The city hopes to encourage startup businesses and small-scale redevelopment projects by creating ‘pink zones’ with a simpler approval process.
The city (Detroit) hopes to encourage startup businesses and small-scale redevelopment projects by creating ‘pink zones’ with a simpler approval process. PHOTO: SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL

Cities are the future.

In 2008, for the first time in history, more human beings lived in cities than in rural areas. The United Nations projects that by 2050 nearly two-thirds of the world’s projected 9.7 billion people will be urban.

Some urban planners scratch their heads about how it’s all going to work. As ever-denser, more populous cityscapes continue to emerge, the eternal struggle to balance growth and quality of life shows few signs of abating.

Yet some ideas that address these types of problems are in place already and gaining traction in a handful of cities, including a few that are right under our noses.

To find out what urban-development policies and experiments currently hold the most promise, we asked more than a dozen experts—urbanists, architects, planners—what cities they think are worth watching now.

Their choices were illuminating. While the world’s megacities—Tokyo, Jakarta, Shanghai, New York City—get a lot of attention, for the most part the experts we asked picked cities a tier or two lower in size. None of the cities they highlighted, they thought, were doing everything right. But in all cases, the cities are taking some actions that the experts say demand our attention.

The five we ended up with aren’t meant to be exclusive. A larger list could have included London, considered by many to be the world’s most dynamic city, despite increasingly unaffordable housing. Seoul and Amsterdam, meanwhile, are among the leaders in putting “smart city” tools into the hands of their citizens.

With that in mind, here are five innovative cities that are worth watching.

DETROIT: Reducing red tape for neighborhood redevelopment

Detroit, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2014, doesn’t have a lot of money for revitalizing all of its neglected areas. So it is trying something more radical: setting aside areas where normal development rules don’t apply.

Developers and designers complain that, like many cities, Detroit’s onerous and outdated rules make it too difficult to rebuild or repurpose long-neglected retail areas. To try to reduce those obstacles without a time-consuming and expensive rezoning process, the city is proposing a handful of “pink zones,” where red tape will be cut to help small developers and entrepreneurs open new businesses and revive aging commercial strips. The goal is not to eliminate zoning but to ease some of the constraints faced by new projects, like minimum-parking requirements or environmental-impact reports.

With a $75,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the city planning department intends to recruit designers and planners to come up with a general framework for anyone who wants to start a new business or build in those areas. This might include pre-approved plans that can be used by builders to speed up a new development.

Click HERE For The Full Article! 

DAC Drink Menu From 1916

“We didn’t even take credit for the drink at first,” Kenneth Voyles, communications director and historian for the Detroit Athletic Club, told me as I scurried after him through the DAC’s art-and-mahogany-adorned hallways. “We just couldn’t find anything definite on it.”

I’d shown up at the worst possible time, the evening of a major wine dinner and the day before the Tigers’ home opener, and Voyles was rushing around trying to deal with a last-minute menu crisis. But he patiently answered the questions I directed to the back of his head, and he later accompanied me to the private club’s beautiful Tap Room bar so I could sample the Last Word in the place where it probably originated.

Dedicated cocktailers probably know the history: how Seattle bartender Murray Stenson pulled the drink from obscurity in the early 2000s, taking it from the pages of Ted Saucier’s 1951 cocktail book “Bottoms Up!” and adding it to the menu at the Zig Zag Café in Seattle, from whence its reputation spread. The Saucier book credited the DAC as the source of the drink and mentioned a well-known vaudevillian, Frank Fogarty, as having introduced it around New York.

Click HERE For The Full Article!

Red Bull House of Art will present our first selection of nationally curated artists at the Residency 1 Exhibition at 1551 Winder in Eastern Market on Friday, April 29th.  Katy Ann Gilmore, Carl Rauschenbach and Scott Vincent Campbell will share the fruits of their labor and culmination of their three-month stay in Detroit.  Join us to celebrate their success and inspiration as artists, entrepreneurs and creators!

 The three resident artists have lived and worked together for nearly three months in preparation for the April 29th exhibition. The artists come from diverse backgrounds and use a wide range of materials to create their work. Gilmore is a visual artist currently living in Los Angeles; she is heavily influenced by topography and the relationship between 2D, perpendicular planes and their distortions into 3S space. Rauschenbach lives in New York but is originally from New Zealand. Skate and graffiti culture resonated with him early in his career, and continue to inform his work. Campbell is a visual artist and curator based in New York City. He uses a variety of mediums to examine how personal experience and constitution shapes the way people interact with other individuals and greater society. Rauschenbach and Campbell have both expressed interest in re-locating to Detroit at the completion of their residency.

