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Why Detroit's improv comedy scene is no joke

Detroit is not exactly NYC, Chicago, or L.A., but the local improv scene, which has produced national talents like Keegan-Michael Key, is thriving thanks to dedicated performers and theaters like Planet Ant and Go Comedy!.

Metro Detroit: Under the radar

Feeling a bit like you're doing the same old, same old in metro Detroit? Looking for something a tad less obvious to do or see? Metromode's Nicole Rupersburg gives you the down low on places, events and venues that are off the beaten path, under the radar, or just plain under-appreciated.

What AirBNB taught us about how metro Detroit sees itself

You can learn a lot about a community by listening to the way its residents sell it. So, we here at Metromode decided to dig into AirBNB and analyze what metro Detroiters talk about when they talk about themselves. What we found is that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Ferndale's latest visual effect: Think So Animation studio

The Michigan Film Incentive may be a pale shadow of what it was a few years ago, but that doesn't mean all the movie talent has fled the state. Case in point: Deb Scott and Think So Animation. A New York transplant with big screen cred, her Ferndale studio will offer classes to those who want to learn the art of computer graphics and animation.

Cool Jobs: Irina Cotfas, Aerial Artist

Some metro Detroiters sit behind a computer all day. Others see patients, clients, customers, what-have-you. Irina Cotfas defies gravity. For a living. If you ever wondered what it would be like to run away with the circus, this Ferndale aerialist is your answer.

Lessons From Downtown: Ferndale, Detroit and a Nation of Main Street Stories

Over 1,300 downtown professionals are making the journey to Detroit this week for the National Main Street Conference. Ferndale will be in the house, learning what Motown has to teach about revitalizing downtown development and, in turn, educating the Motor City about its Main Street successes.

The Business of Being Funny

As the old adage goes: "comedy is hard." Especially when it comes to turning a profit. Over the last six years, Ferndale's Go Comedy! Improv Theatre has evolved from a nightlife pastime to a growing business that teaches classes, hosts events and runs workshops for some of Metro Detroit's most notable businesses.

The Rise of Metro Detroit's Mixologists

Five years ago metro Detroit was barely a blip on the craft cocktail radar. Today it's considered one of the hottest regions for mixology, boasting bartenders and a scene that rival any in the U.S.  Metromode's Nicole Rupersburg charts our cocktail culture's recent evolution. 

Will Metro Detroit's Tech Community Ever Be Color Blind?

Metro Detroit has a long history of cultural silos and regional segregation. So how does its tech and entrepreneurial community create opportunites for greater racial and cultural diversity? There's no easy answer but places like Silicon Valley are implementing aggressive and sustained efforts to bridge a divide local business leaders barely acknowledge.

Urbanizing Metro Detroit's Suburbia

The lines between suburban and urban are finally blurring in some Metro Detroit communities. And none too soon. Though our region ranks last in terms of urban revitalization among the 25 largest metros, things are looking up. "You're moving in the right direction," says Christopher Leinberger, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.

Power Sharing is Tougher Than You Think

How does a company's sole owner and founder transition to the power-sharing structure of executive leadership? That's the challenge that faces Billhighway, a Troy-based firm that's looking to enter its second stage of development. Metromode's Jon Zemke looks for lessons from successful (and less-than-successful) local businesses.

Data Driven Leadership: A Q&A with Mayor Kurt Metzger

When leaders change, new wishlists are written. Metromode talks with Kurt Metzger, the new mayor of Pleasant Ridge, on why Metro Detroit communities should cooperate across their borders. 

Ferndale Firm Seeks to Provide Energy Everywhere and Anywhere

If you're looking for a local company that represents what's next in renewable energy innovation, Zerobase is probably your best bet. The firm specializes in off-the-grid power logistics for inhospitable environments. Luckily, it has found its new digs in downtown Ferndale to be just the opposite - a perfect community for its high tech employees.

