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Lafayette Park, Detroit, Michigan

Lafayette Park in Detroit consists of three high-rises, 24 single-story courthouses and 162 two-story town houses, completed in the early 1960s. It was an urban renewal project built on land that was once a working-class black neighborhood. It was designed by one of the 20th century’s most famous modern architects, Mies van der Rohe.

All these elements have spelled disaster in other cities, and yet Lafayette Park has been a success, with high occupancy rates, a racially diverse population and a strong commitment to maintaining Mies’s architecture.

In their new book, “Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies,” which is due out at the end of the month (Metropolis Books, $29.95), the editors Danielle Aubert, Lana Cavar and Natasha Chandani, graphic designers all, offer a portrait of Lafayette Park very different from the classic Mies monograph.

Contents include interviews with residents of Lafayette Park’s towers and town houses; archival materials from the complex’s history; an account of nine days spent trying to climate-control a corner apartment; and essays on Mies in Detroit, the Lafayette Park landscape, bird-watching and a record of bird-strike deaths (birds and plate glass don’t mix).

At-home portraits of residents by Corine Vermeulen show Mies’s architecture as a strong frame for personal expression. Some homes look like shrines to 1958, while others reflect the lived-in décor of decades. Jacqueline Neal, an interior designer and 12-year resident of the Pavilion, the smallest of the complex’s three towers, spoke last month about living and accessorizing with Mies.

What kind of interior design do you do?

For the past 17 years, I have been doing commercial design, corporate offices, working for C.E.O.’s. But the commercial industry has not come back as quickly as residential furniture. Residential is not difficult for a designer.

How did you come to live at Lafayette Park?

I went to college at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Mich. When I came back to Detroit, I kind of stumbled upon it. What drew me to the building was the ambience of the space when I would come by at night. When you drive down Rivard, you pass the town houses, and it gives you that serene feeling. Then you pull in and see the doorman at the Pavilion. When I finally came in and they gave me the brochure, I said, “I studied this guy in college.”

Design-wise, what do you like about the Pavilion?

I like the floors and the green marble walls in the lobby that are accented with chrome trim and chrome elevator doors. The housekeeping staff does an excellent job in maintaining the space. The floors are always done. Everything is original. When you invest in quality, you do get what you pay for. That’s a sad thing a lot of people don’t understand or appreciate.

Click HERE to read the full story on The New York Times (dot) com! 

Unleash your inner artist and explore ancient ceramic techniques at Pewabic Pottery’s annual Raku Party on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guests will work alongside Pewabic artists to glaze and fire a handcrafted pot that they can proudly display at home.

Raku is an ancient firing process in which the ceramicist fires the pot with extreme heat until the glaze melts. The pot is then treated to a series of steps in which water, air and other elements combine to reveal unpredictable designs and patterns on the piece—making each one truly unique.

“The experience doesn’t end once the pot’s been fired,” said Barbara Sido, executive director of Pewabic Pottery. “You can take the pot home as a memento of your day at Pewabic and keep it as a constant reminder of your ability to create something from nothing.”

Guests can register for a two-hour session between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Cost is $60 per person, including materials. Space is limited and advance registration is required. To register or receive more information call (313) 626-2010.

Pewabic Pottery is a non-profit arts and cultural organization and National Historic Landmark which is dedicated to engaging people of all ages in learning experiences with contemporary ceramic art and artists while preserving its historic legacy.

Pewabic is a historic working pottery which is open to the public year round and offers classes, workshops and tours to children and adults. Pewabic creates giftware, pottery and architectural tile, showcases more than 80 ceramic artists in its galleries, and operates a museum store that features pottery and gift tile made on-site. Visitors are welcome, free of charge, Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. To learn more about Pewabic Pottery call (313) 626-2000 or visit Pewabic Pottery is located at 10125 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit across the street from Waterworks Park.
The story of Detroit is one of decline and hopelessness. From headlines about rampant unemployment to traveling photo exhibits of “ruin porn,” the story America tells itself about Detroit is that of a dying city overcome with despair.

That is simply not true.

 On the last weekend before fall set in, I joined 120 invited guests at a curated weekend called Another Detroit is Happening. Hosted by a small committee of young Detroit entrepreneurs, the weekend’s purpose was to invite other young business leaders, technologists, investors, philanthropists, and artists into the city to tell them the other stories of Detroit. What started as a mysterious gathering of friends quickly caught attention (including the governor’s!).

I’d written about Michigan’s burgeoning start-up scene last December (“The New Start-Up Scene: Silicon Strip to Silicon Mitten”), so I was thrilled to dive in and explore a region I call Silicon Mitten. As I’ve mentioned before, the “Silicon” moniker isn’t literally about tech—it’s about being innovative, young, hungry, and not afraid of failure. The risk-taking spirit of Silicon Valley is evident all over the city of Detroit, from the social entrepreneurs to the urban farmers to the street artists, and they’ve added their own distinctly “mitten” flair. If all you know about Detroit is the story of a struggling automotive industry, here’s a peek into what’s really happening at the center of the Mitten State:

The Alley Project

We also visited a residential neighborhood in southwest Detroit where the community is using art to battle problems with gang graffiti.

The Alley Project (TAP) connects artists with homeowners who allow the garage doors of their neighborhood’s interior alleys to feature spray paint murals. The murals enrich the aesthetics of the community, provide a creative outlet for the artists, and have earned the respect of local gangs who largely steer clear of the installations. Every mural installed also becomes a workshop where local youth can build and create: Fixtures are reclaimed from closed schools and sliding glass doors feature DIY “stained glass” made from the lids of used spray paint cans. “The spray can is an iconic symbol,” said one of TAP’s curators, holding up one of the small pyramids of empty cans glued together, which serves to create bricks for furniture and structural art. “We look at them as building blocks, using them as the foundation of street art culture here in our city.

Click HERE to read the full story by Anneke Jong on! 

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

Top chefs and legendary bakers are among the new breed of pizzaiolo who are just as fanatical about the temperature of their ovens as they are about the provenance of their ingredients. Here, F&W names the best places for pizza around the country from these new guard spots—including a Bay Area pizzeria that uses locally-milled flour—to century old East Coast institutions.

The Bismark 
Detroit: Supino Pizzeria

Located in the beautifully restored public Eastern Market, this cozy checkerboard-floored pizza shop serves terrific pies at long wooden tables with metal stools. The signature Supino pie is topped with roasted garlic, black olives, creamy ricotta, mozzarella and finished with a drizzle of chile oil.