Following the April 29th opening, the gallery is open each Saturday and hosts a variety of events in-between residencies.  For up-to-date information about Red Bull House of Art, visit

Extended bios for all artists are available.  All of the work was created during the artists’ 12-week residency at Red Bull House of Art.

There will be an invite-only opening on Friday, April 29 from 5-7pm. This press release counts as your official invite — hope you can make it!

 The public gallery opening will be Friday, April 29 from 7-10pm.  It is free & open to the public (all ages).


Many residents of high-cost areas entertain the dream, at least occasionally: Give up the rent or mortgage grind, liquidate assets and start over someplace cheaper, perhaps one that could use a few spirited new residents.

Amy Haimerl and her husband, Karl Kaebnick, fell hard for Detroit and thought they could make their own dream of financial freedom come true when they moved here in 2013. But this is what happened: They put more than $400,000 (including all of their retirement savings) into a 3,000-square-foot, 102-year-old home in the city’s West Village neighborhood that was most recently appraised at just $300,000.

They claim, however, to be 100 percent satisfied and genuinely happy. Which raises a question: Are they insane?

Ms. Haimerl’s book about their migration and renovation adventure, “Detroit Hustle,” will be out on May 3. It’s a love song sung to a house and a city, but it’s also a money memoir, one marked by ignorance at the outset and a triumph of feelings over financial facts. It does not end in ruin, but it does end in debt.

So let’s start with those facts. Ms. Haimerl, who is 40, and Mr. Kaebnick, 44, had about $10,000 in liquid assets when they decided to move. They settled on a house on a block where only two homes were boarded up.

They bought the smaller one, a wreck with no wires or radiators or doors or pipes, for $35,000, liquidating Ms. Haimerl’s retirement account to close without a mortgage. “There is essentially nothing left inside the walls,” she writes in her book. “What we have is a pile of bricks with character.”

For the renovation, they were counting on the $110,000 that would be left from Mr. Kaebnick’s accounts. The previous owners had figured it would take $150,000 or so to make it habitable. What could go wrong?

Click HERE For The Full Article!

Toasted Marshmallow Butterscotch Pie

“Pick out whichever mug you like from the piebrary.” The woman behind the bakery counter gestured toward a black hutch. I scoped out the eclectic collection of mugs and chose one emblazoned with the logo of the National Organization for Women. I hadn’t even eaten, and I already loved this place.

Lisa Ludwinski opened Sister Pie just about a year ago in a former beauty salon in Detroit’s West Village neighborhood. Her grandmothers grew up in Detroit proper (Ludwinski grew up in the suburbs), and after working for a year at Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City, she knew it was time to go home. She started selling her pies at markets, and the community rallied behind her sweet-salty chess version—and her palpable energy, which she channeled into a 24-hour dance-a-thon fundraiser.

These days, Ludwinski and her crew wake at dawn to prep the day’s offerings: four rotating pies, plus eight to ten daily cookies, a savory hand pie, salads, and more. A weekday morning rush of locals stops in for coffee, and weekends bring in crowds from the city and suburbs, hanging out with a slice at the communal table, then grabbing a gluten-free buckwheat cookie for the road.

Click HERE For The Full Article!

Mahogany Jones, PURE Magazine, BombaRica Cultural and Performing Arts, Hip Hop Caucus, 5e Gallery, and The Foundation present DENIM DAY DETROIT feat. Music, Poetry, Talk Show-style Discussions, Photo Shoots and more to raise awareness, end victim blaming, and raise funds to help process Detroit’s 11,000 backlogged rape kits (DNA evidence).

We know that Sexual Assault is a heavy topic, but DENIM DAY DETROIT will make you feel empowered and excited about making a real impact!

It's going to take all of us to change rape culture & end the rape kit backlog. So spread the word and show up!

Photo: Trip Advisor 

What you risk when you have your struggles publicized as widely as Detroit’s is attracting more ambulance chasers than medics.

That is, when the call for help is too big and too wide, you can attract people who come more for their own gains than the city’s. But of course there is a danger too of not asking for help, of stubbornly keeping the doors closed, so the disease festers as the edges fray even further. Because for all the hype, Detroit, with its bankruptcy and blight, still needs a lot of help.

“Detroit isn’t going to be saved by one big thing,” said April Boyle, the Detroit native, all-mom band lead vocalist and Build Institute executive director. “It’s going to be saved by a million little things.”

One of the big themes of any entrepreneurship story in Detroit (a city pestered by reporters) is one of access and motivation. This was the case at the Tomorrow Tour event held at TechTown Detroit, as part of the first multi-city event series produced with Comcast NBCUniversal.