Distilling the Greatness of Michigan-Made Spirits

With all the enthusiasm for locally sourced products, micro-brew culture, and craft cocktails, it seemed inevitable that micro distilleries would be the next big thing. And with recent changes to Michigan's liquor laws it has. Nicole Rupersburg drinks in metro Detroit's growing (and award-winning) spirits industry.

The Co-Working Space Roundup

Co-working spaces are hardly breaking news in metro Detroit. What's exciting, however, is how they've grown in scope, services, size and availability over the last few years. Submitted for your approval: a roundup of the region's more interesting shared work spaces.

Playing to the Fringe

To some, fringe theater is a kind of creative canary in the coalmine, a clue as to whether your art scene offers a nurturing environment for performing artists to experiment and explore. So, how does metro Detroit stack up? Metromode's Patrick Dunn checks in with a handful of local companies to get the lay of the land.

Back to the Future of Food Trucks

In the last two years, Metro Detroit has been playing catch up to the nation's mobile food vending scene. Now food carts and trucks are hitting the road, even serving as trial runs for brick and mortar restaurants. Nicole Rupersburg, Metromode's food cartologist, dishes with a few of these mobile chefs.

Where's the Beef in Metro Detroit? (& Lamb, Pork, & Duck)

Man does not live by gluten-free vegan cuisine alone. Some might argue that's not living at all. For all the love that's given to the how-green-is-my-garden folks, Metromode's Nicole Rupersburg feels it's time to give a big bloody hug to locals who want to put their incisors to good use.

Rust Belt Market Redux: The Success of Small Businesses in a Big Box Store

What started as a noble experiment in support of local artists, creatives and vendors has turned into a vibrant success. Not only has Ferndale's Rust Belt Market been both a home and launching pad for new businesses, it's in the process of becoming an event destination.

Is Your Community Redevelopment Ready?

Sometimes it's not about adding to what you've got but making the most of what you have. For nearly a decade the Michigan Suburbs Alliance has helped metro Detroit communities to redevelop their existing assets. Now, the program is being adopted by the MEDC in order to go state-wide, and they're discovering that regional cooperation is a key component for success.

Going Veggie in Metro Detroit

Metro Detroiters do not live by meat alone. For an increasing many, there must also be veggies, and nothing but. Metromode's Nicole Rupersburg offers up a guide to local restaurants devoted to vegetarian cuisine as well as places that include great meatless options.

Finding A Hydrogen Future

For more than 20 years Dr. Robert Buxbaum's Ferndale-based company has been designing technologies that filter hydrogen. That may not sound particularly exciting to the everyday Joe but when you consider that he has contracts with the U.S. and U.K. Navies and believes his product could have prevented the Fukushima meltdown you understand how focusing on something very small can have a very large impact.

Dino's: Feeding Fans And School Kids Alike

Dino's restaurant has been a beloved Ferndale fixture for over a decade. When the recession hit, owner Dean 'Dino' Bach started catering to keep his employees working and, unexpectedly, discovered a whole new business opportunity - providing healthy lunches to school kids.

Five Really Cool Inventions Being Developed In Metro Detroit

We are a community with a history for making things. And that tradition goes beyond auto plants and IT firms. How about a machine that measures mental concentration? Or an update to the 19th Century Stirling Engine? Or an innovation that may change the entire glass-blowing industry? Whether it's in garages, school workshops or makerspaces, Metro Detroit inventors are concocting some pretty cool stuff.

A Gathering Of Voices

Last week Affirmations help celebrate National Coming Out Day with an event that introduced Metro Detroit to the next generation of LGBT leadership. The room was packed, the speeches and stories were inspirational, and Metromode's Kim North Shine was there to take it all in.

The Apps Metro Detroit CEOs Can't Do Without

It's an app app app world. Metromode's Jon Zemke quizzes some of Metro Detroit's CEOs on which business apps they can't live without, which apps others should use, and which locally produced apps are worth checking out.

