A rendering for the long-term vision for Capitol Park as outlined Thursday by Dan Gilbert. Source: Quicken Loans and the Detroit Free Press.
Quicken Loans Chairman and Founder Dan Gilbert announced his continuing commitment to revitalizing Detroit at an “Opportunity Detroit” event Thursday, that included Fred Kent of Project for Public Spaces. The plans, which included an announcement of a Papa Joe’s grocery store opening in the heart of downtown, are very consistent with the League’s placemaking message. In fact, a good portion of the two-hour session had Kent discussing the elements of placemaking and how to create lively urban places to live, work and play.
Kent told the audience at the event that Detroit has major assets and a passion for redevelopment that he has not see elsewhere, according to a Detroit Free Press article by John Gallagher.
"Downtown Detroit’s geographic location and particularly the half mile from the Detroit River to Grand Cricus Park is the most concentrated diversity of urban assets and placemaking opportunities anywhere in the world,” Kent said.
Many of the changes envision for downtown Detroit are reminiscent of a European capital, including sidewalk cafes, retail kiosks, food stands in parks, lawn games, beach volleyball in parks, traffic-calming devices such as raised crosswalks, retail storefronts open to the sidewalk, boutique hotels and pedestrian walks protected from traffic. They also called for a narrowing of Jefferson Avenue near Hart Plaza because the current eight-lane boulevard leaves a feeling of disconnect between downtown the Detroit Rivewalk. This narrowing of major roads is also something League CEO Dan Gilmartin has called for in his Economics of Place blog.
Media reports from the Opportunity Detroit event were truly exciting and League members will get to see many of these changes taking place first hand when they attend the League's 2013 Convention in Detroit this September. Learn more about our event here.
"We're all in," Gilbert told an audience of about 400 business and civic leaders invited to the City Theatre at the Hockeytown Café. "It's more than fluff ... A big chunk of this is going to happen this summer. It's agreed, funded."
Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 669-6317.
Another rendering of Detroit's future. Source: Quicken Loans and the Detroit Free Press.
Opportunities are now underway to receive comprehensive placemaking training through the MIPlace Partnership Initiative.
As noted in an earlier post the League, along with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), the MSU Land Policy Institute, and other statewide organizations has launched the MIPlace Partnership Initiative. One element of the initiative is a ‘Placemaking Curriculum’ with the goal of helping Michigan communities learn more about and implement placemaking as a strategic economic development. The six-module curriculum from the MI-Place Partnership can jump-start your community’s placemaking creativity.
Placemaking Curriculum Training is being offered right now by nonprofit placemaking partners such as Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) and Michigan Recreation and Parks Association (MRPA). Visit the MIPlace website at miplace.org and click on the events tab to learn more.
And remember, you'll have a chance at the League's upcoming Capitol Conference to learn more about the curriculum and learn what your community can do to help restore prosperity to Michigan and enhance the quality of life for everyone in your community.
Arnold Weinfeld is the Director or Strategic Initiatives for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail
What defines a community? It’s the common ground where people gather – from housing, squares, streets and plazas to parks, green spaces and waterfronts.
The Michigan Municipal League believes that by revitalizing communities and rebuilding neighborhoods, we can strengthen the entire state. Together with our many partners, we invest in Michigan communities to enhance the quality of life of our residents – and to attract and retain businesses, entrepreneurs and workers throughout the state.
This approach is commonly described as creating a “sense of place” or just “placemaking.” It’s a simple concept really, based on a single principle – people choose to settle in places that offer the amenities, social and professional networks, resources and opportunities to support thriving lifestyles.
Michigan can attract and retain talent – especially young, knowledge-based talent – by focusing on how best to utilize our regional communities’ unique placemaking assets.Michigan is seen these days as leading the national movement for "placemaking". Downtowns and neighborhoods, cities, and regions see the importance of “place” to attracting talent, inspiring entrepreneurship, and encouraging business.
Recently, the League, along with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), the MSU Land Policy Institute, and other statewide organizations launched the MIPlace Partnership Initiative and a companion ‘Placemaking Curriculum’ with the goal of helping Michigan communities learn more about and implement placemaking as a strategic economic development. The six-module curriculum from the MI-Place Partnership can jump-start your community’s placemaking creativity.
At the League's upcoming Capitol Conference you'll have the chance to more about the curriculum and learn what your community can do to help restore prosperity to Michigan and enhance the quality of life for everyone in your community. For more information about the MiPlace Partnership Initiative and Placemaking Curriculum Training being offered in the spring of 2013 by nonprofit placemaking partners such as Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) and Michigan Recreation and Parks Association (MRPA) visit the MIPlace website at miplace.org.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or at email@example.com.
"Detroit Matters" - that’s the straight forward headline on the cover of the Michigan Municipal League’s most recent edition of the Review Magazine. The March/April 2013 magazine, available for free online here, is all about Detroit and why Detroit should matter to the rest of Michigan. The cover story focuses on John George and his Motor City Blight Busters program (pages 24-27).
Other highlights in the issue include:
- A column by League CEO Dan Gilmartin that explains how Detroit is Michigan’s beating heart (page 5);
- Q&A articles with people living in Detroit and why they chose to move there in recent years (pages 8-10);
- The revitalization of Clark Park (pages 12-14);
- A feature article on Recycle Here!, Detroit’s grassroots recycling program (pages 16-18);
- A look at several of Detroit’s social entrepreneurs, including Ponyride.org; GreenGarageDetroit.com; DetroitSoup.com; HatchDetroit.com (pages 19-21);
- A first-hand account of volunteering at Cass Community Social Services (pages 34-35);
"Our Review magazine often has articles related to Detroit, but this is the first time in recent history where an entire issue was devoted to Detroit,” said League CEO Daniel Gilmartin. “Our 2013 Convention is taking place in Detroit in September and we thought now would be a good time to highlight some of the positive people, places and things in our state’s largest city. This issue of the magazine gives our members and the general public a glimpse of what they might see if they come to our Convention in September or simply visit Detroit.”
So why does Detroit Matter? Gilmartin explains it best in his column at the start of the magazine. Here’s a segment: “Imagine your body without your heart. Sure, maybe some fancy life support machine could keep your arms, legs and gut technically alive. But you certainly won’t grow and thrive. … Detroit is the beating heart that’s big enough and strong enough to keep Michigan’s lifeblood flowing. A state’s major metropolitan area is also its calling card to the rest of the world. It is the magnet that draws people and business, the face of our cultural coin. … Help us make Detroit a place that matters, so that Michigan will matter, too."
The League’s March/April Review Magazine was mailed out to subscribers this week. The print version of this magazine goes to more than 8,500 municipal leaders – mayors, city council, city managers, municipal staff – as well as state and federal politicians, numerous state agencies, and others interested in community placemaking efforts. The bimonthly magazine also is posted on the web here.
Matt Bach is the League's director of media relations. He can be reached at (734) 669-6317 and firstname.lastname@example.org.