Photo from mtv.com


Yobi TV

Yobi: Act With Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino
Co-star in the Random Talent web series with Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino!


Random Talent is a hilarious spoof of TV talent shows. Mike will play the role of a famous hip-hop star who is asked -- begged, actually -- by the producer to be the lead judge.

The burden of keeping Mike's character happy falls to the second judge, played by YOBILaugh Season One Winner Ben Green, who was sent from England (where the show originated) to create a successful US version based in Detroit.

The YOBIAct winners will play the third judge and the Director-Producer of this hilarious series where the judges have nothing in common but need to find the next huge talent before the producer loses the show sponsors!

Voting is now open - Get your entries in HERE!

*Please keep in mind that this is not an audition for Jersey Shore.


Photo from iamyoungdetroit.com
Urban centers draw more young, educated adults
By Haya El Nasser

USA TODAY

Educated 20- and 30-somethings are flocking to live downtown in the USA's largest cities — even urban centers that are losing population.

In more than two-thirds of the nation's 51 largest cities, the young, college-educated population in the past decade grew twice as fast within 3 miles of the urban center as in the rest of the metropolitan area — up an average 26% compared with 13% in other parts.

Even in Detroit, where the population shrank by 25% since 2000, downtown added 2,000 young and educated residents during that time, up 59% , according to analysis of Census data by Impresa Inc., an economic consulting firm.

"This is a real glimmer of hope," says Carol Coletta, head of CEOs for Cities, a non-profit consortium of city leaders that commissioned the research. "Clearly, the next generation of Americans is looking for different kinds of lifestyles — walkable, art, culture, entertainment."

In Cleveland, which lost 17% of its population, downtown added 1,300 college-educated people ages 25 to 34, up 49%.

"It tells us we've been on the right track," says David Egner, president and CEO of Detroit's Hudson-Webber Foundation. Three anchor institutions —Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Medical Center — recently launched "15 by 15," a campaign to bring 15,000 young, educated people to the downtown area by 201
5.

Among the lures are cash incentives: a $25,000 forgivable loan to buy (need to stay at least five years) downtown or $3,500 on a two-year lease.

Preference for urban living among young adults — especially the well-educated — has increased sharply, data show:

Click HERE to read the rest of this article!
Kim Cattrall 'loved gaining weight for film'
By Jennifer Still, Entertainment Reporter
Digital Spy

Kim Cattrall has confessed that she loved gaining weight for the title role in Meet Monica Velour.

The AP reports that the Sex and the City actress put on 20lbs for the part of a former porn star who develops an unlikely friendship with one of her biggest fans, an experience which she relished after years of dieting.

"It was actually kind of a relief. It was like getting rid of the Barbie doll and throwing it out and starting again," she told reporters.

"We were shooting in Detroit, and there's a lot of great bars in Detroit. So I ate and I drank for about six weeks."

Meet Monica Velour opens in the US on April 8.

Cattrall previously admitted that she struggles to continue dieting to maintain her figure as she gets older.

Don't Shrink Detroit, Super-Size It

LEGO City with Detroit Buildings
from DecoJim
Don't Shrink Detroit, Super-Size It
By Mark Binelli
The Atlantic

Urban experts and politicians have decided among themselves that "right-sizing" Detroit by shrinking the city is the only way to save it. They couldn't be more wrong.

As with much of the bad news coming out of Detroit, last week's abysmal census inspired a peculiar mix of solemn pity and barely concealed delight in the media.

The U.S. Census found the city's population had plummeted a staggering 25% in ten years -- down to a pre-Model T low of 713,000. News writers rebooted their Detroit-as-failed-state storylines. Did you know the city possesses enough vacant land to hold the entire city of San Francisco? That the Pontiac Silverdome sold for the price of a modest one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan? That there are 50,000 stray dogs roaming the streets? The census numbers raced around the Internet, made the front page of the New York Times and lots of other papers.

Local politicians responded quickly, and many all but demanded a recount. City Council president Charles Pugh insisted on Facebook that the count was "way low." He even explained away the numbers by suggesting a large number of Detroit residents were doing prison time in other cities. Many of the news stories also referenced Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's euphemistic "right-sizing" plan to shrink the city. The plan is still quite vague in its outlines, but it correctly hopes to incentivize citizens living on isolated urban prairies to move to denser, more easily serviced neighborhoods.

