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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.

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. 

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. 

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

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

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.

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."


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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

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.
 
 


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. They will bring their two worlds together under one sound to raise funds for the Detroit Sound Conservancy who are working with the Detroit Public Library Friends Foundation to enhance the stewardship surrounding Detroit’s musical heritage.

Nicely said, but just who are LipCity and BMG? Regular peeps know them by their real names Curtis Lipscomb (yes, executive director of KICK) and Brendan M. Gillan of electro-space disco innovators Ectomorph.

This is quality talent performing for a quality organization. $10 (or more) donation suggested. Magic Stick is at 4140 Woodward Ave. in Midtown. Starts at 9 p.m. tonight, Tuesday June 18, goes til 2 a.m. (editor's note: and the after-party?)

Death, pioneering early-70s, East Side punk band featured in new doc

Nearly 40 years after forming in an East Side Detroit neighborhood, the time has come today for a band called Death. 

The group has had its 1970s material released, performed at the first Orion Festival this past weekend and is the subject of a new documentary.

An excerpt from a review in Crave:

Artistic integrity, within the brothers, starts at an early age. Raised in (Detroit), the birth place of Motown, the Hackney brothers were allowed to experience all kinds of music by their loving, open minded parents. In one scene, the surviving brothers reminisce about their father making them watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. As the sixties music scene grew, the Hackney’s became inspired as much by Alice Cooper as Berry Gordy.

"Hell yeah!" to that, we say.

Read a review for the doc here. Buy the download here.

Surface road to replace I-375? We hope so

The history of I-375, and all it displaced (Detroit's Black Bottom-Paradise Valley, where jazz and blues thrived in the 1940s and 1950s, hosting greats like Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald regularly) is a long, twisted and wicked tale. There is growing talk of filling in the ditch and making it into a surface road. We are happy to hear it. Let's do it right and begin to develop the east side of downtown that does honor to the past and stimulates growth and prosperity for all in the future.

An excerpt:

"As it exists, 375 represents a barrier," said Faye Nelson, president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. "It separates the community east and west of Jefferson. We are really looking to gather with our chief stakeholders to have a conversation on whether this is the right time to evaluate 375, and what is the best approach to take with respect to this issue. Hopefully, we can come up with a solution on whether there will be any changes to the freeway, what they are, how they will be funded."

Sounds cautiously promising. Read more here.

Gilbert's $1.5 million contributions back Venture for America fellows

Few people that we know spend money, and lots of it, more wisely than Dan Gilbert. This short announcent by Venture for America says it all. An excerpt:  

Last week, the Quicken Loans chairman and founder continued his quest to remake Detroit, with the goal to "turn downtown into a high-tech hub, where young entrepreneurs both live and work." He took another step toward achieving his goal by announcing a $1.5 Million pledge to Venture for America to continue sending our talented and enterprising Fellows to Detroit and Cleveland over the next five years. Already, he’s pumped about $1 billion into the city to acquire almost three million square feet of real estate.

Not bad at all. See it all here.

Atlantic Cities: Detroit, new American design capital?

This is rather flattering. Steven Heller, co-chair of the MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts and co-founder of the MFA Design Criticism program at the NYC school, recently visited Detroit.

Here's what he had to say in Atlantic Cities: 

I was blown away by this surprisingly little known but inspiring incubator of art and design - the rare collegiate creative enclave that engages with, reflects, and embodies the city it's in.

That city is, of course, a poster child for urban blight and urban flight. But it's also the storied home of American manufacturing and industrial innovation, and with the help of College for Creative Studies, it could well become the design capital of the United States again.

Awfully nice of you, Steven. Read on here.

Vacant Land Treatment Program is collab effort

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is working collaboratively with The Greening of Detroit, SEMCOG, and the Michigan Land Bank to transform vacant lot properties. This partnership also aligns with Detroit Future City framework. 

The Greening’s Vacant Land Treatment Program is transforming 10 vacant residential property lots in Detroit’s Cody Rouge neighborhood. Lots are being treated with four different low-maintenance land treatments, designed to stabilize and beautify, increase tree canopy, and mitigate storm water runoff. Nine of the 10 properties are complete.

West siders alert: if you are around the Cody Rouge neighborhood -- specifically 8601 Brace St., where eight trees will be planted -- this Thursday, June 6, 10 a.m. come check it out.   


HuffPost Detroit slideshow rounds up 2013 development

With Detroit's first Whole Foods Market opening this Wednesday in Midtown and other quality of life developments in the greater downtown area, there is a palpable commercial buzz in the air.

HuffPost Detroit can feel it. Here is a piece that rounds up some of the best developments we've experienced in the last 5-6 months.

An excerpt: 

Austin Black, President of the City Living Detroit real estate brokerage, told The Huffington Post that residential demand in downtown and Midtown has increased steadily over the last three years. He calls the opening of the Whole Foods grocery store in Midtown, in particular, "a game changer" that has encouraged people to start businesses and relocate downtown.

Well said, Austin. Read more here.



Register now for seventh annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day

Registration is open for community groups, block clubs, churches and businesses to be part of the seventh annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day, which will be held later this summer in neighborhoods throughout Detroit.

The event is not until Aug. 3. Yes, that's two months away but registration has started. Go here to sign up.

Indian Villagers hold 40th annual home tour

Here is something we encourage everyone to make each year: a home and garden tour of one of Detroit's most amazing neighborhoods.

Historic Indian Village consists of about 350 homes, built mostly between 1895 and the late 1920s. This residential neighborhood is located three miles east of downtown Detroit, bounded by East Jefferson on the south, Mack Avenue on the north, and Seminole and Burns on the west and east sides.

The area’s finest homes and gardens, historic churches and schools will be open in this Detroit neighborhood listed on national, state and local historic registries. Visitors this year will view seven homes and garden venues.

The tour is this Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is the tour’s 40th year.

Tickets are $18 per person for advance purchase; guided tours $2 extra; groups of 10 or more $15; $20 per person on Tour Day; guided tours $2 extra; group $18.

Tickets sold online at here via PayPal. On tour day, tickets can be purchased at Iroquois Avenue Christ Lutheran Church, 2411 Iroquois at Vernor; Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, 8625 East Jefferson at Burns;  and Detroit Waldorf School, 2555 Burns at Charlevoix. 

More information at 313-922-1736 or go here.

White House highlights Amy Kaherl as a 'Champion of Change'

It's not every day that we get to edit a press release from the White House. We are geeked to help break the news that Amy Kaherl and Detroit SOUP are being honored today as "Champions of Change," one of 12 people across the country to get this inspirational award.

Here you go: 

On Tuesday, June 4, the White House honors Amy Kaherl as one of twelve people who are Crowdfunding "Champions of Change." This Champions event will focus on entrepreneurs who exemplify the promise of crowdfunding to fuel the growth of startups, small businesses, and innovative projects across the Nation. "Crowdfunding" means raising money in small increments from many individuals, typically using an Internet platform. Donation-based crowdfunding is already empowering many entrepreneurs, while investment-based crowdfunding platforms will soon be facilitated by the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which the President signed last year and the SEC will implement.

"The Champions of Change that the White House is honoring today are using crowdfunding to create jobs for our nation's veterans, accelerate the deployment of solar energy, revitalize our cities, and expand the frontiers of citizen science," said Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "Crowdfunding is the 21st century equivalent of barn-raising. We can use it to help our neighbors and fellow citizens start a business, enrich our culture, and apply grassroots creativity and imagination to challenges big and small."
 
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White house to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.  

To watch this event live, go here today at 2:30 p.m. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, go here

Amy Kaherl is the Director of Detroit SOUP. She received her MA in Theology (emphasizing in popular culture) in 2008 from Fuller Theological Seminary. Detroit SOUP is a microgranting dinner that celebrates creative projects in the city and has helped Detroiters giving back to Detroiters through over $30,000 towards art, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology, and urban agriculture. While not running SOUP, Amy is also involved in planning the Nain Rouge Parade in Midtown and serves as DJ Amy Dreamcatcher with a monthly party called "Nothing Elegant."

Inc. staff writer chooses Detroit over Silicon Valley

It's nice to see Detroit and Silicon Valley used in the same sentence. It seems to happening a lot more of late, thanks to goings-on at the Madison Building in particular.

An excerpt from Inc.:

When tech entrepreneur Bob Marsh is on the phone with a prospective client and they ask him where LevelEleven is headquartered, he doesn't hesitate to declare: "Detroit."

"You can hear the smile in their voice on the phone," he says, "They say, 'Wow. It's so cool to hear that.'"

We think it's cool, too. Now let's fill up two or three more downtown towers with techie entrepreneurial nerds and make sure the scene continues to grow.

Read more here.

Cadillac Square getting ready for summer market

There is more shopping possible in downtown now than in recent memory. We like the pop-up to permanent vibe on Woodward and we like the use of Cadillac Square, just east of Campus Martius, for more retail this summer.

An excerpt from the Detroit News:

The retail market, simply called "The Market," will take place every fourth Friday and Saturday in June, July and August. According to the Campus Martius website, it will "feature an area dedicated to dynamic retailers, artists, designers, crafters, vintage/antique dealers, craft-prepared food products, and distinctive apparel.

Nice. We'll meet you downtown next month. More here.

Freep's Dickerson: Same-sex marriage a no-brainer for Michigan

Brian Dickerson's opinion piece in the Freep matches up perfectly with today's lead feature on same-sex marriage

It's filled with numbers -- a near 20 point swing, in fact, over nine years -- that show the changing views of Michigan residents on gay marriage.

An excerpt:

A new survey by the respected Glengariff Group, which has been polling Michiganders’ attitudes toward the issue annually since October 2004, reveals that voters in the Great Lakes State now back gay marriage by a 57 percent-38 percent margin -- an almost exact reversal of the electorate’s disposition nine years ago, when 58 percent of Michigan voters supported a state constitutional amendment outlawing the recognition of same-sex marriages.

Read more here.

Sign up now for Global Great Lakes June 6 event

On June 6, the first Global Great Lakes Network convening is being held in Detroit.

Initiatives from across the midwest will come together to begin to form a collaborative network where best practices and strategies can be shared.  A cohesive strategy will be developed to further connect the midwest to a global economy and move towards a view of immigration as an economic development tool for the region.

The Global Great Lakes Network invites you and anyone else who is interested in being a part of this exciting immigration movement. The June 6 event is at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, 651 E. Larned, downtown Detroit.  

For more information and to RSVP, go here.

City Year parties at Fountain Bistro to raise funds

City Year Detroit is partnering with Fountain Bistro to host a fund raiser for the Detroit corps. The party is next Thursday, May 23, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.

There will be live music, strolling hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine, champagne and a chance to learn about this organization that uses volunteers to make a positive impact on schools and kids in Detroit.

The event is $50. You can register here. Fountain Bistro is inside Campus Martius, 800 Woodward Ave., downtown Detroit.
 

Belle Isle Conservancy president answers questions about future of city park

The Belle Isle Conservancy is like Switzerland. It will work for the greater good of the island park with nearly everyone who comes to the table.

An excerpt from this Q&A with the group's president Michele Hodges:

It’s important to be open to options and find the model that is going to work best for the city of Detroit. Certainly, one of the models is the Central Park Conservancy (in New York). When they started out in the 1980s, Central Park was in far worse condition than Belle Isle. And they found one project, their Dairy Barn, which was their starting point, and look where they’ve come since then.

They've come a long way, indeed. Read on and watch the video here.

National Bike to Work day gathering at BCBS

On Friday May 17, celebrate national Bike to Work Day in downtown Detroit by riding to a gathering of likeminded cyclists. Food and limited giveaways will be available.

 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will host a morning reception 7 - 9 a.m. in the outdoor courtyard of its downtown Detroit Tower headquarters. 

Though registration is not required to ride, BCBS would like to know if you're coming. Go here to sign up.

Listen up: Greening of Detroit Grandmount-Rosedale project on WDET

Browsing the usual suspects for awesome stuff that happened in the past week, we came upon this, a sweet report on WDET on Greening of Detroit doing a planting in Northwest Detroit.

An excerpt:

Dozens of volunteers joined WDET and the Greening of Detroit to plant trees on Saturday in the Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhood. The nonprofit has planted more than 80,000 trees in the city since it first put "roots" down in 1989. WDET’s Pat Batcheller spoke with the Greening of Detroit’s Dean Hay and Trish Hubbell. With all the things Detroit needs, they explain how trees fit into that and how they improve life in the city.

To listen to the broadcast hit the link at the top of this page

Detroit is finalist for Summer X Games

It's official, reports HuffPost Detroit, Detroit impressed ESPN enough to be named a finalist last week for the Summer X Games beginning in 2014.

An excerpt:

ESPN announced the competing cities had been narrowed down to Detroit, Chicago, Austin, Texas and Charlotte, N.C. Organizers Kevin Krease and Garret Koehler, with the support of city administration, business leaders and other stakeholders, submitted their official bid for the project in early April. Good work, guys.