Detroit: Buddy's

Pizza Signature Item: This fabled pizzeria specializes in Detroit-style square pies like The Super (with pepperoni, mushrooms, onion, green peppers and ham), and even uses some of the same seasoned pans from when they opened more than 50 years ago.

Click HERE to read the full list in Food & Wine! 
The year is 2025. Detroit, the poster child of the Great Recession, is emerging as a model of urban life. The transformation could be called a miracle but for the fact that the change was wrought by the very things that first made Detroit great: innovation, industriousness, and a will to win against all odds.

The metamorphosis grew from desperation. In 2008, two of the Big Three carmakers were swirling toward the sinkhole of bankruptcy. The city's population, which peaked at 1.85 million during the post—World War II auto boom, was approaching 700,000. Tracts of wilderness, abandoned factories, and empty houses sparked a perverse fascination with Detroit's ruins. "This whole area really bottomed out," William Clay "Bill" Ford Jr., Ford's chairman and a great-grandson of the automotive company's founder, says.

But then something powerful and unexpected happened: Visionaries and ordinary citizens, tired of living in a crumbling city, decided to quit waiting for someone to fix it. "I think there was a realization by everybody in this region, not just in Detroit, that the way we were doing things was a broken model," Ford says. "At Ford we had to completely reinvent ourselves."

The reinvention was aided by the group that Ford's great-grandfather had resisted so viciously, the United Auto Workers (UAW). "When things were the bleakest," Ford says, "UAW president Ron Gettelfinger and the union took concessions that allowed Ford to survive and ultimately thrive. Ron said to me, 'Look, we've got to get out of this together.' If you can take entrenched institutions like the auto companies and the UAW and completely redefine the relationship, then it should be possible for the city of Detroit to do it too."

That was Bill Ford's epiphany; other Detroiters had their own. People with foresight and guts began investing in the city again. Detroit natives who had fled their broken hometown trickled back, joined by pioneering young people who saw past the city's blight. Instead, they saw available buildings, cheap rents, and a welcome mat for innovators. They saw an iron work ethic and fierce energy. And in a landscape ravaged by depopulation and decay, some bright people saw a blank canvas on which to paint a new urban model.


Reemerging waterways and feral forests claim land left open by sharp population decline. Detroit goes green with planning that takes advantage of the city's unique ecology.

Read More Detroit 2025: After the Recession, a City Reimagined - Popular Mechanics!
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Peter Baker

America’s Motor City is no longer running on fumes.

Fans pour into Comerica Park to watch the Detroit Tigers take on the New York Yankees. Across Woodward Avenue, at the Fox Theatre, hordes of young girls wait in line to see the popular British boy band One Direction. Down the road, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are playing to a full house at Joe Louis Arena. And the loud hum of revving engines in the distance is the sound of Formula 1 racing cars practicing for the Grand Prix on Belle Isle, the first time in three years the race will be held in Detroit. This city, once the poster child for the Great Recession, is hopping.

This city, once the poster child for the Great Recession, is hopping. This might come as a surprise to folks who thought Motown was ripe for vultures — especially considering the steady diet of “Detroit on the decline” stories these past five years. It’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way; that Detroit wasn’t always the punch line of a cruel national joke. In 1950, a thriving automobile industry helped the city’s population swell to 1.85 million, making Detroit the fifth-largest city in America. Slowly, though, the city changed. Race riots in 1967 and an exodus of citizens to the suburbs took a heavy toll on Detroit, as did the sagging fortunes of the U.S. auto industry. By 2008, the unemployment rate was above 20 percent, and crime and poverty soared. It got so bad that Detroit made national news when it was discovered that inmates were committing new crimes immediately after release so that they would be re­arrested — because they preferred a jail cell over a life of freedom in the city.

The city got more embarrassing national attention that year when then-­Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was forced to resign and went to prison after being charged with 10 felony counts, and the NFL’s Detroit Lions lost every game they played en route to a 0–16 season.

Then, in 2009, two pillars of Detroit industry, Chrysler and GM, went bankrupt. The 2010 census found that the city had lost a staggering 25 ­percent of its population over the past dec­ade, making it the 18th-most populous city in the United States, with 713,000 residents. The reduced tax base simply couldn’t support the city’s infrastructure, and debt rose to a mind-boggling $12 billion.

From afar, the former home of boxing great Joe Louis looked like it was about to be knocked out.

Yet in the midst of all this turmoil, certain areas were showing signs of life. The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy started to convert an area of urban blight into the first phase of a river walk that will one day extend 5.5 miles between the east and west riverfronts and 1.35 miles inland on a rail-to-trail called the Dequindre Cut Greenway. Downtown, the long-dormant Book Cadillac, the tallest hotel in the world when it was unveiled in 1924, underwent a $180 million renovation and reopened as a Westin in October 2008. In August 2010, Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures, made the decision to move his headquarters from a western suburb to the city’s financial district. In spring 2011, longtime community developer Sue Mosey created a program called Live Midtown, with incentives that would help spur growth in her neighborhood.

Today, GM and Chrysler are both out of bankruptcy, having paid off their government loans ahead of schedule. GM posted a record profit and is once again the world’s top-selling carmaker, while Chrysler’s­ net profit exceeded $150 million in 2011. Quicken­ Loans and Rock Ventures have moved more than 6,000 workers into the city, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan recently relocated 3,000 workers from Southfield to downtown’s GM Renaissance Center. A new port will host several cruise ships touring the Great Lakes this fall. More than 500 people have already taken advantage of Mosey’s Live Midtown program to move into that neighborhood. And with the 2012 NFL season a quarter of the way done, the Lions look back on a 2011 that saw their first winning campaign (10-6) since 2000 and their first playoff berth since 1999. No wonder the city buzzes with optimism.

Click HERE to read the full article on American Way! 

The M@dison
Location: Detroit Square feet: 50,000

Designers: Doodle Home & Neumann Smith For nearly 25 years, the Madison Theater, a dingy, worn-out theater on a quiet stretch of Detroit's inner city, stood vacant. But in 2011, Dan Gilbert, the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans purchased this 1917 building, and created an all-out Mecca for start-ups. It opened last year, and now houses more than a dozen start-ups. The "industrial chic" building also includes a 135-seat auditorium, and a giant rooftop patio.

Click HERE to read the full article on Inc.! 
Andy Didorosi built the Detroit Bus Co. from scratch.
Andy Didirosi of Detroit Bus Company
Andy Didirosi had a hunch in 2012. He felt that his hometown, given up for dead, was about to start a new life. Didorosi, 23 at the time, leased an old industrial building near the city's northern limit. He posted a notice on Craigslist, hoping people would come to his big empty building to share tools and ideas, make stuff, and maybe start a small business or two. "The response was incredible," he says. "Overnight we had enough tenants in here for it to make financial sense."