A prominent official under former Mayor Dennis Archer's administration told me that shrinking Detroit "betrays who we are." Instead, he said, we should be doing the opposite of right-sizing.

"How did Philly grow?" he said. "It grabbed up the suburbs. How did LA grow? It grabbed up the suburbs. Think about it: Detroit is older than the country. [The city was established in 1701 as French trading post.] This place was founded with frontier spirit. And now we're here in 2010, a bunch of wusses."

I've come to learn my friend's idea is a favorite thought experiment among a certain subset of Detroit-area urbanophiles. Sometimes they will reference David Rusk, the former Albuquerque mayor whose book Cities Without Suburbs makes the case for the economic vibrancy of "elastic" cities (like Houston, Austin, Seattle and Nashville) whose central hubs have the capability to annex or otherwise regionalize their surrounding suburbs into a unified metropolitan area.

The takeaway from the census stories was that Detroit plummeted to 19th place on the U.S. city-size list, behind Austin, Jacksonville and Columbus (Columbus!). But the Detroit metropolitan area -- which we'll define, for these purposes, as Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties -- still retains a population of nearly four million. If our territorial-expansion fantasia could have been magically enacted with even two-thirds of this figure, the Greater Detroitopolis would easily vault past Chicago to become the third-largest city in the U.S., behind New York and Los Angeles. This would translate into more state and national clout (and allocated funds, many of which are based on population) and eliminate the need for much of the wasteful duplicate spending inherent in maintaining dozens of tiny separate municipalities, especially at a time when many of these suburban communities have announced their own cutbacks. (In February, the westside suburb of Allen Park announced plans to eliminate its entire fire department.)

Click HERE to read the rest of this article!



 Urbanophile

I'm extremely delighted to be able to begin sharing today a series of posts that previously appeared in the Where blog. This blog, which ran from 2007 to 2010, was one of the single most inspiring urbanist sites on the web. Originally a project of Brendan Crain, it grew into a very popular group site before going the way of all blogs. I've previously shared some material from Where contributor Drew Austin, and I'm stoked that Brendan himself has allowed me to re-post some of his pieces as well. They certainly deserve to be read far and wide. Brendan himself is not blogging at the moment that I'm aware of, but some of his old Where contributors are still going over at Polis, which is definitely worth checking out for an international take on cities. Thanks so much to Brendan and I hope you all enjoy these posts that will appear in the coming weeks and months. - Aaron ]

As the city that has fallen on the hardest times (in America, at least), Detroit has the most potential as a proving ground for new solutions. The city is a massive laboratory for urban theorists, developers, and boosters alike. How, many wonder, can Detroit be saved? Or can it be saved at all? Certainly one of the more interesting answers to these questions has come from Tyree Guyton, the man behind the Heidelberg Project, which has appropriated several blocks of the city’s near east side into a spectacularly off-the-wall community art project/revitalization effort.


It’s certainly not what you’d traditionally refer to as “revitalization,” but that’s kind of the point. On its website, the Heidelberg Project explains its vision thusly: “The Heidelberg Project envisions neighborhood residents using art to come together to rebuild the structure and fabric of under-resourced communities and to create a way of living that is economically viable, enriches lives, and welcomes all people.” What this translates to in the physical environment of Heidelberg Street is a collection of abandoned houses — and their surroundings — covered in murals, knick-knacks, mannequins, coins, pie tins, pieces of repurposed trash, stuffed animals, and (literally) just about anything else you could think up. It’s like the Watts Towers, but even more organic.

Click HERE for the rest of this article!
http://www.100abandonedhouses.com/
Maxwell Strachan
The Huffington Post 

Bank of America, the country's largest bank by assets, has announced an initiative to demolish one hundred abandoned Detroit homes currently under the bank's ownership, a task that CEO Brian T. Moynihan says will "help 'right-size' the city," according to the Detroit Free Press.

The bank, which estimates the costs at $1 million, says the land plots will be donated to the city "for green space, urban farming or redevelopment."

Bank of America also plans to donate ten renovated homes to Detroit police officers willing to move into one of Mayor Bing's two designated-need neighborhoods, Boston-Edison and East English Village. Mayor Bing hopes to draw police officers -- and eventually firefighters -- back into the neighborhoods they service. Many have left for the suburbs since a bill ended residency requirements for officers in 1999.

Click HERE for the rest of this article!


