writing about things that have really happened and people who really exist can ever be truly ethical. She then proceeds to write about them anyway. Her work has previously been featured in A Detroit Anthology, Motif's Seeking It's Own Level anthology, and Pithead Chapel Magazine, and she has work forthcoming in the 3288 Review.

“This is a person who has something interesting to say, and in saying it, she exercises complete command of the language. The words do exactly what she wants them to at all times. This is no mean feat. There’s an ease and authority here that was unmatched in any of the other submissions I read. … this #1 lady is a writer. There is an instinctive understanding of how words fit and rhythm and le mot juste. This is the thing that can’t be taught.” Nancy Kaffer

M. Sophia Newman
Homewood, IL
Nonfiction
http://www.msophianewman.com
@msophianewman

M. Sophia Newman is a writer whose work has been published in the US, UK, Bangladesh, and Japan. She writes a column on global health, Health Horizons, for Next City. She's reported on infectious disease in West Africa via a crowd-funded project for Pacific Standard Magazine and on violence in South Africa and America with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. She received a 2014 Shannon Fellowship from Bellarmine University’s International Thomas Merton Society to report on environmentalism, and continued this work with a 2015 retreat at Collegeville Institute for Cultural and Ecumenical Studies. Prior to journalism, she completed a Critical Language Scholarship in Bangla (2011), followed by a year of health research as a Fulbright fellow in Bangladesh (2012-2013). She holds a bachelor of science in cell and molecular biology (Tulane, 2009) and a master's degree in public health from University of Illinois (2012). Sophia is a Bangla speaker who hopes to attain fluency for journalism and to translate Bangla-language literature. She has also won admission to a short program on global mental health at Harvard, and intends to complete a nonfiction book expanding on the violence prevention she explored via the Pulitzer grant.

Selected by dream hampton.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/rkJwZGgtp_bzroGFLZ31m9PAEwfvboo4nEEeaJtG1vIBV04p8nu1uYwrcp_G_utup_wetrM1N4XT3wF42XiTyGW03M52XiYTBFocxQB-MBofMMs8jJPr_kNWGGN3iziHlAg98Dg
Katie Nichol
Fayetteville, AR
Poetry
http://www.nwaprisonstories.com/

Katie Nichol is a poet, educator, and activist based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Recent work has appeared in Cream City Review, St. Petersburg Review, and Cannibal. She is the Creative Writing Director for Prison Story Project, and was a 2014 finalist for the Wisconsin Institute Creative Writing Fellowships. Prior to receiving her MFA from the University of Arkansas, Katie worked as an advocate with homeless youth in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
 
“Like many of the manuscripts, this one deals with strong subject matter—notes from a rough life—but here the matter is balanced with literary grace and a knowledgeable sense of form.  The manuscript includes a ghazal and a rather amazing poem that reads forwards and backwards.” Billy Collins

Job sprawl a major problem for Detroit residents

In a recent story for the Detroit News, Mike Wilkinson of Bridge Magazine confirmed what many Detroiters already knew: that there aren't enough jobs in the city of Detroit for its residents. The immensity of this problem, however, is shocking.
 
According to Wilkinson, "80 percent of city residents live more than 10 miles from a central business district, one of the highest rates of the country." On the whole, Detroit has approximately 200 jobs per 1,000 residents, which is significantly worse than other cities, even those also located in the Rust Belt. Cleveland, for example, has an about 481 jobs per 1,000 residents.
 
The problem is particularly bad on the city's west side, where there is less than one job for every 10 people.
 
Wilkinson points to poor public transportation systems as a major challenge to solving the jobs sprawl problem.
 
Read more: Detroit News
 

Lafayette Park receives National Historic Landmark status

 
The largest collection of buildings by famed German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is located in Detroit's Lafayette Park neighborhood just east of downtown. Architecture buffs and local residents long have held the neighborhood in high esteem, and now so does the U.S. Department of the Interior, which designated the neighborhood a National Historic Landmark earlier this month.
 
"Lafayette Park is Michigan's 41st National Historic Landmark and one of only 2,564 nationwide," writes Dan Austin of the Detroit Free Press.
 
While Lafayette Park is cited as a shining example of Mid-Century Modernist architecture, the neighborhood's origins are controversial.
 
Writes Austin:
 
"The Housing Act of 1949 ushered in the urban renewal programs of the 1950s by giving cities federal money to acquire and clear neighborhoods that were considered slums. And Lafayette Park was the first large-scale clearance urban renewal project in the country, taking out the city's Black Bottom neighborhood. This was one of the poorest areas in the city and home to a large number of African Americans. Their ramshackle homes were razed to make way for the gleaming modern towers that were inhabited by wealthier people."
 
Nonetheless, Lafayette Park has remained a racially integrated neighborhood since its construction, and its townhouse residences are some of the most sought after pieces of real estate in the city.
 
Read more: Detroit Free Press

Detroit rolls out new parking technology, new rates for some areas

The days of parking at a dead meter and praying you won't be ticketed are nearing an end in Detroit. Over the next two weeks, the city will be rolling out its new parking system, ParkDetroit, by installing new meters throughout the city.
 
ParkDetroit represents a major advancement in parking technology for the city. The archaic hodgepodge of coin-operated meters and rarely-functioning kiosks that accept credit cards will be replaced with new stations that allow motorists to pay with cash, credit card, or via a mobile app (available for Android and iPhones). Drivers will need to know their license plate and parking zone numbers in order to pay at a station.
 
Accompanying the change in technology is a change in Detroit's parking ordinance. On Tuesday, July 28, Detroit City Council unanimously voted to amend the ordinance to establish a variety of parking rates for different sections of the city. While rates will remain the same in most neighborhoods ($0.25 per 15 minutes, or $1 per hour), several areas will see modest increases, such as Eastern Market and Midtown (now $1.50 per hour) and the central business district ($2 per hour).
 
Detroit's chief operating officer Gary Brown told the Detroit News that the city will only issue "courtesy tickets" while new meters are being installed to help raise awareness of the new system.
 
Read more: Detroit News

18th annual tour of Detroit gardens and farms to showcase city as capital of urban ag


Of all the remarkable statistics concerning vacant land in the city of Detroit, the fact that the city is home to over 1,400 urban gardens and farms sticks out. That's more than 10 gardens/farms per each of the city's 139 square miles. According to Keep Growing Detroit, an organization that promotes the development of a food sovereign city, this volume of gardens and farms has made Detroit "our nation's capital of urban agriculture."
 
On Wednesday, August 5, Keep Growing Detroit will celebrate this fact when it hosts its 18th annual tour of a selection of the city's urban farms and gardens. Participants will be able to travel by bicycle or bus along three routes, each with stops at roughly three gardens. Tours depart from Eastern Market's Shed 3 at 6 p.m. and last approximately two hours, concluding with a meal made from Detroit produce and prepared by local chefs. The tour fee is sliding scale $15 to $100. The tour is valued at $50 a person.
 
To sign up for a tour, visit Eventbrite.

Sick of potholes, Hamtramckans take to the streets with shovels and cold patch


Michigan's roads are in bad -- frankly deplorable -- shape. And thanks to budget cuts, inaction by the state legislature, and voters' unwillingness to approve a tax hike to pay for repairs, our surfaces streets are going to continue to deteriorate for the foreseeable future.
 
But in Hamtramck, a group of residents fed up with the status quo have decided to take matters – and shovels – into their own hands to improve road conditions in their community.
 
According to Dustin Block of MLive Detroit, "a group of six residents purchased 900 pounds of cold pack and spent the morning filling potholes along Lumpkin Street" on Saturday, July 25. The group hopes to raise $5,000 via a Go Fund Me campaign to pay for additional materials to fix other Hamtramck streets.
 
Read more: MLive Detroit

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.

Deadline to apply for $10k NEIdeas small business challenge grants is June 4


Last year, the New Economy Initiative and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation teamed up to award 32 existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park a combined total of over $500,000 for their ideas for growth.

This year, a whole new group of time-tested Detroit businesses will receive NEIdeas challenge grants. The deadline to apply for the challenge is June 4.
 
Instead of focusing on startups like other Detroit business competitions, NEIdeas is designed specifically for small businesses that are at least three years old and have had a lasting impact on their neghborhoods -- established businesses like Touch of Class Restoration, a Brightmoor-based construction and remediation company that used its 2014 NEideas award to buy new equipment and hire a marketing manager, and G + C Style, a 50-year-old storefront barber shop that used its award to expand its services to repairing and sharpening clippers for other barber shops.
 
In 2014, 30 small businesses each received awards of $10,000, while two businesses with high growth potential each received $100,000.
 
Visit neideasdetroit.org for more information.

New Center Park's summer series returns with movies, music, 'Macbeth,' and more

Since it opened in 2010, New Center Park has hosted free events every summer, from free concerts to movie screenings. This year is no exception. The summer season kicks off on Wednesday, June 3, with a screening of local film "Detroit Unleaded" in conjunction with the Cinetopia International Film Festival.

This year's movie series, which traditionally took place on Wednesday evenings, has been expanded to two nights. Films for adults will play on Wednesdays and Films for families will play on Fridays.

A series of special events are also scheduled for New Center Park this summer, ranging from a performance of "Macbeth" by Shakespeare in Detroit to musical performances by local artists like Thornetta Davis to a celebration of Motor City Brew Works' 20th anniversary.

For a full schedule of New Center Park's summer series, click here.

Tour homes in two of Detroit's most iconic historic neighborhoods, Corktown and Palmer Woods


This summer, historic homes in two of Detroit's most iconic neighborhoods will open to the public thanks to a concert series and a home and garden tour.
 
On May 30, the Palmer Woods Music in Homes series kicks off for the 8th year with a performance by Orquesta La Inspiracion, an Afro-Caribbean Latin Jazz ensemble. According to a press release, the event will take place "in the gardens of a historic Streamline Moderne home." The exact location of the event will be revealed with the purchase of tickets ($45 each or $40 for groups of 10 or more). Tickets can be purchased at palmerwoods.org or by calling 313-891-2514.
 
The May 30 concert, which begins at 8 p.m., will be the first of several musical events hosted in different Palmer Woods mansions over the course of the summer. For a complete list of performances, click here.
 
Additionally, a Palmer Woods home tour is being planned for the fall in conjunction with the neighborhood's centennial celebration.
 
Palmer Woods is located north of 7 Mile Road at Woodward Avenue and is home to an eclectic mix of historic homes, from mansions of industrial magnates dating to the 1910s and '20s to mid-century modern residences.
 
On the other side of town on Sunday, June 7, check out some more modest, but equally interesting historic homes during the annual Corktown Home and Garden Tour. Detroit's oldest neighborhood, Corktown is home to charming workers' cottages and row houses, as well as a variety of new and historic businesses.
 
The Corktown Home and Garden Tour will take place June 7, from noon until 5 p.m. Tickets, which cost $15, can be purchased the day of the event at the Gaelic League, located at 2068 Michigan Ave. Take a break from the tour to catch a vintage baseball game at 2 p.m. on Navin Field, the site of the old Tiger Stadium.
 
To learn more about the tour, click here.

Policy Lab conference to tackle regional transit issues June 3-5 in Port Austin

Last year, a group of young Detroiters hosted Mackinac(ish), a conference in Charlevoix billed as an affordable, accessible alternative to the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Policy Conference (MPC). Registration for MPC costs Chamber members $1,950 and non-members $2,725 to attend. Mackinac(ish) was open to anyone who applied and cost participants a modest sum to cover food and other event expenses.
 
The idea was to get young Detroiters involved in policy discussions relevant to the future of the city and region, as well as build a sense of camaraderie that would be carried back to Detroit. Sessions from MPC were live-streamed at Mackinack(ish), and the group was even visited by Sen. Carl Levin, who stopped by on his way to Mackinac Island. Click here to read Model D's recap of Mackinac(ish).
 
Organizers of Mackinac(ish), now calling themselves After the Storm, are holding another summit June 3-5, this time in Port Austin, Mich. The event has been renamed Policy Lab and will focus on transit and mobility issues facing the metro Detroit region.
 
Friday, May 22, is the final day to apply for a spot at the conference. Those accepted will be asked to pay an $80 registration fee. To apply, click here.
 
For more information on After the Storm and Policy Lab, click here.

Neighborhood Exchange, a new resource for Detroit communities, launches Thursday

On Thursday, May 21, Michigan Community Resources (MCR) will celebrate the launch of Neighborhood Exchange, a new online resource for empowering Detroit communities, during an event at Gleaner's Community Food Bank.
 
"The idea for Neighborhood Exchange originated from members of our Vacant Property Coalition who noticed community organizations tackling common needs and issues without knowledge of each other's work or valuable resources," says Jill Ferrari, CEO of MCR, in a statement. "So we saw the need for a tool that shares that work and combines it with the resources that MCR and other providers have for everyone to use and learn from."
 
Key features of Neighborhood Exchange will include monthly features highlighting achievements in Detroit's neighborhoods, an events calendar of community happenings and volunteer opportunities throughout Detroit, a directory of neighborhood resources, and a discussion board for neighborhood issues.
 
MCR hopes that community groups and residents will engage with and submit their own resources to Neighborhood Exchange.
 
Issue Media Group, which publishes Model D, partnered with Michigan Community Resources to develop the web platform for Neighborhood Exchange.
 
To RSVP to Neighborhood Exchange's launch event happening Thursday, May 21, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Gleaner's Community Food Bank (2131 Beaufait), email Janai Gilmore at jgilmore@mi-community.org.
 
 

Detroit to be featured on Esquire TV's "Best Bars in America"

On Wednesday, May 27, the rest of America will find out what many Detroiters already knew: that Detroit is home to some of the best bars in America. Esquire TV visited Detroit in October of last year to shoot an episode of its series "The Best Bars in America," now in its second season.
 
Among the bars featured is PJ's Lager House, a classic Corktown watering hole and rock and roll venue. According to a press release, PJ's is "throwing a big party" for the episode's debut: "Our kitchen will be open, the episode will play, and we'll party with sets from the Royal Blackbirds and Doop & the Inside Outlaws after the show. Come watch PJ's on the TVs inside PJ's."
 
The Detroit episode of "The Best Bars in America" will air at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, and feature a number of Detroit's favorite drinking establishments.

Urban agriculture moves indoors


Back in May of 2014, we reported on Jeff Adams' plans to develop a then-unnamed indoor urban agriculture operation in an industrial park in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood. Today, that operation, which is now known as Artesian Farms, is in full production mode, growing leafy greens and other vegetables in vertically stacked hydroponic trays.
 
John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press reports on how Adams and others are introducing indoor, "vertical" farming to Detroit's urban agriculture scene. Click here to see a video of Adams' operation.

Write a House begins second chapter of literary neighborhood development


Last year, Casey Rocheteau, a poet formerly based in Brooklyn, moved into a newly rehabbed house in a Detroit neighborhood just north of Hamtramck. This wasn't some ordinary lease, however. As the winner of the inaugural Write a House prize, Rocheteau was granted that home, which she now owns free and clear.
 
A nonprofit organization, Write a House's mission is to "leverage Detroit's available housing in creative ways to bolster an emerging literary community to benefit the city of Detroit and its neighborhoods." It does so by renovating vacant homes and granting them to worthy writers who submit a simple application and writing samples that are reviewed by a jury of writers. Think of it as a permanent sort of writers residency.
 
The group purchased three homes in the 2012 through Wayne County's annual auction of tax foreclosed properties. The first of those was rehabbed and given away to Rocheteau last year. This year, a second Write a House home will be awarded to another writer. The application process is currently open.
 
After a successful inaugural process, this year's application is much the same as last year's.
 
"Honestly, in terms of judging, we're using the same process as last year," says Sarah Cox, director of Write a House and vice president of its executive board. "Our app is so simple, we're sticking with it."
 
Applications and writing samples will be judged by a jury that includes local and national writers.
 
For tips on writing a successful application, check out this blogpost from inaugural Write a House resident Casey Rocheteau.
 
Cox expects a deep pool of applicants as Write a House begins its second chapter. "I feel like we have a much wider reach this go around," she says. "I'm excited to see who applies."
 
To find out more about the Write a House application process, click here.
 

Acclaimed director Werner Herzog makes short film about Corktown's Ponyride for American Express

Werner Herzog is one of the world's most renowned movie directors. His beloved filmography ranges from collaborations with German actor Klaus Kinski on dramas like 1982's "Fitzcarraldo," the story of one man's insane quest to build an opera house in the heart of the Amazon jungle, to recent documentaries like "Grizzlyman" (2005) and "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (2010).
 
Most recently, Herzog has turned his lens on Detroit for a hybrid commercial for American Express and documentary about the community that has developed inside of Corktown's Ponyride. Between cut scenes of Detroit fauna blowing in the breeze and industrial ruins, a handful of entrepreneurs and makers based out of Ponyride talk about their vision for the city.
 
To watch the video, which was produced by ad agency Rokkan, click here and scroll below the wall of mildly nauseating hyperbole about Detroit ("But in the wake of the city’s mass exodus, a few have refused to leave their dying hometown, clinging to the stubborn hope that Detroit can be resurrected from the ashes."). 
 
What do you think, does Herzog get Detroit?

Read more: "Ponyride: Growing the New Generation of Local Business"

NEIdeas challenge returns for second year of grants to Detroit businesses with ideas for growth

 
Last year, the New Economy Initiative and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation teamed up to award 32 existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park a combined total of over $500,000 for their ideas for growth.
 
Instead of focusing on startups like other Detroit business competitions, NEIdeas is designed specifically for small businesses that are at least three years old and have had a lasting impact on their neghborhoods -- established businesses like Touch of Class Restoration, a Brightmoor-based construction and remediation company that used its 2014 NEideas award to buy new equipment and hire a marketing manager, and G + C Style, a 50-year-old storefront barber shop that used its award to expand its services to repairing and sharpening clippers for other barber shops.
 
In 2014, 30 small businesses each received awards of $10,000, while two businesses with high growth potential each received $100,000.
 
This year, a whole new group of time-tested Detroit businesses will receive NEIdeas challenge grants. On Thursday, April 16, the 2015 round of the challenge opens with an event at the Bel Air 10 Theater located at 10100 E. 8 Mile Rd. Starting at 10 a.m., winners of the 2014 challenge will be on hand to answer prospective applicants' questions, as will other challenge ambassadors. At 10:30 a.m., Dave Egner, executive director of the NEI, and Rodrick Miller, president and CEO of the DEGC, will give remarks, which will be followed by an NEIdeas information session.
 
Visit neideasdetroit.org for more information.

Detroit Modernism Week kicks off April 16

Eames, Yamasaki, Wright, Saarinen, and van der Rohe.
 
These are the names of just a few of the many modernist masters who have made their lasting mark on southeast Michigan in the 20th century. Next week, you have a chance to learn about and celebrate the region's modernist heritage thanks to the people at the Detroit Area Art Deco Society.
 
Starting April 16, Detroit Modernism Week, the first 10-day period "structured around events celebrating the Detroit area's 20th century modernist architecture," will salute Michigan's contributions to the Modern Movement.
 
Events range from lectures to exhibits to tours, including an April 16 bicycle tour of Palmer Park ("Detroit's most modern neighborhood") and an April 18 tour of Mies van der Rohe's Lafayette Park. For a full schedule of happenings, click here.
 
Learn more about Detroit Modernism Week here.

Foreign billionaires are on a Detroit real estate buying spree

 
Dan Gilbert, local billionaire and downtown's most prominent investor, famously cited a "skyscraper sale" as motivation to begin adding downtown Detroit properties his portfolio in 2007. Gilbert founded Bedrock Real Estate in 2011, and that company now owns over 70 properties accounting for over 11 million square feet of space in the city's central business district. Adding to that portfolio may not be as cheap as it once was, however, as foreign investors take interest in Detroit real estate.
 
In 2013, Fernando Palazuelo, a Peruvian billionaire of Spanish extraction, made some of the biggest headlines in Detroit real estate when he purchased the Packard Plant, an infamous, 3.5-million-square-foot industrial ruin on the city's east side that has been abandoned for half a century. He revealed some of his grand plans for the site in a February 28 feature in Crain's Detroit Business.
 
Now Crain's is reporting that one of the richest men in Mexico, Carlos Slim Helú (net worth approx. $77 billion) has purchased the Marquette Building, a 115-year-old, 164,000-square-foot vacant office building in downtown Detroit.
 
Crain's Kirk Pinho writes, "Nico Gatzaros, managing partner of Detroit-based 400 Monroe Associates LLC and son of the late Greektown Casino-Hotel developer Ted Gatzaros, whose estate sold the building to Helú, said offers from 'all over the world' were made on the building."
 
On April 7, Pinho once again broke a story of large-scale foreign investment in Detroit real estate when he tied the purchases of 31 Detroit properties to Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong tycoon.

For more breaking news on foreign investment in Detroit real estate, follow Pinho's writing for Crain's Detroit Business.

 

Is the development craze in Midtown spreading to nearby Milwaukee Junction?


In a longform piece for Bridge Magazine, veteran Detroit journalist Bill McGraw takes a deep look at Milwaukee Junction, an old industrial district that is quickly attracting the interest of local real estate developers.
 
Home to Ford Motor Co.'s original factory, The Ford Piquette Area Plant, Milwaukee Junction was one of the city's most productive industrial areas in the first half of the 20th century. "At its peak in the 1940s, some 33,000 people worked in Milwaukee Junction, and there were 33 heavy manufacturing plants," write McGraw.
 
Though its former glory as an industrial hub of Detroit has mostly faded (it's still home to a handful of industrial businesses), McGraw describes a growing interest in the neighborhood by real estate developers. Currently, the area only has a small amount of housing, but McGraw sites its proximity to other quickly gentrifying Detroit neighborhoods like Midtown and New Center, as well as its closeness to the under-construction M-1 Rail line, as reasons for its imminent development.
 
Think Milwaukee Junction is Detroit's next hot neighborhood?
 
Read more in Bridge Magazine.

NPR host Michel Martin to visit Detroit for national radio series


Longtime National Public Radio personality Michel Martin is coming to Detroit on May 21, when she will lead a panel discussion at the Carr Center about the role of creatives in redefining the city. The conversation, which organizers are calling "Motor City Drive," will be a part of NPR Presents, "NPR's multiplatform national live events initiative that furthers the mission of public radio."
 
According to WDET, Detroit's local NPR affiliate, Martin's conversation will feature panelists Jessica Care Moore, CEO of Moore Black Press; "Detroit Unleaded" filmmaker Rola Nashef; fashion designer Char Glover; theater director Samantha White; executive chef for Union Woodshop restaurant Aaron Cozadd; urban farmer, Kate Daughdrill; and marketing executive, Bridget Russo.
 
Martin joins PBS's Tavis Smiley as the second national public media figure to turn their attention to Detroit in the last month.
 
For more information about Martin's visit, visit WDET's event page.

Detroit Tigers to become one of five Major League franchises to host LGBT pride night

 
Tony Paul of the Detroit News is reporting that the Detroit Tigers will host the first LGBT pride night in franchise history on June 3 when the Oakland Athletics will be in town for an inter-divisional matchup.
 
The announcement, which was made Monday (2015 Opening Day), comes on the heels of the A's announcement that they will host their own LGBT night on June 17. That announcement was met with some opposition by some season ticket holders, which prompted Eireann Dolan, girlfriend of A's pitcher Sean Doolittle, to offer to buy any unwanted tickets so they could be donated to Oakland-area LGBT youth organizations.
 
The News reports that no such opposition has been voiced by Tigers season ticket holders.
 
Four other major league franchises are scheduled to host LGBT pride nights this year: the Oakland A's, the LA Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, and the Chicago Cubs. Like the Tigers, this year marks the first that the A's, Dodgers, and Giants will host pride nights. The Cubs have hosted them since 2001.
 
The Tigers become the second professional sports franchise in Detroit to recognize Detroit's LGBT communities. Last year, the Detroit City Football Club sported limited edition jerseys bearing an equal sign to promote marriage equality in Michigan. The jerseys were later auctioned to benefit the Ruth Ellis Center, a Highland Park organization that provides support services to runaway, homeless, and at-risk LGBT youth. To date, the soccer club is the only professional sports organization in Michigan to take a stance in support of marriage equality.
 
Read more in the Detroit News.

WDET to produce its first podcast, 'The Beginning of the End"

 
The era of the podcast is upon us. In reality, it has been for some time. Independently produced podcasts like WTF, Hardcore History, and 99 Percent Invisible are more popular than ever, while Public radio stations around the country have gained national renown thanks to the popularity of their downloadable productions. These days, WBEZ's "This American Life" and WNYC's "Radio Lab" are practically household names.
 
Now Detroit's own WDET 101.9 FM is joining the podcast craze with "The Beginning of the End," a bi-weekly production hosted by Alex Trajano "featuring people who feel the winds of change blowing (and messing with their lives)." According to WDET's website, the show is "coming soon."
 
The show's producers are currently soliciting stories about the endings of the following things:
 
A Secret
A Career
A Winning Streak
A Grudge
A Fear
A Value System
Living at Home
The Old You
 
You can contribute a story by recording of a voice memo on your smartphone and sending it to beginningoftheend@wdet.org.
 
Learn more about "The Beginning of the End" here.

Slow Roll to require paid memberships in 2015

 
The Metro Times is reporting that Detroit's favorite weekly bicycle ride, Slow Roll, is requiring its participants to purchase memberships if they want to keep riding with the large group that meets every Monday.
 
Slow Roll co-founder Mike MacKool sites the fact that the ride's parent organization, Detroit Bike City Inc., is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, as well as its deepening partnership with the city of Detroit, as reasons why Slow Roll now needs to have waivers and weekly check-ins at each ride.
 
According to the Metro Times, memberships will cost $10 or $50. Those who pay $50 will receive a T-shirt among other non-specified benefits. For those who can't afford memberships, ride organizers promise to waive fees, no questions asked.
 
In just a few short years, Slow Roll has grown from humble grass roots ride to a massive weekly event that has been featured in a national Apple iPad commercial.

The first Slow Roll of 2015 departs from Eastern Market's Shed 2 on Sunday, March 29 at 11 a.m. Cyclists can become members of Slow Roll by visiting the event's membership page.
 
For more information, visit the Metro Times.

Take a tour of the hidden collections of the Detroit Public Library


This week, the Detroit Public Library kicks off the celebration of its 150th anniversary. (Click here for details about a March 25 anniversary event at DPL.) In the meantime, you can take a virtual tour of the stacks of DPL's Burton Historical Collection, which are normally hidden from public view. Click here to explore the stacks with the help of a cool feature by the Detroit Free Press and discover some of the city's hidden history.
 

Knight Arts Challenge launches for third year


What's your best idea for the arts in Detroit?
 
It's a simple question, and your simple answer could land you some money to help make your idea a reality.



On March 16, the application period for the third annual Knight Arts Challenge opened. In this round of the challenge, Detroiters have until April 13 to apply for a share of $3 million. To date, the Knight Arts Challenge has award 114 winners in Detroit about $5 million.
 
Knight Foundation will host a launch party and a series of community Q&A sessions throughout Detroit to answer applicants' questions. The launch party will be held at Bert’s Marketplace in Eastern Market on Tuesday, March 24 at 6 p.m. At the launch event, applicants can get to know Knight staff and past winners. The community Q&As will offer tips to applicants on creating standout applications and provide information on the challenge timeline and more.
 
The following are the dates and times of upcoming community Q&A sessions:
 
-March 23, 6 p.m. at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn
-March 24, noon at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (light lunch provided)
-March 25, 6 p.m. at the Mexicantown Mercado in Southwest Detroit
 
For more information about the Knight Arts Challenge in Detroit, click here.

Tavis Smiley, late night king of PBS, to tape five episodes in Detroit

Tavis Smiley, the king of late night television on PBS, is coming to Detroit. 

On March 23, 24, and 25, Smiley, will tape five episodes of his show in front of live audiences at the Community Arts Auditorium on the campus of Wayne State University. Each episode will focus on the city and its rebirth, including examinations of the city’s Downtown resurgence, the challenges facing long-time residents of the city, the Arab American community in Dearborn, the arts community, and education. The week will conclude with a Detroit town hall meeting.
 
Detroit Public Television (DPTV) will provide the crew and state-of-the-art facilities to help produce the shows in conjunction with Wayne State University.
 
You are invited to be part of the live audience. Sign up by visiting www.dptv.org/tavissmiley.
 

Marche du Nain Rouge seeks businesses to host parade parties


According to a press release, organizers of the Marche du Nain Rouge are seeking local businesses to serve as "Preparer le Nain." In other words, they want Detroit businesses will to host parties and events before, during, and after the parade, which is scheduled for Sunday, March 22 from 1 to 3 p.m.
 
Preparer le Nain events will take place starting Monday, March 16, concluding on Sunday, March 22 after the Marche. Prepare le Nain events may be for only one day or the entire week. They can include art events, performances, parties, specials, discounts, or whatever creative ideas you have. After parties, a.k.a. Apres le Nain festivities, are also welcome.
 
To be included on the Marche du Nain Rouge's list of Preparer and Apres events and offers, submit your ideas to marchedunainrouge@gmail.com with the subject line "Preparer le Nain" by Friday, March 6, 2015.

Packard Plant developer outlines grand plans for Detroit

Peruvian developer Fernando Palazuelo made big headlines in 2013 when he purchased the long-abandoned Packard Plant on Detroit's east side. The property, which consists of 47 buildings and spans 40 acres, is perhaps the most daunting re-development project in all of the city of Detroit, which is saying a lot. Nonetheless, Palazuelo appears to be moving forward with plans for the massive ruin. According to Crain's Detroit Business, he has retained an architecture firm (Albert Kahn Associates) and a general contractor (O'Brien Construction Co.) to begin work on the rehab of a 150,000-sq-ft administrative building on the Packard property.

According to the same Crain's piece, however, those plans represent only a fraction of Palazuelo's Detroit ambitions:

"[Palazuelo] said in an interview with Crain's last week that he plans to make offers to buy five of greater downtown's most storied buildings: the 255,000-square-foot Book Tower and adjoining 260,000-square-foot Book Building; the 996,000-square-foot Penobscot Building; and the Albert Kahn Building and Fisher Building in the New Center Area, which total 925,000 square feet."

The Peruvian developer claims that he has the backing of a Lima-based private equity firm with over $500 million in assets.

Read more about Palazuelo's Detroit plans in Crain's Detroit Business.

Rocket Fiber, a super-fast fiber Internet service, coming to downtown Detroit

If you're just learning about Dan Gilbert's proposal to outfit the greater downtown area with hyper-fast fiber optic Internet service, you're probably connecting to the Internet with a dial-up modem. (For you youngsters who have no idea what "dial-up" means, read this.)
 
According to Crain's Detroit Business, Gilbert's spokespeople have confirmed their plans to launch Rocket Fiber, an "advanced fiber-optic Internet network that will serve residents, local government and businesses in and around downtown Detroit," providing them with connection speeds that are over 100 times faster than what is currently available.
 
According to Crain's, Rocket Fiber's network "originates west of downtown Detroit, and the initial scope covers the central business district from M-10 to the west, I-75 to the north, I-375 to the east and the Detroit River to the south." Eventually the network will be expanded to other areas of the city. More details on roll out of the service to come.
 
Read more in Crain's Detroit Business

Neighborhoods to square off in new co-ed basketball league

 
In recent years, Detroit has seen the launch of several co-ed, neighborhood-based rec sports leagues like the Detroit City Futbol League and the Detroit Neighborhood Softball League. This March, a basketball league will join their ranks.
 
Registration for the Detroit Hoops League is currently open. According to the league's website, the new co-ed, neighborhood-based recreational basketball league "brings together teams representing neighborhoods across the city to play and compete for the love of the game."
 
The league will feature eight neighborhood teams competing on a weekly basis over the course of  eight weeks, plus playoffs and a championship game.
 
The league is open to adults (ages 21+) who pay a $40 registration fee. Those interested in playing are invited to attend an open gym at the Jam Handy Building (2900 E. Grand Blvd.) on Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m.
 
Registration closes on Saturday, Feb. 28.
 
Practices will be held on Wednesdays (Feb. 25 and April 15), 6 to 10 p.m. at the Jam Handy (2900 E. Grand Blvd, Detroit). Games will be held on Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Osborn Matrix Center Gymnasium (13560 E. McNichols Rd., Detroit). The season starts March 1 and ends April 19. Games will last 40 minutes and feature a referee and scoreboard.
 