More here.

Detroit 2020: Midtown rolling with momentum

It was nice to see Channel 7's Detroit 2020 focus on the recent successes of Midtown and, in particular, the dedicated vision and leadership of Midtown Inc. president Sue Mosey.

An excerpt: It takes a quick pace to keep up with Sue Mosey.

She’s the dynamo leading the redevelopment of Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood. "It’s taken a very long time to get to the point where acceleration is moving very quickly, but I think we’ve reached that point now," Mosey says.

Read on and watch the segment here.

Detroit Archdiocese relocates to Capitol Park

There are a couple of promising developments in one move here: Capitol Park gets an anchor tenant in the Archdiocese of Detroit; and its vacated properties -- most spectacular among them the gorgeous Chancery bilding on Washington Blvd, adjacent to St. Aloysius church -- are being put on the market. The Freep got the story first but Curbed got the pictures.

Take a look here.

Richard Florida: Redevelop neighborhoods for true urban prosperity

Sure, another day, another verbal transmission from Professor Florida. This piece has some of the usual Detroit suspects: Gilbert, Slows, the 7.2 data. But it also reprises an old creative class chestnut that actually answers the urbanist's chicken or the egg question: what comes first talent or capital?

An excerpt: 

I have long believed that talent attracts capital far more effectively and consistently than capital attracts talent. The most creative individuals want to live in places that protect personal freedoms, prize diversity, and offer an abundance of cultural opportunities. A city that wants to attract creators must offer a fertile breeding ground for new ideas and innovations.

Recent college graduates are flocking to Brooklyn not merely because of employment opportunities, but because it is where some of the most exciting things in the world are happening--in music, art, design, food, shops, technology, and green industry. Economists may not say it this way, but the truth of the matter is: being cool counts. When people can find inspiration in a community that also offers great parks, safe streets, and extensive mass transit, they vote with their feet.

We haven't used the word "cool" in a while. Feels, uhm, a bit nostalgic. Read more here.



Bloomberg: Startups providing entrepreneurial spark in Detroit, NOLA

It may be an old story for us to read about techie entrepreneurs setting up shop in old U.S. cities like Detroit. But it's still some sort of validation when Bloomberg News picks up the ball and runs with it.

An excerpt:

While the bulk of venture capital dollars go to Silicon Valley and New England, cities little heralded for their tech scenes have been successfully coaxing technology entrepreneurs to set up shop in recent years. That includes Detroit, New Orleans and St. Louis, where municipal and private initiatives are attracting newbies and natives returning from the coasts.

Read more here.

Listen to Model D publisher Claire Nelson co-host 'Prosperity Agenda'

Here at Model D, we never tire of listening to Claire Nelson talk about the city she loves. You can do the same by clicking on the link below, which leads you to the 'Presperity Agenda," an hour-long radio program hosted by Dan Gilmartin, CEO of the Michigan Municipal League (the League). The show is sponsored by the League and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

Nelson co-hosted a recent episode. Check it out here.

Let's get growing: Pot & Box pops up at D:hive

Hey, gardeners and other flora lovers, Pot & Box: Detroit, which is planning on opening a permanent location in Corktown later this year, will be in residence at downtown's D:hive from May through July this summer.

Join the celebration this Thursday, May 2 for a ribbon cutting promptly at 6:15 p.m. with cans of champagne (P&B's signature shop drink at the Ann Arbor location), pizza from Supino, and other treats.

D:hive is at 1253 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Get more info here.


NYT: Late artist Mike Kelley's mobile homestead coming to MOCAD

We were saddened to hear of the death of Los Angeles-based Mike Kelley, an artist with Detroit roots. Kelley had been working with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit on his mobile homestead project for several years prior to his passing.

We've been following the project, still in the works with a launch planned this spring, as has the New York Times.

An excerpt:

The New York The house is a faithful replica of the suburban Detroit childhood home of the artist Mike Kelley, who shepherded the details of its creation up to the final days of his life in January 2012, when he committed suicide at his home in South Pasadena, Calif. Kelley was one of the most influential artists of the last several decades. And though he made his name in the Los Angeles art world, much of the look and feel of his art came from his working-class, Irish Catholic upbringing here, in a city whose affliction he seemed to embody.

Read on here.

World beat: Dan Gilbert's downtown makeover gets play in London media

Sure, we hear about another new purchase by Dan Gilbert's real estate team every other week or so, but what's not to like about a major league redevelopment project that aims to turn downtown Detroit into one of the country's most liveable neighborhoods?  

Even the Brit journos are noticing. Another good sign. An excerpt:

His Bedrock property management company owns 22 buildings with more than 3m square feet in the city. He's attracting big names back into the city. Gilbert convinced Chrysler to take office space downtown and renamed a building after the car firm; he recently toured the city with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer. He's effectively created a business campus in the heart of a city some had written off as dead. A death that had been a long time coming.

Blimey, how dramatic. Read more here.

Feds give final approval to 3.3-mile M-1 rail

On Monday, the 3.3-mile circulating streetcar along Woodward Avenue received clearance to proceed from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Also, M-1 Rail President and CEO Matthew P. Cullen welcomed eight new members to the nonprofit’s board of directors and introduced Jeni Norman as Chief Financial Officer.
 
The FTA has completed the environmental clearance for the Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project. With the issuance of the Amended Record of Decision (ROD), the project is allowed to move forward to the next phases of design, right of way acquisition and construction. This is the last approval step under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. 

Now that the process for approval of the Amended ROD has been completed, the M-1 Rail organization continues to strengthen its team with the hiring of a chief financial officer and by electing eight new members to its board of directors. These announcements come about two weeks after hiring a chief administrative officer and director of governmental & community affairs.

Deadline for Knight Arts Challenge is April 22

The Knight Arts Challenge Detroit, a $9 million initiative to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals, wants you to engage and enrich the community through the arts.  

No idea is too large or too small, as long as it follows three basic rules:

• Your idea is about the arts.
• Your project takes place in or benefits Detroit.
• You find other funding to match Knight Foundation’s grant.

The Knight Arts Challenge Detroit has a simple, 150-word application process. All you need to know is here.

NYT goes deep into Gilbert's private reclamation of downtown

Not one page, not two, not three "People my age, we would hear from our parents and grandparents who were raised in Detroit about how great this city was, from 1900 to the 60s," Mr. Gilbert said. "But none of us had any memory of that. And it wasn’t until my late 20s and early 30s, when I started traveling for business, to places like New York City and Los Angeles, that I realized how much we were missing. As I started visiting these great American cities, it hit me -- man, how did we blow this so badly?"

Yes, the Mr. Gilbert talking is downtown Detroit redevelopment specialist Dan Gilbert. There is a lot in this New York Times profile you already know, and some things you probably did not.

Read more here.

HuffPost Detroit: WSU looking for Midtown mixed use proposals

Huffington Post editor Ashley Woods reports in a recent edition of the online mag that Wayne State University has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for new mixed-use residential and retail apartment buildings in Midtown, as part of its second phase of the South University Village District. 

An excerpt:

Much like the Auburn, Wayne State is calling for a development that boasts energy-efficient features, bike storage and common spaces for resident in a pedestrian-friendly setting. It must also provide some parking for residents, with additional spaces made available by a WSU parking facility on Forest Avenue.

Much more here.

Fast Company: How social entrepreneurship is rebuilding Detroit

Fast Company jumps into the early 21st century Detroit narrative, complex and ever-changing as it is to us here on the ground, in this feature published this week.

An excerpt: 

But the city's depression -- and the depressed real estate prices that came with it -- created opportunities. And opportunity lures entrepreneurs. The startup types, like Paffendorf. And the ones with lots of money, like Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, the third-largest mortgage provider in the country; he moved 1,700 employees downtown in 2010, giving him 7,000 employees there and making him Detroit's third-largest landowner (trailing only the city and General Motors). With slicked-back hair and a perpetual poker face, Gilbert has just gotten started on his plan to transform the area.

More to dig into here.

Can't take the Detroit music out of Ben Blackwell

Cousin to Jack White, drummer for the Dirtbombs, boy-musical-wonder Ben Blackwell says he moved to Nashville for music biz reasons (editor's rant: another reason we need to build a sustainable music industry here) but left his heart in Detroit.

Dust and Grooves caught up with Ben, and his records, in the mid-south for this great Q&A with some fab pics. An excerpt: 

Q: Tell me more how your passion for vinyl has affected your life.

A: For years touring with the Dirtbombs most of the money I made was just spent on records. I was living with my mom and I had nothing else to really worry about finance-wise. I was extremely lucky. My wife Malissa is very similar to me in her appreciation for vinyl and often says the only difference between our record collections is that she’s listened to all of her records! I’ve been very lucky (or discerning?) that almost all of my jobs have been tangentially connected to vinyl…working at Car City Records (store) in St. Clair Shores, Archer Record Pressing (plant) in Detroit or Third Man or Cass (labels).

More cool Detroit music talk here.

Freep's Gallagher: Nonprofit oversight leads to Detroit improvements

In his new book, Revolution Detroit: Strategies for Urban Reinvention, John Gallagher goes into detail how cities are entering into partnerships with conservancies, foundations and nonprofits to offer better services for the public.

He writes about it in this piece in the Detroit Free Press. An excerpt: 

As emergency manager Kevyn Orr begins his work in Detroit, he may find one of the best ways to reshape city government is a practice already under way.

That practice is the spinning off of pieces of municipal governance to a series of quasi-public conservancies, public authorities and similar nonprofit bodies that are professionally managed. 

Read on here.

See our Q&A with Gallagher in today's Model D.

Ride It Sculpture Skate Park gets $30K from Tony Hawk

More love, all of it deserved, for Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope's Power House project, which includes a skate park at the corner of Davison and Klinger St. 

Now the world’s most famous skateboarder, Tony Hawk, is supporting this unique Ride It Sculpture Park, a non-profit and community-based skate-boarding project. It is receiving a $30-thousand dollar grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. Well done.

Pete Whitley is the foundation’s programs director. He says Ride It is unlike any skate park he’s ever seen. Listen up: he tells WDET's Travis Wright how Tony Hawk went from kink flips to philanthropy.

UK mag FACT tips Detroit dance producer 'brilliant up-and-comer'

In more Detroit music news (keep making it, kids, and we'll keep finding it and reporting on it), a new electronic producer is getting some props from overseas.

An excerpt from the UK mag, FACT:

Manuel 'MGUN' Gonzalez hasn’t exactly sprung out of nowhere -- he collaborated with Wild Oats boss Kyle Hall as NSNT PRJCT back in 2010, released the fine The Upstairs Apt EP on Semtek’s great Don’t Be Afraid label, and returned to Wild Oats for the Harmnear 12. His real critical payday, though, came with this year’s genuinely exceptional The Near Future EP for The Trilogy Tapes -- a motley collection of bruised trance, brooding L.I.E.S-ready techno and looped psych in the vein of early Gaslamp Killer.

Yeah, man, that's what we're talking about. Read on here.  

MOCAD hires new director with local roots

Elysia Borowy-Reeder, 39, is the new executive director of Detroit’s Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, better known as MOCAD. She’ll take over the job, vacant since November 2011 when former director Luis Croquer left to take a job in Seattle, next week.

An excerpt:

Borowy-Reeder, who grew up in metro Detroit and East Lansing, has a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from Antioch College and master’s degrees in art education and art history from Michigan State University.

She recalls how childhood visits to the Detroit Institute of Arts helped inspire her love for her chosen field. “You’d be on the floor of the Diego Rivera mural room drawing. ... That’s what got me hooked on museums,” she says.

Read more here.

Opportunity Detroit behind downtown retail plan

For a roundup of all the exciting downtown redevelopment and retail growth news that was announced last week, see Nicole Rupersburg's Dev News piece here.

For a closer look at Dan Gilbert's Opportunity Detroit initiative, including Papa Joe's opening in the First National Building, check out Ashley Woods' story in HuffPost Detroit.

An excerpt:

Sidewalk cafes and basketball courts. Free wi-fi in Campus Martius Park. Food trucks and outdoor art installations. Parking garages emblazoned with the work of world-famous graffiti sprayers. An accessible waterfront and surf lounge (even Dan Gilbert himself was befuddled by that idea). Opportunity Detroit's brand of populist city placemaking creates interlocking activities, distractions and opportunities for lingering, daydreaming and visiting. It's a chance to make Detroit's downtown itself the star attraction, luring residents and visitors alike.

Very nice. Read more here.

Motown's fab Funk Brothers get star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

This is the kind of news Detroit music fans, at home and around the world, want to hear. We were happy to catch up to it this weekend.

An excerpt:

Thirteen members of the Motown studio band -- all but three of them deceased -- were named as official star honorees by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President Leron Gubler.