Shelter From The Storm

Amidst the stories of entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity it's sometimes easy to forget that there are those who face profound hardship. For instance, Oakland County, for all its prosperity, must contend with teens who have left or been forced from their homes. Kim North Shine takes a look at the shelters and services that help struggling youth find a place in our community.

10 Things To Do In Metro Detroit Before Summer Ends

The countdown has begun, summer is winding down. And if you're like us, there's a list of stuff you meant to do while the weather was warm and the days were long. But where to start? Well, we've got some thoughts about that...

Beer & Bikes: A Match Made In Heaven

Beer. Bicycles. Two great tastes that taste great together. Or so the slogan goes. With the ever-growing popularity of breweries and cycling, it was inevitable that Metro Detroit (like many other parts of the country) would figure out a way to combine the two.

How Building Design Can Reflect A Community's Persona

In many ways, buildings are the face of the community. Through their design, materials, and placement they express the character of a place. So, what two buildings best represent the current values and personality of Ferndale and Royal Oak? Metromode takes a look.

Better Living Through Better Buildings

Unless you've been living in a cave you've probably heard the many green-minded arguments for why you should make your home more energy efficient. But what you might not realize is that there are compelling reasons beyond reducing the size of your carbon footprint. How about comfort? Better living has inspired one Ferndale resident to become an envangelist for Michigan's BetterBuildings program.

Fests and Fundraisers Go local

If you want further evidence that locally sourced food and craft-brewed beverages are becoming the new normal, consider any local festival or fundraiser worth its salt. Michigan-made products have become event necessities, culinary carrots that are dangled in front of enthusiastic attendees.

PHOTO ESSAY: Where Metro Detroit Invents

Where do local mad inventors and DIY creators go to plan and conceive their next off-the-wall invention? Whether it's custom mopeds, road-ready cupcakes, or gladiatorial assault courses, hackerspaces have become ground zero for folks who are compelled to create. Dave Lewinksi captures this rare species of iconoclast in its native habitat.

Almost Famous: Metro Detroit's Up And Coming Chefs

Metro Detroit's chefs may not be dominating episodes of Chopped and Top Chef but that doesn't mean they don't shine where it counts. So what about our next generation of kitchen masters? Metromode's Nicole Rupersburg introduces you to a quartet of local culinary up-and-comers.

Our Pop-Up Kitchen Scene

They're like the Brigadoons of cuisine, restaurants that appear for one night then vanish into the ether, leaving their fans hungry for their next appearance (which is usually far less than 100 years). Pop-up kitchens are... well... popping up around Metro Detroit, giving budding restaurateurs their first taste of what it's like to run an eatery.

What Does It Mean To Be Business Friendly? A Conversation with Valentine Vodka's Rifino Valentine

Rifino Valentine chucked his Wall Street trader job to follow his dream: to open a distillery in Detroit. Today, Valentine Vodka may not call Motown its home but it is a successful top shelf brand that's starting to expand beyond Michigan's borders. Metromode chats with Valentine about why Ferndale was the right fit for his company and how the city could become ground zero for high quality spirits.

From Blue Collar To Rainbow Flags: How Ferndale Got Its Gay Groove

Being fabulous doesn't just happen. It takes a lot of hard work. Nicole Rupresburg looks at how Ferndale became metro Detroit's go-to community for gay inclusion, and the impact that choice has had on downtown revitalization.

Rust Belt Market

From big box to big ideas. Ferndale's Rust Belt Market is an artist and craft fair, DIY marketplace, and music festival all rolled into one. And it happens day in and day out in a space that formerly housed an Old Navy.

What Food Trucks Say About Ferndale

It ain't called Fabulous Ferndale for nothing. With a "sure, why not?" attitude and a dedication to urban vitality, this inner ring burb is quickly becoming the region's go-to community for DIY innovation and entrepreneurship. So, what's that got to do with food carts? More than you might think.

If Dallas Can Do It, Why Can't Detroit?