For more information, visit http://detroithoopsleague.com/.

Philip Levine, poet of working-class Detroit, dies at 87


Philip Levine, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and former U.S. Poet Laureate, passed away on Feb. 14 at the age of 87 at his home in Fresno, Calif.

Born in Detroit in 1928, Levine graduated from Central High School, then went on to attend Wayne State University (then simply known as Wayne University), where he earned a bachelor's degree in English. During and after college, Levine worked in several auto plants, experiences which would serve as inspiration for many of his best known poems.

According to the Free Press, "Levine won the Pulitzer Prize for "The Simple Truth" in 1995 and two National Book Awards for "What Work Is (1991) and "Ashes: Poems New and Old" (1980). He served as the country's poet laureate in 2011-12. He wrote 25 books of poetry, the last, "News of the World" was published in 2009."

Below is a video of Levine reading some of his most beloved poems, including the Detroit-centric "What Work Is."



Read more in the Detroit Free Press.

How did Detroit transit get so bad? The Free Press has answers


Last week, the story of James Robertson went viral, filling up Detroiters' Facebook news feeds and making headlines on national news programs. The story, which originated in the Detroit Free Press, highlighted the unfathomable 21-mile walk Detroiter James Robertson makes each day in order to get to and from his job in Rochester Hills, a suburb that has opted out of participating in the region's SMART bus system.
 
The Detroit Free Press's Dan Austin followed up Robertson's story with an account of how Detroit's transit system arrived at its deplorable current condition. According to Austin, "At the turn of the 20th Century, southeast Michigan had the largest and one of the best mass transit systems in the country. Today, we have one of the worst."
 
Austin lays out Detroit's transit history in three stages of its development: subways, streetcars, and buses.
 
At the turn of the 20th century, proposals existed to build a subway system to serve Detroit. These, unfortunately, were never realized. Detroit would, however, develop one of the most extensive regional streetcar and rail networks in the world during the first half of the century. But with the rise of the highway system, the increased affordability of cars, and racial tensions fueling decisions about regionalism, the streetcar system was scrapped, the last line ceasing regular service in 1958.
 
In the postwar era, Detroit's rails were replaced with buses. According to Austin, "After the streetcars, buses were hailed as the future of public transit in metro Detroit. They were said to be cheaper to maintain and could go anywhere streetcars could — plus they weren't bound by tracks."
 
He goes on to explain in detail how separate suburban and city authorities developed and the dysfunction of the region's bus network deepened over time due to racial and political tensions. He also discusses the recently created Regional Transit Authority, which has the potential of reunifying the fractured system.
 
Read more in the Detroit Free Press.

Celebrate Detroit's world-class Hackley Collection at 71st annual concert


One of the lesser-heralded treasures of the city of Detroit is the E. Azalia Hackley Collection at the Detroit Public Library. Established in 1943, the collection features items related to the history of African Americans in the performing arts, including "many rare books, manuscripts and archives of performing artists," as well as a wealth of photographic and print materials.
 
On Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 7:00 p.m., the Hackley Collection will host its 71st annual concert at the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library, which is located at 5201 Woodward Ave. in Midtown across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts.
 
The concert, "an evening inspired by the collection," will feature performances by Alvin Hill, a technology-based artist; Masters of Harmony featuring Mr. Kelly Thomas, Detroit's oldest performing musician who was born in Alabama in 1913; and Pamela Wise featuring Wendell Harrison.
 
The event is free and open to the public.
 
For more information, visit the event's Facebook page or call 313-481-1339. 

"Cold Hearted" Valentine's Day event to benefit Clark Park Coalition


UPDATE: Cold Hearted's Valentine's Day skate has been cancelled due to frigid temperatures forecasted for Saturday. The benefit will move indoors to Our/Detroit Vodka (2545 Bagley Ave.). Below is the statement from the event's Facebook page:

"Bad news, friends. It's just too darn cold for Cold Hearted this year. But we'd still love to see you, and Clark Park really does count on your support. So, we're bringing the party to our toasty indoor neighbor, Our/Detroit. Come by Saturday night for drinks and snacks from The Mac Shack, and we'll have a spot for donations to the park. And if you can't make it, but still want to support Clark Park's great work, please consider throwing some love their way: http://www.clarkparkdetroit.com/donate.html."


---

Anyone who has visited Clark Park in Southwest Detroit knows that it's a special place. One of the main reasons: the park is home to one of only two outdoor skating rinks in the whole city.

Another reason Clark Park is special, however, has to do with the fact that it is maintained and programmed by the Clark Park Coalition, a grass roots group of Detroiters that has existed since 1991.

Sure, you can check out the rink anytime throughout the winter season on open skate nights, but why not check it out this Valentine's Day (that's Saturday, Feb. 14 in case you need reminding) during the fifth-annual Cold Hearted benefit skate? If you do, your $10 donation will help fund the efforts of the Clark Park Coalition throughout 2015. Enjoy an evening of outdoor ice skating and beverages to keep you warm. Your donation includes a skate rental.

See you on Valentine's Day at Clark Park. The skate will take place 6-9 p.m.

Click here for event details.

Marche du Nain Rouge seeks neighborhood floats


On March 22, the fifth-annual Marche du Naine Rouge will wend its way through the Cass Corridor, chasing a little red dwarf, the harbinger of destruction in Detroit folklore, out of the city before he can do any harm.
 
Will the Nain appear again this year to try to wreak havoc on our city? We can only hope not. But if he does, Marche du Nain Rouge organizers hope that he will be met with displays of pride from communities all across town.
 
That's why they asking groups from all neighborhoods — representing the heart and soul of the city — to band together to build floats and processions for the Marche.
 
To help community groups bring out their best game, Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions is offering two free Neighborhood Float-Building Workshops in partnership with OmniCorp Detroit. These workshops will offer tips, ideas, and brainstorming sessions to help participants be Marche-ready by March 22.
 
“We will show folks how easy it can be to express themselves creatively,” says Ralph Taylor, President of Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions. “You can make a stunning visual display with simple materials and a little know-how.”
 
Got an idea for a float that might help fend off the evil dwarf? For the love of all that is good, please make it happen! The free float-building workshops will be held:
  • 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at the Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions studio, 6911 East Lafayette on the Eastside.
  • 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, at OmniCorp Detroit,1501 Division St. in Eastern Market.

Detroit happenings: Three things to do on Saturday, Jan. 31


There's a lot more going on this weekend other than the Super Bowl. Here are three of our favorite Detroit happenings taking places this Saturday, Jan. 31:
 
Detroit Area Rambling Society's weekend ramble
When: Saturday, Jan. 31, 1-6 p.m.
Where: Departs from Public Pool (3309 Caniff, Hamtramck) at 2 p.m.
 
Detroit may not be known as a 'walkable' town, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good place for a ramble. The Detroit Area Rambling Society, a group established in 2011, "aims to reassure us how safely, usefully, and delightfully walkable our city is, and how it will become more so with every step." The group coordinates occasional long walks, or rambles, through different parts of Detroit. This week, ramblers will set out to explore the I-94 Industrial Renaissance Zone, a nearly 290-acre area on Detroit's east side that was assembled and cleared by the city of Detroit for an industrial park that never came to be and has since reverted rapidly to a natural landscape. Participants should expect a five- to six-mile ramble and dress accordingly.
 
The group will depart for its destination on Saturday at 2 p.m. from the Public Pool Art Gallery in Hamtramck (3309 Caniff). For more information on this and future rambles, visit the Detroit Area Rambling Society's website.
 
Palmer Park Winter Fest
When: Saturday, Jan. 31, 1-4 p.m.
Where: Palmer Park, around Lake Francis and near the Log Cabin, Merrill Plaisance, west of Woodward between 6 & 7 Mile Roads, Detroit
 
Palmer Park is one of the jewels of Detroit's park system, and it's magnificent year-round, even in the dead of winter. On Saturday between 1 and 4 p.m., People for Palmer Park is hosting Winter Fest in the heart of the park located on the west side of Woodward Avenue between McNichols and Seven Mile Road. Planned activities (weather permitting) include ice skating on Lake Frances, snow showing, cross country skiing, horse and carriage rides, and guided hikes through the park's trail network.
 
Food vendors including Delectabowl Food Truck, Mystic Kettle Gourmet Popcorn, Belinda’s Hot Dog Cart, and Good Cakes and Bakes will be on hand.
 
You're also invited to bring your dog to participate in a doggie fashion parade around Lake Frances.
 
For more details, visit People for Palmer Park's website.
 
Jam Handy Fest
When: Saturday, Jan. 31, 5-11 p.m.
Where: 2900 E. Grand Blvd.
 
The Jam Handy Building, which was built to house the studios of legendary Detroit film producer Jam Handy and is the current home of Detroit SOUP, is a unique historic space in Detroit's North End neighborhood. This weekend is a great opportunity to check it out while getting to see some local bands and performers during the first annual Jam Handy Fest.
 
The lineup includes a skate jam by the Rosa Parks boys between 6 and 8 p.m., followed by live music by Mexican Knives, Real Ghosts, Mountain and Rainbows, and HighRing. The all-ages event will feature food and drinks from local vendors. All proceeds will benefit youth programming at Clark Park in Southwest Detroit.
 
More details here.

Wayne State University issues call for new cohort of Detroit Revitalization Fellows


On Monday, Jan. 26, the Detroit Revitalization Fellows began accepting applications for a third cohort.
 
A part of Wayne State University's Office of Economic Development, the Detroit Revitalization Fellows program is seeking to match approximately 20 "talented mid-career leaders with civic, community and economic development organizations working at the forefront of Detroit’s revitalization efforts." Since 2011, the program received approximately 1,000 applications and awarded 48 fellowships over the span of two cohorts.
 
Fellows will be paired with one of the program's partner organizations, where they will work for two years as full-time employees while concurrently receiving a slew of professional development services and participating in monthly workshops, study trips, and dialogues with community leaders.
 
While the program seeks applicants from around the country, it is, according to a press release, "especially interested in receiving applications from Detroiters already living in the city and those who have left the region and are ready to bring their talent back home." Fellows typically possess a graduate degree and between five and 15 years of professional experience.
 
According to the program's website, Detroit Revitalization Fellows applicants have the chance to be placed with the following employers:
 
Belle Isle Conservancy, Charles H. Wright Museum, City of Detroit Department of Transportation, City of Detroit Department of Innovation & Technology, Data Driven Detroit, Detroit Creative Corridor Center, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Detroit Future City, Detroit Historical Society, Detroit Riverfront, Conservancy, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, EcoWorks, Eight Mile Boulevard Association, Global Detroit, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, Henry Ford Health System, Invest Detroit, Metro Matters, Southwest Detroit Business Association, and Teen Hype.
 
For a complete list of Detroit Revitalization Fellows job descriptions, click here.
 
To apply to the program, visit detroitfellows.wayne.edu/application.
 
Applications will be accepted now through Feb. 20.
 

Mayor Duggan sites 20 to 40 percent affordable housing goal in downtown, Midtown areas


The Detroit Free Press's John Gallagher reported last week that Mayor Mike Duggan's administration is pushing developers who are receiving public subsidy for projects to set aside 20 to 40 percent of new units for lower-income renters.
 
The Free Press quotes Duggan saying:

"We are, on a project-by-project basis, going to negotiate as much as we can commensurate to our contribution, but I would like to see 20% to 40% affordable housing mix in everything that we support because great cities include everybody.
 
"As we rebuild the housing in this city, we're going to make sure everybody can live there."
 
Duggan's comments were made at a media event celebrating the coming renovation of the vacant Strathmore Hotel building on Alexandrine in Midtown, where 40 percent of the housing units will be reserved for low-income renters.
 
The mayor's comments come in the midst of an ongoing conversation about gentrification in Detroit, particularly its downtown and Midtown neighborhoods, which have experienced a remarkable uptick in new residential and commercial developments in recent years.
 
Read more in the Detroit Free Press.
 

WHPR techno radio show celebrates one year on the air on Jan. 19 at Menjo's

Every Wednesday from 8 to 9 p.m., WHPR 88.1 FM radio out of Highland Park is bumping techno and house music during the "In My House" show. This Sunday, however, "In My House" host and creator and T. Carlita is taking the show on the road for its one year anniversary. Join her and several musical guests at Menjo's (928 W. McNichols) to celebrate the birthday of one of Detroit's only techno radio programs. There is no cover, but donations to provide support for the show will be accepted.

For more information on the first anniversary party of "In My House," visit the show's Facebook page.

To listen to past shows of "In My House," visit the program's YouTube channel.

Porous Borders Festival seeks artists to engage with the Detroit/Hamtramck border


Over the weekend of May 16-17, a unique, inter-jurisdictional performing arts festival will take place along every segment of the border that separates the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck, as well as the sliver of border that separates Highland Park and Hamtramck. The event is called the Porous Borders Festival and is being curated by Detroit dance ensemble The Hinterlands, who are currently accepting proposals for art installations and happenings that will take place along the border during the festival.
 
According to a press release, The Hinterlands is seeking "creative pieces and projects that a) reflect and engage the diverse experiences of those living along the HAM/DET border, b) address the geographic reality of the HAM/DET border, and c) examine the nature of borders themselves…Each piece should be created for a specific part of the border."
 
The curators are open-minded when it comes to the type of proposals they will accept, saying, "It does not need to be an installation, but could be a walking tour, a performance, a party, a dinner, an automobile ballet, a story share – we’re excited to hear your ideas!"
 
Applicants must submit a one-page description of their project that includes:
 
 – What the project will be
 – Which segment of the border it is designed for
 – How the project relates to that segment
 – The duration of the project (i.e. one day, two hours, the whole festival, etc.)
 – A basic materials budget
 – Optional: short CV or bio
 
These materials can be sent digitally to pbf@thehinterlandsensemble.org or by mail to Porous Borders Festival, 3346 Lawley St, Detroit, MI 48212
 
Applications are due Jan. 31.
 
For more information, visit http://thehinterlandsensemble.org/project/porous-borders-festival/

Punch Bowl Social, a boozy adult playground, opens on Broadway


There's nothing subtle about Dan Gilbert's Z Lot, a massive, zig-zagging parking structure built to wrap around existing historic structures and fit a uniquely-shaped downtown Detroit parcel. So it seems that the massive adult playground that is Punch Bowl Social is the perfect fit for the ground-floor retail component of the Z Lot along Broadway.
 
"When you're on Broadway in any city, it should be like this," says Punch Bowl Detroit's event sales manager Jason Dritsan.
 
A massive crowd that turned out for the grand opening of Punch Bowl last night seems to agree. It appears that Detroit is ready for the 24,000 square feet of games (including bowling, darts, and arcade classics), drinks, and food that Punch Bowl is offering.
 
The Punch Bowl concept was launched at the company's flagship location in Denver. Detroit is the fourth Punch Bowl location, following the likes of Portland, Ore. and Austin, Texas. Representatives of the Quicken Family of Companies helped recruit Punch Bowl to Detroit.
 
"We spent three hours with them before we were ready to do the deal," says Punch Bowl founder and CEO Robert Thompson. "There's a great culture here that we wanted to be a part of. There's a tremendous amount of economic upside. We officially drank the Kool Aid."
 
For those who couldn't make it out to Wednesday's grand opening, here are a few things to look forward to on your first trip to Punch Bowl Detroit:
 
- A classic style diner featuring "adult milkshakes" (that means with booze, folks) and classic American-style fare.
- A 360-degree bar at the center of the ground floor, featuring a unique drink menu including delicious punch concoctions.
- Two levels of games, including bowling, darts, ping pong, shuffleboard, and classic arcade machines.
- Detroit's first private karaoke rooms.
- A year-round "Holiday Lodge" room featuring fireplaces and chill sofas.
- DJs on weekends (Full disclosure: Model D's managing editor Matthew Lewis will be spinning records at Punchbowl's Sunday brunch on Dec. 14).
 
It's going to be a fun holiday season.
 
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Photo by Matthew Lewis.

Pilot reflects on 34 years of photographing Detroit from above

In the Sunday, Dec. 7 issue of the New York Times, Alex S. MacLean, a Massachusetts-based artist, pilot, aerial photographer and trained architect, reflects on his 34 years photographing the city of Detroit and its suburbs from a small plane. According to MacLean, the city's struggles were evident when he began photographing metro Detroit by plane during the Reagan-Carter presidential campaigns, but today there are signs of change. He writes:

"From the air today, the decline appears to be slowing. The spaces once covered in rubble are cleared and mowed. Open green spaces, along with new community gardens and orchards, look almost bucolic against the downtown skyline. From my plane, I sense the potential for resurgence in these areas. I can see how neighborhoods could become more walkable and support mixed-use development, with new shops, public transit and nearby parks and schools. However, this resurgence relies on a city that is stumbling out of bankruptcy. It also depends on an agency with the authority to consolidate abandoned lots for development and open spaces."

Accompanying MacLean's reflection is a series remarkable photos. The amount of green space in the city is striking, as are the overhead views of urban gardens and farms. Also striking is the stark contrast between the highly occupied, dense neighborhoods of Grosse Pointe Park on the east side of Alter Road and the neighborhoods of Detroit's far east side just to the west.

Read MacLean's full reflection and see his photos in the New York Times.

Meet funk pioneer George Clinton at book signing on Dec. 20 at United Sound Systems in Midtown

That's right, George mutha funkin' Clinton will be in Detroit on Dec. 20 for a meet-and-greet/book signing at the legendary United Sound Systems Recording Studios (5840 Second Ave.).

Clinton is promoting his new book entitled "Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?: A Memoir." Tickets to the event are $40 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

Clinton has deep ties to Detroit, where he spent much of the 1960s as a songwriter and producer for various Detroit soul record labels, including Motown. He recorded several records with his band Funkadelic at Detroit's United Sound Systems, including notable albums like "Free Your Mind...and Your Ass Will Follow" (1970), "Maggot Brain" (1971), and "One Nation Under a Groove" (1978).

According to the United Sound's Eventbrite page, "United Sound Systems Recording Studios (USSRS) was established in 1933, making USSRS the first independent major recording studio in the nation.  The studio gave artists, musicians, writers, and producers a place where they could cut a record and get it played on the radio without being signed to a major label. Today, the Studio is under new ownership and is striving to preserve the history. United Sound houses three functional recording studios and offers guided tours of the facility to the public. In addition, the facility is utilized for Venue Rental to host special events, birthday parties, lectures, and seminars."

Can you get to that?


Brooklyn's Galapagos Art Space to make new home in Detroit, buys property in Cortown, Highland Park


Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, apparently, is a really big deal. So big, in fact, that the New York Times referred to it in a Dec. 7 article as "a performance center and cultural staple in Brooklyn for nearly 20 years."
 
But Galapagos's tenure in NYC is drawing to a close, its last day of programming scheduled for Dec. 18. But that doesn't mark the end of Galapagos's existence. According to the art space's website, Galapagos is moving.
 
"After nearly 7,500 programs and just over 1,000,000 audience members through our doors, Galapagos Art Space is moving to Detroit," writes Galapagos's executive director Robert Elmes.
 
Elmes is giving up on New York because "Simply put, New York City has become too expensive to continue incubating young artists. The white-hot real estate market burning through affordable cultural habit is no longer a crisis, it's a conclusion.
 
In Detroit, Elmes hopes his art space can take advantage of the three ingredients he feels are necessary for a creative ecosystem to flourish: time, space, and people. Elmes believes that Detroit has both time and space in abundance and that the city "is gaining its critical third component - artists - at an astonishing rate."
 
Galapagos's new website, galapagosdetroit.com, claims that the arts space has already secured over 600,000 square feet of real estate in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood and the enclave city of Highland Park "for the price of a small apartment in New York City." According Galapagos's Detroit website, one of the properties is the old Highland Park High School and Junior College building located between Second and Third avenues on Glendale (For an incredibly detailed history of that building, check out this profile from Detroit Urbex.), and another is a vacant manufacturing facility located at 1800 18th Street.

In an interview with Crain's Detroit Business, Elmes says, “We are not coming with $60 million to $90 million. We are there to build a venue and build studios and some lofts. As that gains traction, we’ll add more parts to the whole and that’s the goal of the project.” 
 
The website also makes two bold promises: 1) one of Galapagos's properties will feature a 10,000-square-foot man-made lake, and 2) the art space will host a 2016 Detroit Biennial. (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is currently hosting its "People's Biennial" through 2015.)
 
Galapagos will join 333 Midland as the second prominent art space to locate in Highland Park in recent years.
 
The news of Galapagos's relocation occurs in the midst of Berlin electronic music label and club owner Dimitri Hegemann's repeated expressions of interest in creating a venue for electronic music performances and entrepreneurship in one of Detroit's vacant factory spaces.
 
Model D will continue to follow all of these stories as they develop.

Get hype! Detroit City FC releases video teaser of 2015 season


Taking note from the U.S. Men's Soccer Team's awesome hype videos from the 2014 FIFA World Cup, local soccer team Detroit City FC is getting supporters pumped for the coming season with a hype video of its own. In it, the local football club urges fans to reserve their "rightful place" at home games well in advance of the 2015 season, which starts in May, by purchasing season tickets. In 2014, DCFC sold out several home games, thanks in large part to the faithful presence of the Northern Guard, a group of DCFC supporters who pack the grandstands and cheer wildly at each home game (and many away games, too).



 

Detroit City FC, nicknamed "Le Rouge," will play eight home games next year on the football field of Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit. 2015 will mark the club's fourth season in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). Last year, Le Rouge finished second in the Midwest-Great Lakes West region of the NPSL and did not qualify for the playoffs. If the club's new hype video is any indication, Detroit City FC plans to compete at a high level in 2015 and make up for last year's disappointing finish. 

Car theft down 20 percent in Detroit, but still a major issue in the city

Amy Haimerl of Crain's Detroit Business recently reported that car thefts in the city of Detroit are down 20 percent since this time last year. They are down more than 60 percent since 2005, when an astounding 20,000 car thefts were reported in the city.

According to Crain's, "Plummeting auto thefts are good news for the city and the region, but there are still thousands of cars taken each year, and each one brings a heightened perception that the city is ever-more crime-ridden. Certain parts of Detroit already have a reputation for being car-theft magnets, and any new incident reinforces the perception."

Crain's attributes the decrease in auto thefts to police work and improved vehicle technology, noting that "newer models won't start without a key, making hot-wiring vehicles almost impossible."

Read more in Crain's Detroit Business.

Detroit gets several massive new murals

 
Last month, it appeared as if the city of Detroit was declaring war on mural art. On Oct. 15, the Motor City Muckraker reported that city officials had issued tickets to building owners along the Grand River Creative Corridor, declaring large-scale murals on their buildings' walls to be "graffiti," despite the fact that all works had been commissioned. Significant public outcry followed on social media, and Mayor Duggan's office responded quickly by rescinding the tickets.

Since then, public muralists have forged ahead with new large-scale works on prominent buildings around the city. Here's a quick roundup of three recent projects:

Albert Kahn mural, Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay St.

Detroit artist Kyle Danley recently completed a mural celebrating Albert Kahn, one of Detroit's most famous architects, on the side of the Russell Industrial Center, a Kahn-designed building. The Metro Times recently highlighted Danley and his mural in this feature. The Kahn mural, which is located on the northwest side of Building 2 of the Russell Industrial Center, joins the iconic "Chimera" mural by artist Kobie Solomon that is located on the building's west side and is visible from I-75. A mural reveal is planned for the Russell's Fall Open House happening Saturday, Nov. 15 at 1600 Clay St. Find event details here.

"Rise Up" mural in Milwaukee Junction

Curbed Detroit recently highlighted the emergence of a new mural on a vacant industrial building just blocks away from the Russell Industrial Center in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood. Entitled " "Rising Up, Back on the Street," the massive 6,000-square-foot mural of a roaring tiger is the work of Los Angeles-based Australian artist David "Meggs" Hooke.

HopCat Detroit murals

The Grand River Creative Corridor and the "4731 Group" are curating five murals by Detroit artists Fel3000ftElmerMaltMelo and Kobie Solomon on the exterior walls of HopCat Detroit's new location on Woodward Avenue at Canfield in Midtown. The murals are currently in-progress, so go check out the artists at work. For more details on the HopCat project, check out this piece by Motor City Muckraker's Steve Neavling.

Flower mural in West Village

On Agnes Street between Parker and Van Dyke -- across the street from the new Red Hook Detroit coffee shop and new-ish restaurants Detroit Vegan Soul and Craft Work -- a large-scale mural is being painted. The mural appears to be the work of artist Ouizi, who has a similarly flower-themed painting on the back wall inside Corktown's Astro Coffee.  

Photo via Grand River Creative Corridor's Facebook page.

Explore the impact of the New Deal on Detroit

Between 1933 to 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal had a monumental impact on cities and communities across America. "A constellation of federally sponsored programs put millions of jobless Americans back to work and helped to revive a moribund economy. The result was a rich landscape of public works across the nation, often of outstanding beauty, utility and craftsmanship," notes the Living New Deal project hosted by the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley.

Of course, Detroit, the "Arsenal of Democracy," was no exception.

Today, the Living New Deal "is building a national database of thousands of documents, photographs, and personal stories about public works made possible by the New Deal." Check out this amazing map of New Deal projects across the country and in U.S. territories.

Currently, the Living New Deal lists only four projects within the city of Detroit, though it's likely many more exist.

Those projects are:The Living New Deal project acknowledges its incompleteness and urges users to contribute to its database. If you know of other New Deal projects in Detroit, you can submit them to the Living New Deal project by completing this form.

Dave Eggers, best-selling author and philanthropist, to speak at WSU's Van Dusen Lecture Series


On Tuesday, Nov. 4, best-selling author Dave Eggers will give a lecture entitled "Buccaneers, Robots, Yetis and Other Agents of Social Change" at Wayne State University as a part of the Van Dusen Lecture Series. Eggers is the author of 10 books, including his 2000 memoir "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" and the 2013 distopian novel "The Circle." He is also the founder of 826 National, a volunteer-driven nonprofit that offers one-on-one after school help to kids in cities around the country in tutoring centers located behind whimsical storefronts.

Eggers recently announced his latest project, a book of stories written by students at Detroit's Boggs School featuring his own illustrations, in an Oct. 13 interview with Model D. The book, "Where Is It Coming From?", is available exclusively from Literati, an independent bookstore in Ann Arbor.

Eggers' lecture will take place on Tuesday, November 4 at 6:00 p.m. at Wayne State’s Community Arts Auditorium (450 Reuther Mall, Detroit). The event is free and  open to the public, and will be followed by a reception at 7:30PM. RSVP and view event details here.

A smaller half-day workshop will take place Wednesday November 5, 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Golightly Education Center in Detroit. Participants will team up with the creators of 826michigan's Detroit locale to shape their new Robot Factory. Participation is free, though space is limited. RSVP to jeri.stroupe@wayne.edu to reserve your space.

Detroit man claims he's the high bidder on $3M bundle of 6,350 properties in county auction

As the Wayne County Treasurer's annual auction of tax-foreclosed properties winds down -- or up, depending on who you ask -- information has emerged on what might become the largest purchase of tax-forclosed property in the history of the auction.

According to the Detroit News, Herb Strather of Detroit is claiming to be the leader of a group of investors who bid over $3 million on a bundle of 6,350 of properties in the city. The bundle represents over one third (and the most dilapidated, at that) of the over 18,000 properties available in this year's auction, the largest of its kind in the world.

According to The News:
 
"Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz, in collaboration with Mayor Mike Duggan, bundled the properties in hopes of discouraging tax deadbeats. If no buyer came forward, the Detroit Land Bank was expected to take the homes, demolish the rundown ones and auction those that are salvageable to qualified bidders."

The minimum bid for the bundle of properties was set at $3.175 million. Currently a single bid of $3,183,500 has been placed. While the county will not reveal the identity of the high bidder until after the auction, Strather has claimed to be the person who placed the bid.

The News writes:

"About 2,000 of the properties in the bundle are vacant lots and 3,000 need to be razed, said Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski. Another 1,000 are considered salvageable homes."

For more information, visit the Detroit News.

Are taxicab and ride-sharing reforms in the works for Detroit?

The city of Detroit's official rate for taxicabs is $1.60 per mile with a $2.50 base fare, though this isn't obvious to many who have recently ridden in Detroit cabs. That's because of a common -- and illegal -- where Detroit cab drivers will charge passengers flat (often exorbitant) rates instead of setting their meters.

Many cabbies argue that the current rates, which were set 13 years ago, are too low for them to make a decent living in 2014. They also argue that they are being held to higher standards than new competitors Uber and Lyft, whose drivers aren't required to pay registration fees or carry the same level of insurance as traditional cab drivers.

According to a recent story in the Detroit Free Press, "Detroit also permits Uber and Lyft drivers to charge fare rates based on fluctuating demand, which Uber calls 'surge pricing.'"

The city is now considering reforms to the way it regulates cab and ride-sharing services.

According to the Free Press, Melvin Butch Hollowell, the city's top lawyer is quoted saying, "We are going to clean up our act as it relates to the taxi cab and ride-sharing industries in this city."

This eventually may include higher fares in traditional cabs and tighter regulations of services like Uber and Lyft.

Read more in the Detroit Free Press.

Get connected to resources for your Detroit business at BizGrid Live on Oct. 21


Last year, the BizGrid, an interactive online directory and a physical infographic, was launched to help entrepreneurs navigate the landscape of organizations providing business assistance in Detroit.

On Oct. 21, the BizGrid comes to life during an afternoon's worth of events at Wayne State University's McGregor Conference Center.

The events include four interactive breakout sessions and a resource fair where you can learn how BizGrid organizations can help advance your business goals. Jacques Panis, president of Shinola, will deliver the keynote address.

Panel topics include:

- Designing and Developing Your Idea
- Growing Your Neighborhood Business
- Building Your Team
- Designing and Making Your Product

BizGrid Live is a free event and will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. Click here to register.

The event is sponsored by New Economy Initiative, The Front Door at Wayne State University, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.

Study questions inclusivity of revitalization efforts in Detroit


The revitalization of Detroit -- or at least certain parts of the city -- makes big headlines these days. But local data analyst and blogger Alex Hill argues that African Americans are largely left out of such narratives in part because they are under-represented in programs focused on the city's revitalization -- despite the fact that the city's population is almost 83 percent black.

According to Hill, "Detroit’s revitalization is completely one-sided. The surge in investment in this majority black city is not going to black residents."

Hill analyzed participation rates of different racial and ethnic groups in nine revitalization-oriented programs in Detroit (Disclosure: Urban Innovation Exchange, a project of Model D's parent company Issue Media Group, was included in his study). He concluded that "across all of the programs, 69.2 percent of individuals were classified as White and only 23.7 percent as Black (1.6 percent Latino, 4.8 percent Asian, 0.7 percent Arab)" and that "it is clear that there is a serious imbalance of both opportunity and outcomes in Detroit."

While Hill admits his calculations are based on his own "assumptions and perceptions of race" (his numbers were determined by examining "headshots from individual biographies posted publicly on fellowship programs, academic profiles, and many 'About' pages" on the websites of different revitalization-oriented organizations), his study may be the first attempt to quantify the representation of different races in Detroit's revitalization efforts.

Hill concludes his blog post about his study by asking a provocative question: "Mayor Duggan has said that every neighborhood has a future, but does every neighbor have a future in Detroit?"

Visit Alex Hill's website to read more about his study.

Is street art becoming a crime in Detroit?


Update: Mayor Duggan's office has lifted all violations issued against property owners along Detroit's Grand River Creative Corridor after considerable public outcry in response to reports from the Motor City Muckraker that the Buildings, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department had issued tickets to the owners of buildings with murals that were declared to be graffiti. The mayor himself personally apologized to Derek Weaver, founder of the Grand River Creative Corridor. The mayor's office also issued an apology to the Motor City Muckraker for claiming that there were errors in the site's initial reports when they in fact were accurate.

Read the latest developments in this story on the Motor City Muckraker.

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According to recent reports from the Motor City Muckraker, the city of Detroit has declared war on street art by ticketing building owners along the Grand River Creative Corridor, declaring murals that adorn the sides of their buildings to be graffiti. Before the launch of the Grand River Creative Corridor initiative in 2012, the buildings  were frequently the targeted by taggers.