"The Funk Brothers were a closed club -- we suffered together, we laughed together, we argued together, and we made hit records together," percussionist Ashford said during a brief speech. "We didn’t make hit records for white people. We didn’t make hit records for black people. We made hit records for everybody on the planet, and that’s the excellence we strived for."

Willis choked up as he remembered his fellow players.

Read the rest of the story here.

Curbed: Gilbert group to develop two residential towers on Hudson's site?

It's hard not to get excited when the words "two residential towers" and "downtown Detroit" are used in the same sentence. This may or may not happen the way it appears in this little piece in Curbed Detroit, but it sounds incredibly reasonable and possible.

An excerpt:

Bedrock head honcho Jim Ketai dropped the name Grand Circuit Park in a reference to Gilbert's real estate "target area" along Woodward...sorry,Webward Avenue. That wasn't the only interesting tidbit: Ketai also mentions plans for the Hudson's site involving two residential towers.

Go here to read on.

Toledo Blade: Entrepreneurship key to Detroit recovery

It's nice to see our Ohio friends to the immediate south in Toledo taking a deep dive into contemporary Detroit, interviewing enterprising people like Torya Blanchard, Josh Linkner, Shawn Geller (of Quikly), Kurt Metzger and others. Solid reporting, without pulling punches.

Check it out here.

A modest tax proposal from LOVELAND Technologies

One of the most enterprising social innovators in town, Jerry Paffendorf, has come up with a relatively simple idea to collect outstanding property taxes in Detroit.

Here's an exerpt of the plan: 

Detroit, which is undergoing a financial emergency, has a humungous, outsized, world-record-setting problem collecting property taxes, with nearly half-a-billion dollars outstanding and approximately 70,000 properties facing tax foreclosure. A lot of people don’t pay their taxes because they find the whole process scary, intimidating, and confusing. We can change this in 30 days using the twin super powers of the internet and simple design, if given the chance.

There is plenty more, including charts here.

Soul of the city: Detroit School of Music emerges

We've heard good things about the newish (established in summer 2012) Detroit School of Music from our friends at D:hive and from an appearance on Channel 7's Detroit 20/20. Now a little more love from Detroit Unspun.

An excerpt:

The school is located in what was formerly the Malcolm X Academy, in a building that used to be a part of the public school system. Even though the system has left it, the outside of the School of Music reverberated with the hum of progress and potential that so many buildings in the area give off.

Music is important. I bet you didn’t know that individuals who study music demonstrate higher abilities in nearly all academic areas, a decrease in aggression and violent behavior, lower likelihood of abusing drugs and alcohol, and a lower instance of developing Alzheimer’s or other degenerative mental disorders. In short, music isn’t just about what your ears, but about your mind and soul.

Sounds good, yes? Read on here.

DC3's Matt Clayson reacts to Campbell Ewald move downtown

When we heard that Campbell Ewald was making its move downtown from Warren, we couldn't wait to ask an expert for a proper Detroit reaction. Turns out one of the city's top talent watchers, Matt Clayson, was answering the questions before they were asked. An excerpt from the Detroit Creative Corridor Center site: 

Detroit’s colleges and universities are pumping out qualified advertising students at a competitive rate. On average, they award approximately 523.2 degrees in advertising related fields per year. To put this into context: Detroit’s colleges and universities award 10.9 degrees in advertising related fields per year per 100,000 residents, on par with New York’s 11.7 degrees per 100,000 residents, Chicago’s 12.0 degrees per 100,000 residents and San Francisco’s 7.2 degrees per 100,000 residents. To add another fun caveat: this data does not include advertising and communication arts powerhouses University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Read more here.

Video: CCS partners with Shinola on design project

We've been marveling at how quickly Shinola has captured the imagination of the Detroit public. The College for Creative Studies has been doing more than that. The art and design school is partnering with the watch and bicyle maker on a research project. 

An excerpt:

Research projects are highly conceptual and allow students the opportunity to participate in creative, research-based assignments within real-world design parameters. Our corporate partners commit design and technical staff to students by providing guidance, expertise and feedback. Organizations financially sponsor conceptual design projects for CCS students and encourage inventive and unique design concepts. The corporate sponsors typically work with teams of CCS undergraduate juniors and seniors or graduate students and are supervised by CCS faculty to pursue new directions in design for their products. CCS’ corporate partners are continuing to expand and diversify their relationships with the College. 

Read more about it here.

WSJ: Detroit App builder Glyph gets national attention

Nestled in downtown's Ford Building, the year-old startup and its team of seven people launched its iPhone app last fall and is working on an Android version. The company raised $500,000 in angel funding in 2012 and plans to close a Series A round of investments in 2013.

Now this, a nicely-timed mention in the Wall Street Journal:

With a partner, (Mike Vichich) launched Glyph at the App Store in November, after attracting $500,000 in seed capital from local investors earlier in the year: "I'm by no means a developer now, but at least I can speak the language," he says.

Read more here.

NYT weighs in on public-private Detroit divide

A bit of a reality check from the latest report on Detroit by the New York Times, this piece examines the differences between what's happening in the private vs. public sectors.  

An exerpt:

For all the talk of a private sector renaissance, demographers say that much of the economic growth remains mostly around the downtown and Midtown sections, a small fraction of a vast 139-square-mile city that is otherwise wrestling with vacant homes, empty blocks, darkened streetlights, crime fears and overburdened police officers. While businesses have returned to Detroit, some others have left, and this city’s most essential problem, its swiftly dipping population, demographers say, has yet to reverse itself.

More here

HuffPost Detroit: "The unknown going forward"

Dig in and stay with this poetic blog entry in HuffPost Detroit by Nancy Kotting.

An excerpt: 

Detroit is not broken. It has simply blown beyond conventional definition. It does not need to be 'fixed' by attempts to make it something it has already been. Detroit does not need to be re-tooled into some economically acceptable form that can continue to contribute to a long dead paradigm. Detroit needs to be recognized for what it is: a place where courageous, creative people can actively participate in the unknown going forward, carving the trail ahead.

Well said, Nancy. Read the rest here.

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

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

An excerpt: 

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

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

Read on here.

Gilbert gets extension on developing Hudson's site

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

An excerpt:

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

More from the Detroit News here.

Camp Detroit calling for entries for Movement installations

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

An excerpt:

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

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

Read more here.

Whole Foods opening Midtown store in June

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

An excerpt:

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

More here.

HuffPost Detroit: North End Photographer lives father's legacy

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

An excerpt: 

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

Read more here.

Richard Florida reacts to 7.2 greater downtown study

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

Here's an excerpt from Florida's story:

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

Read more here.

'Sugar Man' wins best doc feature Oscar

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

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

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

Read the rest of the story in HuffPost Detroit here.





The News: Detroit Soup stays hot

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

An excerpt: 

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

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

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

Read the rest of the story here.

Metro Jacksonville.com finds Detroit's Villages impressive

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

An excerpt:

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

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

And there's more. Read on here.

Get to know the makers rebuilding Detroit by hand

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

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

MOCAD renovation winning awards even before construction begins

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

This excerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

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

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

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

Read more here.

Study: Greater downtown growing in wealth, diversity

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

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

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

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



CCS photo show features Detroit entertainment icons

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

An excerpt:

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

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

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

Read more here.

Revitalization program looking for a few more good young men and women

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program is looking for a few more good men and women to help advance the renewal of Detroit and build upon the ongoing success of its 2011-13 cohort. In 2011, 650 young professionals from across the country applied for 29 opportunities to move to Detroit and work for a variety of local organizations. Those fellows have made significant contributions to their employers, and the vast majority plans to remain in Detroit when their two-year commitments end in August.

Wayne State University, which administers the program, is now accepting applications for the next class of fellows, who will begin their assignments in August 2013. The deadline to apply is March 1. Both fellows and employers are encouraged to apply. Additional information, eligibility requirements and the application form can be found at here.

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program seeks to build capacity for key organizations focused on the revitalization of Detroit, provide leadership development and training for fellows working in these organizations, and develop a network that fosters inter-agency connections and organizational collaboration.

The Kresge Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the Skillman Foundation, the DTE Energy Foundation and Wayne State University have funded the program.

In addition to two years of full-time employment in a job that can enhance Detroit, fellows are assigned a mentor and a professional coach, take three study trips around the country, and meet monthly to learn more about leadership, urban planning, community and economic development, and residential and commercial real estate development.

Organizations are encouraged to apply to participate in the Detroit Revitalization Fellows as employers. Fellows will be placed in organizations that contribute to the revitalization of the city, with a focus on:
  • Real estate finance and development
  • Community and economic development
  • Land use planning/implementation of the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework
  • Workforce development
Employers receive a stipend to pay for a portion of a fellow's salary.

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program is modeled after the successful Rockefeller Foundation Redevelopment Fellowships launched in 2007 in New Orleans. That program, administered by the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania, enabled key redevelopment organizations in New Orleans to recruit qualified professionals from across the country to work on the rebuilding process there.

For more info on the program go here.

Detroit River dip raises money for Special Olympics

A sure cure for the winter doldrums, the Detroit Polar Plunge at Milliken State Park will involve 500 or so brave "plungers" who consentingly jump into the Detroit River -- a frigid 30 degrees Fahrenheit or so -- all in the name of a good cause.

The Feb. 16 event will benefit Special Olympics Michigan, which hopes to raise $200,000 at the Detroit event and more than $1 million across the state of Michigan at 28 Polar Plunge events.

We endorse it for all able bodied, and fearless, Detroit ladies and gentlemen.

More info here.

HuffPost Detroit: Mapping new tools for land reuse

We have supported the restlessly energetic endeavors of Jerry Paffendorf ever since he moved to Detroit a few years and joined (nay, helped start) the local social innovation revolution.

HuffPost Detroit has also taken notice, like this piece last week on an update to Paffendorf's website.

An excerpt:  

Loveland Technologies
, the firm that mapped the city of Detroit's foreclosure crisis in stunning detail as thousands of land parcels were auctioned off by Wayne County, introduced a sophisticated update to the WhyDon'tWeOwnThis? website on Friday.

WDWOT 2.0 is the result of four months of development, design time, "soul-searching and talking," said Loveland's founder, Jerry Paffendorf.

See more here.

Hostel Detroit edgy art tour gets noticed by Michigan Public Radio

We found this dandy report on the Michigan Radio site, and thought "it's about time that Hostel Detroit and its general manager, Michel Soucisse, some more love.

An excerpt:

One of (Soucisse's) guests is Chloe Dietz, a student who goes to school in Portland, Oregon who grew up in Brooklyn, Michigan. She’s on a cross country tour by train. Another guest is Jonathan Dowdall who is an artist from Canada.
Dowdall says Detroit’s art scene drew him to the city.

“Detroit has always had a mythical presence in my mind and I’ve always imagined it a certain way. I really wanted to come here and see on the ground what it was like, in particular street art,” Dowdall says.

Our first stop on the trip is an outdoor street art project on the East Side of Detroit called the Heidelberg project created by artist Tyree Guyton.

Read on here.

Real print, authentic graphics gone wild in Detroit

Those of us who grew up in print media are thrilled to see the return of the letterpress and real, non-virtual graphic design in a physical form. Like what's being produced in Eastern Maket at Signal-Return and Salt & Cedar, or 44FortyFour Studio in the Green Garage, or at Ponyride's Stukenborg Press.

An excerpt from the Detroit News: 

The first new letterpress to set up in Detroit was Signal-Return in Eastern Market, a combination print shop and retail store founded in November 2011 by a group associated with Team Detroit, the Dearborn-based ad agency. Team Detroit chief creative officer Toby Barlow says the memory of letterpress is still deeply embedded in advertising's DNA.

"I've been in advertising 20 years," Barlow says, "and have seen the transition from mechanical marketing to the digital age of marketing. To remind us of our roots, Signal-Return seemed like a good idea. The passion of the craftsman is something I think advertising really needs to hold onto."

Read more here.

Next City talks to Francis Grunow about Detroit DIY and more

Model D contributor Francis Grunow, a consultant with the New Solutions Group, recently took part in a Q&A with Next City, talking about the book Detroit City is the Place to Be

An excerpt: 

Francis Grunow: The place to start with discussing (the book) is the idea that people and policymakers in Detroit are looking for something prescriptive. Detroit’s problems are so big that it’s really hard to put your mind around them. I get why (author Binelli) sort of punts, but it also bothered me. I think the city and its people are used to being told what our problems are, and I think there is a tendency to feel like these problems have a single answer.

Right on, tiger. Go get 'em.

Read on here.

Batch nano-brewers looking for some startup cash

Late in 2012, we featured a news item on an intriguing business idea in Corktown -- the city's first nano-brewery. Like most cool indie commercial projects, it could use some seed money.

An excerpt: 

Turns out, opening a brewery is pretty effing expensive. And while banks are tripping over themselves to lend money to startups like this, we thought we'd take our efforts right to the people: our friends, family, and community.