The 22,000-square-foot facility he named Paper Street attracted graphic artists, jewelry-makers, Web designers, carpenters, metalworkers, a music publicist, a spice-maker, and a motorcycle mechanic. They paid as little as $99 a month for a work space; Didorosi added to the rental income by refurbishing meat slicers and other equipment from bankrupt supermarkets and selling the appliances to new businesses. The money allowed him to buy three Blue Bird buses and start a jitney service to supplement city bus routes. Now, in 2025, Didorosi runs the thriving Detroit Bus Co., and 20-plus small businesses rent space at Paper Street.

Didorosi and Paper Street are emblematic of the DIY ethic that helped bring Detroit back. "It's about starting a creative revolution instead of an industrial revolution," he says.

A few blocks from Paper Street, a nonprofit called i3Detroit is full of new and refurbished tools and machines—CNC mill, a plasma metal cutter, a 3D printer, an oscilloscope, welding torches, a machine shop, a woodworking shop, and a video-editing studio. Members pay $39 or $89 per month, depending on their level of use, to make furniture, solder circuit boards, build bicycles, and concoct robots. The exchange of tools and ideas, and energy, is free. "I think of us as a pre-business incubator," says Eric Merrill, a computer programmer and i3Detroit's CEO. "If you had an idea for a widget, you used to have to pay a machine shop $10,000 to fabricate that widget. Now, for a few hundred bucks, you can make it here and see if it works. From there it's easier to get backing."

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. Detroit native Clover McFadden is a TechTown success story. After graduating from college-prep Renaissance High School on the city's northwest side, she earned a degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and dreamed of becoming a doctor. But on a return trip to Detroit she discovered Bizdom, which grooms aspiring entrepreneurs at TechTown. McFadden enrolled, developed a business plan, and successfully pitched investors. Her business, Circa 1837, produces and sells clothing adorned with school logos of the nation's traditionally black universities, such as Howard.

Click HERE to read the full article on Popular Mechanics! 

Click HERE to learn more about WDET and Operation: Kid Equip's Books For Kids!

The Project:

My name is Noah Stephens. I am a native-Detroiter, photographer, essayist, and founder of The People of Detroit Photodocumentary. I started TPOD in April 2010 as a counter point to national and global media fixated on everything gone wrong in the storied home of American auto manufacturing. Even amid the city's post-industrial turmoil, I consistently met industrious, interesting, progressively-minded people in my everyday life as a Detroiter. I created TPOD to give these people a place in the media conversation about Detroit. In doing so, I hoped TPOD would inspire Detroit-focused investment and residency.

Since it's inception, the project has receive a bit of attention. Portraits from the project have appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek and Fast Company. This year, the project received a grant from CEOs for Cities and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Last year, a creative director in China saw the project online and hired me to photograph an eight-portrait ad campaign for McDonald's Corporation in Shanghai.

The Food Desert: Food Availability in Cities is an extension of TPOD. The mission of The Food Desert is to photograph every grocery store in the city of Detroit, the produce selection therein, at least one patron of each store, and the path that patron takes to get to the store. In doing so, this project will create an unprecedented visual survey of the food landscape in a post-industrial city commonly regarded as a food desert.

This visual survey will explore diet in urban communities and that diet's relationship to chronic illness in those communities. This exploration will inform public policy and cause people to think more thoroughly about the affect diet has on long-term health.

Click HERE to contribute to 'The Food Desert: Food Availability in Cities' Kickstarter Project!

Click HERE to check out Noah's 'People of Detroit' website!

Metro Detroit home prices increased a robust 6.2 percent in July from a year earlier as the region's housing recovery gained steam.

Home prices have risen year-over-year for the past 13 months, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index report released Tuesday. National home prices increased 1.2 percent in July, compared with the same month last year, resulting in the second straight year-over-year gain after two years without one.

The Detroit area has posted above-inflation home price increases for the past 11 months, according to Case-Shiller data. The three months prior to July experienced stronger jumps than originally reported, with gains of 5.2 percent in April, 8 percent in May and 7.4 percent in June. Case-Shiller receives updated information throughout the year that causes the price data to be adjusted upward or downward.

The price improvements came as home sales have jumped 13 of the past 14 months through August in Metro Detroit, according to Realcomp II Ltd., a Farmington Hills multiple listing service.

"Case-Shiller is simply catching up with the meaningful improvement in real estate values which began in early 2012," said David Sowerby, portfolio manager for the investment management firm Loomis Sayles in Bloomfield Hills, in an email.

"The combination of an improved economy and better housing valuations have been key catalysts. In addition, higher stock prices in 2012 have strengthened household net worth, adding to the improved affordability of homes."

In July, a Metro Detroit house valued at $100,000 in January 2000 would be worth nearly $76,000. It's the highest index reading since January 2009, when prices were sliding toward a bottom of $67,230 in April 2011.

Steady price increases and record-low mortgage rates are helping drive a housing recovery in Detroit and across the country.

Click HERE to read the full article from the Detroit News! 

The Greening of Detroit, through a $200,000 grant from Bank of America, is putting unemployed and underemployed Detroiters back to work.

Created in 2009, through a “Pathways out of Poverty” grant from the federal government, the GreenWorks workforce development program is designed to provide unemployed Detroiters with valuable job training and certification in the green industry. Bank of America became a funding partner in 2011, helping 71 previously unemployed Detroit residents get the skills they needed to find full-time employment.

Over the past three years, the program has been very successful.

To date:

  • 137 adult trainees have graduated with certificates that include the Greening of Detroit Landscaping Course completion certificate, First Aid/CPR training and certification, and Landscape Industry Certified (LIC) certification. 
  •  All 137 graduates have completed a 10-hour landscaping safety course conducted by Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) certified instructors. 
  • 21 percent of the trainees have obtained a chauffer's license through the program. Four of the trainees participated in The Greening's apprenticeship program, resulting in full-time employment as Greening staff members. 
  •  71 of the trainees have been placed into full time jobs that pay on an average $11.75 an hour

Click HERE to read the full article on DBusiness! 
Photo Gallery: Living for the CityThe Lions will officially kick off their new Living for the City initiatives this week with events at Eastern Market, Ford Field and Detroit Lions Academy

The first Lunch with the Lions event will take place at Eastern Market and Ford Field on Tuesday (Sept. 25) featuring Lions’ offensive lineman Rob Sims, students from the William Beckham Academy in Detroit and select girls from the Detroit Lions Academy who will be hosted by the Detroit Lions Women’s Association.