"Detroit is a blank canvas waiting for some more visionaries like Mies [van der Rohe]. People describe it as being dangerous, but they don’t describe Malibu as being dangerous, and it’s always on fire. That seems pretty dangerous to me. And Arizona is always on the brink of running out of water. That seems dangerous too."
~Toby Barlow

Move To Detroit Quickly While There's Still Time
Paul Gunther
Huffington Post

Demographers and scientists alike broadly predict that once the history of the 21st century is written, water will have emerged as the primary commodity driving the socioeconomic forces shaping world politics and the well-being of the global population estimated even by mid-century to exceed nine billion. (Almost a 30% increase from now for those keeping track...)

Whatever energy alternatives the vicissitudes of oil pricing and availability drive along the way, concerns with accessible power sources will pale alongside the specter of thirst and hunger arising from a shortage of the world's most basic source of survival, H2O.

That's why Detroit's alarming population decline first reported last week in the Times signals what can only be a temporary passage in the patterns of global settlement beginning right here in America. The built world is going to need places like a city, named after the French word for strait, along a river dividing two of the greatest freshwater lakes on the face of the globe (by size, the fourth: Michigan, and the tenth: Erie).

Pure Michigan Autum Photo Contest Winner, Kayaker's Arch by DeAnn Eddy
Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks.
With population exploding in inauspiciously stressed water zones across all continents including the deserts of the American southwest and Rocky Mountains' dry eastern slopes and their nearby badlands, the limits to growth from lack of it will soon come into sharp focus. If not due merely to literal shortages initially made apparent by periods of drought, raising costs will accelerate the awareness, especially as a handful of large international corporate conglomerates are quietly privatizing the world's aquifers and controlling their terrestrial consumption. Without natural supplies and rainfall, such corporate control will monetize ever more effectively the cost of quenching thirst and growing crops, not to mention meeting the needs of sanitation and industry.

Just 2.5 percent of the world's water is fresh, and according to environment correspondent Alec Kirby of the BBC, "two-thirds of that is trapped in icecaps and glaciers." (No reprieve therefore from global warming, as, whether one believes it's caused by man or not, the lion's share of the resulting melt-off turns salty from the first liquefied droplet.) He goes on, "The amount of fresh water available for human use is less than one percent of all the water on the planet."

Which brings us back to Detroit and the colossal supplies surrounding it. It's the Saudi Arabia of fresh water! (Add in the ease of navigation from its surrounding waterways, stretching as they do from the Atlantic to the Mississippi by lake and canal.)

Click HERE to read the rest of this article!
Doug VanDagens, director of connected services solutions for Ford Motor Co., left, talks to Ford employee Dave Hatton at one of Ford's product development sync labs in Dearborn, Michigan. “We have a whole slew of job postings out there currently,” VanDagens says. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg
Ryan Flinn and Jeff Green
Bloomberg

As a group of Ford Motor Co. (F) managers in blue jeans sat down to interview a suit-wearing candidate from a California technology company this month, they jokingly offered to cut off his tie to put him at ease.

Auto industry executives are trying to make Silicon Valley engineers feel at home in Detroit. With a burgeoning number of technology job openings to fill, they’re scouring Internet companies for workers, wining and dining applicants, and seeking promising students at schools such as Stanford University.

“We have a whole slew of job postings out there currently,” said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford’s connected service solutions, who has been trying to lure engineers to the automaker to design software. “We’re just on a growth binge.”

Expertise in cloud computing, mobile software applications and energy management are in demand in the Motor City as automakers replace car stereos with Internet radio and gasoline engines with motors powered by lithium-ion batteries. Technology job postings in the Detroit area doubled last year, making it the fastest-expanding region in the country, according to Dice Holdings Inc. (DHX), a job-listing website.

“There’s a war for talent out there, and it’s only going to get worse,” said Jim Bazner, vice president of human capital solutions at MSX International in Southfield, Michigan, which helps automakers find specialized employees. “There are hundreds of jobs, and all the automakers are hiring.”
Dearth of Graduates

Ford and General Motors Co. (GM) are rapidly hiring graduates from local universities as fast as they can -- there just aren’t enough of them.

“If we filled every opening that’s been posted or recruited just in the Lansing area, we’d be able to hire out all of our graduates three times over,” said Garth Motschenbacher, who helps place computer-science graduates at Michigan State University. About 70 percent of the school’s 54 students scheduled to graduate in May have jobs lined up, he said. “The number of students has not kept up with the opportunities.”