We feel you. Read more here.

Pot & Box coming to former Michigan Avenue gas station

Social entrepreneurial whiz kid Andy Didorosi, founder of the Detroit Bus Company, has a dandy new renant for a foreclosed gas station he bought at auction. It's Lisa Waud, an Ann Arbor-based biz whiz in the process of relocation to Detroit. Sounds like a groovy collab in the works. 

Excerpt:

Lisa's goal is to get Pot & Box open near the end of the year, though patrons looking for a taste of what's to come are very much in luck. She's teaming up with Andy to host venders from all across Detroit for a Valentine's Day Market at the gas station. Pot & Box will be selling flowers (Lisa mentions an old ice cream truck she's repurposing for the task) while merchants like City Bird will set up under a giant tent out front.

Read more in Curbed Detroit here.

Freep turns focus to indie shops Hugh, Nora, Detroit Mercantile

It's always nice to see smart, new businesses get a nod in the dailies. We were happy to see the Freep catch up to three of our faves last week. 

An excerpt:

Up this week? Three independent stores in Detroit.

Two are located in Midtown and the other is in Eastern Market.

Among them you can find Stormy Kromer wool hats, fabulous notecards and wrapping paper, cuff links made from Tiger baseballs, vintage Playboy magazines and barware, tablecloths and linens, and home accessories with a Scandinavian flair.

Read on here.

UK's Guardian checks out Detroit's tech boom

We've been all over the growing companies', startup and gazelle scene centered around downtown's M@dison building. It's a thrill all the same to see it reported from afar, this time in the UK's Guardian.

An excerpt: 

"It is pretty exciting," said Jim Xiao, a financial analyst for Detroit Venture Partners, the driving force behind the M@dison and an investor in new tech firms in the city.

Xiao, a 24-year-old who evaluates tech firms for DVP to finance, has trouble concealing his enthusiasm. He lives in one of the converted buildings nearby, socialises at the new downtown bars and has a keen sense of mission about tech's role in the city's future. "Where else in the country can you make an actual impact on a whole city when you are in your 20s?" he said.

Read more here.

Juxtapoz mag documents Power House project it helped finance

Three years ago, California art mag Juxtapoz hooked up with the Power House Productions team in NoHam to re-do some homes in need on Moran St. This month's edition of the magazine includes a sweet overview of the project.

An excerpt:

Juxtapoz invited Swoon, Retna, Ben Wolf, Richard Colman, Monica Canilao, and Saelee Oh to paint and reimagine the residences.
 
Three years later, the neighborhood is beginning to take shape, and this past summer, the Ride It Sculpture Skate Park was built on four vacant commercial lots along East Davison Freeway, another creative endeavor that fuses art and community.

Lots more to see and read here.

Creative Capital awards Design 99 "emerging fields" grant

Creative Capital recently announced its 2013 project grants in the categories of Emerging Fields, Literature and the Performing Arts, representing a total of 46 funded projects by 66 artists hailing from 17 states and Puerto Rico.

Among the grantees were Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope of Design 99. Creative Capital’s investment in each project includes up to $50,000 in direct financial support (disbursed at key points over the life of each project), plus more than $40,000 in advisory services, making the total 2013 investment more than $4,140,000. Wow.

To check out Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert's project, go here.

Sign up for Detroit Mobile City February conference

This one day event is at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, Feb. 2. It includes four tracks of instruction and learning: Intro to iOS, iOS Design, Advanced Programming and User Engagement.

For more info -- including how to apply, and the complete schedule -- go here.

Modernism with a human face in Lafayette Park

Nice to see the world re-discovering -- or discovering for the first time -- the simple residential charms of the Mies van der Rohe towers and townhomes. Fast Company's Co.Design noticed.

An excerpt:

Nestled in a leafy neighborhood adjacent to downtown, Lafayette Park is a collection of high rises and townhouses designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1962. As Detroit suffered the roller coaster of the 1970s and '80s, the community has remained conspicuously healthy and diverse--a mix of old and young, black and white, professional and creative. In short, it’s a holy grail of 20th-century Modern architecture.

Good stuff. Read on here.

Auto and brew Detroit history bus tours on tap

Motor City Brew Tours and Show Me Detroit Tours will partner to present four Detroit Automotive & Brewery History Tours on Saturday, Jan. 19 and 26, during the 2013 North American International Auto Show. Tours start at 11 a.m. and at 3 p.m.

The 3.5 hour bus tours will look at Detroit then and now, including Downtown and Midtown today, early brewing history, the Eastern Market, the Packard Plant, the Ford Piquette Plant, architect Albert Kahn’s work, and the brewery and dairy operations at the Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant in Midtown.

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 triumphs. It’s a tale of two cities as greater Downtown continues to attract new residents, workers, visitors and investors while many neighborhoods seek a viable 21st century reuse.

Steve Johnson, Motor City Brew Tours founder, noted that the tours will make a brief stop to view a video presentation at the Ford Piquette Plant -- the city’s most authentic automotive site and the birthplace of Henry Ford’s iconic Model T. Ticket sales will support restoration efforts at the Piquette Plant -- with $5 donated for every tour ticket purchased.

The $39.95 tour ticket price includes expert historical commentary, guided bus transportation, admission at the Ford Piquette Plant, and a brewery tour with sampling and light appetizers at the Traffic Jam & Snug. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Tour guests must be 21 and over. Both tour companies offer gift certificates for gift-giving.

The tours will start and end in front of the Detroit Fire Department Headquarters Building directly across from Cobo Center at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Larned streets (250 W. Larned, Detroit).

Hart Plaza forest tops riverfront design ideas

A "tiny forest" on the largely cemented shores of downtown Detroit, Hart plaza to be exact? We like it. It's the winning proposal in a design competition for ideas on how to maximize the Detroit riverfront.

An exerpt from co.design:
 
The idea is to create a space, separated visually from the city, that can facilitate interactions of all sizes. Small attractions can be interspersed throughout the woods, while an open space called the knoll is intended as a central meeting place for larger activities. "In our proposal," Yoon and Yoo explain, "the important idea we focus on is not the types of activities but the scales of them. Many small components of the forest, such as sculptures, trails, or small bridges will be able to hold small scale activities. On the other hand, the knoll, a big open space, will hold large scale activities, such as concerts, screenings, or theatrical performances with magnificent background of forest."

Read more here.

Detroit SOUP gets play on NBC Nightly News

We love Detroit SOUP and all it does to stimulate change in the city's cultural and entrepreneurial scene. We're thrilled the org was recently profiled on NBC Nightly News.

An excerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

"It's a chance to draw people together, share ideas over a simple meal like soup, salad and bread and hear how people really want to help continue to revitalize the city," Kaherl explained. "I love just being a connecting point for people."

Over the months, Detroit SOUP has supported an array of ideas, from Veronika Scott's Empowerment Plan, which produce coats-turned-sleeping-bags and supports the homeless, to a high school group's screen printing project.

Read on here.

Hey artists: Deadline is this Friday, Feb. 1 for Kresge grants

Don't procrastinate, get your application filled out for a chance at $25,000 for emerging and established metro Detroit artists.

2013 Kresge Artist Fellowships are available in:

Literary Arts: Arts criticism in all categories (including literary, performing and visual), creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, spoken word, and interdisciplinary work (including experimental work, graphic novels, zines and other hybrid forms).

Visual Arts: Art and technology, book arts, ceramics, collage, drawing, fiber, glass, installation, metalwork, painting, photography, performance art, printmaking, sculpture, video art, and interdisciplinary work (including experimental work and other hybrid forms).

Deadline is 11:59 p.m. Feb. 1. That's a hard deadline. Get your stuff in early.

More details here.

New book 'Driving Detroit' out now by WSU urban planner

Driving Detroit: The Quest for Respect in the Motor City, called a must read by Harvard Professor William Julius Wilson, is available now from the University of Pennsylvania Press and at Amazon.com. 
 
Author George C. Galster sent us a note about his book, saying "it is the kind of book that will make readers laugh, cry, and shake their heads in amazement. Hopefully, they will also have many 'aha!' moments of revelation." All right, sounds good to us and just in time for holiday reading.

Why Stik moved back from Silicon Valley to Detroit

Launched two years ago from the Bay Area, Stik attempts to create a recommended list of service professionals online through a user’s social graph.

But as the founders discovered, Silicon Valley is not an easy place to grow a long-term business. After two years of trudging through the Valley, the four person company packed its bags this summer and headed back to the founders’ hometown of Detroit.

Read on here.
 

Freep: Detroit students grow produce year-round for meal program

This story in the Detroit Free Press, featuring a picture of students in a greenhouse, caught our eye.

Excerpt: The green projects district-wide are designed to reduce energy costs, improve health and student achievement and include a range of activities from energy conservation to waste management, transportation, nutrition and indoor and outdoor environmental improvements.

Read more here.

HuffPost Detroit: Detroit Jewish life centers around downtown synagogue

HuffPost Detroit's David Sands reports that activity at the Issac Agree Downtown Synagogue is increasing. A good sign for the Griswald St. religious center -- and downtown.

Excerpt: (The downtown location) has served as the focal point of a resurgent Jewish community. It's a rather remarkable development, because not long ago Detroit's last free-standing synagogue was on the verge of shutting down.

The recent transformation has been dramatic. The congregation now has 250 member units -- a figure that includes both individuals and families -- and its Friday evening and Saturday morning services regularly draw around 40 people. In addition, Isaac Agree now hosts regular Thursday morning services, Torah studies, Hebrew lessons and a wide array of other programming.

Read on here.

Winners announced in Detroit waterfront vision contest

The Freep's John Gallagher reports that designers from as far away as "South Korea and England were among the winners in this week’s Detroit by Design 2012 competition, held by the Urban Priorities Committee of AIA Detroit." There were some pretty good ideas, including our favorite -- extending the river onto Detroit land via canals, ponds and lakes.

Read more here.

Downtown Synagogue joins neighborhood groups for food justice

Detroit's Jewish community is active this week during Hanukkah, which runs through Sunday, Dec. 16.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Eden Gardens Block Club -- partnering with the Downtown Synagogue in Detroit -- hopes to grow produce for its East Side neighborhood.

At the Detroit Youth Food Brigade, a member of the synagogue helps young students learn how to sell and distribute healthy food. And at Replanting Roots, another member of the Detroit synagogue is working to help ex-prisoners develop an urban farm.

The Downtown Synagogue is the last free-standing active synagogue in Detroit, where it hopes to become an anchor for a new generation of Jewish people looking to live in the city.

All sounds good. Read on here.

Pewabic Pottery hosts annual holiday shopping night this Wednesday

Pewabic Pottery invites metro Detroiters to shop local this holiday season at its annual Holiday Shopping Night on Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
 
Guests can join in celebration for a night of tasty holiday snacking, live entertainment courtesy of the Jazz Merchants and great discounts. To top it off, shoppers can find the perfect gift for loved ones from a selection of beautifully handcrafted ceramics by more than 100 artists. 
 
The night will be full of surprises with giveaways every 30 minutes, and "special purchases" available throughout the evening. Upon entry, visitors will receive a numbered ticket, entering them for a chance to win Pewabic items including ornaments, t-shirts, and even an iridescent vase valued at $100.
 
In addition to the great deals, Pewabic Society members will receive double their regular discount (up to 20 percent).
 
"The Holiday Shopping Night is a fun year-end celebration, filled with surprises, entertainment and holiday cheer" said Barbara Sido, executive director of Pewabic Pottery. "It’s a great opportunity for metro Detroiters to shop local and support community artists."
 
Visitors can also take this time to view Pewabic Pottery’s annual holiday exhibition, Earthy Treasures, on display through Dec. 30.

To learn more about Pewabic Pottery call 313-626-2000 or go here. Pewabic Pottery is at 10125 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit across from Waterworks Park.

MSHDA and placemaking add to 'prosperity agenda'

This month’s edition of the Prosperity Agenda radio show focuses on placemaking efforts in Michigan and the impact some of these projects have on working toward a more vibrant state. The show also includes a conversation with new MSHDA (Michigan State Housing Development Authority) Executive Director Scott Woosley. Woosley discusses Michigan’s efforts to promote affordable housing, revitalize some of the struggling communities and attract new investment to the state.

The November showed aired Nov. 26 and you can listen to it anytime here or by subscribing to the free iTunes podcast. Our own Claire Nelson, publisher of Model D, co-hosts this broadcast. In addition to Woosley, other guests are Luke Forrest, the Michigan Municipal League’s Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities; and Ed Dalheim of the MarCom Awards. 

For more go here.