“This has to be about more than just affordable real estate,” said Paul Riser, Jr., the managing director of technology-based entrepreneurship at TechTown, a business accelerator founded in 2000 by leaders at Wayne State University with General Motors and the Henry Ford Health System. “There are reasons to build here.”

The city’s legendary automobile manufacturing reputation looms — Boulder-bred TechStars brought a mobility-focused accelerator and the 135,000-square-foot, GM-founded TechTown is adjacent to transportation technology incubator NextEnergy. There, too, are budding strengths in food and urban agriculture (shoutout to Campbell’s $231 million acquisition of suburban Garden Fresh last year), said Amanda Lewan, the cofounder of the Bamboo Detroit coworking space and editor of Michpreneur, a founder-focused news site.

Detroit also has the bones and the soul of all big cities — diversity (including a fair bit of gender-balance in IT salaries), research universities, culture and history and infrastructure (some of which is getting turned back on).

But for all that good sense, it’s hard not to instead focus on the passion that’s behind a city portrayed as in crisis.

Even those who think the fears are overblown say so with conviction. Ask Ida Byrd-Hill, a Detroit-native edtech founder, who stood up during the Tomorrow Tour and announced to applause: “We are not rebuilding ourselves.”

No, say those most seriously pinning their entrepreneurship dreams to Detroit’s future, it isn’t that the city needs to be remade.

“It’s an opportunity and the feeling that there is real work to be done,” said Jason Lorimer over $5 glasses of Tempranillo one night last month.

The founder of Dandelion, a seven-person civic-tech consultancy that serves as something like a general contractor on large projects, has been in Detroit for four years. First he moved from Philadelphia to follow an investment in a previous company of his, and then he stayed anchored to the network he built here. Lorimer is representative of so much Detroit change — and got pilloried for just that.

Well-intentioned as he may have been from the start, a 2013 essay of his on coming to Detroit to join in “its future” led his likeness to be used to symbolize a certain-kind of much criticized city newcomer: the white male entrepreneur and self-styled savior. Dozens of meme photos of him were shared by Detroiters who were trying to understand what it meant to be a struggling city with so much national attention and a new crop of excited residents.

Click HERE For The Full Article!

New Pure Michigan Ad Highlights Detroit's Soul

 Muslim and Jewish communities are defying stereotypes and coming together to do community service work across Michigan.

Volunteers from the Michigan Muslim Community Council, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Detroit and the Detroit community at-large joined forces in March to help beautify Nolan Elementary-Middle School, one of the many public schools that has been hit hard by the debt plaguing the Detroit school system.

“It’s two faiths coming together for one cause, which is helping our students who are going to be our future,” said Sumaiya Ahmed, the communications director for the Michigan Muslim Community Council.

While the Michigan senate recently approved $48.7 million in emergency funding for Detroit schools, keeping institutions like Nolan open through the year, the volunteers took matters into their own hands by organizing the library, fixing broken toilet seats in the bathrooms and painting murals along the school’s hallways.

Click HERE For The Full Article! 

Eastern Market, the public market that has nourished Detroit for decades, celebrates its 125th Anniversary this year. Eastern Market Corporation (EMC), the nonprofit organization that operates and promotes the market and the adjacent market district, announces two initiatives to honor and celebrate the Market’s rich history along with efforts to ensure the legacy of Eastern Market as a working food district in the years ahead.

After extensive public engagement and input, EMC is unveiling Eastern Market 2025, a 10-year economic development framework, to guide the market district in response to the changing development environment in Detroit and in the midst of sweeping changes in the food economy.

“Detroit has changed significantly since The Great Recession and the food industry is rapidly reinventing itself, so we decided to update our 2008 strategic plan with energy, resources and input like never before,” said Dan Carmody, president of EMC. “More than 600 Detroiters participated in this process, under the coordination of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, along with outside advice provided by two firms that helped markets in London and New York mesh better with their adjacent neighborhoods.

The major barriers and opportunities that lie ahead made it imperative to more thoroughly assess global trends and clearly weigh stakeholder needs to correctly calibrate the interventions needed to help strengthen the market for the next 10 years and beyond,” Carmody added.

Eastern Market 2025 was made possible with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and builds on other market area plans funded by the W.K. Kellogg, Kresge and Erb Family Foundations.

“We welcome the potential of this plan to enhance Detroit’s urban core and help secure the city’s future growth by continuing the spirit under which it was developed – recognizing our city’s diverse voices, its entrepreneurial spirit and a desire for positive change,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit.”