Lunch with the Lions is a program that will provide vouchers for fresh foods from Eastern Market and cooking lessons at Ford Field to students at the Detroit Lions Academy and Detroit Public Schools. Lunch with the Lions will be held every Tuesday, September 25 through October 30.< Br />
Levy Restaurants Executive Chef Joe Nader, as part of the overall Detroit Lions/Eastern Market partnership, will teach participating DPS students how to make delicious meals from local ingredients purchased at Eastern Market.

“Giving back is the heart and soul of who we are. It is an honor to partner with the Lions and Living for the City to share our knowledge by teaching kitchen skills and helping kids learn about healthy eating,” said Nader.

The mission of the Detroit Lions’ partnership with Eastern Market is to improve food systems by engaging Lions fans, local leaders in communities and schools, parents and other stakeholders to deliver healthier foods to Detroit youth.

On Tuesday (Sept. 25) Lions’ defensive lineman Nick Fairley will help kick off the Living for the City initiative by hosting a “Back to School Jam” at Detroit Lions Academy.

During the event Fairley will provide students with backpacks and school supplies for the new school year as well as talk to them about the importance of education and staying in school. The event will also feature local artist “Brilliance,” who will perform a series of songs including hit singles “One Day” and “Where Did I Go.”

“I wanted to put together a local event for underserved youth during the back to school season,” said Fairley. “Deciding to do it with Detroit Lions Academy was a natural fit. Speaking to this group of students about the importance of school and staying on the right path will hopefully make an impact on the start of their school year.”

Detroit Lions Academy is a strategic partner of the Lions’ Living for the City initiative, and offers Detroit students an opportunity to learn and achieve in a structured, caring and safe learning environment that can address their individual learning needs. Through the Lions’ support, students receive additional social-emotional support due to severe challenges that have impeded their progress.

On Saturday (Sept. 29), The Lions along with Eastern Market Corporation, the Detroit Lions Women’s Association and Detroit Public Schools will team up to build a sustainable community garden at Detroit Lions Academy.

The goal of the garden is to expand teachers' access to real-life laboratories to teach students about healthy eating, nutrition, and concepts around growing food while increasing the schools' access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This ensures that Detroit Lions Academy students are able to learn in a real world context relating to agriculture. Exposing students to the science behind a productive garden, and encouraging science experiments in the garden also fosters student-interest in Science as a hobby or career.

Additionally, the program assures that more fresh food from farms and gardens will be used in the Detroit Lions Academy cafeteria. Through the gardens, students also will gain a greater understanding of the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables, become ambassadors of healthy foods and will be encouraged to share information with their families.

Living for the City is the philanthropic program of The Detroit Lions. Its goal is to support transformational efforts that improve the well-being of metro Detroit’s underserved communities. Living for the City focuses on sustainable health and wellness initiatives and community development. Living for the City supports organizations that pursue integrated approaches to physical fitness, healthy eating, housing, land use and environmental planning, public transportation, community infrastructure, and aligned workforce opportunities. For more information, please visit
'Imported From Detroit' Chrysler Finally Moves 70 Employees Into Swanky Detroit Offices

In Detroit this morning, 70 Chrysler employees took up residence in the newly named Chrysler House. It's a historic office building owned by Cleveland Cavaliers and downtown Detroit land mass accumulator Dan Gilbert.

He renamed the Dime Building for Fiat's American branch, which has never had offices downtown in its 87-year history. (If you think "House" is an odd thing to call a building, it's a common thing in Europe, and of course, we use it for pancake places and furniture stores all the time.)

The Chrysler employees are getting the top two floors of the 23-story building on Griswold, which was opened in 1912, a dozen years before Walter P. Chrysler officially founded the car company. It's one of the most significant buildings in the city, and was once Detroit's tallest building. The property was designed by Daniel Burnham, the Chicago architect whose famous slogan was, "Make No Little Plans" (certainly a motto with which Sergio Marchionne can relate).

Chrysler hasn't disclosed the price of the transaction, but rents in the building generally average $19.50 per square foot, plus utilities.

The group that gets to work downtown includes 70 employees from the Great Lakes business center staff and sales people, as well as other corporate functions. There's also a large training room, a state-of-the-art board room that Marchionne will put to good use, and a kitchen. Back when this was announced in April, Marchionne said the offices were meant to be "another step on the path to reviving a great city."

They certainly give Chrysler more cred in using "Imported From Detroit" as a corporate tagline, since its American headquarters is in Auburn Hills, a 30 minute drive (on a good day) north of the city. Before that, Chrysler was based in the Keller Building in Highland Park, which abuts the east side of Detroit.

Click HERE to read the full article on Jalopnik!

Where I live in the Bay Area, there's a certain glamour to Detroit. It's the heart of what Bruce Sterling termed "dark euphoria." "Dark Euphoria is what the twenty-teens feels like," Sterling said. "Things are just falling apart, you can't believe the possibilities, it's like anything is possible, but you never realized you're going to have to dread it so much."

Detroit is the place where Bay Area types imagine an urban tabula rasa, a place where enough has gone away that the problems of stuffing millions of people into a small region can be reimagined, redesigned, remade.

So, when we arrived in Detroit, I was excited to see what was actually happening on the ground, to see what was there outside the square frames of Instagram.

Anywhere you go in Michigan, people tell you about the Madison Building. Down by the Tigers' new stadium and the Detroit Opera House, extremely successful local businessman Dan Gilbert bought and rehabbed a gorgeous old building. The roof is so nice and fancy that you can rent it out for a wedding reception and relax in chairs that cost more than many houses in the metro area.

But the real attraction of the building, for us, was that it's the home of Detroit Venture Partners, the startup hub of the area. DVP is run by Josh Linkner, a Detroit native who founded and eventually sold ePrize, an online promotions platform. It's on the same floor as the formerly futuristic Detroit People Mover, a monorail which loops endlessly around the still mostly deserted downtown.

Linkner's office space contains his own portfolio companies as well as those of Bizdom, an accelerator that's also funded by Dan Gilbert. There's no doubt about it, as Linkner put it, "We're the dominant early stage tech VC in this region."

Click HERE to read the full article from Atlantic Cities! 

Click HERE to purchase your tickets! 

  • Cheese Dream Concrete Cuisine
  • Debajo del Sol
  • El Guapo - Fresh Mexican Grill
  • Green Zebra Truck
  • The Mac Shack
  • Ned's TravelBurger
  • Peoples Pierogi Collective
  • San Street [Cart]
  • Treat Dreams
  • Urban Grounds

Click HERE to learn more about the Detroit Creativity Project!