According to Steve Neavling of Motor City Muckraker:
 
"Derek Weaver, who started the Grand River Creative Corridor in July 2012, received about $8,000 in fines and has been ordered to remove "graffiti" from his buildings. He and several others were detained for about an hour last week by four cops who temporarily seized cameras from a PBS film crew that was documenting an artist painting a mural.

“We were treated like criminals,” Weaver said. “They threatened to arrest us.”

More than 100 local, national and international artists are involved with the GRCC, and hundreds of volunteers have helped clean up trash and vandalism along Grand River, making it a popular destination. In 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder honored the GRCC with a “Keep Michigan Beautiful” award."

A source in Corktown told Model D that the Brooklyn Street Local restaurant has also received a graffiti ticket for the mural adorning the side of its building.

Let's make a clear distinction between street art and graffiti.

Street art is commissioned, sanctioned work intended to beautify a building or public-facing surface. In many instances, building owners and neighborhood groups commission street art murals in order to prevent unwanted graffiti (In Detroit, blank walls attract taggers like lightbulbs attract moths).

Graffiti, on the other hand, is the unsanctioned tagging of buildings or public-facing surfaces by individuals for little more reason that getting one's name up and marking territory, much like a dog that pees on a fire hydrant.

Neavling points out the absurdity of the city's quest to punish building owners who commission or allow street artists to use their property as canvases:
 
"Among the unanswered questions is why police are bothering with murals painted with permission when an increasing number of graffiti vandals are targeting occupied and historic buildings, freeway signs, schools, churches, cars, houses, light poles, mailboxes and playground equipment."

Model D will continue to follow this issue as more news develops.

Source: Motor City Muckraker

Berliners want to invest in Detroit, but you already knew that because you read Model D


Berliners want to invest money in Detroit. Big news, right? The Wall Street Journal thinks so. They recently ran a story about how Dimitri Hegemann, owner of Berlin electronic music label and club Tresor, is in love with the idea of opening a techno club in Detroit's long-abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant.

As quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Hegemann had this to say: “Fisher Body is my first real love.”

Of course, if you read Model D, this isn't really news to you at all. Walter Wasacz, Model D's former managing editor and a frequent contributor, worked with Hegemann to put on "The Detroit-Berlin Connection," a forum that happened in conjunction with the Movement Electronic Music Festival on Memorial Day weekend. (Check out Wasacz's recap of the forum.) Wasacz recently traveled to Berlin to partake in the Atonal Festival, of which Hegemann is the founder, and wrote this reflection on what Detroit can learn from Berlin.

Also, in case you missed it, be sure to check out our Q&A with Dimitri Hegemann from back in May.

Model D will continue to follow developments in this story.

NY Times: Mass mobs are the latest trend in Rust Belt Catholicism


Detroit is a city of beautiful churches, particularly the ornate Catholic parishes dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century. Yet as the city has lost hundreds of thousands of residents over the last half century (a result of suburbanization and the stagnation of regional population growth), many of the city's Catholic congregations have dwindled, forcing the consolidation of many parishes and the closure of others.

But, according to The New York Times, a new trend, the "Mass mob," is breathing life -- and money -- into under-attended churches in cities throughout the Rust Belt.

The Times describes a Mass mob as "part heritage tour and part mixer" that brings "thousands of suburban Catholics to visit the struggling, in some cases closed, urban churches of their parents and grandparents." Social media is used to organize groups that will join together to attend Mass at a given parish.

The Mass mob movement began in Buffalo, NY in November 2013 and has quickly spread around the Rust Belt to cities like Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago.

In addition to filling pews, Mass mobs are also boosting the coffers of these financially struggling  churches, notes The Times:

"Several dioceses are now helping to promote Mass mobs through their newspapers and social media, and some bishops are openly welcoming the effort, particularly in Detroit, the metropolitan area that has lost the most Catholics since 1950. A side effect of the Mass mob phenomenon is that people often donate during their visit: An organizer of Detroit Mass Mob, Thom Mann, said participants had given nearly $100,000 to the six churches visited thus far."

At the time of this writing, Detroit Mass mob participants are celebrating Mass at St. Francis D'Assisi Catholic Church in honor of that parish's 125th anniversary.

To learn about future Mass mob events in the city, visit the Detroit Mass mob Facebook page.

Source:
The New York Times
 

Survey wants your insights on downtown Detroit


If you haven't been to downtown Detroit in say the last decade, you might not recognize the place. It wasn't long ago when the center of the 14th largest metropolitan area in the United States could feel like a ghost town on weekends and after working hours. Today, cranes and construction equipment -- along with significant increases in pedestrian and small business activity -- signal a new era for downtown Detroit.

As it plans for the future, the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP), a group of civic and corporate leaders that "advocates and develops programs and initiatives designed to create a clean, safe, and inviting Downtown Detroit," wants to know how you perceive the downtown area and what you think it will take to make it a better place. The survey will be accepting responses all of October.

DDP says that it intends to "proactively use survey results to inform our programs and services to better serve businesses, residents and visitors contributing to Downtown’s revitalization" and "wants to tell the positive stories about living, working and experiencing the Downtown neighborhood."

Those who complete the survey are eligible to win $100 gift cards from Pure Detroit and Blumz by JR Designs.

You can complete DDP's survey here: http://www.downtowndetroitsurvey.com/

Source: Downtown Detroit Partnership

The strange tale of the Garwood, an inventor's mansion that became an iconic rock-and-roll squat


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Detroit's rock-and-roll scene was at an apex. Legendary venues like the Grande Ballroom and the Easttown Theater were premier spots to see performances by local bands like the MC5, the Stooges, SRC, and the Bob Seger System, as well as internationally renown touring acts like The Who.

But one of Detroit's best venues to see live rock-and-roll wasn't really a venue at all -- it was a mansion on the east riverfront.

In 1927, legendary Detroit speed boat racer and inventor Gar Wood had a mansion built on Grayhaven Island on Detroit's east riverfront. After Wood retired and sold his home in the 1940s, the mansion that came to be known as "The Garwood" went vacant until it was leased by 19-year-old Mark Hoover in 1969.

According to the Detroit Free Press:

When Hoover started throwing rent parties with live music in the mansion's cavernous ballroom, his more conventional roommates fell away and were replaced by a different cast of characters. They coalesced around a rock band called Stonefront, and the house took on the air of a commune dedicated to countercultural enterprise.

The Garwood eventually became a destination for touring acts travelling through Detroit:
 
The uniqueness of the surroundings and the loosey-goosey atmosphere of Hoover's parties soon attracted rock royalty. Some bands would finish their shows at the Grande or the Eastown and then repair to the Garwood, where they'd perform another whole set. The acts that unexpectedly graced Gar Wood's beautiful ballroom included Van Morrison, Sly & the Family Stone, the Allman Brothers, Cactus, Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes, Tim Buckley and Mountain. Leon Russell recorded one of his performances there. Johnny Winter loved the place so much he inquired about renting a room.

"They were madness. They were barely controlled chaos," said Merryman of the rent parties. "But in all those nights, there was never a fight, not one. Well, except for the time Hoover had to throw Alice Cooper out because he was too drunk. Considering the thousands and thousands of people that came through the place, there was no violence. None."

Eventually, however, the authorities shut down the parties and the tenants were evicted. A short time later, the house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

Read more about this amazing chapter in Detroit rock-and-roll history in the Detroit Free Press.

How Detroit grew around Hamtramck and Highland Park


If you have studied a political map of Detroit, you've probably wondered how the city ended up with two separate cities inside of it. Thankfully, WDET has explained how the cities of Hamtramck and Highland park came to be surrounded by the city of Detroit.

According to WDET:
 
As Detroit’s population grew, so did its landmass thanks to annexation. Surrounding townships didn’t have a local government and only existed for election and property tax purposes. So cities could easily swallow up them up. By 1891, Detroit had annexed its way to the modern day southern borders of Hamtramck and Highland Park. 

An encroaching Detroit spurred the areas to take action. And to strengthen local government, Highland Park incorporated as a village in 1889 and Hamtramck two years later.

 
When the state of Michigan passed the Home Rule Cities Act in 1908, Hamtramck and Highland Park were able to incorporate themselves as cities, thus protecting the economic interests that had grown within their borders.
 
By the time the Home Rule Cities Act was introduced, Henry Ford had already purchased land in Highland Park to build his Model T complex. The Dodge Brothers were two years away from opening the Dodge Main in Hamtramck. And as 1915 rolls around, Detroit started moving north again, annexing more and more of Greenfield and Hamtramck townships. Within a year, Detroit had completely surrounded the villages. 
 
At around the same time, the two villages exploded in population, thanks to the auto industry. This growth was enticing to Detroit. There had been formal attempts by Detroit to annex Highland Park and Hamtramck after 1908 but they failed to even make it to a vote. Why? Lupher says the answer is simple. Corporate power.
 
Read more about the origins of Hamtramck and Highland Park at WDET.org.

Write A House selects first winner, poet Casey Rocheteau of Brooklyn


Last week, Write A House, a group awarding free houses in Detroit to writers, selected its first winner, poet Casey Rocheteau of Brooklyn.

Rocheteau was selected from a field of hundreds of applicants from around the country by a panel of judges that included former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and local writers dream hampton and Toby Barlow.

According to Write A House's blog:

"Rocheteau is a writer, historian, and performing artist. She has attended the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop, Cave Canem, and Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and she has released two albums on the Whitehaus Family Record. Her book, Knocked Up On Yes, was released on Sargent Press in 2012, and her second collection, The Dozen, will be published in March 2016 by Sibling Rivalry Press. Rocheteau can be found online at www.caseyrocheteau.org and @CaseyRocheteau."

Write A House purchased a house in Wayne County's annual auction of tax-foreclosed properties last year and partnered with Young Detroit Builders, a 10-month training program that helps 18-24 year old students working towards their GEDs develop skills in the building trades, to renovate it. Rocheteau will move into the house in November.

In the mean time, Write A House will install a house sitter at the home.

Write A House opens a new round of applications in early 2015 for its next set of houses, which are located in the same neighborhood where Rocheteau will reside. Until then, the organization will continue to raise funds to purchase and renovate Detroit homes for its residency program. Donations can be made through Fundly.

Source: Write A House
 

The New York Times wants to hear from real Detroiters like you


Detroiters often criticize non-Detroit media organizations for failing to dig deep for sources when they cover the city. Case in point: a story entitled "A Gleam of Renewal in Struggling Detroit" that The New York Times ran in June. Aaron Foley of Jalopnik Detroit took The Times to task for its lazy coverage that excluded minorities and used the same sources it had in two previous stories.

Noted Foley, "There used to be a time in Detroit when the city's populace would be giddy about getting coverage in The New York Times, especially if the paper wrote something flowery about how things are slowly improving. These days, not so much."

Well, it looks as if The Times is making a real effort to deepen its coverage of Detroit. The Old Gray Lady has issued a call for Detroiters -- current, former, and new residents -- to share their experiences living in the city. The paper will use these submissions to inform its coverage of the city's emergence from bankruptcy.

According to the New York Times:

"As part of our reporting on Detroit and the city's emergence from bankruptcy -- the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States history -- New York Times journalists would like to hear from current, former and new residents. Did you leave because of the bankruptcy? Or did you stay? Perhaps you moved there recently because of cheaper housing prices or an entrepreneurial opportunity.

Your name and comments may be published, but your contact information will not. A reporter or editor from The Times may contact you to learn more about your story."


Detroiters can submit there stories here.

Source: The New York Times

Park(ing) day comes to Detroit on Sept. 19

On Friday, September 19, Park(ing) Day comes to Detroit. 

A one-day, global event where "artists, activists, and citizens collaborate to transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks," Park(ing) Day happens annually on the third Friday in September. The tradition began in San Francisco in 2005 and has since spread to cities around the world. The idea is to reclaim, if only for a day, a small amount of precious urban space that we have sacrificed to the automobile.

This year, Wayne State University will be facilitating the temporary conversion of three parking spaces on Cass Avenue at Putnam into mini-parks. For a schedule of activities, click here.

 

Got what it takes to make a whizbang website for Hamtramck?

The city of Hamtramck, Michigan's densest city, is requesting quotes for the redevelopment of its website.

According to an Request for Quotes, "The City of Hamtramck seeks qualified vendors to provide professional Internet web site design, development and implementation services for the redesign of the Cities [sic] current Website located at http://www.hamtramckcity.com. The city is seeking a redesigned modern work product with an enhanced graphic identity, value added features to provide capabilities and functions not currently available and capabilities to encompass emerging technologies such as GIS and streaming video for future enhancement.

Quotes must be submitted to:

City of Hamtramck
Clerk’s Office
3401 Evaline
Hamtramck, Michigan 48212

Quotes are due by September 23, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Local governments in metro Detroit don't have a great track record of building great websites -- anyone who's spent time on Detroit or Hamtramck's sites can attest to that. This is an opportunity to help a local government enter the 21st century.

Finally! A biergarten on Belle Isle

Since the state took control of Belle Isle, police officers have begun to enforce the city's rules banning alcohol on the majestic island park. On Saturday, September 20, however, you can enjoy a tasty brew on the island with complete impunity.

The Belle Isle Conservancy Emerging Patrons Council is creating a pop-up beer garden to raise funds for the installation of bike racks on the island. The beer garden will be located on the grounds of the White House, the oldest building on the island, built in 1863.

Atwater Brewery will be serving a variety of beers at $5 a pop. Tickets for the event cost $10 in advance or $15 at the door. All proceeds will go to the island's "Bike Rack Fund." Purchase beer garden tickets via EventBrite.

Detroit Food Academy is raising funds to support young food entrepreneurs

A non-profit organization that partners with Detroit high schools, the Detroit Food Academy is in the midst of a $12,500 Patronicity crowdfunding campaign to raise money to fund its operations. 

According to Detroit Food Academy's Patronicity campaign page:

"The Academy is a 25-week program during the school year. Participants graduate with a polished values-based food product, a certificate in food entrepreneurship, a network of potential employers, and an opportunity to enter our summer employment program.

Small Batch Entrepreneurship Camp is a 6-week summer program that puts Academy graduates in the driver's seat of their food business. They are paid a stipend and employed 25 hours per week to launch, operate, and perfect their triple-bottom-line food business at farmers' markets and retail outlets across the City. The summer culminates in the 'Summer Finale Event’, where DFA’s young leaders pitch their businesses and leadership stories for a chance to win endorsements from the DFA Mentorship Board, scholarships, internship opportunities, and the addition of their handcrafted product to our emerging line, Small Batch Detroit."


Money donated to DFA will support these programs.

Bus rapid transit comes to Michigan

Last month, Grand Rapids became to first Michigan City to complete construction of a bus rapid transit (BRT) line.

The $40 million Silver Line connects Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Wyoming, mainly serving the Division Avenue corridor.

Rapid Growth's Tommy Allen had this to say about riding the Silver Line for the first time:

"As I rode the bus on Monday with others who sat in the seats for the first time, a new chapter began. And I loved how people conversed with one another (those who did not engage were often caught eavesdropping, as a slight smile would emerge, giving away their hidden giddiness).
 
"At the Central Station launch of the Silver Line, Michigan Department of Transportation's Director Kirk Steudle shared that being first comes with many eyes watching what we do here, while we're hoping to replicate the successes of other cities in the U.S. who have seen a positive benefit as a result of the BRT lines."


Bus rapid transit, a less expensive alternative to fixed-rail rapid transit systems, features buses with signal priority traveling in dedicated lanes.

Read more about the Silver Line in Rapid Growth Media.
 

Senior housing at risk in revitalization of downtown and Midtown Detroit

Downtown and Midtown Detroit are in full-tilt development mode as rental occupancy hovers just below 100 percent and rent prices near the magical $2-per-square-foot over which housing developers and landlords drool.

While these numbers are welcome news to many, they come at a cost to some of the most vulnerable residents of downtown and Midtown Detroit: senior citizens. According to a story by MLive Detroit's David Muller, senior housing complexes in those neighborhoods are threatened by the desire of developers to convert them into market rate apartments.

A group of Metro Detroit housing experts called the Senior Housing Displacement-Preservation Coalition recently issued a report saying, among other things, that "at least a dozen senior apartment buildings in Detroit's Midtown and downtown areas could convert to market rate apartments in the next 10 years, forcing thousands of seniors to find new homes."

The coalition formed in response to the of the death of a senior in his apartment at 1214 Griswold after he and other tenants received eviction notices so that construction could begin to convert the building from senior housing to market rate apartments. 1214 Griswold's developers, Broder & Sachse Real Estate Services, Inc., are renaming the building "The Albert" and marketing its redeveloped apartments towards young professionals who want to live in downtown Detroit.

The MLive story (a part of Aging Together, a collaborative effort of MLive Detroit, WDET FM, and Model D that examines issues around aging in metro Detroit) raises questions about what measures can be taken to ensure the inclusion of seniors and other vulnerable residents in visions for a revitalizing greater downtown Detroit.

Read more on MLive Detroit.

Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice vote ends August 29

While four small business vie for $50,000 in startup funding in the Hatch Detroit contest, five arts organizations are vyeing for a $20,000 People's Choice Award in the Detroit Knight Arts Challenge.

As a way to shine the spotlight on smaller groups, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is asking the public to vote by text for their favorite of the five nominees to determine the People’s Choice Award winner. To vote, the public can text the nominees individual code to 22333 in the U.S. or 747-444-3548 toll-free, through Friday, Aug. 29. The effort is part of the Knight Arts Challenge, now in its second year funding the best ideas for the arts in Detroit.

The Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice nominees are:

A Host of People: a theater group celebrating the do-it-yourself movement in both food and the arts by creating a site-specific piece to be performed in community gardens around the city; (Text Detroit1 to 22333)

African Bead Museum: a center for African culture that wants to renovate its facilities and create more exhibition and programming space; (Text Detroit2 to 22333)

ARTLAB J: a troupe strengthening Detroit’s dance community by presenting Detroit Dance City Festival, a three-day celebration highlighting both local and national artists; (Text Detroit3 to 22333)

Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel: a dance group that wants to bring the traditional dances of Mexico’s La Huasteca region to Detroit by teaching the choreography locally; (Text Detroit4 to 22333) 

Detroit Drumline Academy: a group of former drummers from Detroit-area schools that wants to prepare the next generation of percussionists by teaching and mentoring middle and high school students. (Text Detroit5 to 22333)

For more on Knight Foundation’s arts initiative and to view a full list of Knight Arts Challenge winners, visit www.KnightArts.org. Connect on the Knight Arts Facebook page here and via @knightfdn and @knightarts on Twitter.

'I Was Here' event to highlight experiences of homegrown Detroiters

In recent years, certain Detroit neighborhoods have experienced significant investment and succeeded in attracting new residents -- all in the face of a citywide trend of population decline that has persisted for over half a century. The development of these neighborhoods and the experience of new Detroiters who move into them have been well-documented in the media -- from stories found in Model D to national stories in the New York Times -- yet narratives of long-time Detroiters are often overlooked.

A new conversation forum, however, will attempt to remedy that by exploring narratives of homegrown Detroiters who were raised in the city and choose to remain there.

On Tuesday, August 26, "I Was Here," a new series of speaker events, kicks off at 1515 Broadway at 7 p.m.

Detroiters Ryan Barrett and Lauren Hood, both of whom grew up in the city, decided to launch "I Was Here" in order to create a safe space for long-time Detroiters to share their experiences.

"Lifelong Detroiters have these conversations all the time," says Barrett. "Now we can take them to a wider audience."

"People are dying for this kind of conversation," says Hood.

In addition to monthly events, "I Was Here" organizers are in the process of launching a blog that will feature transcribed interviews with lifelong Detroiters. So far, the blog promises to be a rich resource of Detroit oral history.


"So far I've completed 24 interviews," says Barrett.

The first "I Was Here" panel will feature three women raised and currently residing in Detroit who will share their personal histories and current relationships with the city.

They are:

Allison Kriger, LaRene & Kriger, PLC
Angelique Robinson, Treats by Angelique
Sara Aldridge, Our/Detroit Vodka & Nothing Elegant)

The event on the 26th is intended to be the first of many. Follow the "I Was Here" Facebook page for updates.

Changing speeds: Detroit Bait Car is now Bait Bike

Local entrepreneur and idea man Andy Didorosi, founder of the Detroit Bus Company (DBC) and Eight & Sand, announced last week the launch of a crowdfunding campaign to build Detroit's first ever bait car. (For the uninitiated, a bait car is a vehicle modified with GPS tracking technology that is deployed in areas with high auto theft rates and is used to catch car thieves.)

On Friday, Jalopnik Detroit reported that the DBC and Didorosi have pivoted. Instead of raising money to build a bait car, they are now raising money to build a bait bike. The campaign seeks to raise a total of $7,340.

According to the Let's Build a Bait Bike Tilt campaign page, there was more to building a bait car than originally anticipated. Here are three reasons for the shift from cars to bikes:

1) A bait car is "a concentrated sting effort that really should be led only by the police because it's dangerous, complicated and full of risks."
2) It's not the DBC's goal to send people to prison, which is where those caught stealing a bait car would invariably end up. DBC's goal is deter crime, not punish people.
3) Bait cars are really expensive!

DBC now hopes to deter bike theft in the city of Detroit by teaming with several cyclists and outfitting their bikes with GPS tracking technology. In the event that one of these bikes is stolen, the GPS will help DBC and the owner find it easily.

The real goal of the campaign, however, is to make would-be thieves think twice about taking bikes in the first place. To that end, DBC will distribute free stickers at local bike shops and bike events that read, "Is this a bait bike?" According to DBC, "Through a public awareness campaign, it'll be known that it's much riskier to steal a bike now than ever before.

If the project is funded, Detroit Bait Bike will join another technology, the Detroit Bike Blacklist (which we reported on in July), in the fight against bicycle theft in the city.

If you are interested in donating to Detroit Bait Bike, visit the project's Tilt campaign.

Source: Jalopnik Detroit

M-1 Rail update: First shipment of rails arrives in Detroit (with pictures!)

After years of planning, debates, meetings, and reconfigurations, construction finally began on M-1 Rail earlier this summer. When completed, M-1 will be the first streetcar operating in Detroit since 1956. Lane closures and construction trenches in Woodward Avenue signal what was once almost unbelievable: M-1 Rail is actually happening.

This week, things got even more real as the first shipments of steel rails (atop which the streetcars will run) have begun to arrive in Detroit on flatbed trucks. The shipment consists of dozens of 80-foot-long pieces of rail from Indiana weighing over 3,000 pounds each. Approximately one third of the rail needed for the 3.3-mile-long project will arrive in Detroit over the course of this week and next, while the rest will be shipped next year.

We will continue to update you on the progress of M-1 Rail's construction until the project is completed.

To see remnants of old Department of Street Railways streetcar rails, simply walk into the middle of Michigan Avenue in Corktown, where the steel rails are re-emerging as the asphalt pavement covering the center lane deteriorates.

Detroit's floating post office

Detroit Free Press writer Jim Schaefer and videographer Eric Seals give us an inside look at one of the city's most eccentric institutions, the J.W. Westcott II, a floating post office that delivers mail to Great Lakes maritime trade vessels. The U.S. Postal Service has provided mail services to ships passing through the Detroit River since 1874. Today, those ships receive everything from letters to packages from Amazon.com. Watch a video to see how floating mail service actually works and read a brief interview with Sam Buchanan, the captain of the mailboat on the Detroit River, on the Detroit Free Press website.

Grist: Is Detroit making the Model T of bicycles?

Taking a page from Henry Ford, Detroit Bikes is manufacturing a simple product with what it hopes will have mass appeal. Its three-speed Model A is a simple, durable bicycle inspired in part by Henry Ford's Model T, a one-size-fits all car that revolutionized the auto industry. Grist, a self-proclaimed "source of intelligent, irreverent environmental news and commentary" had this to say about Detroit Bikes and its founder Zak Pashak:

"The bicycles that Pashak makes are simple. Not fixie simple; practical simple. Three speeds, fenders, and a chain guard, with a frame made of lightweight chromoly steel. The first one was named the Model A – a riff on Ford Motor Company’s Model T. Like the Model T, it only comes in one size, and you can buy it in any color, as long as that color is black. (A second model, the Model B, comes only in white.) The plan is to keep the selling price under $700 (spendy, but about as low as you can get when buying a new bike with decent components), and appeal to the same type of person who would buy the European commuter-style bikes made by Linus or Public (neither of which makes their bikes in the U.S.)."

Read more about Detroit Bikes and other Detroit bicycle manufacturers on Grist.

Car thieves beware! A bait car is coming to Detroit

The people at the Detroit Bus Company (DBC) are looking to demonstrate that crime doesn't pay, especially auto theft, an all too common occurence in Detroit. That's why they have created a crowdfunding campaign to raise money set up Detroit's first ever bait car, a car that's booby-trapped with video and tracking technology.

DBC explains its intentions:

"Picture this: A thief spots a hot product on the streets. They pick the lock, hop inside and start working on the steering column. Meanwhile, tiny cameras all throughout the car are recording his every move. One points right at his face to get a crystal-clear picture. He hotwires the car and proceeds down the road in your vehicle. About five miles down the street, the car shuts off and the doors lock. He tries to run out but the doors aren't opening. All of a sudden, law enforcement swoops in, unlocks the car and arrests the thief. With video evidence, they'll have no problem getting a conviction. Another jerkwad off the streets of Detroit."

We want to build and deploy at least one Bait Car. We'll construct it at our facility and work with local law enforcement to deploy the car in a meaningful way. With local officers informed, they'll be able to use the car most effectively to catch criminals right in the middle of the crime. We can also allow the car to be driven to the chop shop and possibly break up large theft operations with just one sting."


To build out a functioning bait car, the DBC needs to raise $5,000 to buy a late model car, $2,500 for an integrated bait car surveillance and tracking system, and $500 for miscellaneous expenses. DBC will pay for the installation of the tracking system, as well as maintenance and deployment of the bait car.

For more information, visit the Detroit Bait Car tilt campaign page.

For an example of how a bait car works, watch this video.
 

A deep dive into the roots of Detroit techno

Little attention has been given to the music created in Detroit throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s -- between the Motown era and the rise of techno. Ashley Zlatopolsky traces the origins of Detroit techno in a longform feature for Red Bull Music Academy Magazine and celebrates the city's disco and post-disco scenes that gave birth to the techno movement.

"Memories of teenagers throwing thousand-strong disco parties; rampant after hours clubs, with authorities turning a blind-eye under the rule of Mayor Coleman Young; a short-lived New Wave boom that brought the likes of The B-52’s to party in Detroit – all of it has basically been forgotten in the techno surge that followed."

Zlatopolsky interviews many of the producers, musicians, and DJs responsible for creating the culture in which Detroit techno would thrive.

Read more in Red Bull Music Academy Magazine.

New site will help Detroiters recover stolen bikes

If your bicycle "goes missing," a new resource now exists to help you get it back. It will also help you be certain that the used bike you are about to buy was not stolen from its previous owner. The Detroit Bike Blacklist is a website where local cyclists can post profiles of their missing bikes (including photos, descriptions, dates when bikes disappeared, and contact information) in the hopes that people who come across them will return them to their rightful owners.

According to Detroit Bike Blacklist's founder, the site was inspired by a personal experience of purchasing a stolen bike:

"So, in October of 2013 I found out that the bike I was riding around on was stolen property.

It had been stolen from Eastern Market, donated to a local bike shop (by a parent maybe?), and I ended up buying it.

I pieced this together by meeting the former bike owner, and then talking with people at the bike shop. It was no one's fault - it just ended up that way.

But what if there was a way to check if the bike you were buying had been stolen?

Thus, the Detroit Bike Blacklist was born."


Have a look. Maybe you can help a fellow Detroiter get his or her bike back.

Source: Detroit Bike Blacklist
 

Relax! It's okay if suburbanites rep Detroit

"Where are you from?" asks a stranger on an airplane. It's a common first step in getting to know someone, especially when you're travelling.

"Detroit," you answer.

"Oh, Detroit, you say? Whereabouts, exactly? I love Detroit and know all of its neighborhoods."

"Well...er...I'm from Grosse Pointe Park, actually. It's an east side suburb of Detroit."

"Oh, I see..." says the stranger, putting on her headphones and raising her IPad, effectively ending all communication between you and her for the rest of your flight together.


But it doesn't have to be this way! Or at least that's what a recent article from CityLab entilted "Why You Shouldn't Mock Suburbanites Who Say They're From the City" argues.

"We need to allow for more wiggle room," write CityLab's Laura Bliss and Sam Sturgis. "Why? First, it no longer makes sense to generalize the experience of the 'actual city' as radically more heterogeneous than, or separate from, life in a suburb or exurb."

This of course raises the question, "Are all of us who live in this metropolis 'from Detroit?' And what does it mean when we build a barn between one municipality and another?" 

Read more in CityLab.

Midtown Inc. closes in on $50K fundraising goal for green alley project

Midtown Detroit Inc. is seeking to raise a total of $50,000 towards the development of the district's second green alleyway. If the organization succeeds in raising the funds through its Patronicity campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will match the funds. At the time of this writing, donors have pledged just over $30,000 to the campaign.

The project is planned for an alley right-of-way bounded by Second Avenue, Selden, the Third Avenue alley, and Alexandrine. According to the project's Patronicity page, "the project will "transform the 415 foot long alley with the purpose of connecting future developments, promoting walk-ability and community connectivity - opening up business for restaurants like the Selden Standard."

For more details, visit the green alley project's Patronicity page.

Social Club Grooming Co.'s "Shop Talks" not your average panel discussions

The Social Club Grooming Company hosts panel discussion that are wholly unique in Detroit. During the Social Club's "Shop Talks," panelists have an intimate conversation with an audience about the future of Detroit -- while sitting in a barber chair and getting their hair cut.

The next Shop Talk is scheduled for Thursday, July 24 from 6-8 p.m. The Social Club will host a Duke and Harvard student-moderated panel discussion on the social-entrepreneurial climate and business innovation happening in Detroit. Panelists include designer Rick Williams, fashion photographer Piper Carter, chief talent officer for the city of Detroit Bryan Barnhill, and Crain’s Detroit Business's director of audience development Eric Cedo. The panelists will receive haircuts while speaking so the shop can collect the trimmed hair and use its nitrogen content to help grow vegetation in Detroit.

The Social Club’s Shop Talk series is designed to provide a monthly opportunity for the Detroit community to hear from a diverse group of community leaders, artists, business leaders, and activists about specific issues. The objective is to help young people develop thoughtful positions on topics being discussed in Detroit, as well as increase their understanding of the positions of others.

“There’s so much positive energy in Detroit right now,” said The Social Club founder Sebastian Jackson. “It’s wonderful to see tomorrow's leaders at Harvard and Duke take notice. The fact that these students are here to experience a firsthand account of what’s going on means we are beginning to change the narrative of Detroit. Thursday’s panel discussion gives these students an opportunity to interact and learn from the individuals influencing the future of Detroit.” 

Other panelists may be added.

The Social Club Grooming Company provides environmentally friendly grooming services to the Detroit community through socially responsible practices. The Social Club prides itself in catering to all who enter, regardless of race or gender. The shop is located at 5272 Anthony Wayne Dr. on the campus of Wayne State University.

For updates, visit the Social Club's Facebook page.
 

Essayist reflects on growing up in Detroit's North Rosedale neighborhood in piece for The New Yorker

In an essay published on June 17 in The New Yorker, native Detroiter and writer Rollo Romig reflects back on his time growing up in North Rosedale Park on Detroit's northwest side. Throughout the essay, entitled "When You've Had Detroit," Romig waxes nostalgically about the things that made his childhood neighborhood special while acknowledging the cruel realities of living in the heart of a city during a period of rapid decline.

My parents had no idea what a paradise North Rosedale could be until they moved in. All they knew was that they could buy a gorgeous house there for only thirty thousand dollars, and that was good enough. It was a big yellow-brick colonial, built solid in 1928 and clearly designed for a family with means: a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, a leaded-glass window on the stair...

