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.
The city of Bessemer is putting public/private partnership into action to help sponsor a valuable economic development tool to help in the community’s placemaking efforts.
City officials want to promote Bessemer with a promotional video to be featured on a series narrated by sports commentator Terry Bradshaw that would air in various markets around the country.
The city needs to raise $19,800 for the production, which would appear on “Rediscover America” in 19 regional airings on various ABC and Fox stations, in a segment called “Best Places to Live, Work and Play.” The city would own the video after it has aired and could then use it for further promotion.
The city council has approved spending $10,000 on the project and is reaching out to various community organizations and businesses for help with the balance.
Bessemer’s placemaking video initiative includes a questionnaire sent out to officials asking about the city’s challenges and opportunities, what key message the show should convey to viewers, and the best locations and subjects to interview.
The city is also looking to tie into the state’s Pure Michigan campaign via its “Wilds of Michigan” theme (www.wildsofmichigan.com) which features the Porcupine Mountains and the old growth forests of the Ottawa National Forest among other Upper Peninsula attractions.
Bessemer City Manager Michael Uskiewicz has said that the region has long promoted outdoor recreation but this new initiative will be more focused, consistent and visible.
The Michigan Municipal League's new book, The Economics of Place: The Value of Building Place Around People was the focus of a recent "That Michigan Radio Show". The book received rave reviews from show co-hosts Steven Bennett and Holly Hetzner.
"As I was reading through the book I was nodding my head so often that my co-workers probably thought I was going into some kind of seizure. No, I wasn't seizing I was just in violent agreement with a lot of the observations noted in the book," said Hetzner during the show.
The radio show, sponsored by the Prima Civitas Foundation, was expected to air on the Michigan Talk Network this weekend, but also is available online here and starting on Monday (Dec. 12, 2011) on itunes under podcasts, search "That Michigan Show" and find show 12.
Michigan Municipal League CEO Dan Gilmartin was a main guest for the show and he talked about the book (available here on Amazon.com), and why placemaking is vital to Michigan's future.
"One of the real issues here in Michigan is issue of place," Gilmartin said. "We're in an environment now where jobs are mobile, people are mobile, companies are mobile, and we're finding out those people we're after if you will are choosing cities throughout the world. The world is becoming more urbanized that it's ever been. There are 60 million people a year around the world moving to cities. We're seeing some real upticks in those urban lifestyles and attracting talented new workforces and attracting new businesses. So when you talk about trying to create jobs and bring Michigan out of its doldrums the concept of having places that people want to be in is more important now than it's ever been."
Listen to the full show here and you can listen to the first part of Dan's segment here and the second segment here.
Read other reviews and articles about the League's new book here.
Matt Bach is director of communications for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (734) 669-6317 and email@example.com.
The City of East Lansing celebrated its accomplishments this past year by releasing its 2011 Annual Report, integrated with an attractive 2012 community events calendar. Throughout the report, the city highlights success stories that have helped create a “sense of place,” making this community a destination that people are proud to call home. According to 2010 census figures (and in contrast to the overall state population trend), East Lansing experienced an increase of 4.4% in population, which it attributes to their quality of living and close-knit neighborhoods.
Through the Center for 21st Century Communities, the League identified eight key assets which are critical to creating the kinds of vibrant communities that will attract not only the knowledge-based workers, but people of all ages. Creating place is an economic development strategy which will build sustainable and unique places, and help us compete on a global scale in the 21st century.
Clearly, East Lansing is progressive in its vision and strategies, investing in resources that contribute to that "sense of place." As a diverse walkable university city, it values its parks, ensures that its residents have access to a wide variety of cultural events, leverages its institutions to create educational and entrepreneurial opportunities, promotes sustainability through an enhanced recycling program and continues to maintain a high level of services for its residents.
Congratulations to the East Lansing community for their great work!
Colleen Layton is Director of Policy Development for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at 734-669-6320 or by firstname.lastname@example.org