Advocacy Blue Arrows

Michigan Prosperity Agenda: CNU 24 Congress to Put National Spotlight on Detroit and Michigan

Since the inception of the Prosperity Agenda radio show about five years ago, we’ve been talking about placemaking here in Michigan and the importance of creating communities that you love. Sometimes we can view this work in a vacuum but in truth placemaking is part of a much larger, global movement.

This international placemaking revolution will be put on display right here in Detroit in June when the 24th annual Congress for the New Urbanism comes to Michigan for the first time - ever. CNU 24, as it’s affectionately called, will bring to our city upward of 2,000 planners, architects, designers and community leaders from around the Globe. It will put Detroit in the national spotlight, but it’s also a highly interactive event. We here in Michigan hope to learn as much as those who come to Michigan for the Congress.

You could call CNU 24 a conference, but it’s really much more than that.

On this month’s Prosperity Agenda radio show on News/Talk 760 WJR we talk to some of those involved in CNU 24 and why it’s so important to Michigan.

Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin is the host and is joined each month by a co-host. This month’s co-host is Crystal Proxmire, publisher, editor and reporter of Oakland 115. Our guests are CNU CEO and President Lynn Richards, CNU Board Chairman Doug Farr, and Birmingham Mayor Pro Tem and CNU 24 Host Co-Chair Mark Nickita.

The show airs 7 p.m. April 27 on News/Talk 760 WJR, but you can listen anytime on the audio links below. Listen as we talk about the conference and how people are building better Michigan communities.

View past radio shows here. You can also listen anytime by clicking on the audio links below or by subscribing to the FREE iTunes podcast. Learn more about the League’s placemaking work here on this blog.

Listen to the full show: (37:50)



Dan Gilmartin

Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League, explains that the Prosperity Agenda radio show is about challenging listeners to help make Michigan a better place to live, work and play. Gilmartin said having vibrant and prosperous local communities is a key factor.

- Dan Gilmartin explains this month’s show. (1:14)


Crystal Proxmire

Crystal Proxmire is the editor and publisher of Oakland 115. She grew up in Ferndale and attended Hazel Park High School. She’s been writing since age 9 long dreamed of being a journalist. She lost her newspaper reporting job in the Muskegon area in 2006 during the downturn of the newspaper industry and reinvented herself as a hyper-local online community journalist. Crystal talks about what she covers and her focus on local communities.


- The world needs journalism. There are a lot of Oakland County communities that don’t have a local paper and that’s where Oakland 115 comes in. Here Crystal explain. (6:47)

Chuck Marohn

Lynn Richards

Lynn Richards is President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Previously, Richards had a long and distinguished career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), holding multiple leadership roles over 13 years including Acting Director and Policy Director in the Office of Sustainable Communities. She worked with dozens of state and local governments to implement placemaking approaches by developing policies, urban design strategies, and environmental solutions for vibrant, prosperous neighborhoods. Before joining the EPA, Richards worked briefly in the private sector at a consulting firm. She lived and worked in the former Soviet Republics from 1988 to 1995, helping environmental groups increase their organizational and political effectiveness. Richards was awarded a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the 2012-2013 school year.

- Richards talks about why CNU decided to bring its annual Congress to Detroit. The question isn’t “why come to Detroit?” it’s actually “Why not come to Detroit?” Hear Lynn explain. (10:12)

Marcus Peccia

Doug Farr

Doug Farr is the founding principal of Farr Associates, an architecture and planning firm regarded by many as one of the most sustainable design practices in the country. Having a mission to design sustainable human environments, Farr Associate's unique niche is in applying the principles of green building at the scale of the neighborhood and in designing green buildings exclusively for urban contexts. Doug is chairman of the board of the Congress for New. Farr Associates designs healthy and valuable places and buildings for its private, not for profit and public sector clients. Having worked for John Vinci, Davis Brody and Paul Rudolph, Farr's own work has been featured in Architectural Record, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, and Doug is a featured speaker on an upcoming six-part PBS series on sustainability and green buildings.

- Doug grew up in Detroit and talks about what it means to him to be coming back to the Motor City for the CNU 24. (9:43)

Joe Borgstrom

Mark Nickita

Mark Nickita, AIA is an urbanist, architect, retail entrepreneur, developer, educator, an elected municipal leader and President of Archive DS, an award-winning, architectural and urban design firm in Detroit and Toronto. He has distinct expertise in the development, enhancement and the regeneration of existing, pedestrian-oriented urban environments including downtowns, neighborhoods, developed corridors, mixed-use areas and underutilized districts of post-industrial cities. His urban design projects include large scale redevelopment master plans, mixed-use corridor strategies, non-motorized and transit infrastructure planning, including the Detroit Citywide Non-Motorized Plan and the Woodward Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Alternative Analysis. With the goal of building and enhancing Places for people, he has resided and traveled to over 400 major cities throughout the world in order to better understand architecture, design and urban issues. Mark is a City Commissioner, current Mayor Pro-Tem and has served as Mayor of Birmingham and is also co-owner of urban retail establishments in Downtown Detroit, including the Pure Detroit Stores, Workshop, the Rowland Cafe and Stella Cafes.