It was good enough that there was a lot we were willing to ignore. Five months after we moved to North Rosedale, three men with guns took my mother’s purse while she chatted outside a friend’s house on a perfect May evening. When a cop arrived, my dad pointed out that the muggers now had our home address and our house keys. What to do?


Despite its challenges, Romig celebrates his neighborhood as a great place to be from.

"We’ve never wished we grew up anywhere else," he ends his essay.

The essay is slated to be published in the forthcoming Wildsam Field Guid to Detroit.

Re-examining the $500 house: You get what you pay for

Good Magazine makes a compelling argument with which many who have bought "cheap" homes in Detroit might agee: When it comes to the $500 house, you often get what you pay for. In fact, these houses often carry a negative value.

"Here’s why very cheap can mean very big trouble," writes Good's Angie Schmit. "Houses, in addition to the land they occupy, are the sum of their parts. That key threshold where "affordability" turns into market collapse is when housing becomes so cheap that the cost to repair the structure is more than someone is willing to pay for the house. Just because houses might sell for peanuts in Detroit, doesn’t make, say, roofing materials or lumber any less costly. In other words, if your home is worth less than it costs to fix the roof, there’s strong incentive to walk away. And that’s what thousands of people have done in cities like Detroit, Youngstown, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York."

In other words, cheap houses generally require large investments of time and money, which Good Magazine's Angie Schmitt argues is a big problem, especially for the working poor who inhabit cities where this is the case. She suggests that the solution to this problem is actually the addition of more expensive housing to weak markets like Detroit, as well as an overall a reduction of the supply of housing.

Source: Good Magazine

Crash Detroit festival to bring nationally renowned brass bands to Corktown

This weekend, renowned brass bands from around the country will join the Detroit Party Marching band for Crash Detroit, the city's first festival of street bands and art.

According to Detroit Unspun, on Friday, July 18, "More than 100 musicians will be scattered throughout the city giving a musical surprise to patrons, bar-goers, passers-by, or anyone else whom they might come in contact with. The mysterious concert schedules will be held in the strictest confidence, but they will take place between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm.  You can keep track of the goings on as they occur on Twitter @Crash_Detroit."

On Saturday, July 19, Crash Detroit participants will host a more traditional performance in Roosevelt Park in front of Michigan Central Station in Corktown. The schedule is as follows:

2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m., BlueLine Brass Band

2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band

3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m., May Day Marching Band

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Minor Mishap

5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Black Bear Combo

5:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Environmental Encroachment

6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m., Black Sheep Ensemble

7:15 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Detroit Party Marching Band

8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Mucca Pazza

Crash Detroit is run entirely by volunteers and musicians are performing without pay. Admission to the Saturday performance is free. To help pay the costs of putting on the event, Crash Detroit organizers have launched a crowndfunding campaign on Rocket Hub. Those who wish to support the festival can donate here.

Source: Detroit Unspun

Explaining an old trend: Anti-urbanism in America

Ever wonder why 20th century American history is chock-full of bi-partisan anti-urban rhetoric? Steven Conn, a historian at Ohio State University, recently published a book on exactly that subject called "Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the Twentieth Century."

In his interview with The Boston Globe, Conn defines anti-urbanism thusly: "On the one hand, it's the deep, deep fear of the messiness of urban life, and particularly the social messiness...And the other piece...is this deep suspicion of the role of government, and the idea that city life, especially starting at the turn of the 20th century, depends on government action and government intervention."

Conn sheds light on the challenges and changes cities like Detroit experienced during the postwar period, saying, "Starting in the 1950s but particularly in the 1960s, urban questions and racial questions became virtually synonymous, at least in the popular imagination...Cities became increasingly black and they became increasingly poor. So by the 1970s you have this really unholy mix of racial tensions and economic crisis...1975 to about 1985 was a real low-water mark for American cities. New York went bankrupt...Detroit’s economy really began to crumble in earnest...cities were saddled with the costs of poverty."

In response to recent trends in which Americans have become more in favor of urban living, Conn predicts the continued urbanization of formerly un-dense suburbs: "Even those places, whose very existence was predicated on the idea that we were going to leave the city, are recognizing the advantages of urban life, and one of those advantages is the social mixing. Even those places now are becoming socially more diverse. And in the long run, that is going to reshape our political ideas."

Source: The Boston Globe

Video: The case for historic preservation, not just demolition, in Detroit's war on blight

Last week, Mayor Mike Duggan and other dignitaries celebrated the city's efforts to remediate blight in conjunction with the demolition of a 19th century warehouse building on Fort Street. The building was demolished at the expense of its owner, the powerful Detroit International Bridge Co., which is controlled by the Moroun family.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Mayor Duggan praised the Bridge Co., saying, "If you’ve got a vacant commercial building in this town and you don’t have the ability to reuse it, we need you to step up and knock it down...We are going to need the business community to do what the Moroun family is doing here."

Yet the decision to tear down this structure was met by the skepticism of some who felt the building's historical and architectural significance and potential for redevelopment warranted its preservation. 

Blight and vacancy -- of land and buildings -- are two of Detroiters' greatest concerns when it comes to the livability of their neighborhoods. It's undeniable that Detroit has myriad structures that require demolition; yet demolition is not the only solution to Detroit's blight and vacancy problems.

In this video, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network argues that historic preservation and adaptive reuse are key elements to redevelopment efforts in the city.

In the words of Jerry Esters, preservation advocate and owner of the repurposed auto shop that Practice-Space calls home, "I can take you and show you buildings that have been refurbished and they're much nicer than seeing a vacant field."

Source: Michigan Historic Preservation Network

Detroit's Venture for America Fellows compete for Innovation Fund startup capital

In recent years, several talent attraction and development fellowship programs have sprung up in Detroit, each pairing young and mid-career professionals with jobs in public, private, and non-profit organizations based in the city.

Venture for America is one such program that began operating in Detroit in 2012. Modeled as a private sector version of Teach for America, VFA, a two year program, pairs recent college grads with startups in cities around the country. Currently 28 VFA fellows are based in Detroit.

"Venture for America 
focuses on entrepreneurship. It's kind of a career accelerator for individuals interested in entrepreneurship and doing creative things in their cities," says VFA fellow Eleanor Meegoda, who works at Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that backs and seeds early-stage technology companies based in Detroit.

As a part of the fellowship program, VFA fellows are eligible to participate in the semi-annual Innovation Challenge in which they are tasked with crowdfunding for side ventures that solve a problem or satisfy a need that fellows have identified. The ventures that raise the most money will receive additional support from the VFA Innovation Fund, with prizes ranging from $4,000 to $10,000.

This year, Detroit is well represented in VFA's Innovation Challenge. Ventures include Compass, a service that empowers small businesses to better navigate the complicated digital landscape by connecting them with people who know technology; Assembly of Commerce, a new, online-based “chamber of commerce” helping small businesses band together to create “economies of scale” and compete with the giants; Motor City Machine, an effort inviting all Detroiters -- artists, students, businesses, non-profits, faith organizations, Detroit City and Metro Detroiters -- to join in building a giant Rube-Goldberg Machine; Yumness, a platform for restaurateurs & aspiring chefs to connect and collaborate; and Zapenda, an e-commerce platform that connects artisans from the developing world to a global market.

The Detroit ventures and other proposals from VFA fellows around the country can be found at http://www.rockethub.com/projects/partner/vfa.

Detroit VFA fellow Eleanor Meegoda is part of the team behind the Motor City Machine project, which hopes to bring Detroiters together to build a giant Rube Goldberg machine collaboratively.

"The reason I'm doing this is because Detroit is a city of builders and makers," says Meegoda. "It's got a history that's linked with industrialization and the machine. What better way then is there to bring all sorts of Detroiters together?"

You can try your hand at building a Rube Goldberg machine by visiting the Motor City Machine team at Eastern Market's Sunday marketplace.

Source: Eleanor Meegoda, VFA fellow
 

Detroit City FC and Opportunity Detroit team up to screen U.S. soccer in Cadillac Square

Last week, Model D published a brief (and admittedly incomplete) guide to the best spots to watch World Cup matches in the city of Detroit. Somewhat flippantly, we challenged "Uncle Dan" (use your imagination) to pony up for a public screening of a U.S. soccer match. We felt that either Campus Martius or New Center Park would be an adequate location.

To our pleasant surprise, it appears that our friends at Detroit City FC and Opportunity Detroit have teamed up to meet our challenge. On Thursday, June 26 at noon, they will host a public screening of the U.S. vs Germany match in Cadillac Square (adjacent to Campus Martius Park). The event is free and open to the public.

Can you think of a better way to spend your lunch hour (well, more like 90 minutes with the potential for extra time)? There will be plenty of food options in the Detroit Street Eats area in Cadillac Square, including Mediterranean fare from Qais Food Truck, ice cream and smoothies from Eskimo Jacks, soul food from Heart to Soul, kosher options from Chef Cari Kosher, and more.

See you Thursday at noon!

Check out event details on Facebook.

New tool helps Detroiters document the condition of city parks

There are nearly 300 parks in Detroit. They range in size from 1,300-acre Rouge Park to block-sized neighborhood parks. They also vary dramatically in condition.

Earlier this year, Mayor Mike Duggan pledged that the city would maintain 250 city parks, a considerable improvement from the 20 or so it maintained last year.

To ensure that parks are being maintained, WDET 101.9 FM has created a tool called Detroit Parks Watch that empowers residents to track the maintenance of the parks they use or encounter on a day-to-day basis.

"We want to track Detroit park maintenance throughout the summer," says WDET's Terry Paris, Jr. in a recent blog post. "We will use reports from the city, WDET, and you out there in the community."

WDET has created two ways to do this. If you go to a park, or live near a park, or recently visited a park and remember its condition, you can go to DetroitParkWatch and submit your information, or you can text "Parks" to 313-334-4132 and receive a short four-question survey on the park you are at or reporting on.

WDET will map the collected information on its community parks information map.

To learn more about Detroit Parks Watch and view the map, visit http://detroitparkwatch.tumblr.com/

Vacant land in Detroit could help reduce airborne allergens

Researchers may have discovered a way to greatly reduce the level of ragweed that floats through the air every summer and plagues allergy sufferers. Their sollution: do nothing -- at least to vacant lots.

A team of researchers from the University of Michigan studied conditions in 62 vacant lots all over Detroit.

According to a recent story in Citylab, "in the ones that were mowed every one-to-two years, between 63 and 70 percent had ragweed plants, each one capable of releasing a billion pollen grains in a single season. These grains can travel hundreds of miles, but the vast majority stay within the neighborhood, creating for allergy sufferers a highly localized plague of sneezing, itchy eyes and throats, and noses that run like busted faucets."

However, only 28 percent of the lots that were never mowed contained ragweed plants because ragweed was forced to compete with other plants for space over the longer term.

"Although allowing vacant lots to reforest is controversial, it is already happening in many places across Detroit. Woody plants are establishing in vacant lots and reclaiming large chunks of Detroit," says U of M researcher Daniel Katz. "Regardless of whether people think that reforestation of vacant lots is a good or bad thing overall, it will have the benefit of reducing ragweed pollen exposure."

Source: Citylab
 

Aging Together: Photo essay chronicles faces and lives of seniors at St. Patrick Center in Detroit

St. Patrick Senior Center has been serving seniors in the heart of Midtown Detroit since 1973. The largest senior-centered activity center in the area, St. Pat's offers a daily meal, programs such as hustle dancing, yoga and fitness classes, a health clinic and an advocacy center. Serving more than 2,000 seniors in Metro Detroit, St. Pat's has an open and accepting environment, drawing all kinds of people to the former Catholic school building on Parsons Street.

As a part of Aging Together, a collaborative project of MLive Detroit, WDET 101.9 FM Detroit, and Model D, the following photos show just some of the hundreds of different faces that stream through the center everyday. Each portrait sits next to the subjects' responses to a short questionnaire about their lives and experiences aging in Detroit.

This is the first installment of the faces and lives of seniors at St. Pat's. Continue following the Aging Together project for more stories about seniors in the city.

Click here to view the photo essay.

Source: MLive Detroit

Second Avenue reconfigured for two-way traffic, gets bike lanes

Starting today, when we look out of the bay window of Model D's office at 4470 Second Ave. and see a car traveling southbound, we will no longer have cause for concern.

That's because Second Avenue is being reconfigured as a two-way street for the first time in decades. Sorry folks, but the pastime of watching cars going the wrong way down Second from the porch of the Bronx Bar is a thing of the past.

Second Avenue will now feature bike lanes, two-way traffic, and parallel parking (replacing angle parking on the west side of the street) between Cass Park (Temple Street) and the campus of Wayne State University (Warren Avenue). It's a similar transformation to those which occurred in recent years on Third Avenue and the portion of Second Avenue between Palmer Street and West Grand Boulevard just north of Wayne State's campus.

The conversion of two-way streets to one-ways became a trend in American cities after World War II as a means of relieving traffic congestion. In recent decades, as traffic counts have declined, a movement to convert one-way streets back to two-ways has emerged with the goal of calming traffic and spurring economic development along two-way corridors.

Source: Curbed Detroit

 

Finalists for Knight Arts Challenge grants named

On June 16, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation named the finalists for the second annual Detroit Knight Arts Challenge.

A group of 88 finalists was culled from a field of nearly 1,000 applicants who each submitted their best ideas for the arts in Detroit.

According to Knight Arts' press release, "The finalists propose a range of ideas -- from art and performance in viaducts, gardens and living rooms, to Javanese theater puppetry and Mexican dance, a “Story Census” and celebrations of opera, gospel, DJs, drumlines and ragtime. The majority of the finalists are grassroots efforts led by small organizations and individual artists."

Applicants were asked to follow three simple rules:

1) The idea must be about the arts
2) The project must take place in or benefit Detroit
3) The grant recipient must find funds to match Knight’s commitment

Last year, 56 proposals were awarded Knight Arts grants totaling $2.1 million. Winners of this year's Knight Arts Challenge will be announced in October.

For more information and a complete listing of 2014 Knight Arts Challenge finalists, visit the Knight Arts website.

D:Hive Build expands with Build Bazaar, a roving pop-up marketplace

If you read Model D's Startup News section or follow small business development in Detroit, you're likely familiar with several D:Hive Build graduates and their businesses. Since Build launched in 2012, roughly 350 entrepreneurs have graduated from the 8-week business and project planning class designed for aspiring and established entrepreneurs in Detroit. 

This summer, Build is finding ways to venture outside of D:Hive's downtown offices. On June 3, Build began holding summer classes in the Livernois Community Storefront on Detroit's Avenue of Fashion. Build also launched the Build Bazaar, a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from the Build program. The first bazaar was held on June 15 in Eastern Market. Future bazaars are planned for the Concert of Colors on July 12-13, as well as the Livernois Community Storefront August 21-24.

For more information, visit ?http://dhivedetroit.org/build/bazaar/.

Model D, MLive Detroit, and WDET announce collaborative series about aging in Detroit

It's no secret: as the Baby Boom generation grows older, the share of the United States' population that is elderly will increase dramatically. Detroit and Southeast Michigan are no exceptions to this demographic shift. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments forecasts that nearly a quarter of the region's population will be 65 or older by 2040.

Yet despite these forecasts, far too little of our public discourse has been devoted to issues related to planning for an increasingly older population. That's why Model D has joined MLive Detroit and WDET 101.9FM Detroit in a project we are calling "Aging Together."

Over the course of the summer, we plan on exploring issues facing older adults in Detroit -- from transit to housing to safety to placemaking.

While the challenges facing our city's elderly residents are great, we believe the opportunities to provide for their needs are equally great. We intend to use this series to also explore how Detroit can position itself to be a city of choice for those who will grow old here.

After all, if we can work toward building places in our city that create a high quality of life for seniors, won't we in turn be creating a high quality of life for all residents?

Please follow the "Aging Together" blog for new stories from Model D, MLive Detroit, and WDET.

You can read Model D's first feature in this series here.

Aging Together is a summer-long project between MLive DetroitWDET 101.9FM Detroit and Model D Media that explores the issues of older adults in Detroit, Southeast Michigan and the state.

DesignLAB Detroit to host mobile conference on the People Mover

On Friday, June 13, a group of Detroit designers and architects will board downtown's elevated monorail, the People Mover, and present a 30-minute mini-conference to the public about the future of architecture in Detroit. The presentations will last for two circuits around the People Mover's 2.9 mile loop.

Presenters will include:

Shel Kimen, Collision Works 
Shel left a career as senior vice president with Saatchi & Saatchi advertising in NYC to develop Collision Works in Detroit. The community development project– focused on sustainable design, community growth, and storytelling while providing collaborative work space and mentoring programs– is in the planning stages of designing a 46-room hotel development in Eastern Market made of recycled shipping containers. www.detroitcollisionworks.com

Brian Hurttienne, Villages CDC
Brian Hurttienne is a community architect with a long resume of important Detroit redevelopment projects in Detroit including the Kales Building, Slows BBQ, The Carlton and Grinnell buildings. As the ED of the Villages CDC, Brian is helping to accelerate economic development through community advocacy, urban design, and planning. http://thevillagesofdetroit.com

Amy Swift, Building Hugger
Amy swift is an architectural writer, professor, preservationist, and designer. As the principal at Building Hugger L3C, Amy focuses on finding reinvigorated purposes for underutilized structures in Detroit’s downtown neighborhoods, that help add intangible value to the community in ways that are financially, environmentally, and socially sustainable. www.buildinghugger.org

Justin Mast, Practice Space
As the founder of Practice Space, Justin helps to incubate new business enterprise while providing event space, residency programs, and community-centered co-working opportunities in Detroit’s North Corktown neighborhood. Justin mixes architecture and development with a team of creatives to cultivate emerging business and grow a new community of practitioners in Detroit. www.practicespace.org

Victoria Byrd Olivier, Detroit Future City
Victoria Olivier is a Detroit Revitalization Fellow serving as program manager for the Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office. She works on city systems, neighborhood, and civic capacity initiatives with a focus on creative placemaking, community arts and culture initiatives, and historic preservation. www.detroitfuturecity.com

Frank Arvan, FX Architecture
Frank Arvan is the principal of FX Architecture working as an architect on residential, office, institutional, and urban design. He is an avid supporter of the Detroit creative community as an architectural writer, board member for the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, past president and Executive Committee member of AIA Detroit, curator with D’lectricity, and exhibit designer at the Detroit Institute of Arts. www.fxarchitecture.com

More information is available at http://designlabdetroit.tumblr.com/

Attendees must register in advance of the event on Eventbrite.

Weigh in on the idea you like best to replace downtown's I-375

Local planners have unveiled six options for transforming I-375, a downtown freeway that divides Detroit's central business district from near east side neighborhoods including Lafayette Park and Eastern Market.

The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is inviting members of the public to learn about and comment on these six design alternatives at a community forum on Thursday, June 12, 2014.  The open house event will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Detroit Eastern Market Shed 5 (2934 Russell St.).

I-375 was built in 1964. Black Bottom, the neighborhood that served as the one-time center of economic and cultural life for Detroit's black community, was razed to make way for the freeway and urban renewal housing projects adjacent to it. In recent decades, the efficacy and overall usefullness of the freeway have been brought into question as traffic counts along the route have declined.

The six options for removing the freeway and replacing it with more pedestrian and environmentally friendly alternatives vary in cost from $40 million to $80 million.

To learn more about the proposals, visit http://i375detroit.com/.

Two national urban experts criticize Detroit's demolition plans

Two national figures widely considered experts on urban issues have weighed in on a local taskforce's recommendation to spend $850 million to demolish blighted structures in the city of Detroit. Stephanie Meeks, president and chief executive of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Andres Duany, an architect and founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, both wrote short letters to the editor of the New York Times suggesting that Detroit think beyond demolition when addressing its blight problem.

Meeks suggests that preservation ought to play an important role in Detroit's attempt to reinvent itself.

"Preservationists understand that demolition must be part of the strategy for Detroit's future," she says, "but we need to ensure that the city's most important historic buildings are spared so they can become building blocks for the future."

Duany sees more value in funding young entrepreneurs than he does in spending $850 million on demolition.

"At $50,000 each there would be 17,000 loans or grants possible. Detroit would explode with activity and success. Its emerging reputation as the 'next Broolyn' would be fullfilled, even more quickly," he says.

Read both op-eds in the New York Times.
 

Local professor: To stop blight, first stop suburban sprawl

George Galster, a professor of urban planning at Wayne State University, is encouraging policy makers to stop taking a myopic view of Detroit's blight problem. He contends that blight in Detroit is not a problem the city can solve in isolation because it is the result of regional economic forces related to excessive housing development on the suburban fringe of the metropolis.

Says Galster:

"Since 1950, two-thirds of the city’s population has systematically been siphoned off by the region’s housing 'disassembly line.' In the tri-county metro area, developers have in every decade since 1950 built many more dwellings -- an average of more than 10,000 per year -- than the net growth in households required. Developers figured that their new suburban subdivisions could successfully compete against the older housing stock. They were right. As households filled these new dwellings they vacated their previous homes, which other households decided to occupy because they were viewed as superior options to where they were previously living."

Galster recommends the region establish a "a metropolitan growth boundary" to limit suburban development and stem the tide of blight in Detroit.

Read Galster's op-ed in the Detroit Free Press.

Detroit City FC to promote LGBTQ inclusion in sports

Detroit City FC will partner with the national You Can Play project for its June 6th match against the Erie Admirals. You Can Play is a nationwide endeavor founded to ensure that athletes are judged solely on talent, heart, desire and work ethic -- and not on the basis of sexual orientation or other discriminatory factors. Players and teams from all levels of athletics -- amateur to professional -- have created videos in support of You Can Play. Detroit City FC is proud to be a partner in this cause.

On Friday, June 6th at 7:30pm at Cass Tech High School in downtown Detroit, Detroit City FC will take to the pitch in special commemorative jerseys designed to promote LGBTQ equality and inclusion in sports.

After the match, each participating player's jersey will be auctioned off to the highest bidder in a silent auction held at the stadium. Additionally, a limited number of jerseys will be sold online at detcityfc.com. The funds earned in the auction and a portion of the proceeds of the jerseys sold online will go to support the Ruth Ellis Center (REC) in Highland Park, MI.

DCFC believes that this will be the first time an American sports team will take to the field and play a regulation game in a uniform that promotes LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

The Ruth Ellis Center is a youth social services agency that serves the needs of runaway, homeless and at-risk youth. They are one of the nation's leading experts on vulnerable youth who are experiencing residential instability. The mission of the Center is to "provide short and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender, and questioning youth."

The REC is the only organization in the country that has a Residential program for LGBTQ youth in the foster care and juvenile justice system, and is mission-specific to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. While the Center emphasizes serving LGBTQ youth who are often ostracized, shamed, and denied services by other agencies, no youth, regardless of gender identity and/or sexual orientation is turned away or denied services.

Le Rouge will be "kicking off" Motor City Pride weekend, which is being held in Hart Plaza on June 7 and 8. Motor City Pride is a project of Equality Michigan. Equality Michigan is Michigan's statewide organization serving the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and allied communities.

Tickets for all DCFC games are $10 at the gate and $8 online. The most recent home match, held on May 23, drew over 3000 people and was the first sellout in team history. A large crowd is once again expected, and it is recommended that tickets be bought in advance.

To order tickets, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/622530

Detroit Future City to host "Blight Bootcamp"

On the heels of the release of the most comprehensive data set ever on blight in the city of Detroit, Detroit Future City (DFC) is hosting its first ever "Blight Bootcamp."

This Saturday at Wayne County Community College District's Downtown Campus (1001 W. Fort St.), DFC is putting on a series of free workshops that will equip ordinary citizens with tools to address blight in their neighborhoods. Sessions include:

Transforming Blight into Gardens and Farms
Securing Vacant Properties
Community Art to Fight Blight
Green Space Solutions
Blight Mitigation Resources
Data Driven Decision Making
Blight and Public Health
Resident Led Neighborhood Safety
Deconstruction vs. Demolition
Repurposing Commercial Vacancies
Youth Engagement in Blight Mitigation
Advocating for your Neighborhood

Those interested in attending Blight Bootcamp can register here.

Visit Detroit Future City's website for more information.

Symposium stresses importance of higher ed to immigrant teens

Four inspirational speakers stressed the importance of higher education at the Immigration + Education = Economic Growth II Symposium on Friday, May 16 at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit. Nearly 100 high school students from Dearborn, Detroit, Melvindale, and Hamtramck listened intently, as they heard Kirk Mayes from Mayor Mike Duggan's office; Rabelani Makwarela, a recruiter from Henry Ford College (HFC); P.J. Dada, a successful entrepreneur; and WSU student Adonis Flores share their insights and offer advice and encouragement to the group. Ana Cukovic from the Archdiocese of Detroit was also on hand to explain the path to citizenship.

The event was presented by the Caribbean Cultural & Carnival Organization (CCCO) and the Jamaican Association of Michigan (JAM).

"We are trying to stimulate the kids and show them that education is a rite of passage, not only for economic growth but for personal development. The whole process is not just getting a formal education and learning in books. It's becoming acclimated to different cultures. If you aren't in a college environment, you can't learn about the people you are going to work with down the road," said Sophia Chu, CCCO President.

Each of the speakers shared a unique perspective on the importance of higher education.

"You can change your life and your community completely from education," said HFC's Makwarela.

An immigrant from South Africa, she shared her story and talked about the two things that are important to her: her family and her love of travel.

"My money makes it possible to fund my passion, which is travel," she said. "Some people are just naturally talented, like Michael Jordan," she explained. "Most of us aren't. We need help to get there."

She stressed education can help them reach their goals and get there. Makwarela said they can save a lot of money by attending a more cost effective community college their freshman and sophomore years, then spend their junior and seniors years at the more expensive university. She explained the highest number of unemployed are those with a high school education or less.

"Now is when you have to make the decision to make the choices for the rest of your life," she explained. "If you don't make your choices early in life that you keep later on, someone else will make them for you.Education is about keeping your options open."

P.J. Dada immigrated to Lansing from Laos as a young child. Her parents were so protective of her she was never allowed to play outside with other children. Her social skills suffered greatly, and she was often bullied in school. In spite of her difficulties, she graduated from high school and attended General Motors Institute (GMI) graduating with a degree in engineering. Her first position was with AMWAY where she made soap and makeup. She suffered greatly in the work environment because she was not taught to socialize with men. As an engineer, she was often the only woman in the group and struggled to learn the social rules when working with the opposite sex. She forced herself to network and get involved, which took her out of her comfort zone. She continued to receive promotions and eventually went to work for the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. One year ago, she took a leap and opened her own consulting firm which is doing well.

She told the young people not go give up on their life's journey. "Each of us is different and takes different paths to get to our goal of success. Focus on the prize. Focus on what you want, so you can reset your goals as needed. Keep trying. Don't give up, and keep an open mind."

"Take your book," said Kirk Mayes' mother, a Jamaican immigrant. Mayes, the Deputy Group Executive of Jobs and Economy for the City of Detroit, explained it means much more than just those three words.

"It means to embrace your education and understand it for what it is. Absorb as much as you can in order to fill yourself with the knowledge that will build on you an asset no one can ever take away."

As Mayes told the group, he had no idea what he wanted to be when he graduated from Michigan State, but he knew he could do anything he wanted. He talked about the different jobs he took that weren't the right fit, and how he struggled to find the right position for himself. He finally formed Village Gardens with his friends, a nonprofit to help turn Detroit around. It was very successful, but it paid no money. He was so passionate about it, that at one point he was homeless and living in his car.

In 2010 he was approached by Skillman to be part of the Good Neighborhood Initiatives in Brightmoor. From there he was recently tapped by the new Mayor to take his present position where he is committed to improving the statistics that Detroit has 27 jobs per 100 residents. He is working to move businesses into neighborhoods that are sustainable.

He talked about the importance of being strategic and specific about who you surround yourself with.

"I wouldn't have been able to advance through a path unless I identified people along the way who I was confident knew more than me. If you have an opportunity, take on mentors and be active in that relationship. The best relationships I have had are the ones where I told them what I would like to learn and how I would like to grow. If you pick the right mentor and they are willing to invest their time in you, you will make them happy, and they will invest more in you when your success offers them a chance to do something for you again."

He stressed that you can do that here in the U.S. and then he shared his formula for success:
- Focus on yourself -- Get to know who you are. It makes you better able to focus on the right dream for yourself.
- Discipline -- Once you're focused on who you are and what your life will look like when you get there, you need discipline to stay on the path and complete the journey.
- Work Ethic -- That's the cap of this formula. You can focus and be disciplined, but you have to get up and go do it.

Mayes said to the young people, "You are in a City that is in desperate need of your vision! Don't let anyone take you off of your path."

Adonis Flores is a student at Wayne State University and an undocumented immigrant who came to this country from Mexico at age eight. He was active in the fight to pass the DREAM Act which would allow undocumented children to pursue their dreams and get an education. He has continued to encounter barriers to his education, but he has not given up.

In 2007 he received scholarships for school, but the recently passed law ending affirmative action prevented him from receiving those funds. They were for minorities. He couldn't renew his driver's license anymore after the law was passed, and he was forced to pay out-of-state tuition. He said his friend Gilbert came to the U.S. at age 17 and graduated from UofM Dearborn. He didn't qualify for the DREAM act because he was too old. When he recently lost his job, he was deported because of his undocumented status. However, because of his degree, he was able to obtain a position as an engineer at the Volkswagen Plant in Pueblo, Mexico.

"So, no matter what, education will definitely help you even when you think there is not hope," said Flores.

All of the speakers encourage the students to be true to their dreams. As they were leaving the event, students were heard talking about how inspiring the speakers were and how they were motivated to continue pursuing their goals in spite of any personal struggles.

In addition to the inspirational speakers, Ana Cukovic from the Archdiocese of Detroit gave some practical, step-by-step advice on how to apply for citizenship.

The event was sponsored by Global Detroit, Welcome Mat Detroit, ACCESS, Consumers Energy, AIS, MIC, Micron, and DES Electric.

Pop-up in Grandmont Rosedale: REVOLVE Detroit is seeking applications

REVOLVE Detroit is seeking applications for its pop-up retail program, this time in northwest Detroit's Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood. Over the last three years, REVOLVE has helped pop-ups open in vacant storefronts in Lafayette Park, West Village, Jefferson-Chalmers, and the Avenue of Fashion (Livernois at 7 Mile). Several of these businesses have made the transition from pop-up to permanent and several vacant storefronts that hosted pop-ups have taken on long-term tenants.

Now, REVOLVE Detroit is partnering with the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation and Charter One's “Growing Communities” initiative in seeking entrepreneurs to create two new pop-up shops on Grand River Avenue in Detroit’s distinguished Grandmont Rosedale community.

Applications are due June 15. For more information, visit REVOLVE's website.

Source: REVOLVE Detroit

Applications open for Write a House, a permanent writers residency in Detroit

Write A House is a different sort of writers residency. That's because it doesn't really end.

On May 15, Write A House began accepting applications for its inaugural writers residency, which will award an individual a home in Detroit to keep, forever.

Applications for the first Write A House residency may be submitted online between May 15, 2014 and June 21, 2014. There is no application fee. Writing quality is the most important part of the application, but judges will also look for the ability of applicants to contribute to the neighborhood and the wider literary culture of Detroit.

Eligible applicants must be low- or moderate-income writers with some history of publication. They must also be U.S. citizens and age 18 or over. Details about the application process and the Write A House program can be found at www.writeahouse.org/apply.

The process will be judged by a group of accomplished local and national writers, including Toby Barlow, Billy Collins, Sarah F. Cox, dream hampton, Major Jackson, and Sean MacDonald.

Write A House houses are located in Detroit just north of the enclave city of Hamtramck. The neighborhood is sometimes referred to as Banglatown for its sizeable Bangladeshi population.

Model D featured the Write A House residency and its neighborhood in a story that ran in January of this year.

Source: Write A House

Le Rouge footballers open regular season with win over Cincinnati

On May 7, Detroit City FC (DCFC) lost its first match of the year (only its third loss since 2012) to RWB Adria, a Croation American soccer club from Chicago, in a penalty shootout at the invitational U.S. Open Cup, the oldest tournament in American soccer.

But on Saturday, May 10, Le Rouge opened the National Premier Soccer League regular season with a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati Saints on its home pitch at Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit.