Watch fresh music video, as Eminem joins 50 Cent in Detroit

It might have been a bit noisy and bright at a video shoot last month at the Michigan Central Station (an elsewhere). But it was worth it, we reckon, when we saw the product featuring homeboy Eminem, and 50 Cent and Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

An excerpt from Curbed Detroit:

Remember how 50 Cent and Eminem woke everybody up with their helicopter last month? That was because they were shooting a music video for 50 Cent's "My Life," the third single off of his next album, Street King Immortal. Although the album won't drop until Feb. 26, "My Life" and its music video were just released this week. The footage features 50 Cent, Eminem, and Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) singing/running/sitting in various Detroit locales, most notably Michigan Central Station. Take a look at the video here.

And read the rest of the story here.

Former Freep publisher on boards at Digerati

Crain's Business reports that former Detroit Free Press Publisher David Hunke, who retired in September as chairman of USA Today, has joined Detroit-based software firm Digerati Inc. as its chief strategy officer.

An excerpt:

Hunke will offer the young company, founded in 2001, experience, CEO Brian Balasia said in a release.

"Strategically, I want to see if I can help them figure out how to line various business opportunities together," Hunke said. "I think Brian and I are going to do a lot of traveling and talking to partners on a national scale about what we can help with."

Hunke retired from USA Today in September after holding the position of chairman for six months. He had been president and publisher since April 2009.

Read the entire story here.

New student fitness center up and running at UDM

We couldn't resist: This is a new place designed with the students in mind, the Fitness Center is a great addition to on-campus living. Whether participating in a game of basketball, pumping iron, doing yoga, running on the indoor track, or enjoying a fruit smoothie, this hotspot affords a place to socialize with friends and relieve the tensions of the day through exercise.

Read on here.

Coffee and conversation at Creative Mornings lecture this Friday

How to land the perfect creative gig? In this instant-gratification society, it takes patience for sure. But while you’re working toward your passion, it shouldn’t stop you from being creatively curious, earning some much-needed bucks and soon you will be interesting to the creative world.

Each of those jobs carved a path to being on a team that creates campaigns for the world’s largest brands. It’s a journey of decision points on the road map of life.

This Friday, Jen Todd Gray, VP Creative Services, and Darrin Brege and Chris Stevens creative directors at ePrize will take you on their wild rides at Creative Mornings at Great Lakes Coffee. 

December’s Creative Mornings takes place at the cafe at 3965 Woodward Ave. in Midtown. This week's caffeinated lecture is Friday, Dec. 7, 8:30-10 a.m.

Want more info? Get it here.

Supino tops 2013 Zagat rankings for area restaurants

Now the whole world knows what we've known since first trying a slice of Supino's delectibly, one-of-a-kind, thin-crust pizza way back in, um, early 2009.

That's because Zagat's elevatred the casual Eastern Market storefront pizzeria to number one in its Detroit-area restaurant rankings for 2013.

An excerpt: It was Supino Pizzeria at Eastern Market, where owner Dave Mancini makes fabulous thin-crust pizzas and serves them in a bare-bones dining area with about 20 seats and not a tablecloth in sight.

The lack of décor, though, clearly doesn't bother his customers, who rated his food an average of 29 points out of a possible 30.

Read the rest of the story here.

'Hands on' Model D partner Mode Shift gets Freep's attention

In a recent story on the impact of foundations on local economics and culture, a number of Model D's partners were mentioned, including Knight and the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, both of whom lend support to the Mode Shift Move Together blog.

An excerpt from the Detroit Free Press:

The most recent example is Mode Shift, an effort funded by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Knight Foundation to promote healthy lifestyles by getting people more active -- bicycling, walking and more.

The Community Foundation this year launched a new website called Wearemodeshift.org, an interactive portal that gradually will offer trail maps for bikers, information about bike-friendly retailers, and a debate forum on all manner of topics related to outdoor activity.

Read more here.

Dandelion strategist says TechTown needs to stake emerging technologies

Last week in an op/ed piece in HuffPost Detroit, Philadelphia transplant Jason Lorimer delivered some insolicited counsel to TechTown in how to maximaize its impact on the local tech and research scenes.

An excerpt:  In my opinion, TechTown should stake their flag in emerging technology, like cleantech, alternative energy, medical devices and life sciences. This is the place you come if you have potentially transformative technology on the brain, small or large, ready for market or at the tinkering stage. There exists in Michigan tens of thousands of mostly disparate folks engaged, at varying levels, in new and interesting technologies. TechTown can give them a home.

Read on here.

Veronika Scott of UIX get capital love from Washington Post

One of the early heroines of our own Urban Innovation Exchange project, Veronika Scott, is getting some much-deserved national love her for her nonprofit the Empowerment Plan, which employs homeless women to make coats for the homeless.

An excerpt from the Washington Post:

Scott, now 23, was a student at College for Creative Studies in Detroit when she launched her project by working on a class assignment with this direction: "Design to fill a need."

Scott spent months at a Michigan shelter getting to know the homeless. While there, she began working on a design for a coat prototype for the homeless that weighed 20 pounds and took 80 hours to make, earning her the nickname of the "crazy coat lady."

But Scott streamlined her design. She now employs homeless women to work in a formerly abandoned warehouse where they use donated materials and equipment from General Motors and Carhartt to make warm convertible coats for the homeless. Scott expects that her nonprofit, The Empowerment Plan, will produce 800 coats by year's end.

"She's changing the world, one coat at a time," Kennedy said at the ceremony inside the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Read more here.

AIA design competition aims to redefine Detroit waterfront

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Detroit Urban Priorities Committee last week announced the DETROIT BY DESIGN 2012: Detroit Riverfront Competition and Symposium. The event will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts Kresge Court, and includes the opportunity for the public to preview selected competition submissions and participate in a discussion about the future of Detroit’s riverfront.

The panel discussion will be moderated by John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press, and the competition and symposium panel includes world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind; Reed Kroloff, Director, Cranbrook Academy of Art; Faye Alexander Nelson, President of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy; landscape architect and educator Walter Hood; and Canadian architect Lola Sheppard. Admission to the event is free for the public.

Competition prizes are $5000, a trip to Detroit and an AIA sponsored lecture to present the winning scheme for first place; $2,500 for second place; and $1,000 for third place. Entries for the competition can be submitted online here. The competition jury will convene in Detroit on Dec. 4-5, and winners chosen by the end of the day on Dec. 5. The winning entries will be announced shortly thereafter.

The Detroit Institute of Arts is at 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit. Admission is free for the public and $25 for AIA- member architects seeking continuing education credits. A cash bar will be available. For more information, go here.


American heritage brand being created in Detroit

Shinola is getting a lot of local attention for its manufacturing versatility, which includes watch and bicycle assembly. Now comes a well-deserved national nod in coDesign.

An excerpt:

As they’ve started putting their manufacturing operation in place, Shinola has proven not only to be a familiar name but also a reminder of how products can benefit from the stories behind them.

After looking at a number of cities, the team decided to establish the company in Detroit, the former manufacturing powerhouse and something of an American throwback itself. It’s a tidy fit that, like the Shinola name, Detroit too is in the early stages of a 21st-century reinvention.

Read more here.

LCD TV assembly lines coming to Detroit? Maybe

We caught this tasty little item last week at CNET and couldn't resist poking around the story a bit and pondering if it could indeed happen.

An excerpt:

Famous as the company that makes iphones for Apple, China's Foxconn is now evaluating a few U.S. cities, including Detroit and Los Angeles, to determine whether they would be good places to set up shop.

Read more here.

Linkner in Forbes: In Detroit, business can stand on shoulders of giants

Writing in Forbes, former ePrize founder and CEO and local entrepreneurial guru Josh Linkner takes it to the Silicon Valley's over-inflated bubble and shouts out the virtues of growing a company in Detroit.
 
Excerpt:
 
While there have been no shortage of successful start-ups in Silicon Valley, I argue that many of those ventures succeeded in spite of their location. For me, this 'best place' logic makes no sense. In the Bay Area, there is more competition for everything -- talent, funding, office space, resources, etc. When you’re swimming in a vast ocean filled with other startups, you need herculean accomplishments to stand out any more than the next guy. Every single day. Good luck with that.

Read the entire story here.

Metro Times blog: Pre-order reissue of Adult. classic 'Resusitation'

We love Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller, better known to all you closet dance punks as Adult. That's Adult. with a period, wherever you insert the electronic duo's name in a sentence.

So we were mighty happy to read in the Metro Times that Kuperus and Miller have been working on some new stuff, and our old Ann Arbor friends at Ghostly International are reissuing the seminal Resucitation -- and on vinyl, no less, for the first time.

Read more here.

Skyscrapers lit up downtown for World Series

OK, we're all experiencing severe baseball hangover after seeing the Tigers fall to those intolerably spunky and quirky San Francisco Giants. But at least we got some residual benefit by getting downtown skyscrapers to light up the Detroit skies.

The Downtown Detroit Partnership asked more than 4,300 businesses to leave their lights on 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m. on game days and to put up messages, "Welcome to the World Series" and "Go, Tigers!"

Read more here. And go get 'em next year, Tigers.

Mode Shift says 'hooray' for walkable neighborhoods

From our friends at Mode Shift Move Together, a list of the four new and permanent retail spaces being developed in West Village this spring:

Craft Work, a restaurant and bar formed by a partnership between Michael Geiger and Hugh Yarro, the restaurateur involved in Ronan Sushi in Royal Oak and Commonwealth Café in Birmingham;
Detroit Vegan Soul, a healthy soul food restaurant, catering service, and meal-delivery operation -- and Hatch 2012 semi-finalist -- owned by Kirsten Ussery and Erica Boyd;
The Red Hook, a coffee and baked goods shop;
Tarot & Tea, a tea room, bulk tea purveyor, and retail goods shop that is the brain child of Nefertiti Harris, a successful Midtown business owner.

Sounds great. Read more here.

Open City: Sharing success from business to business

Last week's Open City gathering featured several Detroit prime small business movers, including Dave Mancini of Supino Pizzaria. MLive reported Mancini said spent years looking for the right location to open his restaurant. Once he did open he had to find people just as committed and he was to making it a success.

Read more of what was said at Open City here.

Kresge: Metro Detroit literary, visual artists can apply for fellowships beginning Nov. 1

In the 2013-14 cycle, 36 Kresge Arts fellowships will be evenly distributed among the categories of literary arts, visual arts, music/dance, and film/theater. In 2013, the fellowships will provide support for nine literary artists and nine visual artists living and working in metropolitan Detroit (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties), whose commitment to artistic achievement in contemporary or traditional forms is evident in the quality of their work. In 2014, fellowships will be awarded to nine artists in music/dance and nine artists in film/theater.

Calling all artists. Step up, read more and apply here now. There will be a literary arts information session Dec. 1, 1 p.m., at the Walter B. Ford II Building, College for Creative Studies, 201 E. Kirby, in Detroit's Midtown. On Dec. 11, there is a visual arts info session at the same location at 6 p.m.

The application deadline is Feb. 1. 


HuffPost Detroit: Loveland's Paffendorf essays advice for county property auction

When Jerry Paffendorf is talking about Detroit properties and tax foreclosure auction in the same sentence, we're listening.

An excerpt:

Let's strap on our Detroit x-ray glasses at whydontweownthis.com, look at what's happening with the 20,000 properties at the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction, and get real about improving land use strategies, informing the public, advertising the problems and dealing with all the properties left behind.

Well said. Here's the rest of the story.

Kickstart Noah Stephen's food photography project

We knew photographer-blogger Noah Stephens was interested in food and food systems in Detroit, but we didn't know how interested until we heard about this project to document every grocer in the city. He's trying to kickstart some funding to make it happen.

Check it out here.

Freep: Knight to put $20M into Detroit arts, culture

The Knight Foundation has proved to be a trusted and true friend of the emerging Detroit art scene. Word is that friendship will grow and prosper after the foundation invests $20 million in Detroit arts and culture. The Detroit Free Press has the scoop.

Read on here.

Dwell: International design movement includes Detroit

We found this gem of an overview on the world wide urban design movement largely because of this excerpt:

Matt Clayson, Director of the Detroit Design Festival calls this current rash of festivals the third wave. London's, founded in 2003, is the mothership. Philadelphia, founded in 2005, and San Francisco, in 2006, were the second wave. Detroit’s venture grew from the Detroit Creative Corridor Center’s design-thinky approach. Like that?

Here's more, from Dwell.

HuffPost Detroit: 'Shack' becomes Woodbridge cycling center

Last week's feature on Detroit's emerging bicycle economy was only the tip of the iceberg. There's a ton of non-motorized activity in town, and HuffPost Detroit is doing a fab job of reporting it. Like this one. An excerpt:

Jason Hall, Mike MacKool and Mike Sheppard are the three young men behind the building's reinvention. The trio runs an annual bike expo called Detroit Bike City, which drew 1,500 people to Cobo Hall this past March. They're also members of Bikes & Murder, a local bicycle club that sponsors a popular weekly bike ride, dubbed "Slow Rolls to Slow Jams," at the Woodbridge Pub, located across the street from the space.

Read on here.