Last weekend, I attended Another Detroit Is Happening. The invitation-only event included 125 thinkers, doers, entrepreneurs and activists from across North America. In short, it was an exclusive, but grassroots gathering of big brains who came to Detroit to explore, reflect, let loose and contemplate on how they could affect and potentially enter the local economy. What I walked away with was a glimpse into what Detroit could look like in the future.

The agenda was casual. Most of the participants camped in tents set up in the parking lot of ADIH’s home base at Ponyride, a DIY warehouse enclave in the Corktown district that houses young, artisanal and cool small businesses in its 30,000 sq.-ft. structure. Local hosts, including Ponyride founder Phil Cooley, pitched in to prepare the campsite. But while participants slept in tents, they weren’t entirely roughing it. Every morning, local roaster Anthology coffee served pour overs and lattes.

Another Detroit Is Happening (ADIH) was not a traditional power-point conference. The weekend was designed to let participants experience a section of Detroit on more intimate terms. The meetup kicked off with a four-course dinner prepared by local chefs at a Saarinen built structure on the island park Belle Isle. The theme of the evening was celebratory and playful, honoring the author and co-host dream hampton’s birthday, and included multiple rides down a giant slide. Detroit’s cultural draws were emphasized throughout the four-day gathering. ADIH participants toured the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Detroit Institute of Arts and Cranbrook Academy. They also caught a rare performance by folk musician Rodriguez, who is featured in a new award winning film Searching for Sugarman. They visited the community based Alley Project to see Detroit organizing at work. Some took part in a thirty-mile bike tour and played softball in a fabled match — the ’35 Tigers vs the ’84 Tigers. A dinner catered by Slow’s Barbecue and hosted by Google was held just outside of the abandoned train station on another evening. Guests got around town by old school shuttle buses and the five Chevrolet SUVs (Suburbans, Tahoes and Traverses) provided by GM.

The more formal discussions were focused on the challenges in the city. One Google presentation focused on strategies for dealing with the high number of abandoned and torn down houses. At the fundraising lunch Detroit Soup, local activist upstarts pitched projectsin urban farming and educational music programs to the ADIH group. After eating their soup, attendees voted on which organization the soup fund would support. Kevin Conroy Smith wrote this blog post about his visit to the winning entrant’s headquarter at the Occupy Yourself Farm.

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.

Click HERE to read the full article on Forbes! 

Please sign up at today to secure your spot before they are gone! 

The entrepreneurial momentum in Detroit these days has apparently touched even our reborn NFL team, the Detroit Lions. The team announced a new philanthropic initiative yesterday called Living for the City, part of which involves a partnership between the Lions and Hatch Detroit, a popular local business plan competition, to help entrepreneurs in neighborhoods outside of the downtown-Midtown area.

“I believe entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial spirit are critical to the next generation of our city, what we’re becoming, and how we come back,” says Lions president Tom Lewand. “I’ve been in Detroit almost all my life, and we’ve evolved every time there’s a setback. This time is distinctively different—there’s a new generation that wants to build businesses here.”

Hatch will work with retail entrepreneurs in six neighborhoods: Southwest Detroit, the North End, the Villages, Grandmont Rosedale, East Jefferson, and Livernois between 7 and 8 Mile. Hatch executive director Vittoria Katanski says the Lions approached her organization after hearing about the community response to its online business competition. Hatch was already working with community development groups to support entrepreneurs in the six neighborhoods, but the investment from the Lions will allow Hatch to go in and help business owners with things like building improvements, new signage, a window display, or a better website. “These are savvy business owners,” Katanski explains. “There are lots of incredible established businesses that may have been forgotten or may need a shot in the arm.”

Katanski says Hatch selected the six neighborhoods because they either see retail overflow from downtown and Midtown, or they have a strong residential base. Lewand says that the Lions have initially pledged $500,000 to strengthen entrepreneurs, though that number may grow. “We’re only limited by our ideas,” he adds.

Click HERE to read the full article on Xcomony!, a website that uses Facebook to bring the business referral process online, today announced it is moving from San Francisco to downtown Detroit’s growing technology district to grow its business. The company will move into the M@dison Building, a tech hub designed to encourage collaboration among local entrepreneurs and their budding companies.

Company co-founders Jay Gierak and Nathan Labenz are both from the Detroit area, and attended Harvard University where they were classmates and housemates with Mark Zuckerberg and the other founders of Facebook. Gierak and Labenz moved to Silicon Valley after graduation to build, which launched in 2010. helps small companies that heavily rely on word-of-mouth referrals to acquire business and build a reputation through testimonials. The site also helps consumers find professional help they can trust when making important purchases such as a mortgage or insurance, directly through Facebook. Now, the men are returning to their roots to further grow their personalized referral business.

“Downtown Detroit is developing something special around its burgeoning tech community, and we want to be part of it,” said Labenz. “We are excited to collaborate with other Detroit-based companies that are making a positive impact, and we are eager to grow our business with some of the best tech talent in the country.” will join many other prominent tech and creative companies in the M@dison Building, such as Twitter, Detroit Venture Partners, Skidmore Studio, and Detroit Labs, which are committed to making Detroit a technology hotbed. currently employs six team members, however the company plans to hire more software engineers when it lands in Detroit.

“The fact that is moving to the M@dison Building from Silicon Valley is more proof that downtown Detroit’s energetic tech core has something to offer up-and-coming technology companies,” said Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans.

“It’s promising companies like that will continue to strengthen the city’s tech environment -- and downtown Detroit as a whole -- as more people relocate and bring bright ideas with them,” Gilbert added.

With handprints and signatures forever captured in cement, nearly two dozen celebrities with Detroit roots will be permanently commemorated throughout Detroit Legends Plaza, as the Detroit Historical Society welcomes the public to its newly renovated and re-imagined outdoor entrance exhibition, on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Kirby Street.

Detroit Legends Plaza opens to the public on Wednesday, Sept. 19 featuring castings of an array of legendary Detroiters: Juan Atkins, Mayor Dave Bing, Alice Cooper, Carl Craig, Joe Dumars, Eddies Fowlkes, Carmen Harlan, Tommy Hearns, Gordie Howe, Mike and Marian Ilitch, Al Kaline, Elmore Leonard, Ted Lindsay, Derrick May, Jeff Mills, Dick Purtan, Sam Raimi, Martha Reeves, Barry Sanders, Kevin Saunderson, Devin Scillian and Lily Tomlin. The Detroit Historical Society has been collecting handprints for Detroit Legends Plaza since July 2011 as part of its Past>Forward campaign. The collection will continue to grow over time.