Still, attracting engineers to Detroit rather than Silicon Valley can be a challenge. The San Francisco area is home to more technology companies offering more job openings than Detroit. California’s mild climate and history of innovation are also a draw. Yet Detroit is bouncing back.

Companies that work with automakers on in-car entertainment systems, such as online streaming music providers Pandora Media Inc. and Mog Inc., have opened offices in the Detroit area. Google Inc. (GOOG), based in Mountain View, California, has an office in Birmingham, Michigan, where it’s looking for sales associates to work with the auto industry.
New Wave

Marty Zacharias is part of the wave of new hires. The former Nissan Motor Co. and Ford employee joined Berkeley, California-based Mog last month -- in its new Detroit office. He’ll work directly with companies such as Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW)’s Mini and others to get Mog’s Web-based subscription music service into vehicles.

“Many more Detroit-based automotive industry employees will follow a similar path to mine,” Zacharias said in an e- mail, “or join advanced technology divisions within the established automotive companies.”

The expansion has caught the eye of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which announced in December that it will open its first satellite office in Detroit. The region’s high percentage of scientists and engineers, as well as its patent output, spurred the decision, said Paul Fucito, a patent office spokesman. The 4,000 patents granted to Michigan in fiscal 2010 ranked seventh among U.S. states, he said. The facility is likely to create about 100 new jobs to review patent filings.
Recession’s Toll

One reason why the job growth in Detroit appears so high is because the recession’s toll went so deep, said Tom Silver, senior vice president of Dice Holdings and author of the jobs report showing a surge in the area.

“The recovery there is actually looking pretty substantial, but it’s also a reflection, to some extent, that Detroit was probably hit a little harder than the other markets,” he said.

The hiring demand comes as Detroit’s population fell to the lowest official tally since 1910. According to 2010 U.S. Census data released this week, Detroit’s population declined 25 percent, to 713,777, down from a peak of 1.85 million in 1950.

Michigan lost about 413,000 jobs from December 2007 through December 2009, including 83,200 jobs in the Detroit area, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Things picked up last year, as jobs in the Detroit-area professional and business-services sector, which include many of the tech jobs, rose almost twice as fast in December as the overall Michigan job market, according to the bureau.
Light-Rail Project

Not all tech jobs in Detroit are related to the auto industry. Dan Gilbert, chairman and founder of Quicken Loans Inc., helped fund a planned light-rail project for downtown, formed a venture capital firm to invest in startups, and purchased a historic theater with plans to renovate it as an incubator space for budding technology companies.

“I want to see this city come back in a big way,” Gilbert said in an interview. “Part of it also was for business -- we want to create that urban feel, that urban core environment downtown where people in their 20s and 30s really want to be.”

Last year Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, moved 1,700 of Quicken Loans’ employees into Compuware Corp. (CPWR) headquarters in Detroit’s Campus Martius Park area, the center of the city’s tech industry, where he plans to add 2,000 more workers.

In the building, graffiti from local artists decorate many of the walls and floors, and mini kitchens on every floor offer free slushies and snacks. When the space is fully finished, Quicken also will have a basketball court for employees.
Venture Funding

Gilbert’s venture capital firm’s goal is to fund social media, cloud computing and other software companies in Detroit. So far, Detroit Venture Partners has received more than 200 proposals for investments and has term sheets under consideration for six that may be signed in the next 30 days, said Josh Linkner, one of the three founders, in an interview.

Venture capital firms invested $79.9 million in 13 Detroit companies last year, according to National Venture Capital Association data. That’s the most companies since at least 1990 and the third-highest total investment, the data show.

Even with efforts to mimic Silicon Valley office culture, recruiting people to move from the West Coast to Detroit is difficult, said Micky Bly, GM’s executive director of electric vehicles, battery and infotainment systems.

“I don’t want to categorize it as an issue, but it is tough,” he said. “You don’t have people begging to come to the Michigan area.”
Salary Gap

Compensation is one reason why. While average salaries for Detroit technology jobs rose 2.3 percent last year to $71,445, that’s still less than the national average of $79,384, and about 28 percent lower than the $99,028 paid in Silicon Valley, according to Dice Holdings. More than 940 technology jobs are currently available in the Detroit metro region, compared with more than 5,060 in Silicon Valley.