Atlantic Cities on rust belt memes: Dig deeper, find nuances

This summary of why rust belt narratives are far too often oversimplified and under-scrutinized screams to be passed around. Check this out:

We need more gray-area approaches to the Rust Belt that are less pre-packaged, more uncertain, and not as "feel good" or "feel bad" as “the ruin” and "rebirth" memes. We need reporting that helps us understand the inherent messiness of current conditions, and by so doing allows us to have better discussions of what and where is good and bad in the Rust Belt. These, by consequence, will lead to better real-world effects.

That, from Atlantic Cities. Read the rest here.

MODCaR's Imaging project makes Mutable Matter

A unique event called Imaging Detroit, featuring DJs (no, not that kind; we're talking discourse jockeys. Clever, eh?) at the near East Side's Perrien Park was one of the highlights of last month's Detroit Design Festival.

It's heady stuff. The web-based Mutable Matter zine was equally impressed. Read what they have to say here.

Mies Detroit residential gems subject of new book

Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies, due out at the end of the month on Metropolis Books, gets a sneak preview in the New York Times. Yes, it's an architectural love story set in Lafayette Park; and, yes, as promised, we do have a dandy feature book review this week.

If you missed it, check this out. And another, a little bonus from the Design Observer Group.

Remake, remodel: East Riverfront's Globe to become DNR adventure and education center

Our hearts leap each time we hear about a new redevelopment project on or near Detroit's riverfront or the Dequindre Cut, like this one regarding the vintage late-19th century Globe Trading Co. building that was announced to much fanfare last week.

An excerpt: 

Under a deal for the building, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., a quasi-public board that holds title to the Globe on behalf of the city, will sell it for $1 to a local entity created by the Roxbury Group, a Detroit-based developer. Roxbury will then develop it to the DNR's specifications with the help of a construction loan from Key Bank.

Read more in the Freep here.

Voter education forums to held Saturday at six neighborhood locations

Twelve Community Voter Education Forums will be held at six locations across Detroit this Saturday, Oct. 13 to inform voters about the details of the statewide proposals on the Nov. 6 ballot. The first forum at each location will be from 10 a.m. until noon. The second forum at each location will be from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.   

Everyone is welcome to attend any of the voter education forums, but organizers suggest attending the forum nearest your home or place of employment. The locations: 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School
3200 E. Lafayette

Renaissance High School
6565 W. Outer Drive

Wayne County Community College District East Campus
5901 Conner

East English Village Academy
17200 Southhampton
 
Wayne County Community College District Northwest Campus
8200 W. Outer Drive

Western High School
1500 Scotten Street

Forbes weighs in on 'Another Detroit is Happening'

Freelancer Tamara Warren attended a recent Corktown summit and penned this stylish report for Forbes.

An excerpt: Detroit is a fascinating backdrop as a metaphor for America -- its hidden cultural gems, its industrial revolution legacy, the fortitude of diligent business owners and its stark and vivid displays of neglect. But what made this visiting group different was the caliber of insight offered by the attendees whose list of accomplishments is nothing short of outstanding.

Well said. Read on here.

Detroit Bus Co., other DIY startups get love from Popular Mechanics

Yup, we check through the virtual editions of Popular Mechanics now and then, looking for Detroit content. And here it is! A nice piece on DIY startups, our speciality.

An Excerpt: In 2012, that prevailing philosophy led Inc. magazine to dub Detroit Startup City. It earned the name because of the proliferation of small-business incubators. Among these was TechShop, a national network of member-based workshops. It was another iteration of a model created by TechTown at Detroit's Wayne State University in 2003. 

Read more here.

Open house set for the Auburn Friday and Saturday

On Wednesday, project partners, Invest Detroit, Midtown Detroit, Inc. and The Roxbury Group will give the first construction tour and preview of the Auburn, a $12 million, 56,000 square foot residential and retail project at Cass Avenue and Canfield Street in Midtown, Detroit. The five commercial tenants, which are scheduled to open by the end of the year, will also be announced.
 
The tour will give us a first look at the Auburn’s model units and common spaces, including two expansive porches and a year-round social room. The tour will also mark the official start of leasing for the 58 apartments. The preview is Oct. 3, 11 a.m. at the main entrance, 4240 Cass Avenue.
 
The Auburn will hold open houses for the community and potential residents on Friday, Oct. 5, noon-9 p.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 6, 4-9 p.m.
 
The Auburn has 54 one-bedroom and four studio apartments. The one bedroom units range from $920 to $995 and the studios from $780 to $830. For leasing information, contact Michael Martorelli, leasing manager for the Auburn, by sending an email here.
 

D:hive founder issues challenge to Detroit hater Colbert

Here's something we'd LOVE to see happen on the lower Woodward corridor: pompous and unfunny Comedy Central show host Stephen Colbert in Detroit, a city that he slaps around with oft-frequency. What we LOVE even more is this challenge from D:hive founder Josh McManus: "Satire is a good awareness vehicle for social change," McManus said in issuing his challenge. "Mr. Colbert, when are you going to put your ass where your mouth is?"

Well said, Josh. Read the rest of the Freep story here.

WSU takes lead on bike sharing study

This is the kind of phrase, from the HuffPost Detroit, we consider music to our ears: A coalition of local business and nonprofit groups is now pursuing a study to see if this type of program, which already exists in places like Denver and Minneapolis, has a future in Motown. Wayne State University and other heavyweight institution and funders are involved in talks to get it done.

Read all about it here.

Monocle does Detroit again in beautiful moving pictures

Last week we found this series of "the Urbanist" podcasts about Detroit living on the UK-based Monocle site; this week, it's Detroit video content we find hosted by our British friends. 

Just click here and enjoy.

Dan Gilbert's entrepreneurial mission gets noticed

We've written plenty, and so have others in Detroit, about Dan Gilbert's voracious appetite for vertical downtown properties. It's nice when others notice, like MedCity News, based in Cleveland (he has several holdings there as well, including the Cavaliers NBA franchise).

Read the Q&A here.

Live Downtown, Live Midtown programs not slowing down

Nearly 700 young workers have already taken advantage of the Live Downtown and Live Midtown program. That's a good number for an initiative that was launched just last year. But more would jump at the incentive to move into greater downtown if there were more living units available, says Sue Mosey of Midtown Inc. in this story in MLive.

An excerpt:

The effort was launched in "partnership with Henry Ford Health System, Wayne State University and Detroit Medical Center as a way to get young workers to live in the Midtown area, by offering $2,500 in annual rent assistance or a $20,000 down payment on a home purchase. The effort's initial $5 million was matched by the Hudson River Foundation, the Michigan Housing Development Authority and the Kresge Foundation.

Large employers in the downtown area took note of the program, and soon Compuware, Quicken Loans, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Strategic Staffing and DTE Energy added another $5 million to the effort to draw their young workers downtown.
About $2 million has been spent so far, Mosey said, and the program plans to continue to spend $2 million each year for the next four years.

Sounds good, let's keep it going. Read more here.

Atlantic Cities: Detroit's "dark euphoria"

Any piece about Detroit that leads with a quote from Sci-fi scion Bruce Sterling passes our cultural literacy test. Not to mention some other juicy wordsmithing by philosopher-superstar-entrepreneur Josh Linkner, who tells Atlantic Cities: "I'll put a Detroit entrepreneur up against anyone from the coasts and I think we'd kick their ass." Yeah, man. We like that kind of real talk. He also takes on the city's notorious lack of density, saying:  "Things tend to be spread out," he said. "Something on one block and something else four blocks later. We don't have a place you can stroll around for eight square blocks."

Right again, Josh. Read the entire story, largely about the national buzz being generated by the M@dison Building, here.

HuffPost gives us first taste of DDF

Yes, we have a lot of coverage of the Detroit Design Festival this week. But too much is never enough when you have a series of happenings this good. Here's one to clip and save from Kate Abbey-Lambertz in HuffPost Detroit.

Start reading here.

The Urbanist podcasts Detroit

We love British media culture (Doctor Who? Downton Abbey? Big fans over here at Model D HQ). And for print, and, increasingly, on the web, it's Monocle that catches our myriad eyes. Especially when we start finding Detroit content. Like what we found in this series of the Urbanist.

Listen up here.

Curbed digs for news at Transformation Detroit event

We don't care what anyone says we love seeing Curbed Detroit breaking stories no one else does, like this piece that includes a few juicy teasers about what is happening and when in Corktown (or is that Corktown Shores?):

Take a look here.

Hatch semifinalist Vegan Soul talks food biz with HuffPost

May the best women and men win Hatch Detroit's $50,000 in seed money to support business startups in Detroit. And read all about how four finalists will be selected this Wednesday in Jon Zemke's news story here.

HuffPost Detroit has a tasty profile on one of the contenders, Vegan Soul. Read about them here.

Josh Linkner: Investing in Detroit good as gold

One of the things we love about Josh Linkner is he's never afraid to punctuate his thoughts in a way everyone can understand -- like comparing Detroit real estate to precious metals, gold in particular.

It's all here in a piece Linkner penned for Forbes, no less.

An excerpt:

Within a five-block radius from the downtown Detroit epicenter, you can buy a vacant building. Yes, building. My business partner Dan Gilbert has purchased approximately 3 million square feet of commercial property in the heart of downtown Detroit over the last few years through his firm, Bedrock Real Estate Services.

Read on here.

Curbed Detroit: Colorful art heats up streets

If you haven't had a chance to check out some of the colorful, edgy street art popping up around Detroit and Hamtramck, then get out there and see it now. It's splendid.

Curbed Detroit knows what it's all about. Go here and enjoy.

Rumors fly sky high about Yamasaki architectural gem

We have absolutely no problem admitting we love the work of former Detroiter, the notable Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki, who among other gems, designed what is now known as One Woodward. Crain's Detroit Business is reporting this tantalizing rumor. What rumor?

Read more here,

Hatch Detroit picks 10 semi-finalists

Hatch Detroit has announced the top 10 semi-finalists for the 2012 Comerica Hatch Detroit contest.

This year’s competition brought in more than 250 business plan submissions, representing a 25 percent increase over last year’s contest.

Drum roll, please. Here they are:

Detroit River Sports – Kayak rentals to city-goers, offering tours through the canal districts of Belle Isle, Downtown and other parts of the city. 

Detroit Vegan Soul Café – Vegan food with a soul twist, currently operating as a catering and food delivery business, looking to open a store in Midtown.

La Feria – A wine bar featuring authentic Spanish tapas in a relaxed yet upbeat setting, looking to open in Midtown.

Motor City Design – A custom denim specialty retail store featuring Made in Michigan products where customers can watch garments be made right in the store, looking to open Downtown.

Pho da Nang – A Vietnamese restaurant based in Clawson looking to open another location in Midtown.

Rock City Pies – A handmade pie company specializing in unique combinations such as Salty Apple Carmel Pie and Blueberry-Custard Pie, looking to open in Midtown.

Tashmoo Biergarten – Based on the biergartens in Germany, operating as a pop-up in West Village, looking to open a permanent space in the neighborhood.

The Collective Tap – High-end beer retailer offering classes and food parings, looking to open Downtown. 

Vividbraille Studio Boutique – Fuses high-end fashion and design with USA manufacturing in a retail setting, offering customers some of the finest Made in the USA fashion goods, currently operating in Chicago and looking to expand to Detroit.  

Whip Hand Cosmetics – A cosmetic company, currently operating online, looking to open its manufacturing and retail facility Downtown.

HuffPost Detroit's Kate Abbey-Lambertz wraps some good narrative around this announcement here.

Detroit music biz subject of Crain's series

We take the business of Detroit music seriously here and devoted much of our July speaker series to that topic. This series of stories in Crains Detroit simply nails many of our concerns. Our kudos. Highly recommended reading.

Start here.

Calling all architects: Register now for riverfront design competition

We've always believed a little competition for architects in Detroit could be a beautiful thing -- and end with the creation of many beautiful things.

So, right on cue, comes a design competition focusing on the redeveloping the riverfront.

An excerpt:

The competition will focus on the area between Cobo Hall and the Renaissance Center and between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River. This section of Riverfront which includes Hart Plaza is at the heart of the city. The major streets from the radial street plan created by Augustus Woodward intersect just north of this site.

Read the rest of the story here.

Nonprofit Better Block project coming to Detroit

We spotted this item trolling, as we are prone to do, on GOOD. It's about a project that redesigns and remakes a city block.

An excerpt:

The organization's next stop: Detroit, where the city's first-ever Better Block project will take place from Sept. 22 to 23 as part of the Detroit Design Festival. Headed by volunteers from the US Green Building Council and Wayne State University, the project aims to reshape a location with plenty of vacant commercial space -- the North End.

Great stuff. Read more here.