“We’ve been looking forward to this day since the launch of our Past>Forward campaign and are excited to unveil this new, interactive outdoor exhibition, in celebration of those who’ve been integral in establishing and continuing to shape Detroit’s rich culture,” said Bob Bury, CEO and executive director of Detroit Historical Society. “Detroit Legends Plaza is a tribute to the accomplishments of so many exceptional Detroiters and offers an outdoor introduction to some of the cultural treasures featured indoors within our new Allesee Gallery of Culture, which opens later this fall.”

Detroit Legends Plaza is made possible via the Detroit Historical Society’s Past>Forward campaign, a fundraising effort to raise $20.1 million towards new and expanded exhibits, technology upgrades, educational offerings and enhancements to the Detroit Historical Museum, Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Detroit Historical Society Collection. The upgrades and improvements funded by the campaign marked the first major renovations of this scale since the museum was expanded in the 1960s.

The newly renovated Detroit Historical Museum will reopen Friday, Nov. 23 with free admission for 60 straight hours throughout Thanksgiving weekend.

Please join The Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association for an awesome event on October 11 at Neiman Marcus At Somerset Collection, benefiting the Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association's (MAPABA) Harold B. Leon Scholarship Fund.

All ticket sales will go towards MAPABA's effort to provide ten scholarship awards to deserving law students.

Tickets are only $50.00 each (or $75.00 for a pair) and include a fall fashion presentation, as well as appetizers, drinks, and desserts.

RSVP By October 1st, 2012 
Emma Chen:

Inspired by nighttime arts festivals from around the world, DLECTRICITY, Detroit’s new nighttime, contemporary light art festival, will host 35 local, national and international artists whose cutting edge works of art and installations will illuminate the historic architecture of Midtown on October 5 and 6, 2012. Today, Midtown Detroit, Inc. and Art Detroit Now announced the impressive selection of artists who will light up Midtown Detroit and transform the Woodward corridor into an illuminated urban spectacle for thousands of visitors of all ages during this free, two-night first-time event. A complete listing of DLECTRICITY artists and events may be found at

"Midtown Detroit’s amazing cultural and architectural assets have always been core to the continued growth and development of the neighborhood," said Sue Mosey, president of Midtown Detroit, Inc. "Events like these not only remind people of those historic gems but capture everyone's imagination for what's possible in the future."

The DLECTRICITY Curatorial Committee received more than 200 submissions from emerging and established artists, lighting designers, and architects through an open call for entry process. From that, the committee selected 25 projects and performances based on a number of criteria, including artistic merit and how well the project uses various media like light, video projection, interactivity, 3D video mapping, and other creative technologies, as well as how the projects exist within an urban environment. In addition, curatorial committee members invited 10 local and international artists specializing in light and technology projects to bring their expertise to Detroit’s first “Nuit Blanche” event.

"The number and quality of project submissions has been extraordinary," said Marsha Miro, Founding Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) and head of the DLECTRICITY Curatorial Committee. "We can't wait to see the city literally light up with the creative energy that continues to help shape Detroit."

Other DLECTRICITY curatorial committee members included Larry Baranski of the DIA, George N’Namdi of N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Michelle Perron of CCS and Marc Schwartz of Art Detroit Now.

Detroit is the latest city to become an international art destination and DLECTRICITY will feature works by local, national and international artists from locations as far flung as Japan, Iceland, and Berlin, as well as New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. Detroit's own art community will be well represented, too, with over half of the projects created by local artists and designers.

DLECTRICITY will feature 35 projects throughout the Woodward corridor, located at the Detroit Institute of Arts, College for Creative Studies, MOCAD, Detroit Public Library, the Rackham Building, Michigan Science Center, Sugar Hill Arts District and more. Some of the projects include:

“Knowledge is Power” – NewD Media: Gabe Hall, Daniel Land, Audra Kubat and Gabe Rice. DTE Energy is the proud sponsor of this project by local emerging digital artists NewD Media. Recently they have designed/managed multiple stages at Detroit’s Electronic Movement Festival, an installation at Electric Forest Festival, and now develop show concepts with a broad team of artists & musicians. In Knowledge is Power, projection-mapped 3D animation and live music tell the human story of knowledge by bringing the face of our library to mythic life: from cave painting to ancient Greece, from the tragic destruction of the Library of Alexandria to the invention of books, the age of electricity and the rise of the Internet. This project will incorporate audience interaction leading into a 3D video mapping performance with live musical accompaniment. Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward.

“The Legacy Lives On” – Evan Roth. Evan Roth is an American artist based in Paris who applies a hacker philosophy to an art practice that visualizes transient moments in pubic space, online and in popular culture. Roth was recently awarded the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Interactive Design. Detroit native James Dewitt Yancey (also known as J Dilla and Jay Dee) was one of the most prolific and influential producers in the history of hip-hop. The Legacy Lives On is a memorial tribute consisting of an urban scale timer that counts down to 70 years after Yancey’s death, at which point his music will be free of copyright and enter the public domain. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren.

“Laser Starship” – Yvette Mattern. Yvette Mattern is a New York and Berlin based visual artist whose work has an emphasis on video and film, which frequently intersects performance, public art and sculpture. Her work has been exhibited internationally. Her ongoing monumental laser light installation ‘Global Rainbow’ premiered in the UK for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in February of 2012. Drawing on the sculptural qualities of a beam of laser light, The Laser Starship, a new artwork, projects high specification multiple rays of colorful laser light surrounding the center atrium glass globe of the C.H. Wright Museum of African American History. The Laser Starship comments on elements of Afro futurism for a site specific laser “mothership” in Detroit. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren.

“Light Terrain” – rogueHAA. rogueHAA is a research and design advocacy studio, and the complementary personality to the architectural firm, Hamilton Anderson Associates. Comprised of an articulated landscape of illuminated spheres, this installation seeks to catalyze interaction through the application of a responsive architecture skin to existing building and ground conditions. Warren and Woodward Open Spaces, 4847 Woodward.

“Frontier Town: A Tent Camp for Children in the Urban Wild” – D MET Design (Elizabeth and Joel Schmidt) in collaboration with Sarah Lapinski. D MET design is an architecture and design studio located in Midtown Detroit. Founded by husband and wife, Joel Schmidt and Elizabeth Skrisson, the firm focuses on projects which contribute to the redevelopment of the urban neighborhood in which it’s located. Frontier Town is a glowing circle of tents on the urban prairie, where children (and kids-at-heart) can explore the magical shelter of light and fabric. Warren and Woodward Open Spaces, 4847 Woodward.