The full, 114-page plan is accessible online via

 Also, throughout 2016, the Market will celebrate its 125th Anniversary in ways that will touch each segment of the community that has benefited from the Market’s vibrant presence. This year, EMC is gathering at least 125 stories of how the market has played a role in the lives of shoppers, farmers, business owners, neighbors, community leaders and Detroiters. These stories will be displayed over multiple platforms to help Metro Detroit and the world better understand the true breadth and depth of the Eastern Market experience.

The 125th Anniversary celebration will include public events and opportunities to raise funds for the Market’s ongoing operations. “We hope everyone who has benefited from and appreciates Eastern Market will consider honoring this milestone anniversary by going online to become a Friend of Eastern Market and help ensure our mission will continue for at least another 125 years,” said Carmody.

Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream and the Build Institute are hosting a dynamic Speed Coaching event for the first time in Detroit to help passionate food and beverage entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.

During this signature event, food and beverage business owner – including craft brewers – are counseled by a variety of business experts to generate new ideas and strategies to help their businesses grow and succeed. Each entrepreneur can participate in up to six 20-minute personalized, high-impact coaching sessions with some of the area’s best small business specialists, as well subject experts from Sam Adams.

Held in cities across the country, Brewing the American Dream Speed Coaching events have supported thousands of food and beverage businesses. From sales and distribution to packaging, finance, e-commerce and more, no small business subject is off-limits. The goal: to help these passionate entrepreneurs solve specific problems with real-world, practical advice.

Attendees can expect a fun evening of learning, networking and comradery.

April 13, 2016
6:00PM – 8:30PM ET

Build Institute 
2701 Bagley St 
Detroit, MI 48216

Food and beverage small business owners should register for this free event at  

Samuel Adams is celebrating 32 years of brewing, and despite the craft brewery’s success, brewer and founder Jim Koch hasn’t forgotten how hard it is to start and run a successful small business. That’s why he created Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a unique program that provides the two things he wishes he had when starting Sam Adams: real-world business advice and a loan.

Since 2008, Brewing the American Dream has partnered with Accion to lend more than $9.6 million in microloans to nearly 885 businesses. Just as important, the program has coached or mentored over 6,000 small businesses and helped to create or save more than 3,500 jobs from coast to coast.

To learn more please visit:

The Collab announces its Video ScholarshipCompetition for Detroit Public School (DPS) students. Four high school seniors will be selected to receive a scholarship worth $500 each. The scholarships are a result of proceeds raised from a February 13th, 2016 event called The Connection: A night of Art, Music, and Fellowship. The Collab is a conglomerate of four small businesses including Determination Media, DREAM Clothing, Bohemian Jones, and K. Welsh Designs that were started by four entrepreneurs from the city of Detroit.

Students are asked to creatively answer the question “How have you helped positively impact the city of Detroit and what are your plans to continue impacting the city?” in a 5 minutes or less video. Videos are to be submitted along with a completed scholarship packet by midnight April 17th, 2016. Official scholarship application can be downloaded at and

The Collab hosted a charity art showcase in February called The Connection: A night of Art, Music, and Fellowship to raise scholarship money for DPS students. “This year has been a challenging year for DPS students with all the negative attention the school system has received this academic year. We wanted to do something to reach back and help the students of today so that they can make a difference tomorrow.”

About The Collab

The "Collab" is a conglomerate of four small businesses including Determination Media, DREAM Clothing, Bohemian Jones, and K. Welsh Designs that were started by four entrepreneurs from the city of Detroit. It was created after these four businesses came together for the 2015 holiday season to host a fundraising event for Detroit based charities.

Determination Media is a digital marketing and branding company specializing in web design and social media management created by Denzell Turner. DREAM Clothing is a fashion and lifestyle brand created by Caleb Moss. Delonte"Bohemian Jones" Jones is a Detroit raised DJ and musician who is encouraging art through music and education in the Metro-Detroit area. Architect Kirk Welsh started K. Welsh Designs in 2014 designing for several organizations, businesses, and non-profits.
The Swings: An Exercise in Musical Cooperation from Daily tous les jours on Vimeo.

Have you heard? It's Detroit's turn to create melodies with ‪Musical Swings‬!

From April 7 - May 8, 2016 at Cadillac Square, you will have your chance to enjoy this interactive experience. You are welcome to make music from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily throughout the installation.

Shoutout to the Knight Foundation, Bedrock, Detroit Parks & Recreation Department, Detroit 300 Conservancy, Campus Martius Park and Quicken Loans for partnering with us making this happen.

Click HERE for more information!