Matt Dear: 'Detroit hypnotizing, fascinating, great place for artists'

Full disclosure: we've loved Matthew Dear since we first started hearing his music and going out to see him DJ in the early '00s. Our gophers even dug up this feature penned by managing editor Walter Wasacz in 2004: here

Now living in upstate New York, Dear still holds Detroit, well, dear. An excerpt from Cool Hunting:

That's Detroit--it always makes you feel like it's on the verge of tipping toward being successful and booming. And that's what keeps people there. And when you're in Detroit, you feel like you own it. It's your city, you're there, you're the one bringing in art and events and doing shows. You're meeting people who are also doing their version of what their creative interest is. So there's this little buzz that's always in Detroit and no matter how big that buzz gets on the world scale--like right now a lot of people are talking about it--you hope that it does finally explode.

Read more here.

Freep: News expected soon on Woodward rail

Take a look at our News item today on developments in the M1 story and also take a peek at this, another report from the Detroit Free Press. An excerpt:

Project supporters were given 60 days to address concerns about the cost of building and operating the $137-million M-1 Rail line from downtown to the New Center area of Detroit -- a 15-minute route with 11 stops. It is a scaled-down version of the original plan to run light rail north to the city limits at 8 Mile.

Read on here.

Successful entrepreneurs just want to have fun

Despite a snarky lead-in by writer Jude Stewart ("Detroit the Dinosaur hardly feels like the right place to investigate pockets of American innovation") - Hey Jude, don't make it (sound so) bad - this was still nice to see last week in Fast Company:

In a converted theater in downtown Detroit, Detroit Labs is a testament to the city’s resilient spirit of invention. The one-year-old startup designs and builds mobile applications, including Domino’s ordering app, which accounts for $150 million in annualized revenue, and the Chevy Game Time app, which dominated the Super Bowl last January, outranking Angry Birds for a time in the iTunes app store. Since turning a profit (in year one), Detroit Labs has activated phase two of its business plan: letting its developers work one day a week on totally independent projects. That’s right. Employees get paid to futz around.

Read on here.

Osborn neighborhood benefits from bikes for kids program

Hoo-ray, we say. A summer bikes for kids program organized locally by the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative (DECC) made possible by a $12,500 Rails-to-Trails Conservancy grant sponsored by Coca-Cola is paying dividends in one East Side neighborhood.

HuffPost Detroit has the rest of the story here.

Tampa book arts blog send up some love to Eastern Market's Signal-Return

Nice to see some attention given to one of our favorite innovative small businesses, Signal-Return. This by way of a Tampa blog.

An excerpt:

Ryan Schirmang, director of the storefront operation in Detroit’s Eastern Market helped launch Signal-Return as a project manager for Team Detroit, the international advertising and marketing firm. Team Detroit established the print studio as a way to bring traditional and modern techniques of printing to the community, and to provide a workspace for artists and designers to produce unique prints for retail clients.

Read the rest of the piece here.

Belle Isle aquarium re-opens with limited hours

Here's some sweet music to our ears: the Aquarium will be open the first Sunday of each month and the second and third Saturdays of each month, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at no charge. It re-opened last Saturday to celebrate its 108th birthday.

For more information go here


Move to Detroit, build community, get some rent money

Here's a nice "catch" we made by trolling our social media ticker last week, this one courtesy of our friends at I Am Young Detroit.

An excerpt:

The Live Detroit Fund was established last August through the "Do It For Detroit" campaign organized by CommunityNEXT of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. The fund allows recipients to receive $250 per month toward their rent. What’s the catch? The catch is you’re required to host a monthly event to help build community in Detroit.

Read on here.

Nutrition company Savorfull moves into New Center

Here's one that has been on our radar for a while: nutrition company Savorfull, founded by nutritionist and CEO Stacy Goldberg, has moved its headquarters to the New Center One Building in Detroit.

Savorfull is a growing food membership service providing individuals with special dietary needs a sampler box of nutrient-dense, allergen-free food each month to their doorstep. The company’s new space at New Center One allows Savorfull to expedite service to its expanding customer base nationwide. 

To learn more about Savorfull, go here.

'Detroit Je t'aime' filmmaker tells all about love for the city

Stop the digital presses: we're pleased to report that the Kickstarter campaign to fund Detroit Je t'aime ended successfully on Monday. This story by one of the filmmakers gives a nice account of how passionate this French team feels about the city. And only one moronic comment (near the end) out of 30 or so responses in the Detroit News. Well done!

An excerpt:

Meeting with people such as the legendary Grace Lee Boggs (97-year-old activist and philosopher), Malik Yakini (from D-Town, the largest urban farm in Detroit) and Olayami Dabls (from MBAD's African Bead Museum), among many others, was definitely life-changing. Thanks to this Detroit crash course, I quickly stopped calling Detroit a "blank canvas."

Read the rest of the story here.

Slows' Yardbird to face off for best U.S. sandwich in August

Here what Adam Richman said on his Travel Channel food show last week about what is now one of America's most talked about sandwiches:

"(It's) a sandwich to be savored. It's unlike any sandwich found anywhere," Richman said during the episode, adding that the Yardbird will be moving on because of the "depth of flavor and special blend of seasoning."

The Travel Channel series, which airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays, has scheduled the finals -- a national battle where the Yardbird will face nine other regional winners -- for Aug. 15.

We'll get some carryout from Slows and be tuning in. 

Check out the rest of the story here.

DC3 announces second design festival for September

The second annual Detroit Design Festival (DDF), presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), is coming to Detroit’s Woodward Corridor Sept. 19-23. The festival, which had 85 Design Happenings featuring 300 designers in its first year, connects designers and creative practitioners, exposing them to new markets and consumers. 

We had a ton of fun last year. Read more here and stay tuned for more info closer to the dates. 

Core77 blogger hits Detroit, swoons over people and place

We were trolling for Detroit media love when we chanced upon this beauty of a blog. Not much more introduction needed.

An excerpt:

True to form, DC3 introduced me to Peggy Brennan, co-founder of the Green Garage. The converted Model T showroom serves as a demonstration of down-to-earth sustainability (no pun intended), as well as a business incubator (everyone incubates these days) and an advisor on integrating sustainable practices for any interested member of the community. Brennan and her husband, along with 200 volunteers, spent two years designing how to best renovate the showroom and looked to the Passivhaus for inspiration. With 19-inches of insulation and triple-glazed windows, the Green Garage only costs $300 to heat for a year.

Read the entire travelog here.

Next American City looks at impact of Midtown Inc.

We were happy to find this little validation of the great work done by Midtown Inc.

A descriptive excerpt:

Founded in 1976 by community activists rooted in the affordable housing movement of the 1960s, Midtown Inc. evolved along with the city. In the last two decades, the scrappy non-profit’s tactical collaborations with major anchor institutions in Detroit -- including City Hall -- have elevated it from the anti-establishment fringe and into the establishment itself.

Read on here.

Hotter than July kicks off at multiple locations

Who's going? Events include an interfaith candlelight vigil, a three hour cruise on the Detroit River, the Gathering, a day of education and advocacy with an array of interactive and informative workshops covering issues of importance to women, men, transgender and youth, the Palmer Park picnic and much more. 

See the entire schedule here.

Vice: Phil Cooley one of "most interesting men" in U.S.

We love Vice, we love Phil Cooley. It makes sense the two would get along so famously.

An exceprt:

"We always felt that in order to have a healthy, long-term sustainable buisness we need a healthy community surrounding us," Cooley said. "So I was able to then use the monies we made from Slows, to hopefully help others in the community. We started working in public spaces, helping other small businesses get open, just because I could."

Read on and watch the video here.

Curbed Detroit says financing, construction coming soon for Whitney Building

We've been waiting to hear that the Whitney Building was ready to start redevelopment work ever since last October, when we held our Next Big Thing event there. We'll be waiting to get the official word and will bring that to you as soon as we have it.

In the meantime, check this out:

The Roxbury Group is the project developer; these are the same people behind The Auburn in Midtown. They have told Curbed that they are currently almost done gathering all the finances together and construction will begin immediately after.

Read more here.


RiverWalk's $44 million in upgrades to include improvements to Mt. Elliott, Gabriel Richard parks

Wonderful news from the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy: more funding is headed Detroit's way for upgrades to the RiverWalk. An announcement Monday morning by heavyweight government officials zeroed in on improvements to two significant parks east of downtown. More work is planned on that stretch of the walk, plus an extension that will take pedestrian and non-motorized traffic west to the Ambassodor Bridge.

An excerpt from the Detroit News: 

The state's Department of Natural Resources awarded the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy a $15 million check at the groundbreaking ceremony. The conversancy has also received a $29 million federal highway appropriation, which U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, helped secure and the state's Department of Transportation gave to the river project.

Officials from the conservancy, MDOT, DNR and others applauded the partnership that will transform the river. Read the rest of the story here.

Workshops, other activities heating up at Signal-Return

Signal-Return, the self-described "hive for dynamic visual production" in Eastern Market that is "a multi-use center for fine art, design, craft and literary arts" is zooming forward with workshops and other special events this summer and fall.

Go here to get more info on what's happening at Signal-Return.

'Motion to Makeover' project transforms Southwest park

Any news about people volunteering to clean up and "makeover" a Detroit city park is good news. All the better is that the project is being headed by some law students. 

An excerpt:

The 313 Project, started in 2009 by then first-year law students Aisa Villarosa, Erika Riggs and Juliana Rivera as a community-service student group, offers free legal clinics to underserved groups. But they also spend time each month with their Motion to Makeover project, which took on a major project -- Southwest Detroit's 26-acre Romanowski Park.

What started as a casual idea to work on a park took root when the group decided on Romanowski and approached Home Depot about getting materials, not expecting it to turn into a $16,500 grant from the company's foundation.

Read the rest of the story in HuffPost Detroit here.

Canadian investor creates bicycle manufacturing center

There are a lot of bikes out there, but how many are "Made in Detroit?" Not many, probably. Not yet, anyway.

But here they come, thanks to Zak Pashak, who moved down here to cycling utopia from Western Canada to open a bicycle manufacturing center.

An excerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

His target customers are people who aren't hardcore cyclists but are still interested in bikes.The model he plans on producing in Detroit will be a lightweight steel three-speed with a tire that's thicker than those used for racing bikes. The bike will come in one color -- black-- and sell for a little under $500.

Black, yes. We'll take (at least) one. See the rest of the story here.

Corktown gets front page love in the News

Nice to see a major feature on one of our neighborhood gems -- Corktown -- in one of the Detroit dailies. So what if we were there first -- about seven years and a month or two earlier. But who's bragging? Love the deep(ish) dive and the awesome quotes. Kudos.

An excerpt:

Among the new business owners are Jason Yates and Deveri Gifford, who opened a breakfast spot, the Brooklyn Street Local.
The Canadian couple chose Corktown after staying at Hostel Detroit and realizing the neighborhood was "the perfect spot" for their restaurant.

Fellow business owners have been overwhelmingly supportive.

"It's a collaborative effort, rather than competitive," Yates said. "It's fun because we're all doing this at the same time."

Read on here.

Transcontinental interplanetary neighborhood bicycle dude

When a guy named Mars hit town, suddenly things got down to earth in the Detroit neighborhood just east of Palmer Park. That's where he fixes up and gives away bikes to kids in the community. We read all about it in HuffPost Detroit. 

An excerpt:

"I owned my own business. I was making plenty of money. I had all my needs met," he told The Huffington Post.

However, that way of living didn't feel right to (Mars) Symons. He learned of an intentional community movement in Detroit called Fireweed Universe City, after meeting a psychedelic trance DJ who had become involved with the group. Symons decided to bike to the Motor City to check it out.

Read the rest of the story here.

Recovery Park goal includes indoor urban ag, horse stables, neighborhood employment

Gary Wozniak sees himself as a food systems developer and a job creator. And no, he's not running for president but rather looking to redevelop a 3-square-mile area on Detroit's East Side into self-sustaining farms with their own production and distribution systems. Ambitious enough, we think.

An excerpt from The Hub:

Recovery Park started as leaders from SHAR (Self Help Addiction Rehabilitation) were looking to create jobs for people with barriers to employment. Looking at the talent pool and the physical resources Detroit abundantly has--land, road infrastructure, access to fresh water--the natural conclusion was urban farming and food system development.

The difference between Recovery Park and other urban farming/ urban redevelopment programs is in both size and scale. While most community farming produces few jobs that are often dependent on grant funding, Recovery Park’s model aims toward something more self-sustainable.

"We’re taking a look more at commercial indoor agriculture so that the jobs are year round," Wozniak says. "We can get three, maybe four, growing seasons working indoors."

Intriguing stuff, yes? Read more here.

Indie film titan Jim Jarmusch shooting vampire flick in Brush Park

Stop the virtual presses: the perpetual silver fox of independent film, Jim Jarmusch, has been spotted walking around downtown Detroit. A few years ago, during a weekend in New York, we spotted Jim walking in Union Square. He likes cities and he likes walking. He's never a stranger to paradise. Welcome to Detroit.