The lone goal of the game came in the 37th minute when DCFC's Zach Myers received a cross pass from Colin McAtee and put the ball past Saints keeper Ben Dorn.

League play continues on Friday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Le Rouge will square off against the Michigan Stars (formerly FC Sparta) under the lights at Cass Technical High School. Tickets are available on DCFC's website.


 

Preservation Detroit to host The Last Service, a memorial for the First Unitarian Church

On November 29, 1890, Unitarians in Detroit celebrated the first service at their new church at Woodward and Edmund, thereafter known as First Unitarian Church. On May 10, 2014, a massive fire destroyed the building. 

This Sunday, May 18, Preservation Detroit, along with community partners, will hold a final non-denominational service at the site of the church. The event is intended to provide closure to the community and to honor the building's 124-year history.

A candlelight vigil will be accompanied by music and readings, including a speech that was given at the first service of First Unitarian in 1890. 

The event is free to the public and will be held rain or shine. It begins at 7:30. 

Please contact Preservation Detroit with questions or visit the Facebook event page here.

Source: Preservation Detroit

Detroit Vacant Property Coalition empowers community groups to address blight

The Vacant Property Coalition was organized by Michigan Community Resources over two years ago to respond to the needs of communities facing challenges related to blight and the abandoment of property. The Vacant Property Coalition (VPC) promotes a policy agenda around vacant property issues. Composed of community groups and residents working to improve code enforcement and blight prevention policies and practices, the VPC raises awareness, shares best practices, and takes action to reduce the prevalence of blight and the harmful impact of vacant properties. Today, over 30 members that represent community groups across Detroit routinely participate in monthly meetings.
  
Watch the video “Meet the Vacant Property Coalition” to learn more about how community groups are joining the Vacant Property Coaltion to address some of the greatest challenges facing neighborhoods in Detroit.

Source: Michigan Community Resources

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative intern to live in city's first shipping container house

A lucky intern at the nonprofit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative will become the first person to inhabit a house made from a shipping container, reports the Detroit News.

The container is currently being converted into occupiable housing in the parking lot of General Motor’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. Once completed, it will be moved to Michigan Urban Farming Initiative's headquarters on Brush Street in New Center.

The nonprofit purchased the container for $3,000, but estimates that it will cost between $20,000 and $25,000 to convert it into a home. According the News, "Local GM workers will volunteer to convert the container into a home and 85 percent of the materials will be scrap from local GM plants."

Read more in the Detroit News.

Celebrate National Bike Month with Tour de Troit

May is National Bike Month. It's also when Tour de Troit holds its annual Cycle into Spring ride. The ride will take place this Saturday, May 10 at 9 a.m.

For the third year in a row, the 20-mile cycling event held in collaboration with the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative will begin and end on the banks of the Detroit River at Maheras Gentry Park in Detroit.

Cycle Into Spring attracted over 500 riders in 2013 and has raised over $5,000 for the Conner Creek Greenway since 2012. Seven miles of this greenway are currently complete, and funds raised at this year’s Cycle Into Spring will support programming and the development of the final two miles.

The police escorted ride, which is also sweeper and SAG-supported, goes from the Detroit River to 8 Mile and back again along the Conner Creek Greenway (CCG), which boasts nine miles of cycling infrastructure that traces the original Conner Creek and links people, parks, green spaces, neighborhoods, schools and shops. Sites along the way include Coleman A. Young International Airport, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, the Milbank Trail, the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant and Chandler Park.

Riders can register for ride at Eventbrite.

More information is available on Tour de Troit's website.

Rivera-Kahlo exhibit highlighting artists' time in Detroit coming to DIA

Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry murals are arguably the best know works of art associated with the city of Detroit. Between April 1932 and March 1933, Rivera and his wife, famed artist Frida Kahlo, lived in Detroit while Rivera worked on Detroit Industry. The Detroit Institute of Arts, where the murals are located, is currently preparing to host an exhibit highlighting Rivera and Kahlo's stay in Detroit, which is widely acknowledged as a creative period for the couple.

The Detroit Institute of Arts expects the "Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit" exhibit it's planning for March 15-July 12, 2015 to draw large crowds from around the country. According to Crain's Detroit Business, "Planning for the exhibit began several years ago."

Read more in Crain's Detroit Business.
 

Exploring the Detroit-Berlin connection

The Detroit-Berlin Connection is a collaborative, transatlantic effort to bring together creative individuals and communities in the two cities with the goal of driving cultural and economic growth in Detroit. The group's first Conference for Subcultural Exchange for Urban Development will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) May 23, 2014. The conference is free and open to the public. It begins at 4 p.m.

Partners in the project include Tresor/Kraftwerk Berlin, re:publica/newthinking, Electronic Beats, De:Bug/Das Filter, Womex and others from Berlin; and Model D, Paxahau/Movement, Ponyride, and Underground Resistance from Detroit. The program will include presentations by several Berliners involved in art/entrepreneurship efforts key to the German capital's revitalization over the past 25 years. A panel discussion featuring Berlin and Detroit participants will follow, along with a Q&A session and a chance for the public to mingle with the speakers.

More information about the Detroit-Berlin Connection can be found on its Facebook page. Register for the May 23 event at MOCAD here.

The Design Observer explores the urban ecology of Detroit and other cities

While many look at the overgrown grass and a resurgent swamps sometimes found on Detroit's vacant land as blight, the Design Observer points out that these occurences are the result of a complex urba ecology.

Author Peter Del Tredici, associate professor in practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and author of Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide, makes the following observation:

"While Detroit is clearly a tragic story from the socioeconomic perspective, it is a paradise for spontaneous vegetation."

It's always good to look on the bright side of things.

Regardless, this essay is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the ecology of cities.

Read more in the Design Observer.

Detroit City FC announces schedule, tickets now on sale

Tickets are on sale now for the Detroit City Futbol Club's third season. Judging by Le Rouge's strong performance last year, this season looks promising.

Season tickets can be purchased for $40. The club plays nine home matches on Cass Technical High School's football fied in downtown Detroit.

For the uninitiated, Detroit City FC is a minor league soccer team that plays in the National Premier Soccer League’s Midwest Great Lakes Conference. Founded in 2012, Detroit City FC has established itself as one of the most talked about soccer teams in North America and the grassroots embodiment of a resurgent city.

View DCFC's complete schedule here:

http://www.detcityfc.com/dcfc-schedule

Crash Detroit, a new festival of street art and bands coming to Corktown this July

Detroit is getting a new street festival this summer called Crash Detroit.

According to the festival's Facebook page, "Crash Detroit invites the community to come together by providing free access to music and the arts while encouraging joyous human connection. The festival will connect bands from across the country and build upon the rich culture of music in Detroit. The festival is a celebration of place that aims to give life to underused spaces in Detroit and promote local business."

Crash Detroit is currently scheduled for The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 19 in Roosevelt Park. It is all ages and free to the public.

Follow Crash Detroit's Facebook page for updates.

More foreign investment coming to Michigan?

"Our state needs outstanding talent to help drive the new economy. Immigrants are net job creators," said Gov. Rick Snyder in a recent announcement. "In return, Michigan offers a wonderful place to live, work, play, and raise a family."

On the heels of Gov. Snyder's announcement last week, Michigan has been granted status by the federal government to create its own EB-5 "Regional Center." Michigan is just the second state in the country to do so.

The Detroit Chinese Business Association (DCBA), in conjunction with Global Detroit, Aspire Lending, and Ogilvy PR, will be hosting the Immigration Investment Opportunities in Michigan conference on Wednesday, April 23 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills. Civitas Capital, a firm that has leveraged over $280 million in EB-5 investments into the Dallas regional economy on projects creating over 8,000 jobs, will present at the seminar.

Never heard of an EB-5 visa? You're not alone. EB-5 is the fifth of five "Employment-Based" visas that help foreigners legally work in the U.S. Known as an "investor" visa, the EB-5 is specifically designed to spur business investment that creates jobs in the United States with particular emphasis on areas of high unemployment.  The program began in the early 1990s, and is authorized by Congress to issue up to 10,000 visas every year, though that limit has yet to be reached.

EB-5 visas allow foreign investors to obtain conditional residency, legal permanent residency, and, eventually, full U.S. citizenship, as long as they invest $1 million in a U.S. business that they "control," and that business in turn creates 10 U.S. jobs. Foreign investments in "Targeted Employment Areas" (TEAs), meaning "high unemployment" areas or rural areas, lower the total investment threshold to $500,000.

So, what does Michigan's new EB-5 Regional Center mean for a state like Michigan, and cities like Detroit? "This approval is an important step in helping harness top talent and international direct investment into the state to continue and accelerate Michigan's comeback," Gov. Snyder said in his press release.

The Governor hopes Michigan's EB-5 Regional Center will act as a vehicle that connects foreign investment with development projects across the state, as well as help foreign investors gain permanent residency for themselves and their families. According to Snyder, investors will be identified from a variety of places, including individuals and contacts made through Michigan's colleges and universities who are working to retain and attract current and former students.

The Center will work in coordination with Gov. Snyder's Michigan Office for New Americans created in late January and will be housed at the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority (MSHDA).

Scott Woosley, Executive Director of MSHDA, said Michigan is eager to deepen relationships internationally and bring home investment, projects, jobs, and possible new residents critical to Michigan's future.

"It's anticipated that once it's up and running, the regional center will generate $30-50 million of new private equity for projects each year and create 600 new jobs in communities where they are much needed," Woosley said in Snyder's release.

So what about cities like Detroit? Can a tool like the EB-5 and a platform like the Michigan Regional Center be utilized to leverage more investment in Metro Detroit? Joe Borgstrom, director of the State of Michigan's EB-5 Regional Center says that MSHDA's "decades of housing and development experience," makes him feel very "optimistic about the role EB-5 capital can play in the revitalization of cities as well as potentially retaining existing foreign national students and new immigrants."

If cities like Dallas and Philadelphia are any indication, EB-5 investments can come together in a powerful way, especially if there is a desire for coordination between public and private actors. The Philly Welcome Fund, a privately run EB-5 regional center that operates out of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, has raised some $600 million of investment capital that has created over 19,000 jobs.

Several years ago, the City of Dallas and Civitas Capital Group came together to run the City of Dallas Regional Center, an EB-5 center that has helped shepherd nearly $300 million dollars in foreign investment in a range of real estate projects in and around Dallas that have generated over 8,000 jobs. Success in Dallas is one of the reasons why Civitas has been invited to next week's Detroit Chinese Business Association conference on EB-5 opportunities.

"We're excited about this event," said DCBA's President Jerry Xu. "It brings together the best of both the public and private sector to discuss how we can continue to bring top talent and foreign direct investment into the State of Michigan."

The conference will feature dynamic speakers, including Bing Goei, director of Michigan's Office for New Americans, Joe Borgstrom, director of Michigan's EB-5 Regional Center, and Texas State House Member, Rafael M. Anchia, who also serves as chairman of Civitas Capital Group's advisory board.

"Events like this are great mediums to exchange ideas and information about how we can continue to bring highly skilled, job-creating immigrants to the State of Michigan," Goei said. "This is a key pillar of our state's economic growth plan and we're working diligently to move the right policies forward to support this initiative along with creating a welcoming community and culture for immigrants."

Civitas Capital Group CEO Dan Healy added that he is looking forward to the event, the dialogue it will generate and the opportunity to deepen relationships with key stakeholders across the state.

"Our full-service asset management approach for global investors and unique expertise with public-private partnerships have created thousands of jobs at zero cost to American taxpayers. This model is a great fit for the comeback taking place in Michigan," Healy said. "We want to play an influential role in the state's efforts to marry high-quality investment opportunities with the appropriate risk-return profile of global institutions and individuals."

The EB-5 Immigration Investment Opportunities for Michigan Conference is also sponsored by Global Detroit and Aspire Lending and will take place from 3-6 p.m. April 23 at the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Seating is limited and tickets are $50 in advance or $75 at the door (if available), which includes dinner, beverages and a cash bar.  Please register online at www.dcba.com or call +1-248-918-0391.

Founded in 1995, the Detroit Chinese Business Association (DCBA) is a Michigan-based, non-profit organization. Its primary goal is to advocate, educate and form business relationships between American and Chinese companies. For more information about DCBA, please visit www.dcba.com

Good Tyme Writers' Buffet returns to Hamtramck's Public Pool

How many times do you lie in a day, in a month, in a year? Is a lie the opposite of truth or simply the absence of truth? It’s safe to say that literature is a vast collection of lies, and writers are absolutely the very best liars. 

Bullshit or not, on April 19 at Public Pool in Hamtramck (3309 Caniff), six writers will potluck, neighborhood-style, and read short works on the subject of LIES. 

Martin Anand will DJ

Come potluck with us. Talk, Drink, Eat, Listen. 

Readers include:

Maia Asshaq
Hillary Cherry
Lolita Hernandez
Steve Hughes
Mark Maynard
Chris Tysh

Learn more here.

Excellent Schools Detroit Recommends top 31 elementary and middle schools in the city

Excellent Schools Detroit recently released a list of the top 31 elementary and middle schools in the city of Detroit. All schools have seats available. Detroit families now have the opportunity to show their demand for high quality education in the city by selecting from this list as they make enrollment decisions for next school year.
 
According to Excellent Schools Detroit, these 31 high quality schools offer families welcoming environments, caring teachers and staff, strong academics, family involvement, community partnerships and a rich array of after-school and extracurricular activities. The recommendations are based on information updated this winter, including fall MEAP scores.
 
“Where we send our children to school is one of the most important decisions we make for our kids. It impacts the rest of their lives. Now is the time for families to make that decision for next fall,” said Dan Varner, CEO of Excellent Schools Detroit. “This list will give them a head start in the right direction.”

For more information about each individual school and to read reviews from parents, students and teachers, visit GreatSchoolsDetroit.org.

Another green alley coming to Midtown

"Another Green Alley." No, we're not talking about a new album by Brian Eno. We're talking about a transformation coming to the alleyway between Cass Ave. and 2nd Ave and Willis and Canfield Streets. The alley's cracked concrete will be replaced with brick pavers and green infrastructure. 

According to Midtown Detroit, Inc. the Alley's transformation will begin later this month.

This will be Midtown's second green alley. The first is located between Prentis and Canfield off of 2nd Ave.

Source: Curbed Detroit

Read more here.

Detroit Voices Film Fest Accepting Applications

Detroit Voices, a part of the Cinetopia International Film Festival coming to Detroit and Ann Arbor in June, is accepting submissions from local filmmakers. Winners will have the opportunity to have their films screened in front of an audience that could exceed 15,000 people.

The media is full of coverage of Detroit. Houses for $1.00…Failing Schools…Burned-Out Buildings…Corrupt Officials…Bankruptcy… Detroit Voices asks local filmmaker, "What's the REAL story?"

To be considered for the Detroit Voices film festival, filmmakers must submit a short application and a YouTube or Vimeo link to their video at http://www.cinetopiafestival.org/detroit-voices/ by May 1.

Detroit Voices winners' videos will be screened at the Cinetopia International Film Festival in June.

Downtown property owners to vote on Business Improvement Zone on April 15

Owners of property located in Detroit's central business district have until April 15 at 4 p.m. to submit ballots for a Downtown Business Improvement Zone. 

253 property owners whose properties are located within the area bounded by I-75, I-375, M-10, and the Detroit River are eligible to vote. They are voting on whehter or not to tax themselves at a rate of approximately $4 million annually. The money would be used to collect garbage, sweep sidewalks, put safety ambassadors on the streets, and fund other things to keep downtown clean.

For more information, visit Crain's Detroit Business.

Forgotten mayors of Detroit the subjects of Beer and Politics discussion at Anchor Bar

On April 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Detroit's Anchor Bar, a longtime hangout of Detroit journalists and Red Wings Fans, Amy Elliott Bragg will give a talk about her favorite forgotten mayors of Detroit as a part of Anchor Bar's Beer and Politics community forum.

Elliot Bragg is a co-founder of the Detroit Drunken Historical Society and author of the book Hidden History of Detroit.
 

Detroit Restaurant Week participants announced

Detroit Restaurant Week returns April 11 through April 20. 18 Detroit restaurants have signed on as participants this spring. They are:

24Grille – Westin Book Cadillac Detroit 
Andiamo Detroit Riverfront – GM Ren Cen 
Angelina Italian Bistro – Downtown 
Cliff Bell’s – Downtown
Coach Insignia – GM Ren Cen 
Cuisine – New Center
Da Edoardo Foxtown Grille – Foxtown 
Detroit Seafood Market – Paradise Valley
Fountain Bistro – Campus Martius Park 
The Grille Midtown – Midtown
The Jefferson House – Crowne Plaza Pontchartrain 
La Dolce Vita – Palmer Woods District
Rattlesnake Club – Stroh River Place 
Roast – Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
Roma Cafe – Eastern Market 
Santorini Estiatorio – Greektown
The Whitney – Midtown 
Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina – MGM Grand Detroit

The program for 2014 includes, adding mid-level fine dining restaurants to the participating roster, possible summer events, fall kick-off event and working closely with charity partner, Forgotten Harvest on setting new goals for the year.

Visit www.DetroitRestaurantWeek.com for the latest updates about menus, upcoming events, and to sign-up for the exclusive Detroit Restaurant Week e-newsletter.

Detroit Restaurant Week was created to promote fine dining options in the city of Detroit. Since its inception in 2009, over 290,000 diners have enjoyed the event.
 
Detroit Restaurant Week is presented by Shinola, the Detroit-based manufacturer of premium Detroit-built wristwatches, bicycles and other consumer products. Quicken Loans/Opportunity Detroit also returns as the supporting sponsor.
 
 


Hell yeah, Hamtramck!

Blowing up this week on Facebook, this gem of a list features many of our favorite Hamtown spots, including the underrated Krakus Polish restaraunt (people, just go; it's actiually in Detroit, just north of the Hamtramck city limits), Recycled Treasures, B&H Bar & Grill (one of two Bosnian-owned food businesses on Caniff), Planet Ant Theatre, Srodek's Quality Sausage (ask for the blood sausage, called kieska in Polish), Lo & Behold and Public Pool. Oh, hell, here are the other gems in the story: Hamtramck Disneyland, St. Florian Church, New Palace Bakery and the Detroit Zen Center. That makes 10. All great.

Read all about it here.

Live/Work artist space available in Northend's Fortress Studios

Fortress Studios, a live/work studio space for artists, is currently accepting applications for its residency program. If accepted, artists receive housing and studio space, as well as training opportunities for a $500 monthly fee. In addition to the live/work residency, Fortress Studios offers short-term project-based residencies, studio space, and workshop space (prices vary).

Founded in 2010, Fortress Studios are located in Detroit's Northend neighborhood.

Learn more at http://www.fortressstudiosdetroit.com/opportunities.htm and http://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/ats/4387152097.html

DetroitUrbex launches new site that visualizes city's evolution

DetroitUrbex.com, a site well known for its visual documentation of the city of Detroit over the years, has launched a new project that showcases the stark changes in the city's lanscape over the last 134 years. The site, entitled "Detroit: Evolution of a City," features images of a location overlaid with images of that same location from a different era. The result is truly mind blowing.

Visit for yourself: http://detroiturbex.com/content/ba/feat/index.html

New York Times: DSO getting national attention for live streaming

The sounds of brilliantly played music composed by classical masters is nothing new for fans of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. What is new is that you can live stream DSO concerts on your digital device from the DSO site. The New York Times reports that the Midtown-based orchestra is a global leader in providing this service. How cool.

Read about it here.

New Packard owner joins Freep Film Fest panel

Great to hear Fernando Palazuelo, who bought the Packard Plant in last year's foreclosure auction is in town and talking publicly about his massive redevelopment project.

Curbed Detroit reports that at last week's premier of the doc Packard: The Last Shift he told the audience that he will have a redevelopment plan for the site within three to four months. Sounds mighty good to us.

Read on here.

'Rust Belt Chic: The Detroit Anthology' to be released in May

The Detroit Anthology, edited by Anna Clark, is set to be published by Rust Belt Chic Press in May, 2014. Contributors include Grace Lee Boggs, John Carlisle, Desiree Cooper, dream hampton, Steve Hughes, Jamaal May, Tracie McMillan, Marsha Music, Shaka Senghor, Thomas J. Sugrue, as well as Model D contributors Nina Misuraca Ignaczak, Keith Owens, Francis Grunow, Veronica Grandison, Aaron Mondry, and Matthew Lewis. For more details, see http://beltmag.com/detroit-anthology/

Local drone enthusiast documents the D

Local drone enthusiast Harry Arnold has transformed his hobbies -- radio-controlled hellicopters and videography -- into a business. Clients in Detroit are paying him for the unique aerial perspective captured by his drones. Arnold films everything from events to building demolitions to fires. Read more about Arnold and check out some of his amazing aerial footage on The Atlantic Cities.


Techno titan Carl Craig talks to Thump about Detroit

OK, the interviewer misidentifies the Packard Plant as "a club," but it's a forgivable error in an otherwise solid Q&A with the west side kid from Cooley High who started and continues to run Planet E records, one of the most influential labels in global techno. 

An excerpt:

THUMP: The film mentions Packard, a club at which Richie Hawtin was closely tied to. Did you have much to do with the Packard, or other Detroit parties like the Music Institute? What were those parties like, and how did the Music Institute differ from other parties, including Packard, at the time?
 
Carl Craig: The parties at the Music Institute came before the parties at the Packard Plant. I came in as a spectator, as a music lover for the Music Institute after it had started. That was Derrick May, George Baker, and Alton Miller that were involved in that. The Music Institute was my music education. It was the closest thing to having a Paradise Garage or a Music Box in Detroit. The Packard was also the result of the Music Institute not being around anymore. It moved a couple of doors down, but it was never the same.

Read more here.

Site of former Kettering High to become 27-acre farm

Here's an item we call bittersweet, largely because some of us remember some great athletic programs, featuring prep basketball stars like Lindsay Hairston, Joe Johnson and Eric Money, at Kettering High in the 1970s. Time marches on nevertheless, as Curbed Detroit reports in this excerpt below:

One of Detroit's abandoned schools is about to begin a remarkable transformation. This summer, the east side's former Kettering High School will into a 27-acre urban farm known as the Kettering Urban Agricultural Campus.
According to the AP, the soon-to-be farm will provide food for the Detroit Public School System, while the old building itself will become afood processing facility. This summer will see the property prepared for growing food and the installation of eight hoop houses (green house-like structures).

Read more here.

Move to Hamtramck real estate site launches

We think all Detroit neighborhoods should have a "Move to" inititiative and it looks like some enterprising folks in Hamtramck have the exact same idea. Why not create an online forum where people can find houses, apartments, buildings and businesses for sale or rent? Why not, indeed.

Hamtown has urban assets aplenty, incuding food, art, music, walkable neighborhoods, ethnic diversity and affordability -- with bike lane connectivity to Eastern Market, Midtown and the Riverfront coming soon. 

Check it out on Facebook and Twitter.

Model D and the Nain Rouge take over Great Lakes Coffee

On the eve of this Sunday's Marche du Nain Rouge, join us for Another Last Temptation of the Nain Rouge.

Last year you joined us for the Nain's last hurrah at the Model D house. Well, it's his last, last hurrah. But maybe not.
 
This year the harbinger of doom has decided to enjoy his last night of debauchery at Great Lakes Coffee with rouge libations, a dance party, and a toast! 
 
Join us Saturday, March 22 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Great Lakes Coffee for a final frolic before we bid farewell to Detroit's dastardly devil at the Marche de le Nain Rouge on Sunday. 
 
In case you're wondering, yes, our DJs promise to bring the appropropriate bloodlust to the proceedings.

They are:
Walter Wasacz of nospectacle
Matthew Lewis
Soul Deep's Mike Dutkewych
 
Toast promptly at 9 p.m. by Hidden History of Detroit Author Amy Elliott Bragg.
 
Sip on the Nain's favorite, "The Beetdown" featuring Blue Nectar Tequila & Mcclary Bros. carrot-beet shrubs.
 

Call for apps: Detroit nonprofit to win brand makeover

Impact48 brings together the Detroit region’s most talented design professionals to donate their time for 48 hours to help one lucky nonprofit to collectively create a new exciting brand. After the two days of creative brainstorming and collaboration, the organization will come away with a brand identity package -- logo design or redesign, letterhead and envelope business card, social networking graphics and more.

If you are an eligible nonprofit organization in the Detroit Metro area that would like to be considered for this exciting event, go here and submit your application by April 7. The winning organization will be announced April 14.

Freep Film Fest features Michigan-based docs, panel discussions March 20-23

This much anticpated inaugural event kicks off this Thursday (March 20) and runs through Sunday (March 23) focusing on Detroit- and Michigan-themed documentaries.
 
Screenings are being held at the Fillmore Detroit and Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts. You can view the full lineup with quick descriptions of all the films here.
 
There are tons of highlights to pick from on the schedule, but here are some you may want to circle:
 
• Following the "Packard: The Last Shift" premiere Thursday evening, there is a panel discussion including new Packard Plant owner Fernando Palazuelo; Roger M. Luksik, president of the Packard Motor Car Foundation; Dan Kinkead, director of projects for Detroit Future City Implementation Office, and “Packard: The Last Shift” director Brian Kaufman. It will be moderated by Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh.
• On Friday evening, the screening of "Do You Think a Job is the Answer?" will be followed by a discussion led by Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson. Panelists will include producer-director Gary Gilson; Tonya Allen, president of the Skillman Foundation; Pamela J. Moore, president and CEO of Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., and William F. Jones, CEO of Focus: HOPE.
• After "Lean, Mean & Green" on Sunday afternoon, a panel will be moderated by Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley and include director Carrie LeZotte; the Free Press' John Gallagher, who is a co-producer; Riet Schumack, co-founder and program coordinator Neighbors Building Brightmoor; Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., executive director of Detroit Future City’s Implementation Office and Adam Hollier, vice president of Hantz Woodlands.

Everything you need to know is packed in here

Detroit, oui: In French, Le Figaro waxes cool about the city

Some great Detroit peeps and locations -- including artists Shades, Rob Smith, Chris Turner, Thornetta Davis and the Blackman, Detroit Farm & Garden's Jeff Klein, and the Packard Plant -- make an appearance in this piece (only in French). Wonderful photography by former Model D lensman Dave Krieger.

See it here.

HuffPost Detroit: 11 ways Detroit changed the world for the better

The hits keep on coming of late from our pals at HuffPost Detroit, including this roundup of impressive contributions the city has made to the rest of the world.

Read all about it here.

Detroit love: Come feel it at daylong event at Charles H. Wright

Some outstanding speakers are lined up for this event Thursday, March 13 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. They include: digital brand specialist Hajj Flemings, artist-educator Chazz Miller, president/CEO of Techtown Leslie Smith, John George, founder of Motor City Blight Busters and many others.

All the info you need is right here.

Freep: Check out updated map of M-1 Rail line

OK, here it, the latest graphic for the M-1 route, set to break ground this spring. The Freep published a map. Check it out.

An excerpt:

Naming rights for the urban rail line -- like in Cleveland and other cities -- could bring $1 million or more to help pay for the line, slated to run 3 miles along Woodward from Jefferson Avenue downtown to Grand Boulevard in New Center.

More here.

HuffPost Detroit: Get fresh spin on unknown classics of Motown

Our old friend Ashley Woods penned this awesome piece on little known gems produced by the Motown music factory. What's most amazing is that the tunes she picks are as swingin' and heartfelt today as they were when they were released 40-50 years ago.

An excerpt:  

The label began by Berry Gordy in a little house on Detroit's Grand Boulevard had more hit songs, and more talent, than those four walls could ever hold. And for every hit single crafted by Smokey Robinson or the crack songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland, there were equally great songs that flopped, and equally talented singers who were unfairly denied marketing or access to tracks. There were lawsuits, feuds and falling outs.

Read more, check out the music here.

HuffPost Detroit: Meet eight women of color transforming Detroit

HuffPost Detroit is right on target in profiling these women, all leaders or innovators making it happen in the city.

An excerpt:

Detroit, in particular, often feels held together by the passionate individuals who wake up every day determined to make it a better place to live.

Take the eight women below, identified with the help of the Detroit Urban Innovation Exchange (UIX), a local initiative that highlights people interested in transforming the city. Through food and music, engineering and education, these women are using their skills to find new ways to remake their communities.

Read on here.

UK techno artist Powell performs in newly branded Corktown venue

Oscar David Benjamin Powell - better known simply as Powell - produces 80's era inspired electronic music, drawing from the vast environs of post-punk, no wave, and industrial. "The tracks made by the 30-year-old Londoner sweat with a trudging labor, rather than an abandon of dance - but there's still a seam of funk" says British daily newspaper, The Guardian, who recently named Powell one of 10 music stars to break through in 2014.

His releases so far, from his debut EP "The Ongoing Significance of Steel & Flesh (including a Regis - that’s Karl O’Connor of British Murder Boys - remix)" and its follow up "Body Music," both for Powell's own London-based Diagonal label, the "Fizz" EP for Liberation Technologies and a remix of Silent Servant for Jealous God, are ideal fits for dark deep basement dance parties. 

Powell makes his Detroit debut Friday, March 7 at 1426 Below (1426 Bagley St. in the basement of St. Cece's Pub). DJ support by Justin Carver and Daniel Stolarski (Something Cold / Detroit) and Drew Pompa (We Are All Machines / Detroit). Cover is $10 all night long. This event is 21 and up.

This is a We Are All Machines and nospectacle co-production. Sound will be provided by the Audio Rescue Team.

Martin Anand's 'Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True'' opens at Public Pool

Since moving to Detroit from Dusseldorf in the 1990s, Martin Anand has been a contributor to the electronic music community as a producer, promoter, independent label owner, artist and DJ. Anand has also contributed to Detroit's art, literary and food scenes as an abstract expressionist painter, writer, critical theorist, marathon conversationalist, vegan sandwich maker and juicer. 

The unconventional, multi-layered show, called The Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True and opening March 8 at Hamtramck's Public Pool, features a three person music collaboration during the reception featuring Anand and special guests. Also part of the show are visual and literary works by Anand and Detroit painter Don Staes, a classically trained abstract expressionist inspired by Mexican muralists. Staes is known to return again and again to unfinished paintings, adding layers years after beginning the pieces. 

Anand moved to Detroit from Germany in large part for the city's techno music scene. His musical interests coincided with what some regarded as a "third wave" of Detroit electronic music production in the late 1990s, when artists like Adult., Ectomorph, Dopplereffekt, Perspects, Goudron and other electro specialists were peaking. He founded the label Kenaob in 2004 and released music by Andy Toth, Colin Zyskowski and Charles Preset. Later, he was also associated with Toth (ex-Detroit Grand Pubahs) and Zyskowski on the Woodbridge-based People Mover Productions label.

Anand then opened and operated Atom's Java & Juice Bar in Grosse Pointe Park, where his art, poetry and critical writing filled the walls while DJs from Detroit Techno Militia, Paris '68 and solo artists like Andy Garcia, Greg Mudge and George Rahme filled the room with strange, often discordant music.

Join us at Public Pool for this unique exhibition of visual works, confrontational words and abrasive sounds -- all making up what Anand calls "social sculpture." During the run of the show, the artist will be spending Saturdays at the gallery talking, listening, debating and arguing with anyone who drops in. 

The The Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True runs from March 8 through April 19. Saturday gallery hours are 1-6 p.m.

Public Pool is at 3309 Caniff, in Hamtramck.

Conde Nast Traveller checks in on Detroit food scene

We're happy anytime we see a story about lovely foodie things happening in Detroit neighbourhoods using British English spellings.

An excerpt from Conde Nast Traveller:

One neighbourhood that's booming is Corktown, a previously near-deserted stretch of Michigan Avenue in the shadow of the abandoned Michigan Central Station. Now it's bustling with the likes of craft-beer specialist Slows Bar B Q, coffee shop Astro, and new Italian restaurant Ottava Via. Other newcomers include Two James, the first distillery to open in Detroit since before Prohibition, which sells a range of handcrafted vodka, gin, bourbon and whiskey. Order the bourbon-based Corktown Flip at its industrial-style bar. Gold Cash Gold, a restaurant opening this summer in a former pawn shop, shows how far the area is transforming.

Read more here.