In Texas, Dallas is referred to as The Big D. And like our D, it's a sprawling metropolitan region ringed by suburbs and freeways, and deeply in love with its cars. We are talking oil country after all. Despite that, the city also has a growing light rail system with over 70 miles of track. So, why them and not us?

Metro Detroit YPs Get Game

A recent Knight Foundation study found that social offerings top the list of concerns for Metro Detroiters. Justin Jacobs answers that study with the question: "Got game?" From basketball to softball to kickball, his sports and rec company Come Play Detroit is becoming the go-to social organization for local young professionals. Next up? The world's largest dodgeball game.

Ferndale - Metro Detroit's Urban Incubator

Gay-friendly community? Check. Locally owned small businesses? Check. An emphasis on walkability? Check. Once a working-class auto industry town, Ferndale is emerging as Metro Detroit's go-to community for new urbanist success. Metromode's Jon Zemke looks into why.

What Makes Metro Detroit Stick?

Last winter the Knight Foundation and Gallup released a survey that found that cities do better economically when the people in them want to stick around. So, what do Metro Detroiters value most when it comes to place? Cultural amenities, education, and community openness. Metromode takes a deep dive into the survey's results.

Electronic Soul: A Q&A with Jason Huvaere of Paxahau

There's little doubt about Metro Detroit's place in music history. We are a bottomless cauldron of rock n roll innovation and invention. And Movement is part of that...er, well, movement. Metromode chats with producer Jason Huvaere about electronic music's role in that legacy and the business of making it part of our region's future.

Making The Jump: A Q&A with Brad Dahlhofer and Paul Zimmerman of B. Nektar Meadery

If ever there was a silver lining, Brad and Kerri Dahlhofer found it. Laid off from their day jobs the couple teamed with their friend Paul Zimmerman to turn their homebrew hobby into a full-time job. It was a good gamble. B. Nektar Meadery can barely produce enough fermented honey alcohol to meet demand.

Made Here, Eaten Everywhere

It's one thing to make food that's popular with the locals. It's another to produce something people everywhere want to eat. From the classics to the upstarts to the little-known, Southeast Michigan is home to a surprising and delicious mix of nationally (and internationally) sipped and supped food products.

Going Rouge In Ferndale

Local and organic are words that are usually associated with restaurants and grocery stores. But in downtown Ferndale's ever-growing hub for hip businesses it applies to skincare and nails. Cheryl Salinas-Tucker not only turned her power suit past into an entrepreneurial future, she's made her salon, Rouge, a truly homegrown destination. 

2010: A Year of Entrepreneurship And Innovation

If anyone doubts that Metro Detroit is a hotbed of invention, entrepreneurship and creative thinking they just haven't been paying attention. Metromode once again unearthed a treasure trove of people, companies and communities that are evolving our sense of place, building our new economy, and promoting innovation at every turn. As we ring out the year we look back at a baker's dozen of stories that inspired us!

Becoming Urbane: A Q&A with Eric Brown

Eric Brown not only discovered his entrepreneurial muscle later in life, he also discovered his new urbanist, social media leanings. As CEO and co-founder of Urbane Apts, Brown has his finger on Metro Detroit's rental pulse, and has found success in a market that traditionally caters to home owners.

Patrons Of The Scene

To establish a successful creative scene you need a critical mass of topnotch artists and performers, a dedicated local audience and savvy event promoters. Metro Detroit's got plenty of the first but struggles to effectively attract the second because there are only a few of the third. Or so says Walter Wasacz, FilterD's editor and Metromode's cultural connoisseur.

The Vinyl Truth

Metro Detroit's indie rock labels aren't after gold and glory (though both would be nice). They're pressing vinyl, booking shows, and producing CDs because the local music community is what sustains and inspires them. This is lo-fi entrepreneurship with heart, a real rock effort to seed the ground with Motown's next generation of bands.

Generational Sounds: Rock Icon Ivan Kral Listens To Metro Detroit

He penned Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot," played with Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and Blondie, and thinks Metro Detroit is the perfect place for him to write his music. Rock icon Ivan Kral chats about the region's rock scene, reminisces about the past, and previews his newly remastered punk rock documentary, The Blank Generation.