He's here to make a vampire flick, provisionally titles "Only Lovers Left Alive." We like it.

An exerct from Deadline Detroit: 

The movie, a centuries-long romantic drama about two vampires, has an impressive cast, including Mia Wasikowska (the star of "Alice in Wonderland"), Tom Hiddleston (Loki in "The Avengers"), Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton"), John Hurt ("Alien") and the just-announced Anton Yelchin ("Fright Night").

Read more here.

MSU invests $1.5 million in Detroit farming project

It's nice to see Detroit going green. Yes, we're talking about the accelerating urban agriculture scene, but we're also cool with the increased presence by Michigan State University in the city. Sparty and Detroit are collaborating on a massive $1.5 million farming project.

An exerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

As the earth's population continues to concentrate in cities and resources become more scarce, the university believes that the world will become increasingly dependent on urban farming to meet its food needs.

"By 2050, food production will need to double -- using less water and energy than today," MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a release. "We see great opportunity to do good locally and connect globally."

More here.

"Sharp" Eastern Market FC shirts available with a click

Fans of the Eastern Market Futbol Club will love this, limited edition T-Shirts with some cool design work. All others, this is what you need to know: the product is "actually made in Detroit" and have some serious edge. Fantastic. Get them while they're hot.

Find them here.

Concert of Colors celebrates 20 years this weekend in three locations

There's so much to see and hear at this year's Concert of Colors -- the annual summer event's 20th anniversary -- that we'll let you decide where you want to go and who you want to see this long weekend (Thursday July 12 through Sunday July 15) at three venues (the Detroit Institute of Arts, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Max M. Fisher Center) in the Cultural Center.

OK, maybe just a few recommendations: how about Don Was Detroit All Star Revue, Saturday at Orchestra Hall; or George Clinton and P-Funk on the same stage on Sunday night?

You can take the rest from here. There is plenty to dig into. It's all free, by the way. Have fun.

NYT gets a glimpse of Midtown's Green Garage

We know that the Green Garage is a different kind of incubator, as the New York Times headline writer says. But we like this bit even more.

An excerpt:

(Tom) Brennan says he believes that traditional incubator and accelerator programs extrude entrepreneurs through a mechanized, one-size-fits-all process, sometimes spurring founders to charge ahead without first finding clarity on what they want to do, or why. Instead of focusing on acceleration, he’s working to build a start-up culture that’s a rough analogue of the slow-food movement: intimate, deliberate, unhurried. It’s an organic approach he knows won’t be for everyone.

Read on here.

Mode Shift links renderings of expanded D-Cut and Midtown Loop

Some of the best news we heard all last week was about the extention of the Dequindre Cut, from Gratiot to Mack Avenue, and the creation of the Midtown Loop, which will take the trail through the heart of Wayne State University and Brush Park. Also in the plans: a connector that will link Eastern Market with Hamtramck.

Pictures tell even a better story. Take a look at these accessed from the Mode Shift Move Together site.

Edgy Detroit Beautification Project explodes with color and controversy

This story in the Detroit News confirms what we knew already -- that the street art that went up on Detroit and Hamtramck buildings this spring is radically beautiful and that the idea was hatched by a Hamtramck-based group called Contra Projects.

An excerpt: 

Hamtramck officials and property owners were so accommodating to the Beautification Project that most of the murals went up there first. It's part of the city's plan to spotlight its artistic side, head off illegal graffiti, and, perhaps grab a little of the global cool Detroit has been enjoying on the international art stage.

Jason E. Friedmann, Hamtramck's director of economic and community development, said the town has long been an art haven for creative types, but that side hasn't always been visible to outsiders.

"We're trying to get our underground creative thing out in the open to underline that this is part of what Hamtramck is all about," he said.

Well said Jason, well said.

Read on here.

Detroit "digital revolution" gets video attention from NBC cable

It's somehow gratifying to see and hear, on a national cable TV broadcast, that there are so many young, tech-savvy workers employed downtown that there is not enough places for them to live. Well, let's fix that. More residential construction and reconstruction, please.

Let's go to the video here.

Allied Media Conference gets tactical this weekend

We visited Allied Media Projects earlier this spring and came away mighty impressed. We also came away with this impressive story by Matt Piper. AMP's annual summer conference is this weekend. It's packed with serious fun. That's what we're talking about. 

Get all you need to know here and go.

New York Post does Detroit on bicycle

Add this writer to the zillions of visitors who've been charmed by a visit to old Detroit city.

An excerpt: 

Of course, Detroit’s past is fascinating, but its present can be just as compelling. To see the city at its best, right in the here and now, spend time in the historic Eastern Market district, a thriving (and growing) neighborhood that lures thousands each Saturday to a festive event showcasing the wares of hundreds of producers from around the region.

Read more here.

Ten Detroit companies to welcome Venture for America fellows

There are fellows already here -- made up of all varieties of professional and creative types -- and more on the way. We like it. We're starting to feel dense. An excerpt.

Venture for America believes that attracting talented college graduates to cities grappling with unemployment may help jumpstart those local economies, and now it’s moving forward with its mission to do just that. The New York-based nonprofit debuted its first class of 41 fellows and the companies they will work for across country. Ten Detroit companies--including Digerati, Quikkly, and Benzing--as well as venture firm Detroit Venture Partners will welcome the fellows.

Read more here.


Local transit visionary shares wish list

Late last year, Neil Greenberg wrote this nifty piece for us on how he envisions rapid transit in this city and region. Now another gem, this time in HuffPost Detroit.

An excerpt:

Great transit won't happen because a cadre of powerful people say so. While high-profile support is essential, making transit work is ultimately an act of the people. Commuters. Taxpayers. Hoi polloi who couldn't hope to access smoke-filled rooms where high-stakes conversations about transit are currently taking place.

Read more here.

Origins of Cass Corridor art scene's lasting legacy

Considering we're throwing a party this week that celebrates one important piece of the Cass Corridor legacy -- Zoot's -- this piece by Vince Carducci on the art and music scene got our attention.

An excerpt: 

My first encounter with the Cass Corridor came as a teenager in the suburbs reading Joy Hakanson Colby's multipage full-color spread on the scene in the now-defunct Detroit News Sunday Magazine.) The whole thing was capped off with a blockbuster exhibition mounted by the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1980 titled: "Kick Out the Jams: Detroit's Cass Corridor, 1963-1977." Legends grew up around the major players that echo to this day.

Read more here.

Community rebuilds Scripps Park at historic Woodbridge corner

We know this story but love it when people tell it again and again, as does Donna Terek in the Detroit News.

An excerpt: 

A group called Forward Arts Detroit -- headed by Dominic Arellano and Lou Castanelli's Access Arts -- teamed with the Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corporation and Friends of Scripps Park last summer to clean up, and call attention to, this shaded and walled oasis of calm at one of Detroit's most bustling crossroads.

Read it all here.


The cure for planning fatigue? Action

The Project for Public Places and the Kellogg Foundation are a good match. Add Detroit to the mix and you have one quite possibly made in heaven. Read on in this excerpt from the PPS placemaking blog: 

One of Kellogg’s goals is for this new initiative to plan strategically for including markets into Detroit’s long-term planning efforts–meaning that markets could play an integral role in the city’s turnaround not only as places for commerce and healthy food for families and children, but as anchors and destinations for their surrounding neighborhoods.

See more here.

Cass Park, Masonic Temple renovation in the works, says Detroit News

When we need to catch our daily real estate buzz we turn to Curbed Detroit to turn us on. This time the thrills come in seeing the possibilities for development in the newly-Curbed-christened LoMidTo neighborhood. Check out an excerpt:

The Masonic Temple could be getting a pile of money for renovations, but like other LoMidTo property deals, the details are cloaked in secrecy! The Detroit News reports that in the lower Midtown area (Masonic's home) there have been 22 property deals under confidentiality agreements.

Stop us if you've heard any of this before. The rest of you join us here.

Iconic Detroit jazzman passes

We had the pleasure of seeing and hearing the great Detroit improviser Faruq Z. Bey perform on several occasions. Some of us appeared on panels with him, to talk about music and how it is a part of the DNA of this city. We were saddened to learn of his passing. Metro Times Editor W. Kim Heron penned this eulogy.

Dave Mancini talks Supino, and "infectious Detroit spirit," in GQ

Chef Dave Mancini takes us on a tour of his favorite food places, including the Sunday Dinner Company on the East Side and Pupuseria Y Restaurante Salvadoreno in Southwest Detroit. Totally awesome piece in GQ. Go here for more awesome.

Deadline near to support 'Street Fighting Man' on Kickstarter

Among other things, we're impressed that the producers of the documentary, Street Fighting Man, which follows three Detroit men -- each a generation apart -- who seek to define their lives "ended our tenure in Detroit with a bang at Detroit SOUP, a monthly dinner/fundraising event that provides micro-grants for creative projects in the D. We were chosen to present Street Fighting Man and had the opportunity to connect with new fans, network with art lovers, and screen our 8 minute work-in-progress reel for those in attendance. The reaction was incredible."

Check out a clip here, and while you're on the site hit the Kickstarter link and help support the film, if you so choose.

Hotter than June: Curtis Lipscomb brings it as LGBT leader of color

Just in time for last weekend's PrideFest, HuffPost Detroit's Kate Abbey-Lambertz penned this profile of our friend Curtis Lipscomb, founder of Kick, the one-of-a-kind organization serving African Americans in Detroit's LGBTQ community. Read all about him here.

Henry Ford to develop 300 acres at cusp of Midtown and New Center

And that's not all. folks. HuffPost Detroit rounds up a few projects (including the $500 million development in the headline above) re-shaping Midtown.

Read about it here.

'Detroit Rising' video series continues on Atlantic Cities

Thanks, Richard Florida, for tightening the focus on how Detroit is moving forward from the ground up. Here is the third video in the five-part series "Detroit Rising." The links to the other two are here, too.

Check 'em out here.

TechTown's Leslie Smith tackles challenge of building ecosystems for high-growth entrepreneurship

Leslie Smith, president and CEO of TechTown, Wayne State University’s business incubator and technology and research park, will join former U.S. President Bill Clinton for the second annual Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting, June 7-8 in Chicago.

That's mighty impressive. Read the rest of the story here.

Salon: Balancing "rustbelt chic" with pragmatism

We saw this being circulated on the web, via various social media, and just had to dig into it. 

It puts into perspective starry-eyed optimism with practical realities

From Salon, an excerpt: What struggling cities need are jobs, and not just jobs at coffee roasteries in abandoned railroad terminals that make for great style-section articles. "The only way (a turnaround) will really happen is by reintroducing meaningful, equitably compensated work into these cities," says Catherine Tumber, author of "Small, Gritty and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World. "This longing can be expressed aesthetically, but it can only be satisfied by restoring the workforce."

Read the rest of it here.

Richard Florida kicks off 'How Detroit is rising' video series

Creative class scholar Richard Florida is dedicating a career to finding out what works to make cities vital and vibrant. This first piece in a series now running in Atlantic Cities jumps on the multiple ways Detroit is shaking off its rust and finding new ways to thrive.

An excerpt: Detroit’s new generation of place makers and city-builders draws deeply on the city and the region’s many assets. Yes, urban renewal devastated parts of the city, and yes, it’s true that there are too many empty lots and abandoned buildings. But a walk through and around the urban core evidences a fabulous urban fabric with fantastic historic buildings of the very sort that Jane Jacobs was talking about when she said that old buildings give rise to new ideas.

Much more here.

Detroit artist creates facade with covers of Rolling Stone mag

You know Rolling Stone, ?the bible of rock 'n' roll journalism for decades, was thrilled to see Detroit artist Jennifer Quigley covering the front of her building with covers of the mag.

An excerpt: Quigley recently covered the facade of a building on Michigan Avenue in Detroit with a collage comprised of Rolling Stone magazine covers. "I've had a Rolling Stone subscription most of my life," says Quigley. "I first began collaging with Rolling Stone thanks to my disdain for the horrible wood paneling that was in my rec room in high school. I covered every inch of that torrential wood paneling with three years' worth of my Rolling Stone subscription collection."

See what it looks like here.

Importance of neighborhood name game

Giving neighborhoods a distinct name by identifying historically important characteristics or assets is done in cities the world over. Sometimes the names stick simply because of how often they are used in repeated. This piece, from HuffPost Detroit, is all about it.

An excerpt: Detroit, for its part, never standardized its neighborhood names. Most simply they reflect common usage, even if some of them are more well-known than others. Some are inherited from defunct towns, which ceased to exist when their land was annexed by the growing city of Detroit -- Delray, Springwells Village, Five Points, Old Redford, Nortown. Others come from nearby landmarks, such as Osborn (a high school) and Palmer Park, while many, such as Lafayette Park, Grandmont-Rosedale and Boston-Edison, come from urban renewal plans, subdivision developers or the names of designated historic districts.

Good stuff. Read on