Global Detroit audio: Thoughts on Gov. Snyder's immigration initiative

Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit, makes a strong case that not only could the city use highly-skilled, college educated immigrants -- which Gov. Snyder outlined in his recent State of the State address -- but that the city needs more working class foreign-born newcomers as a way to revitalize the local economy.

Check out this audio report on Michigan Radio. Mighty important stuff, indeed. Listen here.

Shinola to wind up four big clocks downtown

Ever since hitting the ground running in Detroit a couple years ago, Shinola has not failed to amaze with its marketing acumen. Take this latest move, to place four big clocks in strategic downtown locations. We like what Curbed has to say about that in this excerpt:

The sidewalks of Detroit will sprout four 13' street clocks by the beginning of March, courtesy of an interesting marketing move by Detroit's local watchmaker/voluntary cheerleader, Shinola. The permanent fixtures are meant to replicate the design of the company's new pocket watch, which is meant to replicate an era when people actually used pocket watches.

Read on here.

Calling all artists: Apply now to do creative makeover of viaducts

Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) in partnership with the New Economy Initiative (NEI) is seeking proposals to transform the undersides of two viaducts located in Midtown Detroit’s TechTown district with public art and light. MDI is pleased to announce that its Call for Entries is now open.

The Second and Cass Avenue viaducts are two fully operational railroad bridge grade separations located between Baltimore and Amsterdam Streets in TechTown. Originally constructed in 1934, these once magnificent viaducts have been poorly maintained over the years and lack adequate lighting, contributing to unsafe perceptions of the district. This call seeks to give these industrial bridges new life—making them a choice destination rather than a place to pass through.

Accepted proposals will be funded up to $75,000 per viaduct. Applicants may provide proposals for either one or both viaducts. If applying for both viaducts, proposals may treat each viaduct as two separate installations or visually connect the two viaducts with a cohesive design.

The deadline for all applications is April 30.

More details here.

Detroit Party Marching Band home from EU blast

One of Detroit’s biggest bands, literally speaking, just got back from their first European tour. The 30 strong Detroit Party Marching Band played four shows over the course of a week in Holland. They also just played a welcome-home gig at the Trumbullplex in Woodbridge.

John Notarianni, media specialist for Model D's parent company Issue Media Group, and Jason Marker are in the band. They spoke with WDET's Travis Wright.

Listen in here.

Live chat today with Freep's John Gallagher and sociologist Thomas Sugrue

Join a live chat with Tom Sugrue, director of the Penn Social Science and Policy Forum at the University of Pennsylvania and author of "The Origins of the Urban Crisis," and John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press. Sugrue is an expert on the history of Detroit deindustrialization and the dynamics of race in the city.

The live chat begins today (Feb. 25) at noon. Start posting questions here now.

Richard Florida: Why gayborhoods matter

Not since the heyday of Palmer Park in the 1970s and 1980s has Detroit had its own gayborhood. We've long believed in the economic and cultural benefits of such 'hoods. So does Richard Florida, in this excerpt from Atlantic Cities:

Economists have long speculated about the effects of gayborhoods on everything from diversity to gentrification to housing prices. One common theme of this analysis is that neighborhoods with a higher than average density of gay residents are by definition more diverse and open-minded, with a wider range of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups as well. Another common argument is that gays often pioneer the revitalization of disadvantaged, crime-filled urban neighborhoods – and their presence can be seen as an early marker of gentrification and a precursor to a jump in housing prices.

Did he just say gentrification? Why yes, yes he did.

Read more here.

Curbed Detroit updates Gar Building progress

It's good to get a progress report on the rehab of one of Detroit's most fascinating turnaround building projects, as seen in Curbed Detroit:

Where most people saw an abandoned castle with an attic full of bird turds, local production company Mindfield saw office space. Roughly two years have passed since we first wrote about the impending renovation. According to the original timeline, the GAR should be little more than a good Swiftering away from its debut. Alas, intense renovation work continues, with an updated goal of opening this fall.

Read more here.

VoteForDetroit.com to give 'Move to Detroit' presentation at SXSW

By the time this year’s SXSW-Interactive in Austin begins in early March, Lowe Campbell Ewald will have moved over 500 employees to Detroit. The advertising firm will be doing a 'Move to Detroit' presentation at the festival in the Texas capital. See an excerpt below:  

Despite what you might read in the media, Detroit is quickly becoming rich in creativity, innovation and inspiration. In fact, Detroit was one of seven North American cities selected to be part of Google’s Tech Hub Network, and with tech investors like Detroit Venture Partners, it's becoming easy for startups to create opportunities. And in Detroit, everything needs help, so there are endless opportunities.

With a "we're all in this together" mentality, everyone is becoming friends and utilizing their skills to not only help one another, but define Detroit's future. Whether you're a designer, an innovator, an entrepreneur or an investor, the talent is moving to Detroit. And so should you.

Read more at VoteForDetroit.com here.

Henry Ford Academy students receive scholastic art awards

Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies (HFA: SCS) middle and high school students received 21 regional Scholastic Art Awards during an award ceremony at the Detroit Institute of Arts! Detroit Film Theater on Feb. 12. In addition to earning a significant total number of awards, for the first time an HFA: SCS student has also attained the highest regional award and will represent the school on the national level.

The Southeastern Michigan Region of the Scholastic Art Awards received more than 5,500 individual works of art from middle school and high school students and 291 senior portfolios, which were then judged in a blind process and selected for Honorable Mentions, Silver and Gold Key Awards, American Vision nominations, and Best of Show Portfolios.
 
Joshua Rainer, 12th grade, is one of five young area artists who will represent the region on the national level as American Vision nominees, chosen as Best of Show from all of the artwork entered in this year's Southeastern Michigan regional competition. Each regional program across the country selects the five most outstanding works of art from their Gold Key recipients. These five young artists represent the region on the national level as American Vision nominees. A national panel selects one of the nominated works from each region as the American Vision Award Recipient for 2014. Each of these selected artists will receive a gold medal at the national ceremony held in New York City. 
 
At a time when many schools have cut visual arts programs, all students at the tuition-free college prep middle/high school engage in intensive art and design course work, with curriculum and instruction developed in partnership with the College for Creative Studies. HFA: SCS students won eighteen individual awards in a range of media categories, including:

Gold Key
John Griffith - Painting
Mark Hall - Photography
Deja Jones - Fashion (2)
Joshua Rainer - Painting (3)
Jaylen Tate-Lucas - Mixed Media
Joshua Williams - Drawing

Silver Key
Rachel Fernandez - Photography
Mark Hall - Photography (2)
Franchesca Lamarre - Fashion
Morgan Parker - Photography
Joshua Rainer - Painting

Honorable Mention
Naomi Cook - Painting
Deja Jones - Fashion
Joshua Williams - Drawing

Franchesca Lamarre and Joshua Rainer also received Gold Keys for their Senior Art Portfolios, which are a critical body of work for any student pursuing post-secondary education in a creative field.


New America Media: Immigrants key to Detroit revival

This report in New America Media, especpially the following three paragraphs, caught our eye last week. Who can doubt that welcoming immigrant communities to Detroit is an excellent idea? 

An excerpt:

While Detroit’s population has gone down by about 26 percent, the Latino population, particularly in the southeast side of the city, known as "Mexicantown," continues to rise, along with Latino-owned businesses.

Over the last two decades, according to census data, Detroit’s Latino population nearly doubled to 50,000 in 2010. Latinos in the city are also fairly young, with a median age of 24. 

According to an Associated Press report, more than $200 million in the past 15 years has been invested in Mexicantown, a few miles from downtown Detroit. This investment has attracted more restaurants, retail stores, and new residential buildings, including an $11 million condominium development.

Read more here.

Duggan and Obama meet, talk jobs for Detroit

The Freep reports that Obama and Duggan were joined at the lunch by White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Don Graves, Senior Adviser at the National Economic Council. 

Duggan said he didn’t ask the president for money but instead was talking about strategies to create more jobs.

He wouldn’t specify what ideas he talked about with Obama, saying he wants to present them in detail to the president first.
But Duggan mentioned his administration has a request in for more buses because "we've got to get people to these jobs."

Read the entire story here.

We'll drink to that: Hopcat to open at M-1 Rail stop

The building at 4265 Woodward (most recently inhabited by Agave) is being converted into the new Detroit home for HopCat, which will become city’s largest beer bar featuring 130 taps with an emphasis on Michigan craft beers.

The business is reportedly investing $3.3 million into the building at the southwest corner of Woodward and Canfield, vacant since 2006. The location is where a stop on the M-1 Rail streetcar line will be.

The Detroit location will feature an outdoor beer garden and live music. Read more here.

#DetroitWeek of entrepreneurship and innovation up and running

#DetroitWeek, which began yesterday and runs through Feb. 23 is being called a "celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation" It's a week packed with cool stuff. Take a look at the calendar of events planned for downtown and Midtown. 

We caught up to Hajj Flemings, a personal brand strategist and founder/CEO of Brand Camp University who is running the festival for a short Q&A: 

How did the idea for Detroit Week originate?
 
The idea for Detroit Week was birthed from a phone call my co-founder, Delane Parnell, and I had with IBM (one of our partners) about co-organizing a few events for National Entrepreneurship Week. Unfortunately, the plans fell through and after an internal discussion we decided to create a platform that could interconnect the city's tech and broader business community while unifying the local support organizations.
 
What are the goals you hope to achieve after a week of activities, events, discussions?
 
Our goals are synonymous with everything we do; we want to inspire people to follow their passions, connect members of the community with each other, help shift our city's culture from developing ideas to creating products, and facilitate partnerships between local support organizations. Although Detroit Week will end on Feb. 23, our mission won't stop there. Throughout the year we plan to continue introducing programs, events, and activities to the community that will amplify and further the dialogue around entrepreneurship and technology throughout the entire state of Michigan. But as far as Detroit, Mayor Duggan said it best, we're open for business.

Model D will be hosting a featured #DetroitWeek event. Join us Feb. 20 for a happy hour at the Model D House (4470 Second Ave., Detroit), 5:30 - 7 p.m. RSVP Here.

Queer Detroit underground: Carleton Gholz of DSC on forgotten innovators of techno

When club kids and other music peeps need to know which way is up or down in global dance culture they turn to Resident Advisor, which has editorial outposts in Berlin, London and Tokyo.

We found this recent piece on LGBT influence on the international scene on RA especially fine, with insights by Carleton Gholz of the Detroit Sound Conservancy on the origins of Detroit Techno particularly perceptive. Gholz is currently finishing up a post-doctoral teaching gig in Boston - not to mention finishing his book, Out Come the Freaks: Electronic Dance Music and the Making of Detroit after Motown - and moving back to Detroit where he belongs this spring. Dude, welcome back. 

No spoliers, just read the whole beautiful damn thing here.

Breaking news? Detroit still the new Brooklyn

We may kid with our headline, but actually this piece in CCNMoney is a solid look at the patterns of Detroit development that match up quite well with what happened in New York during the latter half of the last century, still moving forward unabated today.

An excerpt:

How is this revival happening? The old way it seems; in that sequence that has always pioneered the revitalization of cities: the artists with a good eye, the penniless young people with a sense of adventure, and the fearless entrepreneurs. These were the pioneers of the Left Bank of Paris in the 1870s, Greenwich Village of the 1920s, SoHo in the '60s, Miami Beach in the '80s, and Brooklyn today. They are the first wave in a succession that thrives below the horizon of bureaucratic control. They can be classified as the risk oblivious cohort.

Read on here.

MOCAD opens two new shows with Friday party

The opening of the next exhibition season at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) happens this weekend and features musical performances by Jamaican Queens and Doc Waffles beginning at 9 p.m. 
 
Jamaican Queens (Real Detroit's Artists of the Year 2013): post-everything pop, heavily influenced by the southern rap beats of Three 6 Mafia, Gucci Mane, and Young Jeezy, as well as the experimentation of Brian Eno and Lee Scratch Perry. The outcome is an urgent canvas overlaid with pop hooks that would make David Bowie blush.
 
With Doc Waffles, experimental rapper, rare book dealer, and founder of the Big $$$ Cacuts Center for the Advancement of Horizontal Scholarship. Embracing automatic and chance-driven writing practices, with influences ranging from Duchamp to Beefheart to Ghostface Killah, Doc Waffles is one of Detroit's most unique and compelling songwriters.

Public Opening is 7 p.m. Admission is a suggested $5 donation and free for MOCAD members. More details here.

MOCAD is at 4454 Woodward Ave. in Midtown.


Come to D:hive's LiveWorkDetroit! event this Friday

Are you looking for a job in a city filled with opportunity? With high-tech startups, cutting-edge medical researchers, creative entrepreneurs, unrivaled restaurants, world-renowned museums, and affordable places to live, Detroit is that city. Join us Feb. 7 for a LiveWorkDetroit. one-day Detroit experience where you will network with award winning employers, meet students from around the state and get a first-hand look at the best places to live, work and play. 
 
Registration required ($15 after Jan 31) and includes food, transportation, and entertainment. Register here.

Event features: Employer Networking, 2-4 p.m.; Insider Tour by D:hive, 4-6 p.m.; Dinner and Panel Discussion, 6-8 p.m.

It's this Friday Feb. 7, 2-8 p.m. at the Westin Book Cadillac, 1114 Washington Blvd., downtown Detroit.
 
Got any questions? call 313-962-4590 or go to info@dhivedetroit.org.


Pure Detroit to open shop at Belle Isle aquarium

We say wunderbar! to Pure Detroit's decision to open another location, this one in the fab Belle Isle aquarium. It'll only be open on Saturdays, but that's fine with us. An excerpt from Crain's Detroit:  

"We love the aquarium; it's a phenomenal Albert Kahn building," said Kevin Borsay, co-owner of Pure Detroit. "We have an affinity for Detroit landmark buildings, and I think things are moving in the right direction over there. There's a lot of interest and effort to bring the aquarium to a great level and we want to be a part of that."

Pure Detroit will also be selling newly designed T-shirts that are an ode to Belle Isle. They will be similar to the "All In for Belle Isle" shirts that state and city officials wore at a recent press conference.

Read on here.

Legendary Baker's Keyboard plans second location downtown

Detroit performing arts entrepreneurhip is one of our editorial themes for 2014 and we'll be keeping track of all the greatest hits of the year, like this one, a proposed second location, in downtown's Capitol Park, for Baker's Keyboard Lounge.

An excerpt from DBusiness:

Since 1934, Baker’s has hosted such legendary jazz artists as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Earl Klugh, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughn, and George Benson. Klugh says he began playing at the club in the 1970s as a teenager (accompanied by his mother). Smith says Capitol Park is an ideal location.

In recent years, several buildings bordering the triangular park have changed hands. Bedrock and its various entities have acquired some historic structures, as well as Broder & Sachse Real Estate Services in Detroit and Karp and Associates in Lansing.

Yeah, man, we'll see you downtown. Meanwhile, read on here.

Grande Ballroom '68: Detroit music in pictures

The hippie dream was alive, well and prospering in Detroit in the late 1960s. Local groups like the MC5, the Stooges, the Up and dozens of others were playing a blistering brand of acid rock, distinctly different than the so-called flower power doodling found on the west coast. More like was happening in New York (Velvet Underground), but not really. It was louder and, uh, more messed up here, more true to the rowdy spirit of rock 'n' roll.

In 1968, it was happening at the Grande Ballroom, in the old Riviera Theater on Grand River near Joy Road. We found this series of photos on a site called Retrokimmer. Jimi, the Who, Cream, the MC5 and just your average longhaired boy and girl fans are captured.

Check it out here.

Video report: Mapping Detroit blight

A newly formed task force has been charged with spearheading an effort to electronically catalog blighted properties in the city. That's certainly a good start to addressing a complex problem. Watch this Voice of America report on the Motor City Mapping Project in this video.

As a bonus, here's the Freep's John Gallagher asking "what's next" after the rubble has been cleared. Will measures that came out of the work done by Detroit Future City, including building on urban ag and other green and blue (daylighting subterranean creeks that exist on the city's east side) projects, be implemented? Good questions, John.

See Gallagher's piece here.  

IAYD plans year of helping young entrepreneurs succeed in business

I Am Young Detroit, the social venture that promotes entrepreneurship as a means to combat youth unemployment and boost economic impact in Detroit, turns 5 years old this month. 

To celebrate the organization will be hosting a live event Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m when it will launch its 2014 programs, which include: memberships, micro-grants and fellowships, pop lab, and startup services.

The event will take place at the Untitled Bottega in Detroit, and feature conversation, live performances by Cold English, food vendors, and its first pop lab pop-up: EMLE Clothing.

This year IAYD is doubling down on helping young entrepreneurs like EMLE launch companies in the seed stage. 

New programs include:

Membership
I Am Young Detroit members get access to exclusive resources and tools, discounts on products and events from partners, early access to beta apps and programs, discounts on premium services, and more. Three membership levels are available. Applications open Jan. 25.

Grants & fellowships
Five years in the making, I Am Young Detroit will be awarding monthly grants to Detroit entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 30, providing seed money to allow them the opportunity to begin turning their dreams into reality. Awards include micro-grants up to $1,000, mentor matching, "Doer" membership, opportunity for matching high school fellow, and access to co-working space. Applications open Jan. 25.

I Am Young Detroit's high school fellows are matched with select grantees based on their career goals and interests and receive a small monthly stipend, hands-on experience, and access to co-working space for the duration of their fellowship.

Pop Lab
In partnership with Dpop, I Am Young Detroit is providing a unique opportunity for Detroit-based entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 30 the opportunity to pop-in to vacant and underutilized spaces with their retail business ideas. They'll provide marketing, commercial design, media, place-matching, and logistics support. I Am Young Detroit will even match entrepreneurs with a mentor or two and help launch pop-ups in style with a fabulous event. Applications open Jan. 25.

Startup Services
I Am Young Detroit will be offering a curated selection of startup services to help launch local business. Services will include logo design, explainer video production, and retail design.
 
I Am Young America is a social venture that promotes entrepreneurship as a means to combat youth unemployment and boost economic impact in cities. Our mission is to help revitalize American cities by empowering young entrepreneurs to launch businesses, and mobilize citizens everywhere to champion them.

Get updates on I Am Young Detroit's Facebook page.

Detroit Bikes partners with Bicycle Technologies International for U.S. distribution

Detroit Bikes, LLC, and Bicycle Technologies International recently announced that they have begun working together to bring Detroit Bikes to over 4000 of BTI's clients.
 
Bicycle Technologies International is one of the largest distributors in North America, with over 23,000 unique bicycle parts, accessories and clothing items representing over 300 premium brands. BTI supplies local bike shops across the country, bringing high performance products from around the globe. BTI celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2013 and looks forward to growth in the next 20 years by partnering with brands that are committed to fostering the cycling community with great products.
 
Detroit Bikes, LLC is a bicycle manufacturing company in west Detroit, marking the return of high-volume frame manufacturing to the United States. Each bicycle frame is built from 4130 chromoly steel tubing cut, coped, welded and painted in Detroit Bikes' 50,000 square-foot factory. This location has the capacity to produce 40,000 bikes a year.
 
Detroit Bikes seeks to encourage cycling by making an accessible, enjoyable bicycle while continuing Detroit's legacy of quality manufacturing and design. Its headquarters and factory are located at 13639 Elmira Road, Detroit. For more information, go here.


'Geektown Detroit' illustrates city's early techno scene

Geektown Detroit is a book project by German graphic design and illustration student Sandra Leidecker about early Detroit techno. For her diploma thesis at Bauhaus Universität Weimar she did interviews with DJs, producers and label owners from Detroit and all over the world to learn about the roots of techno music. She did illustrations of main characters, studio gear and places in Detroit.

There's plenty of good stuff here for techno peeps and anyone else interested in the creative energies that flow through the city.

See more here.

State of Opportunity series follows Detroit's Boggs School in sound and pictures

This report by Zak Rosen and Andrea Claire Maio is part of an ongoing series on the James and Grace Lee Boggs School in Detroit. Listen to the report and watch the video below. Here's an excerpt:

The students at the Boggs School spend a lot of time dreaming about what their ideal neighborhood would be like. But they're also thinking about ways to make that dream possible. That's why the back of their class t-shirts has the word "solutionary" printed on them. At the Boggs School, students aren't just students. They're problem solvers, they're change agents, they're citizens of Detroit.

Check it out here.

Very Zen: Raw food rules at Hamtown's Buddhist center

When thinking of food options in Hamtramck the list is most impressive: ethnic choices (South Asian, Middle Eastern, Polish, Balkan) abound, not to mention new kitchens at Rock City Eatery and Revolver rolling out creative takes on American classic dishes.

But don't forget the café at the Detroit Zen Center (tucked away in a residential neighborhood at the corner of Casmere and Mitchell streets, one block east of Jos, Campau), says Melody Baetens of the Detroit News.

An excerpt: 

The café is rustic, clean and warm, and can seat a few dozen. Diners can choose to sit at low tables on a raised, heated platform, or in traditional tables and chairs.

Food is cooked in an open kitchen, the same used to make the center’s line of Living Zen Organics food, which includes kale chips, fresh kale salad, raw granola, raw brownies and flax crackers. (Living Zen Organic products can be found at Eastern Market, Western Market in Ferndale, Honey Bee market in Detroit, Plum Markets and healthy food stores across Metro Detroit.)

Read on here.

Immigrant entrepreneurship driving local economies

Our friend Jordi Carbonell, and his wife Melissa Fernandez, of Cafe Con Leche in Southwest Detroit are featured in this issue of Immigrant Impact, which focuses on the mighty good that entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world are doing in building American community life.

An excerpt.

A new report  from the American Immigration Council explains the journeys of three places -- Detroit, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; and rural communities in Iowa -- to implement strategies for future economic success that depend in part upon immigration. Despite tepid federal efforts at reform, such places are embarking on exciting ventures, such as Global Detroit and the St. Louis Mosaic Project, to attract immigrants to their communities, support new and existing immigrant entrepreneurs, and create synergy between immigrants and native-born citizens. This trend recognizes the growing significance of immigration as an economic factor, but it is also a major rethinking of how individuals and communities accept and welcome newcomers and encourage their successful integration. 

See more here.

Metropolis: Chef Phil Jones is Detroit game changer

We love Phil Jones and his people- and eco-friendly, socially conscious not-for-profit approach to the food business. Jones is the executive chef at downtown's COLORS Detroit and at various pop-ups around town. 

He gets some well-deserved love from Metropolis mag no less, in a story we've excerpted below:

Jones grew up selling meat patties on St. Croix as a boy, worked at a neighborhood soul food place as a teenager, and later cooked for Christian catering halls, The Rattlesnake Club, and several high-end hotels. For the past two years he’s been bringing those culinary chops to Colors as a part of a broad program that includes workforce development, cultivating cooperative food business start-ups, and promoting restaurant worker advocacy.

Good stuff, eh? Read on here.

City seeks proposals for Brush Park developments

In a story penned by the Freep's John Gallagher, the question "just what's happening in Brush Park?" is close to being answered. We're happy to keep the discussion going. An excerpt:

Austin Black II, a real estate broker active in the greater downtown area, said the project is important because it promises to deliver much-needed new residential units to the market. There’s a shortage not just of rental apartments but of for-sale condominiums and townhouses, too.

Developers have until Feb. 5 to submit their proposals to the city. The request for proposals can be found on the city’s website here by clicking on "departments," then on the Planning & Development Department page, and then clicking on for request for proposals.

The city’s request said a decision will be made later in February.

Read on here.

BBC audio: Motown's 'Black Forum' spoken word label

In 1970, Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, set up a Motown spoken word label. It was called Black Forum and recorded poetry, civil rights speeches, African-American soldiers in Vietnam and more. The label closed in 1973 after eight releases. In recent years those releases have started to attract interest and some have been reissued. 

Check out this fascinating audio piece recently broadcast on the BBC. But you have on until Jan. 16 (that's Thursday) to listen before the podcast is taken down.

Listen here.

Bumper & Brews tours during Detroit Auto Show

Motor City Brew Tours and Show Me Detroit Tours are partnering to present four Detroit Bumpers & Brew Tours Jan. 18 and 25, during the 2014 North American International Auto Show. The tours start in Midtown at 10 a.m. and at 2:30 p.m.

The 3.5-hour tours will look at Detroit’s earliest automotive history including the Ford Piquette Plant, the Packard Plant, architect Albert Kahn’s work, and the historic auto baron homes of Indian Village – as well as offering an up-to-the-minute recap of current Downtown and Midtown development. The tours will conclude with a Michigan craft beer sampling and light lunch at the Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant.  

According to Kim Rusinow and Pat Haller, Show Me Detroit Tours co-founders, interest is higher than ever in seeing and understanding Detroit’s rich history, as well as its current challenges and successes.

The $49.99 tour ticket price includes expert historical commentary, guided bus transportation, admission at the Ford Piquette Plant, a light lunch with 4-8 oz. beer samples at the Traffic Jam & Snug. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Tour guests must be 21 years of age.

The tours will start and end in front of the Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant at 511 West Canfield.  

For more information or to purchase tour tickets go here or here. Or call 248-850-2563 or 313-444-2120.

Freep's Gallagher: New Detroit developments expected in 2014

It's alway good to look ahead to projects that are about to go forward or are getting into position to make a spalsh in the near future.

In the Detroit Free Press, John Gallagher updates several projects that are close to breaking ground in the new year.

An excerpt: 

St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar has won approval for a $60-million complex east of the Renaissance Center featuring three- to four-story townhouses and apartment buildings. Detroit native Richard Baron, the group’s chairman and CEO, heads the project.

Baron has a significant record doing projects like this elsewhere. Detroit’s vacant waterfront parcels almost certainly will see expensive housing lining the RiverWalk one day just as it lines the waterfronts in so many other cities. Whether it starts to happen in Detroit this year or later will be something to watch.

Read more here.

Eater: Craft Work opens in West Village

Foodie alert squad Eater reports that long-anticipated West Village restaurant Craft Work quietly opened over the holidays. A few Yelp reviews were also posted, including the gushing one below:

"We went here for my birthday (12/28/13) and I had the grilled trout and it was fabulous!! The service was great, Bianca (our server) was friendly and very knowledgable of the menu. The space was classy, quaint and lovely. The bar area was great! I can see this being a neighborhood bar!! I would recommend CraftWorks (sic) to all my friends that want to have a fabulous dinner and experience in Detroit!! And it's in walking distance of our house..."

Read more here.

Public Pool show challenges ideas of art

In a new show exploring the age-old question of what makes art, yes, art, Public Pool presents ART AS ANTI-ART IS ART from Jan. 11 through Feb. 22. This group show features six Detroit artists, each of whom take a non-traditional approach using every day materials to express their ideas. Does art become artless if the core material is duck tape, or scraps of carpet, or pigeon feathers, or everyday trash? 

The show features everything from duct-taped paintings to a bass-guitar boat to a catch-scratch sculpture. 

In a special presentation on opening night (Jan. 11) Public Pool welcomes a Q & A session with international art critic Arthur Dotwieller, on loan from the Vandermiron Trust Estate Collection in Liechtenstein. Dotwieller will offer his thoughts on the works in the show and art in general, and, for the first time in his career, take questions from the audience.

Featured artists include: Matt Ziolkowski, Claire D'Aoust, Dylan Spaysky, Bridget Michael, Kathy Leisen, Geoff Burkhart, and Dan Miller (performance).

Public Pool is at 3009 Caniff in Hamtramck.

Live Webinar features presentation by community engager Bradford Frost

On Jan. 15 at noon, Meeting of the Minds will present a live, free webinar via Webex.

The subject of the webinar is Detroit’s transformation imperatives and key change strategies discussed in the context of the city’s recent momentum, highlighting several projects, including the Detroit Corridor Initiative, Detroit Future City and The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program.

This presentation will be led by Bradford Frost, who moved to the city in 2005. Frost has since delivered significant results through his professional projects, political action, public writings and community engagement work.
 
A former Detroit Revitalization Fellow at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Bradford led the design, cultivation and execution of new projects including the ArtPlace America 'Cultural Living Room' transformation of Kresge Court and a community engagement project that connected over 1,000 residents to creatively respond to a contemporary exhibit. Wayne State University Press recently published Bradford’s commemorative book, Reveal Your Detroit: An Intimate Look at a Great American City.

To get on the live feed Jan. 15 go here.

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs announces grant awards

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) today approved 384 grants, located in 52 counties, totaling $7.6 million in awards. These grants represented awards in the Artist in Education Residencies, Capital Improvement, Program for Operational and Projects Support, the Regional Regranting program and the Services to the Field program.

The MCACA adjudicates grant applications using a peer review process that is open to the public for observation, in person and online. MCACA held 20 separate panels and used the services of 98 professionals to determine eligibility for grant awards.

For a complete list of grant awards, visit: here or here.

MCACA, part of the Michigan Strategic Fund/Michigan Economic Development Corporation, serves to encourage, develop and facilitate an enriched environment of artistic, creative and cultural activity in Michigan. For more on its initiatives and programs, go here and become a fan on Facebook.
 

LTU College of Architecture & Design to break ground in prime Midtown spot

Very nice to see renderings of this project in Curbed Detroit (which re-ran part of piece first reported in Crain's). We like this a lot. Read an excerpt:

The development on Woodward and Willis is scheduled to break ground this week. The $7M building will be three stories, with almost half of its 30,000 square feet devoted to Lawrence Tech's College of Architecture and Design. Surprisingly, there's no residential space in this structure, nor any certainty of retail space. The ground floor will mostly be gallery space for LTU, though an unnamed restaurant might occupy a spot in the corner. Midtown Inc expects LTU to move in by October 2014.

See more here.

Two Hamtown buildings could be bargain for right bidder

Two buildings on Jos. Campau in Hamtramck could be just the prime ticket for the right developer, if you read between the lines in this article on an upcoming closed bid in the Hamtramck Review. An excerpt:

The first to go up for bid is a partially developed loft space on Jos. Campau and Goodson, a former veterans post.
          
The city acquired the property for $40,000 after a developer failed to finish the project. The city, however, ran out of time and perhaps money to complete the project. The city will be seeking sealed bids for the property.
          
It could be quite a steal for the lucky bidder. The upper floor has already been converted into two lofts, while the downstairs is open for any configuration or purpose, including turning it into a retail space.
         
The next city-owned building to be put up for bid is the largest in the Jos. Campau business district, at the corner of Belmont. The four-story building came into the city’s possession due to a foreclosure.

A would-be developer had a state grant to tap into to help with rehab costs, but he could not secure a bank loan to finance the project.

The potential for this building is unlimited, and for the right developer a goldmine. Read the rest of the story here.

Sounds good to us. To submit a sealed bid, mail it to:

City of Hamtramck, Office of the City Clerk, 3401 Evaline, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Minimum bid is $145,500 and every bidder must submit a certified check in an amount equaling 10 percent of their bid. Make check out to Treasurer, City of Hamtramck. Bids are due Dec. 18, 3 p.m. That's this Wednesday. 

To see photos of the Goodson building, inside and out, go here.

Freep's Gallagher: A brief history of Black Bottom and I-375

Discussion and debate about whether I-375 should be replaced by a surface boulevard appears to heating up. John Gallagher of the Detroit Free weighs in with this commentary, excerpted here:

Named for the rich dark soil that French explorers first found there, the Black Bottom district in the 1940s and ’50s housed the city’s African-American entrepreneurial class, with dozens of thriving black-owned businesses and the Paradise Valley entertainment zone, where Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie performed.

But the builders of I-75 and I-375 plowed multilane highways right through Hastings Street, the commercial heart of Black Bottom, and projects such as Lafayette Park and the public housing projects to the north destroyed the rest in the name of progress.

Read the entire piece here.

Go with the Flow: Party with DETROITGRAMS Friday at Great Lakes

DETROITGRAMS, a digital publication, couples its newest issue release about hip hop with a gallery night Dec. 20 at Great Lakes Coffee in Midtown Detroit. The event is 7-11 p.m.

DETROITGRAMS’ latest issue, called Flow, takes an intimate look at hip hop culture and examines its influence in modern Detroit. As a complement to this online content, the gallery night will illustrate how hip hop is much more than music as photographers and writers explore the lives of videographers, activists, producers and other influencers.

The event will present a photo exhibit and video footage along with a set by DJ Carmine. It is free and open to the public, RSVP here.
 