“OPEN” – Biba Bell. Biba Bell is a choreographer, dancer, and writer based in Detroit and NYC. Bell’s work has been presented at Le Centre Pompidou, Artissima, Roulette, Socrates Sculpture Park, Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, Pace Wildenstein Gallery, Callicoon Fine Arts, MOCAD, The Kitchen, Park Avenue Armory, Judson Memorial Church, Esalen Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Performa, amongst others. In OPEN, eight people converge to illuminate the space behind them. In time and space, OPEN traces the afterglow of a dance. Bell is a notable local choreographer who recently performed in Moscow and the DIA. Ongoing performances between 9 PM and midnight each night, in the courtyard of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 4840 Woodward.

“Garfield Lofts Projection” – NBNY. NBNY creates new platforms for artists from a variety of mediums to engage their talents to re-imagine the city. Building from their 2011 projection Let Them Eat Cake on the New Museum in New York, the Garfield Lofts Projection will further explore the expressive possibilities of architectural video mapping as an artist-led medium. NBNY also produces Bring to Light, the New York “Nuit Blanche” event happening the same weekend as DLECTRICITY. Garfield Lofts, 4600 Woodward.

“Rise & Fall: Repeat” – Nicola Kuperus & Adam Lee Miller. Rise & Fall: Repeat is a sound and video installation consisting of seemingly disjointed fragments of no-thematic absurdist entertainment, unified through rhythm. Prominent local artists and musicians, Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller have been living and working in Detroit for nearly 20 years. They divide their time between visual and performative art and are also known as the music duo ADULT. Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward.

“Share Detroit (Rheostat Ride)” – Thick Air Studios, Sam Newman, George Vidas, Sylvie Demers, Jane Orr and Zane Hettinga. Thick Air Studios is a collection of five mixed-media artists who live and work in Detroit, MI. They met while studying art at Alfred University, in rural New York state. Share Detroit (Rheostat Ride) is a luminous dance of neon-equipped bicycles across the entire festival’s footprint. Mobile project.

“menotme” – roofoftwo + daub. roofoftwo is a hybrid art and design studio, formed in 1998 and co-directed by John Marshall and Cézanne Charles. Since 2008, roofoftwo have been collaborating with Karl Daubmann, AIA and principal at daub. menotme is a luminous, playful, responsive form activated by squeezing which causes it to purr, giggle, and burp and is designed to provoke public affection as a defense against post-industrial anxiety. Warren and Woodward Open Spaces, 4847 Woodward.

“dolefullhouse” – Tabaimo. Tabaimo (Ayako Tabata) is currently based in Nagano, Japan. Her work was shown in the Yokohama Triennial in 2001 and biennials in Valencia (2001), Sao Paulo (2002) and Venice (2007). A major exhibition of her work was held at the Yokohama Museum of Art, winter 2009-2010. She was chosen to represent Japan for the 2011 Venice Biennale. In dolefullhouse, the bright interior of an empty dollhouse undergoes a surreal transformation, gradually furnished by an unseen figure, revealing unexpected happenings behind the walls. Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward.

“Whale” – Jacco Olivier. Olivier, based in the Netherlands, works primarily as a painter and creates animated video pieces that seem to be paintings come to life. He has exhibited his works worldwide over the past decade at locations including Madison Square Park, Galerie Thomas Schulte, Marianne Boesky Gallery, and currently at the New York City Center, curated by the New Museum. Whale is a large-scale, three channel video projection in which the artist’s paintings are brought to life through animation, immersing the viewer into an underwater seascape featuring a nearly life-size whale. Michigan Science Center, 5020 John R

In many ways the eyes of the contemporary art world are on Detroit at this moment in our history," said Marc Schwartz, acting chairman of Art Detroit Now. “With Paris and New York light festivals happening simultaneously, that interest and attention will only be amplified."

Along with the art & light exhibitions, DLECTRICITY will feature several special events over the two-day festival, including the Light Bike Workshop and Parade. The Light Bike Workshop (5 PM, Oct. 6 at the corner of 2nd Ave and Warren) will bring local makers together of Detroit’s bike community, giving riders an opportunity to learn creative ways to “light up” their bikes. Immediately after the workshop is the Light Bike Parade, a 3.75 mile parade showcasing the light bikes of festival and workshop attendees on a ride through Midtown. There will be special prizes for the best “lit up” bikes. This event, sponsored by Shinola, is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome and encouraged. To register visit,

Produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc., Art Detroit Now, the name for the event was inspired by Detroit’s very own Electric Park, which was located on the site of what is now Gabriel Richard Park. From 1906 until 1928, Detroit Electric Park served as a major attraction, beginning as a trolley park and later expanding into an amusement park with the development of electrification. DLECTRICITY is also occurring during the “Nuit Blanche” festivals in New York and Paris, and will be Detroit’s first “Nuit Blanche” event. “Nuit Blanche” events are renowned throughout the world for bringing the best of contemporary light and technology based arts to the streets of major cities like Toronto, Paris, Minneapolis, Miami and New York.

DLECTRICITY will be held Friday, October 5, from 7 p.m. to Midnight; and Saturday, October 6, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. DLECTRICITY will coincide with the 5th Edition of Detroit Gallery Week and the Mid-America College Art Association Conference.

A complete listing of DLECTRICITY artists, projects and events can be found at; and on Twitter @DLECTRICITY.

Photo: Do not move my glass. #ifad
Great Lakes Coffee

In downtown Detroit, the same spirit of renewal that turned abandoned factories into artist studios is feeding another micromovement centered around food. The city’s small group of pioneer chefs has spawned a flurry of exciting new restaurants, with microdistilleries and urban farms following close behind. And, next year, this gastronome revolution goes mainstream (haters might say lamestream) when Motown gets its first Whole Foods.

Stoking and sometimes poking fun at the city’s kinetic culinary scene is Gourmet Underground Detroit, a troop of foodies led by two restaurant critics, Evan Hansen and Todd Abrams. They host picnics and potlucks, blog about restaurant openings and school disciples in how to home-brew kombucha. The group has its sassy side, taking pleasure in mocking Yelp reviewers and trashing Michigan’s favorite seasonal ale, Oberon. “We can be contrarian, edgy,” Hansen says.

In choosing their favorite new places below, Hansen and Abrams list not only where to eat in Detroit, but often when, explaining that — between pop-up canteens, food truck meet-ups and seasonal markets — some of the city’s best food is here today, gone tomorrow.