Still, Bly says the quality of life can be attractive for some. “They can get a whole lot of house in Michigan for what they can get in San Francisco,” he said.

The workplace culture among automakers is also relaxing, as they attempt to adopt some of the perks more common at startups, like wearing jeans to work or telecommuting. That’s a big change from when Bly started at GM 20 years ago, when everyone wore a collared shirt and a tie.

“The variation was in your pant color -- you could have gray, black or blue,” Bly said. While things have changed, the perks still aren’t the same as in Silicon Valley, he said.

“Do we have a free cafeteria like Google? No, but our stock isn’t up to $400 a share yet” Bly said. Google currently trades at about $587 a share, while GM’s stock sits at $31. “When we get $400 a share, I’ll make sure we have free meals for everyone here.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Ryan Flinn in San Francisco at rflinn@bloomberg.net; Jeff Green in Southfield, Michigan, at jgreen16@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

Detroit: From Decay to Opportunity

Josh Linkner


The story of Detroit (my home town) is an unfinished book.

In Chapter One, our city was born with the DNA of creativity, innovation, and a passion for change.  Creators like Henry Ford put our city on the map by imagining a better tomorrow and then making it happen through entrepreneurial fire.  And with this passion, our city prospered.  Chapter One was all about original thinking, fresh ideas, and innovation.

Chapter Two, also known as the dark ages, came next.  We left our entrepreneurial roots and shifted to a mindset of entitlement.  Our arrogance and hubris changed us from creators to protecting hoarders.  We felt unbeatable.  We built stifling bureaucracies. We stopped inventing and dreaming.  We stopped creating.  And we stopped winning.

As the evil forces of bureaucracy, finger-pointing blame, and protectionism emerged – our city crumbled.  We ended Chapter Two as a national punch line.  The rest of the country gave up on us, and we were spinning with hopelessness and despair.

Now we enter Chapter Three. It’s the beginning of this chapter, and we all have a choice.  We can continue to point fingers, cry in our soup, and long for the days gone by.  Or we can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  We can own it, fix it, and rebuild it. This is our time.  This is our defining moment.

Click to read the rest of this article HERE.
Photo From Hour Detroit
By Sarah Firshein 
Curbed

After years of disrepair, the 4,300-square-foot home that Dorothy Turkel commissioned in 1955 is shiny, new, and begging for a Mad Men party. It’s the only two-story Usonian automatic home that Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed and therefore attracts photo-snapping architecture enthusiasts to its lawn with a bit more regularity than its current residents, Norman Silk and Dale Morgan, would like. Curbed reporter (and friend of Positive Detroit) Sarah F. Cox sat down with the couple, who are partners in life and a local floral business, to talk about what it’s like to live behind all that glass.

Curbed National: When you saw this house for sale in a state of disrepair, what made you want to take that on?

Dale Morgan: We’ve lived in Palmer Woods [the Turkel House’s neighborhood] for 25 years. Most of the houses aren’t modern at all and we’d always lived in a traditional home; we had a beautiful Mediterranean villa. We wanted to do something contemporary because we had redone that house three times so we were looking around for options; at first we didn’t even realize that that this was truly a Frank Lloyd Wright home.

Norman Silk: I was driving by one day and saw the “For Sale” sign in the yard and stopped. It was a really sunny day and the light was streaming in; the whole house was empty and everything we have now was here, but badly faded, like the benches and shelves. There was old white upholstery and water-stained wood and the color of everything was butter yellow. You could see the red floors, which are polished concrete, but they still had carpet glue on them and they were dirty. But I saw the bones of the house and I thought that is really an interesting, cool house.

CN: It's pretty amazing that you just stumbled upon a Frank Lloyd Wright home. How was its history so unknown?

NS: This house had been in decline for the 25 years we’d lived here; it had never been a vibrant house. It was unkempt and overgrown, no one had ever done much with it, and there wasn’t much conversation in the neighborhood about it being truly a Frank Lloyd Wright. In our minds, we thought it was a student of Wright or just in the style of Wright; once we knew what it really was that piqued our interest.

DM: After we bought it everyone said, “Oh I was going to buy that house.” It had been on the market a lot of times over the years and so a lot of people had looked at it.

CN: How did you bring your design aesthetic into the home?

Click HERE for the rest of this article!

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