Fourth Annual Detroit Holiday Food Bazaar this weekend

Started in 2010 by food writer and small business owner, Noelle Lothamer, the Detroit Holiday Food Bazaar has established itself as a way to connect small food entrepreneurs with customers eager to purchase unique local and artisanal products, both for themselves and as holiday gifts.

This year's event takes place Friday, Dec. 13 (5-10 p.m.) and Saturday, Dec. 14 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) in the Historic Jefferson-Chalmers Business District.
 
Lothamer -- who started the cottage food business, Beau Bien Fine Foods in 2010 with partner Molly O'Meara - hoped to sell the duo's jams and condiments to the public for the holidays, but the fledgling company was too small to vend at Eastern Market or to pay the high fees associated with most holiday fairs and markets. So, she decided to create her own one-night-only pop-up market, inviting a handful of fellow food entrepreneurs to join her.
 
The Bazaar is held each year in a different location, in hopes of highlighting different neighborhoods in the city. This year's Bazaar will be held in the Jefferson-Chalmers business district, at three different storefronts (14430, 14440, and 14401 E. Jefferson). Food trucks will be in attendance Friday evening, and pop-up-turned-permanent coffee shop Coffee & (___) (14409 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit) will also be open for the duration of the event.
 
The Bazaar strives to showcase the best food artisans the area has to offer. This year's market will feature products such as "Old Timey Drinking Vinegars" from McClary Bros., smoked salmon from Great Lakes Smoked Salmon, hand-dipped chocolate truffles from Pete's Chocolates, olives and tapenades from Sofia's Selection, French lava cakes from Chez Chloé, coffee from Great Lakes Coffee and much more. Many of the vendors will be offering special holiday pricing or gift packaging not available elsewhere.

Corktown's Two James gets some video love from Al Jazeera America

From Deadline Detroit we learned that Al Jazeera America, which set up a Detroit bureau in August, aired a two-minute report (below) on the Michigan Avenue newcomer that opened a tasting room Nov. 1.

"From ingredients to packaging, everything at Two James Spirits is local," notes the network's local correspondent, Bisi Onile-Ere.

See the video here.

Discussion and screening of 'Girls Gone Vinyl' work in progress

An official selection of New York's Athena Film Festival-2013, the locally-produced documentary Girls Gone Vinyl will be getting a screening of the work in progress this Thursday at Cinema Detroit in Midtown's Cass Corridor.

There is also a panel discussion and VIP reception as part of Thursday's event, also a fundraiser to complete production of the film. 
 
The panel is made up of:
 
Jenny Lafemme- DJ and producer of Girls Gone Vinyl
Maggie Derthick- promoter and producer of Girls Gone Vinyl
Rebekah Farrugia - professor and author of Beyond The Dance Floor
Ted Krisko - DJ/producer currently playing across the Americas and Europe
Walter Wasacz - journalist and managing editor of Model D
 
VIP reception is 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. and is $75. That gets you cocktails and lite fare, a guaranteed seat for screening and the panel discussion, and a VIP gift bag.
 
General admittance is 7:30 p.m. and is $25 at the door. Screening is 8 p.m. Discussion and Q&A follows the screening. The night will feature the sounds by resident Girls Gone Vinyl DJs supported by the Audio Rescue Team.
 
Your ticket purchase directly funds the final needs to finish the film, editing and script writing.

The event is Thursday, Dec. 12 at Cinema Detroit, 3420 Cass Ave.

Urbanist Dispatch: Detroit music scene has potential to grow beyond current $1 billion

We thought this report from the Urbanist Dispatch would pair nicely with our Detroit music feature from last week.

An excerpt:

Despite its legacy, research by Florida and his colleagues at the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) suggests Detroit is not fully capitalizing on its local music scene. An analysis of figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis allowed MPI to develop a Metro Music Index to rank cities based on the local music scene.

Nashville tops the list, followed by the obvious (New York City and Los Angeles) and the surprising (Rochester, New York). Detroit doesn’t crack the top 25. It comes in at 37; unable to even beat much smaller Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is ranked eighth overall when small metros are included.

C'mon people, let's begin to rebuild and reload our funky groove thing. Read on here.

News: 'New Wave' brings energy to greater downtown

Oh, yes, we are definitely feeling the good urban vibes that are multiplying around the city, particularly in the greater downtown area visited by Michael H. Hodges for this piece. It's a good one. Here's an excerpt: 

That energy is visible in the commercial flowering in Corktown, where Two James Spirits and an expanded Motor City Wine recently joined more established businesses like Slows Bar BQ and the Mercury Burger Bar. You can see it in the 34 floors of spanking-new apartments -- every last one rented -- in the David Broderick Tower, once a dark, depressing sentinel that loomed over Grand Circus Park.

And you can hardly miss it in the annual Nain Rouge parade, or the formal pop-up dinner parties that briefly take over public spaces -- both animated by a new sense of fun and delight in the city.

Read more here.

Derrick May: Detroit music legends can do more for their city

Techno legend Derrick May has been an articulate spokesperson for creative Detroit life for nearly 30 years. He's a coveted interview by culture-based media around the world. So when asked by the UK's Guardian what this city needs he responded that successful artists must do more for the place that helped them prosper.

An excerpt: 

Detroit is an original city and we have got to the point of no return. We've hit the bottom of the bottom, now we're recreating ourselves, a whole new creative class, a whole new energy that will be instilled upon kids my young daughter's age. We will be talking about Detroit till the day we die. It will always be something magical.

Read more here.

Ponyride hosts second annual open house this Friday

Last year, over 500 people attended Ponyride's first open house and organizers are expecting even more this year. The Corktown co-work space and incubator is holding its event this Friday, Dec. 6, from 6 to 10 p.m. 
 
Called the Holiday Open House, there will be a pop-up marketplace featuring Ponyride's tenants and local independent maker-preneurs. 

Ponyride is at 1401 Vermont St., Detroit.

HuffPost Detroit: What Detroit could look like in 20 years

We were pleased to see this piece by former Model D section editor Ashley Woods, now editor of Huffington Post Detroit, get tons of play on social media last week. And with good reason: it compiles many splendid ideas that could work (some are already in motion) in Detroit in the coming decades.

An excerpt:

Change is brewing in the Motor City. New projects are targeting investment in hotspots like downtown and Midtown, and the city's neighborhoods could see major transformations under long-term plans like Detroit Future City.

Some of those changes are a long way off, but others are already under way -- enough that we can take a peek at 18 examples of the Detroit of the future...

Well said, Ash. Read on here.

Green builders raising funds for AFTERHOUSE project

We ran into people behind this project at Eight & Sand last week and were thoroughly intrigued and impressed. They are working on a house in the NoHam neighborhood near the Power House, Hinterlands Detroit and other cool neighborhood projects, converting a irrepairably damaged structure into a productive, sustainable greenhouse.

Here's more info: 

The process for building AFTERHOUSE is quite simple. First the damaged parts of the house are removed while preserving the foundation. Then a stairwell is excavated down to the basement level. After that we build a simple shed-style greenhouse covering the existing basement foundation, rotating the slope to face due south and maximizing solar exposure. We then construct an insulated platform facing the street, maintaining the cultural and urban character of the original house porch while guarding against temperature fluctuations. Lastly we build a series of planters into the insulated platform to grow summer crops and shade the greenhouse from the summer heat.

$12,000 will pay for the demolition of the house, utility disconnections and permitting fees, building materials to construct the greenhouse such as lumber, polycarbonate, insulation, siding and roofing material, subcontracting fees for specialty trades such as electrical and plumbing, as well as plants and growing material.

If you'd like the help this project get funded, go here.

Detroit to receive PlacePlans econ assistance

Detroit is among eight Michigan cities selected to receive technical assistance with key economic development projects designed to attract and retain residents and employers. Specifically, Detroit will get help in designing a new neighborhood center on the city’s southwest side.

Detroit, along with Cadillac, Flint, Kalamazoo, Holland, Jackson, Marquette, and Midland, will participate in PlacePlans, the Michigan Municipal League announced last week. The eight cities were selected as part of a statewide application process.

PlacePlans is a joint effort between the MML and Michigan State University to help communities design and plan for transformative placemaking projects. The PlacePlans are done with support from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Governor Snyder’s MIplace Partnership.

The Southwest Detroit Business Association’s plan for the Vernor Livernois Project will support the redevelopment of a vacant and blighted property in the heart of one of the city’s strongest commercial districts. The plan will design a new neighborhood center area on what is currently a 6.9-acre brownfield site at West Vernor Highway and Livernois Avenue in the heart of southwest Detroit. The Vernor Livernois Project will become a focal point for this vibrant and diverse community, providing a public square, locally oriented retail and community meeting space as well as new employment opportunities.  

Gary Heidel, chief placemaking officer for MSHDA, said the eight communities selected are from all areas of the state and the projects involved range from revitalizing a historic downtown block in Cadillac to transforming a key commercial corridor in Detroit.


Start making Noel Night plans now

The 41st Annual Noel Night is Saturday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 9:30 p.m. in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center Area. Over 70 institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Public Library, and Model D HQ among many others, open their doors to the public free of charge during this Cultural Center-wide holiday "open house."

Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 120 area music, theatre, and dance groups. The evening’s festivities culminate with a community sing-along on Woodward Avenue.

Noel Night activities take place in and around Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center institutions, primarily between Cass and John R and Kirby and Willis. Free shuttle service is offered between participating venues. Convenient parking is available in area lots. 

Noel Night is produced by the University Cultural Center Association, a nonprofit community development organization that supports economic growth in Detroit's Midtown district. Go here for more information.

Detroit 'Gayborhood' idea gets play in Slate, Deadline Detroit

Most major U.S. cities (and major world cities) have neighborhoods that are either organically or intentionally filled with LGBT-oriented commercial and residential districts. The last area Detroit claimed as a "gayborhood" was Palmer Park, bordered by McNichols, Woodward and Pontchartrain Blvd. Prime time for the neighborhood filled with gorgeous apartments (now under restoration) was the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Talk is getting a bit louder that it'd be a mighty fine idea to develop a gayborhood in the city once again. Read an excerpt from Slate (which itself was excerpted in Deadline Detroit):

(KICK's) Curtis Lipscomb hopes to make Detroit’s LGBTQ community more visible. Although gay neighborhoods usually develop organically, Lipscomb has been meeting with a group of about 10 people from the banking, nonprofit, and community development sectors who want to establish a gay enclave in Detroit. "Detroit has more gay bars than the suburbs, better nightlife, and arts that make it attractive. And depending on the area, it has cheaper rent too," he said.
 
The gay neighborhood, which could include retail locations, housing, cultural institutions, places of worship, and gay bars, would likely be developed in Palmer Park, Midtown, or downtown Detroit.
 
Read more here.


News: Detroit Soup cooking up neighborhood entrepreneurship

Our friends at Detroit Soup have been doing their rock steady, micro-funding dinner for nearly four years now. It's a great thing when more people notice and give them some props, like in this piece in the Detroit News this week.

An excerpt:

From Grandmont-Rosedale to downtown, Livernois Avenue to Brightmoor, Detroit residents are gathering over a meal to finance new businesses, nonprofits and artistic ventures that will benefit their slice of the city. It’s the latest evolution of Detroit Soup, a monthly micro-funding dinner that, now in its third year, has branched out to include smaller, quarterly events in about 10 neighborhoods.

"Soup has become the new town hall," said 32-year-old Soup director Amy Kaherl. "The neighborhoods want a space to share and collaborate."

Right on, Amy. Read on here.

Midtown Detroit Inc. receives its first ULI Global Award for Excellence

Midtown Detroit Inc. (MDI) President Sue Mosey accepted the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Global Award for Excellence at ULI’s Fall Meeting in Chicago last Friday on behalf her organization and its partners. This year marks Mosey’s 25th year as Midtown development leader.   

Widely recognized as the real estate industry’s most prestigious honor, the award recognizes superior development efforts that go beyond good design, including leadership, community contribution, public/private partnerships and financial success. MDI joins six other Michigan-based projects that have won the prestigious award.

The award honors six development projects development projects, master plans and initiatives that have been spearheaded by Midtown Detroit Inc. and its partners. The winning submission recognizes the Woodward Garden Block development, the Sugar Hill Art District, The Ellington & Detroit Whole Foods Market, the Auburn, the Green Garage and the TechTown District Plan – which will begin implementation in 2014 with support from a grant from the Knight Foundation.

$122.5-million of investment is represented in the six projects that were part of the winning submission – 3.3-billion of public and private investment has been made in the Midtown District over the last decade. Twenty-four new businesses have opened in the past year with nearly a dozen more in the pipeline. Over the past three years Midtown has sustained a 96 percent residential occupancy rate.

Partnership programs such as the Living Cities Integration Initiative and the Midtown Anchor Strategy forged with philanthropy and the district’s higher education and healthcare institutions were key to Midtown’s winning entry.

Midtown Detroit Inc. is one of 12 recipients of the award from a global pool of nearly 200 entries. It was selected as one of 27 finalists for the award in June.   

Guardian UK weighs in on young professionals investing in Detroit

We must have a sweet spot for British press accounts of what's happening on the Detroit cultural, development and real estate scene -- including social networking and buyiung into several city neighborhoods.

Here's a report from the Guardian on young professionals finding affordable places to live in Detroit. An excerpt:

Engineers Alessandra Carreon, 28, and Drew McUsic, 27, are two of the risk-takers who left a cozy but expensive city – Seattle – to buy a house in Detroit, hoping to put down roots in a city where they could carry out their dream of sustainable living. Carreon and McUsic paid only $25,000 for an early 20th century five-bedroom, four-bathroom house in Detroit’s West Village area.

Carreon says they expect to spend another $25,000 to $35,000 on renovations, including the cost of solar panels, which they will be installing this December.

Not bad, eh? Read more here.

Joe Posch: Duggan's victory speech historic for Detroit's LGBT community

Yes, Joe, we too believe Duggan's verbal victory lap, like his campaign, was all about inclusivity. It is at the top of the list of social and cultural neccessities as Detroit moves into the future. The city is in fact poised, by building a strong foundation of quality leadership, to lead the charge for unity and set an example for the sleepy State of Michigan. Welcoming the LGBT community, all ethnic minorities and recognizing and respecting longtime Detroiters are all part of a social contract we can get behind near and far.

An excerpt from Posch's opinion piece in the Freep: 

At the end of his acceptance speech, mayor-elect Mike Duggan said: "The way we are going to rebuild this city is to value every single person in our community. It will no longer matter if you are black, brown or white. It will no longer matter if you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim. It will not matter if you are gay or straight. We want all of your talents. You’re all going to be equally valued and welcomed, because only in that way will we rebuild the kind of Detroit everyone in this city deserves."

It seems like a little thing, in 2013, to include the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in a statement of acceptance and unity, but politics and the power of the pulpit have kept gay people out of the discussion in Detroit for years.

Read more here.

Public Pool to host fundraiser for Hamtown Farms

Last week, we reported on Hamtown Farms' efforts to raise money to keep its green investment moving forward on Lumpkin St. just south of Holbrook in Hamtramck.
 
Michael Davis, who launched the community-based project in 2012, is attempting to raise $10,000 to purchase the lots where his productive garden grows. The lots are presently owned by the city of Hamtramck. Neighboring Kowalski Sausage has said it is also interested in purchasing the property.
 
This week, the Farms' allies in Hamtramck are stepping up to help support the project. 
 
On Wednesday (that's tomorrow, Nov. 13), Rock City Eatery servers will be asking patrons if they'd like to give $3 to the farm. If they say yes, $3 will be added to their bill. The truly fab Rock City is at 11411 Jos. Campau, one block north of Caniff.
 
On Friday, Nov. 15 a benefit dinner is being held at the Hamtramck Moose Lodge #1670. The lodge is at 9421 Conant (that's a block and a half north of Holbrook). Dinner starts at 6 p.m. $10 donation.

And on Saturday, Nov. 16, Public Pool (3309 Caniff, Hamtramck) hosts a presentation by Davis, who will talk about the Hamtown Farms project and its current campaign to raise funds. Also on the bill are Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski and Model D Green City diarist Matthew Piper, who wrote this piece last year that included Hamtown Farms.
 
The event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. An art show called Cut Paste Borrow Burn, featuring work by Hamtramck collage artists Anne Harrington Hughes and Christina Galasso, is currently up. Viewing of the exhibit is encouraged. Expect good beer, good wine and good snacks. Invited guests begin their talk at around 7 p.m. Donations will be accepted throughout the evening.

Anthony Bourdain essays love and respect for Detroit

For those of you who missed Sunday night's 'Parts Unknown: Detroit' here are some video excerpts along with a written companion piece cultural explorer Anthony Bourdain included as part of his experience in the city.

The highlights are many: the Packard Plant (no, it was not too long as some suggested. And here is our own answer to Bourdain's question: who drove the Packard? This comes from the film 'Chinatown.' In this famous scene (spoiler alert!), Faye Dunaway's character drives a white convertible Packard, a real beauty); examples of street level entrepreneurship (Greedy Greg's BBQ, and the secret pupuseria); eating at a Detroit fire station and offering to wash the dishes afterward; joining the mower gang at an overgrown city park; D-Townn Farm and sitting down for a fabulous-looking dinner at Guns and Butter.

Not enough hipster entrepreneurship? No references to the Stooges, Bourdain's favorite band? Too much Charlie LeDuff? Yes, yes, yes, maybe so.

To those who say showing the ruins of the greatest, most inspired industrial network the planet has ever known won't attract some to come here to look and leave, but others to live and lead, are just plain wrong. People are coming, more on the way, largely because this place is one of kind, fascinating, irreplaceable, 300-plus years old and still fierce as hell.

Bourdain makes an observation and asks a great question at the end of the broadcast. Here it is:

Detroit is shrinking. And changing. The artists and innovators, activists, and artisans, who are coming in will no doubt, do much to transform the city -- mostly in very positive ways.

But who will live in the Detroit of 25 years in the future?

It will still be beautiful. That's for sure. It will certainly be smaller.

But will all the tough bastards who stuck it out for so long -- against ridiculous odds -- who fought and continue to fight for their neighborhoods and their homes -- will they still be there?

News' Daniel Howes: Next wave entrepreneurs making big impact

It's always good to get validation in print for something many of us already know and spend a good deal of time advocating. That is, cultivating entrepreneurship in its multiple forms, as a way of driving economic development in Detroit, the region and the state.

Here's Daniel Howes' take in his Detroit News column. An excerpt:

And partly it’s because the state’s homegrown entrepreneurs, born from the rubble of Michigan’s economic implosion, are ahead of the capital they need to grow and to prosper. Their success, their stories, would help to change the conversation about a state marked by the traumas of federal bailouts, municipal bankruptcy and the edge of financial collapse.

"None of us were around to remember when GM was just another startup," said Jeff Helminski, managing director of Blackford Capital LLC in Grand Rapids. "Of what? Two hundred auto companies."

More than three, anyway. That’s the power of entrepreneurialism -- someone wins, big.

Intriguing, yes? Read more here.

Hamtown Farms raising funds to save green investment

Last summer, we ran this great piece that included Hamtown Farms as part of our Green City Diaries series. We have followed the efforts of urban farmer Michael Davis before and after the piece. And now we report a potential hiccup in the progress of this noble project. Under emergency finacial management, Hamtramck was about to sell the city-owned land to neighboring Kowalski Sausage, which has designs on converting it into a "a parking lot or a buffer." (Now hold on, Kowalski, we love your kielbasa and assorted lunch meats, not to mention you guys have the best neon sign in the entire region, but a parking lot vs. a productive urban farm that has already planted myriad seeds of cultural growth in the community is simply no contest.)

An excerpt from Eclecta: 

The good news is that Hamtown Farms has received what Michael Davis is calling "mind blowing support." They have created a fundraising page at the crowd-funding website Indiegogo. It is their hope that they will raise enough money to be able to outbid any other groups in the auction, including Kowalski Sausage, and then own the property outright.

One more thing: this is a major opportunity lost by Kowalski Sausage. They could be the good guys here, the good corporate citizen that made an investment in their community to make it a better place to live. Instead, they have chosen not to do this and, in fact, to do the exact opposite. They told Emergency Manager Square that they didn’t have any specific plans for the land, they "just wanted to have it." They told Fox News Detroit it would be turned into a "parking lot or a buffer." What could have been a tremendous contribution to the community is ending up being a public relations disaster for Kowalski Sausage. If they see turning this remarkable farm space into a parking lot as somehow a good thing will benefit them, they are decidedly wrong. It's hard to imagine why they think this is a good approach. Read more here.

Fundraising continues until Nov. 19 here.

DTE Energy partners with Eastern Market on $750K social space

Fabulous news from the ever-growing-in-all-the-right-ways Eastern Market, which is rapidly becoming exactly what it promises to be: a 24-hour neighborhood with food, social and cultural options galore.

An excerpt from the News:

"The DTE Energy Plaza will serve as a convivial gathering place to create a stronger market, and we are very grateful for the DTE Energy Foundation’s generous support and naming of this new community asset," Dan Carmody, president of the Eastern Market Corp., said in a statement. "The DTE Energy Plaza will be a welcoming place where people will gather to enjoy each other and the bounty of Eastern Market."

In June, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. awarded the farmers market, which is open year-round on Saturdays and on Tuesdays in the summer and early fall, a $1 million grant for the renovation. The project has received funding from other foundations, corporate sponsors and the city, which is supporting it through bond revenue valued at $1.5 million and a community development block grant for $330,000.

Read on here.

Wow: Model D publishes issue 400 this week

When we launched this slightly mysterious media project called Model D in June 2005, online journalism was in its infancy. The dailies and magazines, not just in Detroit but most everywhere, seemed oddly unconvinced that the future of news was digital not physical, for better and worse.

Eight-plus years is an eternity in this business, enabled and accelerated by the very nature of the Internet. We are happy to be here to celebrate (albeit quietly, unlike our Model D 300 bash in 2011 -- better known as the Next Big Thing party, at the still raw, unreconstructed Whitney Building) 400 issues this week.

We say, "wow" to that and thank you all for your support. At the present pace we should be reaching 500 issues in late 2015. Stay tuned in. We'll keep you in the loop on the city's growth and development and lots more in between. That's a promise.  

Subscribe here, look for us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  



'Detroit Unleaded' premieres Wednesday at DFT

Director Rola Nashef’s romantic dramedy Detroit Unleaded opens in Detroit at the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts Nov. 13. Yes, that's tomorrow.

Detroit Unleaded premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival where it won the Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award. Expanding upon the award-winning 2007 short, Detroit Unleaded is a modern take on Romeo and Juliet that tells the story of Sami, a Lebanese-American who reluctantly takes over his father's gas station after he is murdered in an armed robbery. It's not a life that Sami ever wanted, nor did his late father who always encouraged his son to go to college. 

The gas station is more than just a pit stop for rolling papers and fake perfume, but a place where an infinite stream of spirited and often hilarious people flow through. When a gorgeous "up-do girl" named Najlah comes to deliver cheap long-distance phone cards, Sami quickly falls for her. Afraid her overprotective brother will disapprove, Najlah begins a romance with Sami under the promise of secrecy. As their love blossoms, Sami's dream of a better life begins to swell. We know you want to go, right?

Tickets for the film and the gala red carpet event are available here.

Coalition of Detroit environmental groups releases Detroit voter guide

The Detroit Environmental Agenda, led by Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ), a nonprofit working with communities to create cleaner, healthier and safer neighborhoods, earlier this month released an update to its 2013 Voter Guide.

Each candidate for Detroit City Council and Mayor were provided a copy of the Detroit Environmental Agenda (DEA) report released earlier this year and asked to complete a short questionnaire with the following questions:

• Do you endorse the Detroit Environmental Agenda?

• Detroit suffers from very high rates of asthma, cancer, and lead poisoning, all influenced by our heavily polluted environment. These problems impact children’s ability to learn and adults’ ability to work. What would you, as an elected official, do to improve Detroit’s environment?

• How would you, as an elected official, be an advocate for resident efforts to improve neighborhood quality of life?

• In the interests of environmental justice, how would you work to alleviate disproportionate environmental burdens in the city?

• The city needs to be an advocate for higher environmental standards. If you are elected, how do you envision using the Detroit Environmental Agenda as a tool to create policies that improve the city’s environment?

• For mayoral candidates, we asked if they would consider establishing an Office of Sustainability with the power to move Detroit Environmental Agenda recommendations forward.

Nearly 20 candidates responded to the survey, including both candidates for mayor. The report can be downloaded here and print copies will be circulated in communities throughout Detroit. The purpose of the guide is to inform citizens in an effort to help elect leaders who will take action for a cleaner, safer, healthier Detroit. 

The 2013 Voter Guide is funded by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and The Kendeda Fund. 
 
For completing a brief survey online and downloading the DEA Voter Guide, participants are entered into a drawing to win various prizes. They can also gain another entry by "liking" the DEA’s Facebook page. The winner will be announced on Facebook Nov. 29. 

Cleveland transit holds lessons for Detroit's M-1

With work on the Woodward Corridor's M-1 rail set to begin soon, the Freep's John Gallagher writes about how a not dissimilar rail line in Cleveland has worked out.

An excerpt:

Cleveland’s HealthLine shows that detailed planning can pay off. The city created new zoning rules requiring developers building along the route to build their projects right up to the sidewalk with parking behind the building to avoid the look of suburban strip malls. The city’s Regional Transit Authority even commissioned more than 100 new trash bins with a snappy design for the route. Playing off the hybrid design of the bus rapid transit vehicles, which run on tires like buses but use dedicated lanes like a train, the HealthLine’s slogan is "It’s not a bus. It’s not a train. It’s the future."

Read more here.

Freep's Gallagher to mayoral candidates: Don't forget Detroit Future City

In this recent piece in the Detroit Free Press, John Gallagher gives a bit of a healthy shove to both mayoral candidates, who don't appear to be embracing many of the strategies outlined by the Detroit Future City document.

An excerpt: 

Both candidates' plans for neighborhood revival nod to Detroit Future City, and both Duggan and Napoleon said in interviews that Detroit Future City has informed their own work. But Robin Boyle, chairman of the department of urban planning at Wayne State University, is among the experts interviewed by the Free Press who said neither candidate goes as far as Detroit Future City in envisioning innovative strategies for turning around Detroit.

Detroit Future City, for example, calls for concentrating any new development in the city's already more densely populated areas rather than scattering it throughout the city as often occurs today. And, most controversially, Detroit Future City advises allowing large areas of low density in distressed neighborhoods to convert to "green" uses, such as agriculture or reforestation or rainwater retention basins, rather than calling for re­development in those areas.

Read on here.

November launch party set for Freep doc film festival

Detroit’s getting a new film festival -- one in which the Motor City and Michigan will play the starring roles.

The Freep Film Festival, presented by the Detroit Free Press and Detroit Media Partnership, will debut March 20-23, 2014. The annual event will showcase documentary films about Detroit and our region. The festival will be held at two iconic venues: the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and The Fillmore Detroit, in the heart of the city’s downtown theater district.

The new film event has two primary goals, says Steve Byrne, the festival’s executive director. "We want to engage people in our community in a discussion about the issues and challenges we face," he says. "And we also want to celebrate what makes our area so unique and special."

Details about the festival are here.

The festival will screen about a dozen films over its four-day run, and feature other community engagement activities. The films will be announced later this year. They are being selected by a committee that includes Kathy Kieliszewski, the Free Press’ director of photo & video (and the festival’s artistic director), Elliot Wilhelm, film curator of the DIA, and Josh Newman, talent buyer of Live Nation Michigan /The Fillmore Detroit.

A festival launch party will be held Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Fillmore Detroit. The party will feature the Detroit premiere of The Michigan Beer Film, a movie that explores the explosive growth -- both economic and artistic -- of Michigan craft beer. Directed by Kevin Romeo of Rhino Media Productions, it delves into the entrepreneurial spirit that has fueled the state’s flourishing beer scene. Attendees also will be able to sample some of the beers featured in the film. 

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with drink specials 5:30-6:30 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. screening. Tickets ($10 advance, $15 at the door) will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at ticketmaster.com and livenation.com.

For more information, follow the festival on Twitter and Facebook

Detroit Area Art Deco Society hosting third annual downtown wine stroll

The Detroit Area Art Deco Society will be hosting it's third annual Wine Stroll with the theme of "Art, Architecture and Great Wines" at varous Detroit restaurants and historic venues. 

The wine stroll will provide attendees with a chance to tour several architecturally significant buildings, see art and select wines paired with a food tasting from each unique venue.

Check-in location: Chez Zara. Confirmed venues: Angelina Italian Bistro, Small Plates, Music Hall, Grand Trunk, Sky Bar, Centaur, Rowland Cafe, 24 Grille and Firebird Tavern.

Sounds like fun. More details here.

SEMCOG hosts green infrastructure visioning session today in North End

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), in cooperation with its county and local government partners, is developing a regional green infrastructure vision for Southeast Michigan. Green infrastructure is both a network of green space and natural areas in our communities, along with built techniques such as rain gardens and bioswales that preserve the functions of the natural ecosystems to benefit residents of the region.

One more Green Infrastructure Visioning session is scheduled in the City of Detroit:
·  Date:       Tuesday, Oct. 29
·  Time:       6-8 p.m.
·  Location:  Jam Handy, 2900 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit.

The purpose of the visioning session is to gather input from stakeholders on important natural areas in their counties, and discuss what and where additional green infrastructure could be located. The regional vision could set the stage for future grant opportunities, and parks and recreation plans.

Attendees will participate in an interactive group exercise on current and future green infrastructure in the county. Keypads will be used to identify important policies to help communities implement green infrastructure recommendations.

Detroit techno inspires, sustains Berlin Tresor brand

Model D managing editor Walter Wasacz has long talked and written about Detroit's global vibe, that special, intangible "otherness" that tastemakers all over the world seem to find again and again. He was asked by San Francisco-based music pub XLR8R to write this piece on Tresor -- a label, a club, a pioneer in Berlin social entrepreneurship -- which gains much of its inspiration from Detroit techno.

An excerpt:

(Dimitri) Hegemann and other tastemakers in the city, including Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald, who opened the Hard Wax record shop in 1989 and started their Basic Channel group and label project four years later, were paying close attention to tracks being produced in Detroit. They embraced the sound, and began cultivating relationships with Motor City artists.

"Detroit was fresh. We thought the best new music was coming from there," Hegemann says. "I first heard a Final Cut white label in 1988, then Jeff Mills came here for the first time in 1990. Everything really started coming together in Berlin because of Detroit techno. It was the soundtrack that we could all agree on."

Rock on Jeff Mills. Read the rest of the story here.

Honor and Folly gets well deserved love from NYT

In a piece that focuses on quirky places to stay when traveling, the New York Times asked Meghan McEwen, herself a travel writer, to talk about her Corktown inn, Honor and Folly, in her own words.

An excerpt:

I felt like Detroit needed this really immersive, local experience because that’s where all of the energy is. Our inn is in Corktown, the city’s oldest neighborhood, and I’m able to tell my guests where to get the best pizza, who are the best farmers at Eastern Market, where to see the coolest graffiti because I live here. It’s a bit of an antiquated career, innkeeper, but it’s making a resurgence because when you’re staying in a place where the innkeeper is taking such great care of every detail, you can feel it.

See the rest of the story here.

KICK begins search for permanent location

At Model D's editorial advisory meeting last week, one of our guests, old friend Curtis Lipscomb, executive director of KICK -- the agency for lesbian, gay, bi- and transgender African Americans-- told us the organization just signed a two-year lease at its Midtown location. (And, yes, Lipscomb is the author of this week's opinion piece.)

But Lipscomb also said KICK would be starting a search for a building or a house for a more permament spot.

If you have a lead on some Detroit real estate, you can email Lipscomb here.

Biergartens pop up this week downtown and in Villages

Good Michigan craft suds will be flowing this week in two locations - downtown on Woodward to service Tigers' loving fans headed to and from Comerica Park for the American League Championship Series with the Red Sox; and in the Villages to welcome the new businesses on Agnes St. and to introduce Phase II of the Detroit Lions' Living for the City initiative.

The downtown pop up is at 1520 Woodward Ave., Oct. 15-17; that's today, Tuesday, 1 - 9 p.m.; Wednesday, 5 p.m. - midnight; and Thursday, 5 p.m. - midnight.