Komodo Kitchen Hansen and Abrams say this once-a-month roving Asian-fusion supper club stands out from the glut of similar setups with subtle aromatics and striking flavors. It’s hosted by a trio of restaurant vets, one of whom hails from Indonesia.

Green Dot Stables The underground gourmands appreciate the $3-per-item menu concept here — mostly sliders but also kale salad, poutine and lots of other delectable small bites. 2200 West Lafayette Boulevard; (313) 962-5588;

Schnäck This once-a-month German-food pop-up, run out of the cramped Supino pizzeria, delights in pork, pretzels and beer. 2457 Russell Street;

Great Lakes Coffee Shop Opened in July by a local microroaster, this coffee bar serves not only coffee but also inexpensive, atypical and small-scale-production wines. 3965 Woodward Avenue; (313) 831-9627;

Tashmoo Biergarten. This outdoor beer hall on the east side serves only Michigan brews. Hansen and Abrams suggest trying one of the oak-aged ales by Jolly Pumpkin and going now, during Oktoberfest. 1416 Van Dyke Street; (616) 862-8834;

Detroit Eastern Market The historic bazaar — open since 1891 — began a seasonal, Michigan-centric Tuesday market last year that’s focused on incubating local start-ups. The city’s food trucks converge there on the last Tuesday of every month (through October). 2934 Russell Street; (313) 833-9300;

Click HERE to read the full article in the New York Times!
Photo: Camilo José Vergara

In the fall of 2012, the National Building Museum presents two photography exhibitions exploring the meaning of Detroit, Michigan. In Detroit Disassembled the artist Andrew Moore offers dramatic, classically-inspired images of the ruins found in the Motor City. Detroit Is No Dry Bones, by documentarian Camilo José Vergara, is a portrait of urban flux incorporating sequences of photos taken over two decades. In contrasting approaches to Detroit, Moore shows ruins returning to the earth and Vergara shows a transient city of reinvention. The exhibitions are on view in adjacent galleries from September 30, 2012 through February 18, 2013.

The spectacle of Detroit’s decay has been widely circulated by the traditional press, online, and through social media, triggering debates over what can and should be done for the city. Its post-industrial ruins and abandoned landscapes are seen by many as eyesores in need repair or redevelopment, while outside artists and urban explorers make pilgrimages to the same locations. At the same time, both old and new residents are taking a DIY approach to redefining Motown, starting new businesses, farms, and organizing for positive change. Once the largest and most important manufacturing center of the 20th century, Detroit is a complex shrinking city that has become many cities in one, or in Vergara's words "The Eternal City of the Industrial Age."

Detroit Disassembled: Photographs by Andrew Moore

Detroit Is No Dry Bones: Photographs by Camilo José Vergara

Click HERE to read the full article and learn more about the photographers!

What if the schedule of city-life had recess built into it, just like elementary school? A team of social innovators in Detroit is asking that question with their upcoming project Hopscotch Detroit, a social free-for-all that puts a schoolyard spin on community engagement—and even intends to break a world record, using nearly a ton of chalk, stencils, and city's sidewalks.

Hopscotch Detroit is a joint venture of social design startup Wedge Detroit and community-building initiative Imagine Detroit Together. Since June, the two organizations have conspired to bring a 4.2-mile-long urban hopscotch course to life. Equal parts ode to the classic childhood game and imaginative community event, Hopscotch Detroit's allure is its simplicity: temporarily transforming a street, or a city, into a unified, vibrant playground.

“Hopscotch will cause collisions among people, neighborhoods, artists, businesses, organizations, the design community, and ideas that normally don't sit side-by-side," says Hopscotch Detroit organizer Ajooni Sethi. "The game transcends generations, cultures, and neighborhoods, bringing together a whole mix of folks. That's how you get a 60-year old man from downtown Detroit and a five-year old from Osborn”—a neighborhood on the edge of town—“to share an experience.”

Hopscotch Detroit will draw its first chalk square on September 19 as part of the Detroit Design Festival and plans to debut the completed course on September 22. The course will begin in Downtown Detroit and end in Midtown. Each day of the festival, 30 volunteers will chalk up an additional mile, armed with hand-cut stencils, paint brushes, sponges, paint mixers, knee pads, and non-toxic chalk paint—a combination of flour, corn starch, sugar, water, and tempera paint that should hold up for about three rainfalls.

Click HERE to read the full article on! 
Detroit PromoPeople keep asking, “Why are you doing a Techonomy conference in Detroit?” We’re known for our invite-only annual retreat in the desert near Tucson. So why, you may wonder, is our first one-day event in a gritty, depressed, financially-troubled city that seems well past its glory?

The group that had the least trouble answering this question were our highest-profile tech speakers—Jack Dorsey, Steve Case, and Tim Draper. Once they heard we were doing a Techonomy event in Detroit they all said they wanted to be part of it—sometimes literally within seconds. With LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, I hadn’t even finished a sentence before he said, “I’m in.” His schedule later prevented him from coming, but he had instant enthusiasm for the idea.

What these guys who are deeply immersed in changing the world all realize is that the time is now to apply technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship to address our urgent national problems. Detroit, for the very fact that it is among the most challenging corners of our economy, is the perfect place to demonstrate the game-changing potential of these tools. I like to say that Detroit, with its infrastructure so decimated, is literally a green field—for farming (which is really happening here) or for innovation.

Techonomy Detroit, hosted by our close partners at the Detroit Economic Club, aims to shine a light on how technology can transform U.S. competitiveness, create jobs, grow our economy, and revitalize our cities.

If technology is the key ingredient to rejuvenating the American economy, it has to work where the problems are biggest and the task the hardest. Detroit has gone further down than just about any other major city. Its population is less than half what it was in its heyday. A large percentage of those who remain are extremely poor.

But we at Techonomy—and our speakers—believe we are in an era of technology breakthroughs that can enable any community to make rapid progress—if it embraces them. These tools can absolutely be applied in Detroit, or anywhere, to make a dramatic difference—faster than most recognize. That’s the message we hope to convey this coming Wednesday at the conference at Wayne State University. We see promising advances in education, health care, manufacturing, business structure and management, finance, entrepreneurship, urban planning, and yes even in transportation, Detroit’s historic strength.

Click HERE to read the full article on Forbes! 

2012 Hatch Detroit Semi-Finalists

Click HERE to Cast Your Vote For Your Top 4 (daily)!!!!

Head on over to Whole Foods Detroit for more information!