- Nickita and his partners are about city building and making cities better for people. Listen to Mark explain how they do that. (9:54)


Mar 23, 2016: Honoring Michigan’s Community Builders

Feb 24, 2016: Overcoming Obstacles to Make Placemaking Happen

Jan 27, 2016: Making the most of Michigan winters

Dec 23, 2015: Connecting Michigan Through Higher Education

Nov 25, 2015: Striving for a Welcoming & Diverse Michigan Program Explores How to Make a Better Michigan

Oct 29, 2015: A Look at Making Walkable, Pedestrian-Friendly Communities in Michigan

Sept 23, 2015: Program Aims To Make Cities More Attractive and Livable

Aug 26, 2015: Philanthropy Making a Difference in Michigan Communities

July 22, 2015: Festivals Helping Create Sense of Place in Our Communities

June 24, 2015: Michigan is Redeveloping its Way to Economic Vibrancy

May 27, 2015: Farmers Markets Helping Michigan’s Communities, Economys

April 22, 2015: Building Better Communities

March 25, 2015: A Conversation with Governor Snyder about Proposal 1 Program Explores How to Make a Better Michigan

Feb 25, 2015: What Made You Fall in Love with Your Michigan Community?

Jan 28, 2015: Attracting and Retaining Talent Vital to Michigan’s Future

Dec 29, 2014: Strong Town Strength Test

Nov 26, 2014: Crowdfunding Efforts Helping to Move Michigan Forward

Oct 22, 2014: Placemaking Stories Detailed in New League Book

Sept 24, 2014: The Economic Development Role that Arts and Culture Play in a Community

Aug 27, 2014: The Economic Development Role that Arts and Culture Play in a Community

July 23, 2014: What We Can Do to Make Michigan More Immigrant-Friendly

June 25, 2014: Placemaking and Michigan's Aging Population

May 28, 2014: A Conversation from the National Main Streets Conference in Detroit!

April 23, 2014: Revenue Sharing and the Importance of Investing in Communities

Mar 26, 2014: Crowdfunding Movement; Making a Better Michigan

Feb 26, 2014:Placemaking is a vital part of making our state prosperous again

Jan. 22, 2014:Jobs, jobs and more jobs

Dec. 20, 2013:“PlacePlans” effort taking hold and improving communities across the state

Nov. 27, 2013:The National Media’s Perspective on What is Happening in Detroit

Oct. 23, 2013:The League’s efforts toward an urban policy agenda that moves Michigan toward prosperity

Sept. 25, 2013:Strategic lessons on placemaking from the League’s annual conference in Detroit

Aug. 21, 2013:Michigan’s Port Communities – a Vital Element in the State’s Economic Prosperity

July. 24, 2013:Michigan cities and downtown centers experiencing population growth despite challenges

June. 26, 2013:Complete Streets – Designing roadways to accommodate all users, not just motorists

May. 22, 2013:Engaging citizens is vital to creating prosperous communities

Apr. 24, 2013: Repurposing Property Through Private and Public Partnerships to Revitalize Communities

Mar. 27, 2013: Town-Gown Partnerships Between Cities and Universities Helping to Move State Forward

Feb. 27, 2013: Retiring Baby Boomers Provide Opportunity to Communities

Jan. 23, 2013: Aging in Place

Dec. 26, 2012: Placemaking in Michigan – A Year in Review

Nov. 26, 2012: What is Placemaking and What is MSHDA’s Role in It?

Oct. 24, 2012: Embracing Green Technology in Neighborhood Revitalization

Sept. 26, 2012: Entrepreneurs are Key to Economic Turnaround

August 22, 2012: The MIplace Partnership Initiative Improving Cities and Neighborhoods

July 25, 2012: Arts and Culture Important to Placemaking

June 27, 2012: Entrepreneurs Key to Thriving Michigan Communities

May 23, 2012: Attracting Talent Key to Michigan's Future

April 25, 2012: How Do We Bring it Back to Michigan?

March 28, 2012: Vibrant Michigan Downtowns Good for Business

Feb. 18, 2012: Making Our State More Sustainable

Jan. 25, 2012: The Benefits of Federal Funding for Neighborhood Stabilization

Dec. 29, 2011: The Year in Review

Nov. 27, 2011: Transportation in the State and the Role it Plays in Michigan's Future Economic Prosperity

Oct. 26, 2011: League’s Recently Released Book Emphasizes Quality of Place to Michigan’s Economic Prosperity

Sept. 26, 2011: How will Michigan’s foreclosure crisis impact the state’s future prosperity

August 24, 2011: League Releasing Book Emphasizing Quality of Place

July 27, 2011: What's Happening in Detroit and Other Communities to Make Michigan Better

June 22, 2011: What's Happening in Detroit and Other Communities to Make Michigan Better

May 25, 2011: Why Transit Matter's to Michigan's Future Prosperity

April 27, 2011: Why Place Matters to Michigan's Future Prosperity

Mar. 23, 2011: Gov. Rick Snyder’s Proposed Budget and What it Means for Michigan

Feb. 23, 2011: Gov. Rick Snyder’s Proposed Budget and the Potential Impact on Michigan Cities

Jan 26, 2011: Civic Engagement and Getting People Involved in the Community

Dec 23, 2010: Why Higher Education is Among Main Pillars for Building Michigan's Future

Nov 24, 2010: New Leadership and the Impact on Jobs, Education and Quality of Life

Oct 20, 2010: Michigan Governor Candidates Talk Cities

Sept 23, 2010: Economic Development and Entrepreneurship

Aug 25, 2010: Green Initiatives

July 28, 2010: Economic Gardening

June 23, 2010: Rightsizing Cities

May 26, 2010: Attracting and Retaining Talented Young People

Apr 28, 2010: The New Urban Neighborhood

Mar 24, 2010: Arts, Entertainment and Culture

Feb 24, 2010: Talking Transit

Jan 27, 2010: Making a Better Michigan





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