The biergarten pop up in the Villages is at 1420 Van Dyke, Oct. 19-20, 3-9 p.m. each day. Drinks and eats courtesy of Hatch contest participants Alley Wine, Batch Brewery Company, Treats by Angelique and Voigt's Soda House.



Curbed Detroit: Avenue of Fashion, before and after

Livernois has long been one of Detroit's great north-south thoroughfares, from Fort Wayne at the southern end to the Ferndale city limits at the northern end. 

It's the latter part of Livernois, the historic Avenue of Fashion, that has been getting much love and new investment of late. We thought this story in Curbed Detroit, including before and after pics, was worth another look.

An excerpt: 

Over the summer, a contingent of retailers, artists, and designers descended on a sleepy stretch of commercial frontage on Livernois Avenue. The city once referred to this district as the Avenue of Fashion, but years of decline had left the storefronts largely vacant. Fueled by grant money and assistance from the REVOLVE program, several of these spaces have been woken up with new shopping opportunities and art installations. Check out what was achieved in just a few months.

Read more here.

NYT: The baseball hero we call 'Miggy'

While we sweat out what looks to be a tough series with the Oakland Athletics, it's nice to take a step back and reflect on the greatest of current Tiger greats (and maybe, just maybe, the greatest of all time), Miguel Cabrera.

Thanks to this nicely-done piece by Mark Leibovich in the New York Times.

An excerpt: 

Sluggers used to be the heroes. Now they and their statistics have become suspect. But while fans have been outraged over performance-enhancing drugs, they are also conditioned to expect their results. Cabrera, 30, has never been linked in any way to P.E.D.’s. (His beer-league physique is one obvious defense.) On the field, his only blemish is that he has put up remarkable numbers during an era in which so much seemed too good to be true, and regularly proved just that. In a sense, Cabrera is now positioned to redeem the modern slugger. The question is whether he can compete with the fantasy of players past.

Read on here.

Artspace: 'Everything and every idea is possible' in Detroit

Nice to find this piece while browsing the web this past weekend. It affirms much of what we've been talking about the last eight years or so in Model D and gets to the heart and soul of what makes us tick in Detroit.

An excerpt:

Creative people have been drawn to Detroit in the first case because, like Berlin in the 1990s, it is very inexpensive. There is most certainly no other place where an artist or musician can acquire a 3,000-square-foot house with yard for $500. The city has been functioning, or not, as though it were insolvent for a number of years, so the actual insolvency makes little or no difference. Perhaps it even adds a new layer of cache.

Read more here.

High speed rail from coast to coast? Yes, please

True, it's a work of transportation imagination, but we do love when smart, creative people plant seeds for thought -- remember Neil Greenburg's Model D piece in 2011 on his Detroit-based Freshwater Railway? -- like this one we caught up with in Upworthy.

Yes, it would be nice to take the train from Detroit to Montreal, then drop down to Boston at 220 miles per hour. Or head the other direction to a Chicago transit hub, and either keep heading west to LA, drop down to Austin (during SXSW) or to Miami for some serious beach time. Not to mention all the economic development opportunities a network like this would stimulate.

Cool stuff. Check it out here.

Planet Ant celebrates 20 years of creativity

Planet Ant Theatre celebrates its 20th anniversary with an evening of performances featuring current and former Planet Ant artists Friday, Oct. 11 at Detroit's Gem Theatre.

This event will celebrate the theatre's rich history of music, theatre and improv comedy. Hosted by Planet Ant Artistic Director Shawn Handlon, performances will include musical numbers taken from some of Planet Ant's best original productions, improv from the renowned Planet Ant Home Team and The 313, plus live band performances by 19.5 Collective, The Twilight Babies, and Pewter Club with Scott Sanford.

Tickets for Planet Ant's 20th Anniversary event are $30 balcony and $50 main floor and are available now here. Doors open at 7 p.m. with performances beginning at 8 p.m. A cash bar will be available, and a $10 discount is available for anyone who has been involved with a Planet Ant show or production. The Gem Theatre is at 333 Madison Ave, downtown Detroit.
 


'Heavy Metal Boyfriend' rocks local fashion scene

This exciting Detroit music culture inspired clothing line for women is brought to us courtesy of the UFO Factory-His Name is Alive-Princess Dragon Mom sound-sight axis of noisy creativity. Designed and manufactured by witches in southwest Detroit.  We're loving Heavy Metal Boyfriend big time.

Check it out here.

Greenway construction begins on link from RiverWalk to Hamtramck

John Gallagher writes in the Detroit Free Press that "construction is under way on more than 10 miles of greenways that will link the RiverWalk to Eastern Market, Midtown and Hamtramck in about a year’s time."

Nice. We never get tired of hearing updates on the non-motorized trail that cuts up the near East Side.

More from Gallagher:

"The work includes an extension of the popular Dequindre Cut north into Eastern Market, as well as streetscape improvements in the market, work in Midtown and creation of the Hamtramck Connector bike lanes north from the market to that community."

Read the rest of the article here.

Proposals for Grandmont-Rosedale business revitalization due by Oct. 7

The Grandmont-Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC) is seeking proposals from businesses and entrepreneurs wishing to locate in the Grandmont Rosedale area. 

The deadline for proposals is Monday, Oct. 7. GRDC works with local business owners to promote storefront design that is good for business and good for the neighborhood.

For more info go here.

Hoops come to Cadillac Square

The Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) is bringing a new basketball court to Cadillac Square at Campus Martius Park, located just north of the First National Building.
 
DDP’s placemaking efforts drew crowds throughout downtown Detroit this summer during concerts and events in the parks, at food vendors in Cadillac Square and at the Beach at Campus Martius Park.
 
The basketball court, located between Woodward and Bates, is open now through Friday, Oct. 11. The court is available for play daily during park hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Other free activities in Cadillac Square through Friday, Oct. 11 include ping pong, bean bag toss, washer toss, bocce ball, checkers, chess and backgammon. Games and basketballs can be borrowed at the games kiosk in Cadillac Square, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
Additional information about events taking place in the parks is available here.
 

NCB Capital Impact and Kresge Foundation launch Innovative Woodward Corridor Investment Fund

 NCB Capital Impact and The Kresge Foundation are launching the Woodward Corridor Investment Fund, developed to invest in transformative real estate projects that advance the physical redevelopment of Detroit’s Woodward Corridor.  

With the support of MetLife, Inc., PNC Bank, Prudential, Calvert Foundation, Living Cities, and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, the Fund will provide capital to projects that are mixed-use, mixed income, transit-oriented and promote density, diversity, vibrancy, and walkability in Detroit’s core.

The $30.25 million Woodward Corridor Investment Fund is designed to support Detroit’s revitalization by financing critically needed housing units along Woodward Avenue, a main artery and home to major medical and academic campuses and arts and entertainment venues. The Woodward Corridor includes Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, where occupancy rates exceed 95 percent and demand is high for hundreds of additional units. By focusing on the Woodward Corridor, home to many of Detroit’s largest institutions and employers, the fund will help attract residents and commercial activity, establish a model sustainable corridor, and expand economic opportunity for all residents.

The Fund will provide long-term fixed rate loans under terms not currently available through traditional financial institutions, allowing a single loan source rather than the many layers of capital that can be time consuming and difficult to assemble. This will allow developers to commence construction on their projects more quickly. 

PNC’s capital was also pivotal to catalyzing the fund as it demonstrated how a local Detroit bank’s finances leveraged funding from other national partners.

 The Fund will begin accepting applications Oct. 1. It will make initial loan approvals before the end of 2013 for projects that will start construction prior to the end of 2014. More information is available here.


WSU Press 'Celebration of Books' fete this Thursday

Wayne State University Press and the 2013 Host Committee cordially invite you to a Celebration of Books this Thursday, Sept. 26, at 5:30 pm to highlight new titles, over 100 other new and favorite books, and dozens of authors.

Featuring a strolling dinner, cash bar, book sale, trivia game, door prizes, and a short program by Bradford Frost. Frost's new book Reveal Your Detroit documents a one-of-a-kind photography project sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Arts that showcased thousands of images from the perspectives of hundreds of Detroit residents.

Tickets are $50 ($25 tax deductible). Includes strolling dinner and cash bar. RSVP here.

What's happening at Detroit Design Festival?

Those of you going to tonight's DDF opening party at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education no doubt know the answer to what's up from now until Sunday, Sept. 22, when six days of intense creativity and innovation in design comes to a close.

But not everyone knows. So here is your portal to the happenings for the week, including a design dash, a Mies van der Rohe walk in Lafayette Park, a John Cage show at the College for Creative Studies' Center Galleries, the grand opening of the Untitled Bottega and other super cool events.

Check it all out here.

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.

Curbed Detroit: Palmer Park rises again

We love Palmer Park. The residential buildings, the accessability of nearby Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, the Avenue of Fashion and other leafy neighborhoods. Not to mention the lovely green space itself.

Curbed Detroit updates impressive work being done on the apartment houses here.

Sugar House earns 'Best Cocktail in America' tip

Nationally recognized, extraordinarily origianl and innovative drinks aplenty at Corktown's Sugar House? Why, yes. No surprise to us nor to fans of the tiny liquor den on Michigan Avenue near 14th St.

Read all about the boozy accolades here.

Detroit Bikes ready to roll (and rock)

Detroit Bikes LLC rolls-out its new A-Type commuter bicycle Aug. 16 at a launch party at the Old Miami bar on Cass Avenue.  The first in a series of such events throughout the United States and Canada, the Detroit launch party will feature displays and demonstrations of the A-Type, complimentary food and a performance by the Detroit Cobras. The party runs 5 to 9 p.m. for the general public.

The Detroit Bikes A-Type is the company’s first model, a minimalist bike with smooth shifting three-speed internal gears, a lightweight chromoly-steel frame and a durable, matte-black powder-coat finish.

Each bicycle frame is built from steel tubing cut, coped, welded and painted in Detroit Bikes’ 50,000 square-foot factory on Elmira street on the city's West Side. The company also builds the wheels and fabricates the bike's rear rack, chain guard, and bottom bracket on site. Final assembly in the Detroit factory includes these, and other components, plus steel fenders and pedals from Taiwan.

The Canadian roll-out begins Aug. 17 in Windsor.

The A-Type commuter bicycle is available in the U.S. for a suggested retail price of $550 and will be available for sale locally at the Wheelhouse on the Detroit River Walk.

Detroit Bikes seeks to encourage cycling by making an accessible, enjoyable bicycle while continuing Detroit's legacy of quality manufacturing and design. Its headquarters and factory are at 13639 Elmira, Detroit.

Tour de Troit forms nonprofit to promote cycling, walking and running in Detroit

Tour de Troit, which will host its 12th annual signature ride through the neighborhoods of Detroit on Sept. 21, is celebrating its new status as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit with an open-house event for supporters at its new offices at 2727 Second Ave. this Wednesday, Aug.14, 5-7 pm.

The nonprofit was established in January with a mission to "promote and encourage bicycling and bicycle safety through education, public events, collaboration with community and government organizations and support for non-motorized infrastructure."

In addition to the signature Tour de Troit event, the organization also sponsors four other events throughout the year: the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Bike Ride in January, Hamtramck PaczKi Run in February, the Run du Nain Rouge in March, and Cycle into Spring in May.

A nine-member board now oversees the organization, which was started by Detroiters Mike Kiewicz and Edward Potas in 2002 as a casual ride through city neighborhoods. Since 2005, the organization has raised more than $120,000 for Detroit greenways and non-motorized transportation projects.

Writer: Nina Ignaczak

SMART general manager John Hertel to lead RTA

The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan has voted 9-1 to offer John Hertel, general manager of SMART, the position of chief executive. The vote took place Aug. 7. 

Hertel was chosen from an initial field of 11 candidates that was whittled down to three. The other two finalists include a former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation and a former president of a transit agency in the St. Louis area. 

Hertel led the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Coordinating Council in developing the 2008 Comprehensive Regional Transit Service Plan, which laid groundwork for the eventual creation of the RTA.

Read more about it here.

Writer: Nina Ignaczak

D:hive announces Pilot winner, bringing CANVASxDetroit downtown

On Monday, D:hive announced the winner of its Pilot program, awarding two months of free retail space to Brandon Colvin of CANVASxDetroit.

CANVASxDetroit is an exploratory art business providing classes and art-based entertainment. Colvin will receive two months of free rental space at 1249 Woodward Ave., along with marketing and build out support for the space. 

"We're excited to bring additional art and entertainment to the city," said April Boyle, director of small business initiatives for D:hive Detroit. "CANVASxDetroit follows a business model that’s proven successful in neighboring areas, and will help enhance our art community in the city."

CANVASxDetroit will be open for business Aug. 12-Oct. 5. The pop-up will offer guided and open paint sessions for groups and individuals providing music, prominent art instructors, and other art-focused events. It will also include Free Paint Sessions where individuals can rent out the space and equipment for a flat fee.

Brandon Colvin, founder of CANVASxDetroit, has over 10 years of strategic marketing and business experience. Colvin has been practicing art for over 25 years. Colvin also has significant experience in educational instruction to both adults and youth working at the YMCA and studying pedagogy as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and UNCF Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow.

Pilot was developed by D:hive Detroit and Opportunity Detroit to spur retail business growth in the city. For more information on Pilot, go here.

So what do people overseas think of when they think of Detroit? Techno, of course

This may come as some surprise to the non-dancing, groove-intolerant among us, but not to those of us who heard the rhythmic call of the wild beginning in the 1980s and stuck with it. Go to any big city most anywhere in the world and you will hear Detroit techno in clubs, festivals, restaurants, cafes, cool retailers and record stores; and meet people who are considering a pilgrimage just to experience the danceable, soulful vibe of this place.

MLive has the story here.

Making it in Detroit

Do we ever get tired of writing about the producers and makers that appear to be multiplying, in the central business district at least? Nah. Neither does national media like Fast Company, which featured a two-part series on the innovators that are bringing change to the regional economy.

Read all about it here.

RT America takes inside look at local innovators and entrepreneurs

In this video report, cameras head over to Techtown to talk to president and CEO Leslie Smith about growth over the past 3-5 years; and our own Model D publisher Claire Nelson, who talks about the resurgence of neighborhood retail districts.

Good stuff. Check it out here.

Freep: Next five years likely better than the last 10 in downtown

Detroit John Gallagher reporter lists the developments that are changing downtown for the better, creating a more vibrant place for people who work, live and visit there. We see it happening before our eyes.

Read his report here.

NYT: 'Low Winter Sun' plays like season 6 of the Wire

Well, like yeah, wow. We've heard some pretty good things about this new series about bad Detroit cops seeking redemption in a hard city, but nothing so poetically right on as David Carr's piece with tasty quotes from cast members of 'Low Winter Sun,' which premieres this Sunday (Aug. 11) on AMC.

Read it all here.

Detroit Cobras to party for Detroit Bikes

Put this on your August calendar, rockers and cyclists. It's a Detroit Bikes launch event featuring the badass Detroit Cobras, who've been doing the "cha cha twist" all around the world since forming in 1994.

It's Aug. 16 at the Old Miami, free and open to the public. There will be snacks, drinks, and great music, so grab a girl or guy and come on down and dance up front by the stage. Our friends at Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop provide the bike racks.

For more details go here.

Hey Congress: Say yes to path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

This opinion piece from a far away land -- Salt Lake City -- hits some important points on current discourse and forthcoming legislative action on immigration law. The U.S. Senate is giving reform a chance; the House, not so much, despite overwhelming evidence that hardworking, self-starting immigrant populations stimulate regional economies and fill cities with life.

An excerpt: 

Roughly 85 percent of undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States since 2004. Undocumented workers comprise 5.4 percent of the labor force and are essential to agriculture and other sectors. They will not go away. On average, they are younger and have a higher participation rate in the labor force. Several recent studies indicate that immigration reform would bolster Social Security and the economy.

Read on here.

Detroit not dead? Nope, the proof in pictures

Of course, we know that Detroit is not dead. On the contrary, in so many ways the city has never been more alive with ideas, innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity.

HuffPost Detroit's Kate Abbey-Lambertz put together this pictorial essay that sees the light without pulling punches.

Check it out here.

Sorting out national coverage of Detroit bankruptcy

The Detroit bankruptcy narrative is on front pages all over the country. It has become fodder for news all over the world. Some of the coverage is balanced, fair and on target. Much of it is not, stained by ideology, demogoguery and partisanship.

The Freep puts much of this media noise into perspective in this piece.

An excerpt: 

Many of the sins come from oversimplifications of a complex problem in the making for decades. The national media and other commentators, either as slaves to pith or ideological belief, say simply that "Detroit has failed" or that years of one-party rule are to blame. Like the fall of Rome or the causes of the Civil War, it’s not just one thing but a long, multi-faceted process at play.

Well said. Read on here.

You want more info on Detroit candidates? We've got video

A group made up of UM-Dearborn students, the League of Women Voters and DPTV recently conducted 56 interviews with Detroit City Council, mayoral, city clerk and police commission candidates. Mighty good stuff, highly recommended for all voters.

It's fresh video. Go here to check it out.

"X Games" goes to Austin, so what?

Another story about the failure to win the "X Games" bid for Detroit? Nope. Here's HuffPost's terrific comeback, itself a testament to the quirky resiliency we live and breathe around here.

An excerpt:

We know you've seen the lists. Worst Neighborhoods In America. Most Miserable City. Worst Reputation. Yeah, that's Detroit: an extremely bad reputation. If Detroit were in high school, ESPN, we'd be that skateboarding, X-Games-loving rebel kid your mom told you to stay away from. See where we're going with this? Not only would some of that attitude and authenticity have rubbed off on your event, but with international eyes on Detroit, some might have started to see the city in another light.

Great stuff, yes? Read more here.

M-1 Rail outlines plans, provides update about streetcar project

M-1 Rail officials presented at the Downtown Detroit Partnership’s summer stakeholder meeting last week, telling the crowd their goal is to minimize the impact the construction of the 3.3-mile streetcar circulator has on businesses, residents, pedestrians and visitors of the Woodward Avenue corridor. 

With construction scheduled to begin by late summer/early fall of this year, M-1’s Chief Operating Officer, Paul Childs along with Director of Governmental and Community Affairs, Sommer Woods presented some of their planning details to the people who attended the meeting at the Compuware Building.

Construction for the streetcar line will occur in two segments with the first segment -- Larned to Adams -- scheduled to break ground this year.

Details discussed include:

• Woodward Avenue will be closed to traffic and pedestrians but clearly marked detours will be available. Construction is expected to be limited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
• All cross-streets will be accessible during construction except for when active work needs to take place in the intersection.  Anticipated time for closure for each intersection is four calendar days.
• One lane of vehicular traffic will be maintained around Campus Martius Park during construction.
• DDOT, SMART and Transit Windsor will maintain service during construction and M-1 Rail is working with them to redirect bus routes and create temporary stops.
• Utility service interruptions will be avoided when possible; however when necessary stakeholders will be given 5-days advance notice.
• Access for emergency responders will be maintained at all times. A complete emergency access plan is being developed. 
• Crosswalks will still be provided at major intersections. 
• Sidewalks will be provided during construction; however, they will be no larger than six-feet in width.
• Limited number of short-term sidewalk closures may be required, but will occur on one side of street during off-peak hours. 

Construction of Segment 2 -- north of Adams to West Grand Boulevard -- will begin next year.   

Palmer Park expected to make splash come August

Detroit’s Palmer Park will soon be the new home for a state-of-the art Splash Park, thanks to the generosity of Lear Corporation and support from the City of Detroit. Construction is proceeding quickly and water should be flowing by mid-August, providing welcome relief from the heat for children of all ages.
 
 Palmer Park was chosen by the City of Detroit Recreation Department as the location for the second splash park in the city to be built by Lear. The new Palmer Park Splash Park will be motion-censored and will be programmed to turn on at 10:00 am, and automatically shut off at 10:00 pm, when Palmer Park closes. 
 
Construction at the site of the former pool began in Palmer Park earlier this month, and is expected to be complete by mid-August. The City of Detroit suggested Palmer Park primarily because the People for Palmer Park (PFPP), a nonprofit 501(C)(3) entity, has adopted the park and has collaborated with the city and community to revitalize the recreation and nature site. PFPP has launched extensive recreational programming this summer, offering baseball, organized weekly bike rides, tai chi and yoga classes, and tennis lessons for children and adults. 
 
The Splash Park will replace the non-functional pool in Palmer Park, which has been closed for many years, after vandals removed all mechanical infrastructure for the pool. The site of the Palmer Park pool is now a large excavated hole, which has been drained, and will be filled with a stable material, followed by the construction of the Splash Park. Go here for photos of the future Splash Park. 
 
In the near future, the City of Detroit also has plans to construct a new playscape in the area adjacent to the pool. The People for Palmer Park have been working with the General Services Department on design, siting, selection of the proposed structure and more. 
 
Palmer Park is located between McNichols and Seven Mile Road, and just west of Woodward Avenue. The Splash Park and playground will be located on Merrill Plaisance, which intersects with Woodward Avenue just north of McNichols and borders part of the southern periphery of the park.

Healthy startup scene portends well for city in face of bankruptcy

The folks at VentureBeat reported last week that Detroit is primed to make some moves on the entrepreneurship scene despite the city plunging into insolvency. We like what we read.

An excerpt:

I spent a week in Detroit last year, talked to dozens of local startups, interviewed billionaire businessman and sportsman Dan Gilbert, and was surprised and gratified to see energetic, passionate entrepreneurship and a growing ecosystem of talent, money, and tools right in the heart of Detroit’s supposedly devastated downtown.

It’s one reason why last year Detroit was rated one of the best U.S. cities to get a job in technology.

Read more here.

Imagine: a city without freeways

Yes, we know, this broadcast focused on Minnesota's twin cities, with detours to Milwaukee and St. Louis, but we thought there was plenty here to apply to Detroit's own 1-94 and our other freeway issues.

Take a look and let's discuss later.

An excerpt: (Former Milwaukee mayor John) Norquist said that ripping up freeways might seem like an outlandish notion -- at the moment. "It's counterintuitive to think that if you took them out, it would somehow help things," he said, "but eventually, I think, the world is coming to that conclusion. Maybe five years, 10 years from now, it won't seem like such a weird idea."

Read on here.

Inc. lists five reasons to start a business in Detroit

Inc. mag always seems to have a solid perspective on entrepreneurship in Detroit. In a recent issue, editors list five good reasons why it's the right time to start a business in the city. Now. 

An excerpt:

"The entrepreneurial spirit that exists in this region has been here forever," says David Egner, director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. What organizations like his have done is shine a light back on would-be entrepreneurs and provide them the resources to start strong."

Read more here.

Writer, traveler, adventurous eater Tony Bourdain spotted in Detroit

We'd been hearing for weeks, perhaps months, about CNN's "Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown" coming to Detroit to film an episode for season 2 of the series. The Freep teased us last week with a list of places that Bourdain was rumored to be visiting. Then After 5 Detroit revealed that the author of "Kitchen Confidential," and star of "No reservations" was invited to the Guns + Butter fine dining pop up.

An excerpt: 

So I had to ask (Chef Craig Liekfelt), were you nervous to cook for Bourdain?

"There’s certainly a level of nerves, just because it’s a pretty big moment, but I’m more excited to have cooked for someone who has had such an incredible impact and influence on the food culture. I truly respect and admire Anthony Bourdain and love that he doesn’t sugar coat anything, he never changes who he is – he’s always himself and that’s what makes him so great to watch on TV, to read his books and to have him sitting in front of you eating your food," said Craig.

Nice, very nice. Read more here.

Detroit artist Audra Kubat looking to fund new album

We've known Audra Kubat since she was a "Stunning Amazon" on the late 1990s Detroit garage rock scene. As a solo artist, she's made five albums and now is trying to kick up some funding for number six. 

Audra in her own words in this excerpt:

I'm a working musician now, making my living on gigs, shows big and small, giving lessons, and working with local organization InsideOut Literary Arts Project which places artists and writers in the Detroit class rooms to share their artistry. While I can get by, there's never much left to invest in the cost of recording. 

I've selected 13 original songs that are written, arranged, rehearsed and ready to record. With this album, I am stepping back into the ring. It is the best music that I've ever made and, with your help, I'll prove it.

This is a project we can get behind. Read more here.

David Egner: NEI catalyst for more than downtown and Midtown

Executive director for the New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan Dave Egner writes in HuffPost Detroit that the NEI is partnering with doers and difference makers in various city neighborhoods.

An excerpt:

ProsperUs
, another program of Southwest Housing Solutions, serves immigrants and persons of color through micro-enterprise and entrepreneurial training. Focus areas include Cody-Rouge on the northwest side of the city, Detroit's North End neighborhood, and Southwest Detroit.

Read on here.

Freep digital editor: State should be welcoming to LGBT community

Free Press managing editor of digital media Nancy Andrews' personal essay on living in a state that discrimminates against her, her wife and Michigan's LGBT community is a must read. Why indeed would Michigan not want to attract and retain talent like Andrews -- an award-winning photogrpaher, documentary videographer and journalist? 

Here are some key excerpts from her op/ed: 

I have choices. I choose to spend my money where my life is respected and where the business meets my needs. If you don’t recognize my family status, then you don’t get my money. Businesses are quicker to turn to do things that are in their best interests. It’s often only now in government that I face direct and specific discrimination. Of course, it hasn’t always been this way.

People seem to think this call for equality is a new thing. It’s really not. What’s different is that more people are out, and gay men and lesbians are increasingly vocal. More of us have become less tolerant of unequal treatment.
 
When I moved (here) 13 years ago, state or local law was not a litmus test for me. In part because there was no practical reason to do so. But, in 2013, it is. Why would any rational gay person choose to move to a state that discriminates against them when they could live in states that protect them equally under the law? I would not make that choice.

Read more here.

Detroit Sound group brings attention to former studio threatened by freeway expansion

Detroit Sound Conservancy founder Carleton Gholz wants all to be aware of the city's globally massive music heritage. Even buildings that currently stand empty, like the United Sound studio, need protection. 

An excerpt: 

It's where Berry Gordy Jr. cut the first record that would lead the way to the Motown dynasty. Aretha Franklin used the studio to record the vocals to her 1985 hit "Freeway of Love." (Editor's note: Ironic, yes, that the building is now potentially in the way of an expanding 1-94 project?)

Funkadelic, which included George Clinton, recorded most of its music there. Miles Davis, the Dramatics, John Lee Hooker, Luther Vandross and Eminem also are among those who recorded tracks at 5840 Second Ave.

But the recording studio where the Motown sound got its start could be leveled as part of a project to reconstruct I-94 by adding a lane on both sides and installing continuous service drives along the freeway. 

Read more here.

Open house at 71 Garfield previews new classes

Sugar Hill Clay first opened in 2011. Located in the lower level of the renovated 71 Garfield building in Midtown Detroit, the studio is about as "green" as a ceramic studio can get. The work tables, shelving, cabinetry and countertops were all constructed from reclaimed wood and operate on a combination of geo-thermal energy that is generated in our building and a 20-kilowatt solar array.  
 
Sugar Hill Clay is currently undergoing a lot of changes in operations.
 
New classes begin in August. Including: Intro to wheel throwing, which is covers the fundamentals of wheel thrown pottery; a handbuilding class focused on tableware; an Altered Pots class that combines wheel throwing and handbuilding techniques to create new and more complex forms; and "Playing with fire: Raku" which will cover a range of clay projects with a special focus on Raku firing. All adult classes include open studio hours so students may come in at their leisure to work on their projects outside of class. 
 
There is also "Adventures in Clay" for the kids. This class is for children ages 6-12, and will explore many techniques from handbuilding to surface decoration, and the chance to play on the potter's wheel for those interested. The kids will have the opportunity to make functional pots, as well as sculptural pieces. 
 
In addition to the classes, Sugar Hill Clay can be booked for private parties and events.
 
Things are kicking off with an open house this Friday, July 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tour the studio, meet the instructors, learn about new classes, and have the opportunity to play with some clay. Light refreshments will be served and a free class will be given away to one lucky attendee.
 
For more information, go here.


BBC: Detroit Soup gets trans-Atlantic recognition

We love us some tasty Detroit Soup, which is getting more love and validation, this time from the venerable British Broadcasting Corporation.

An excerpt:

The BBC's North America correspondent Jonny Dymond found out, soup, salad and community are the ingredients that one Detroit group put together to fix the city, one small step at a time.

The community events help raise money to support worthy projects in Detroit. Read on here.

Freep: Up north with HDL in pictures

We went up north to Port Austin a couple of weeks ago to see the work of Detroit's Hygienic Dress League on the side of a barn. We're not the only ones, including the Detroit Free Press, which sent a photographer up Van Dyke to capture this slideshow. Good stuff. See it here.

Shinola opens flagship store in Midtown this weekend

Well, that didn't take long. The Shinola Store and Bicycle Assembly Headquarters officially opens to the public this Friday, June 28 during normal business hours, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
 
A public Grand Opening Celebration will be held the next day, Saturday, June 29, 1-4 p.m. Shoppers will be treated to music from DJ Amy Dreamcatcher, MotorCity Brewery beer, samples of DROUGHT juice and limited edition letter press posters (while supplies last).

Head to where the action is, 441 W. Canfield, Detroit, MI 48201 (between 2nd Ave. and Cass Ave.), this weekend.
 

SEMCOG meeting on freeway widening recapped

This wrap up of last week's SEMCOG meeting appeared in HuffPost Detroit and Mode Shift Move Together, two of our media partners.

An excerpt: 

Citizens also turned out in force to speak out at a lengthy public comment period during the meeting. Dozens voiced their opinions, including members of the Sierra Club, the Michigan Suburbs Alliance and Transportation Riders United; none favored the highway expansions. Many, like Nowak-Boyd, objected to the toll they could take on local communities.

Members of the Detroit Sound Conservancy expressed concerns that a building that once housed United Sound Systems, a studio that recorded tracks by musical legends like John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Funkadelic and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, would be destroyed by the I-94 renovation.

Read on here.

Check out winners of Quicken's Hudson's redevelopment contest

Drum roll, please:

First place goes to "MINICITY Detroit," by Davide Marchetti and Erin Pellegrino of Rome, Italy. It incorporates an urban path to an elevated platform and includes sculptural high-rise elements and low-rise components for a combined use of commercial, residential and retail space in upper and lower plazas. Other uses include a market and cinemas. The design uses red brick found in much of the city’s historic architecture, while complementing nearby buildings.

That's an excerpt from a story in Deadline Detroit.

Read and see more here.

$1 million MEDC grant for Shed 5, kitchen in Eastern Market

This is good news for the emerging market scene, which is getting closer to fulfilling its mission to become a 24-hour neighborhood.

An excerpt:

Once completed, Shed 5 will serve as a regional hub for local food production, processing, distribution and retailing; an incubator for specialty food producers; a provider of culinary and nutritional education; a center for plant and flower sales; and a public space for events, MEDC said in a release. The project will add 36 full-time jobs.

Read more here.

Introducing finalists for Detroit Knight Arts Challenge

Plenty of worthy individuals, groups and orgs are on this list. Find your favorites and support. Lots of great stuff going on in Detroit right now.

An excerpt:

What we found was a community bursting with creative, innovative and distinctly DETROIT ideas. Many of the ideas came from individuals and small collectives (something we hope you will see reflected in the list of finalists). Several investigated the use of space/place and art. Some looked to marry Detroit’s past and its future. All were thoughtfully reviewed and considered by our panel of local reviewers and Knight staff.

Want more? Here you go: here.

Sound Conservancy fundraiser tonight at Magic Stick

It's called "Two Worlds, One Sound," a followup of sorts to last year's benefit at Model D that also honored our building's rich history as Zoot's, a hotspot for local music in the mid-1990s. 

Here's the lowdown from Detroit Sound Conservancy founder Carleton S. Gholz:

LipCity and BMG never met until the DSC brought them together to organize around Detroit’s rich musical legacy in front of the Blue Bird Inn on Tireman. Both archivists, historians, writers, and sound-organizers, LipCity and BMG were raised in Detroit’s imaginative soundscape, schooled by DJs like Ken Collier and the Electrifying Mojo, and activated to embrace their communities.