The Young & Entrepreneurial: Jake Sigal

When someone asks why young professionals matter for Metro Detroit's future, think of people like Jake Sigal. The 28-year-old Ferndale resident took his love of music and penchant for entrepreneurship and not only helped invent the USB turntable for DJs, he started Livio Radio, a company that employs 15 people and has attracted support from Michigan's largest VC group.

The 10 Things You MUST Do Outside In Metro Detroit This Summer

The poet William Carlos Williams once wrote, "In summer, the song sings itself." This week, Metromode hums along with a list of outside Metro Detroit places and events you must experience this summer.

From Scratch: G-Romance

Between 2000 and 2005, the number of same-sex couples nationwide grew by over 30 percent. Compare that to 6 percent growth in the overall U.S. and you can't help but ask: How are all these folks meeting up? Metromode's Tanya Muzumdar talks with the owner and founder of G-Romance, the nation's first-ever (and much-needed) LGBTQ matchmaking website.

Ignite Ferndale

Every city strives to bring business to its downtown but few know how to attract thousands of Facebook fans. Ferndale's leaders want to add a few entrepreneurs to its mix of funky, artsy, and hip businesses. Actually, a lot of entrepreneurs. So they're using social media and online communication to build real-world opportunities.

It's More Than Food, It's A Business

Take a cup of culinary love, add a tablespoon of entrepreneurship and bake in Metro Detroit's DIY business culture. What do you get?  A trio of locally-based food companies that are starting to land their products in markets across the country.

Hacking Metro Detroit

It's about innovation and invention, not stealing your credit card info. With a trio of open-source, boundary-pushing hackerspaces opening in the last year, Metro Detroit has joined the international ranks of hackerdom. More than gadget-obsessed misfits, these make-geeks are out to make our world a little bit better... and more interesting.

Sharing Woodward Avenue

Automobiles have done a lot of good for Michigan. But for Woodward Avenue, not so much. As the value of dense and vital downtowns becomes increasingly evident, leaders are rethinking the auto-only policies and practices of Metro Detoit's transportation spine.

Back For (and To Do) Good

From Detroit to San Francisco and back again, Andrew Basile is rooting himself in Michigan in ways he never imaged. A successful lawyer, he's not only determined to bring Silicon Valley style-companies to the Motor City, he's established an incubator in Troy to make it happen. And as if that weren't enough, Basile has also become involved with evolving the Woodward Avenue corridor into a successful urban hub.

Metro Detroit: A Visitor's View

Long after the high-voltage North American International Auto Show rolls up the red carpet, tourism remains a nearly $5 billion a year economic plug for Metro Detroit. Are visitors mapping out the region's praises or issuing their own travel advisories? Metromode takes a look from their vantage points.

Frontier Spirit, Urban Ideas

Splitting her time between the Motor City suburbs and the Mile High City, Metromode's Tanya Muzumdar sees ideas and innovations ripe for importation. Maybe instead of going it alone, Metro Detroit should consider going West for some urban inspiration.

Photo Essay: Detroit Fashion Week

Haute child in the city! Metro D proves that fashion isn't solely the province of the coasts. Detroit Fashion Week celebrated local couture with stalwarts like Made In Detroit and Carhartt while impressing fashionistas with upstarts like Ferndale's Femilia. Marvin Shaouni got a a backstage pass to photograph the event and chat with well-dressed native son Joe Faris.

The Next Generation Of Affordable Housing

Forget traditional notions of affordable housing. If Metro Detroit wants to end the brain drain, attract new economy workers and revitalize its communities it needs to pay better attention to the housing needs of 20 and 30somethings. What does that mean? Affordable rentals, downtown condos and hip, walkable neighborhoods.

Metro Detroit's Crepe Expectations

New Orleans has gumbo and po'boys. Chicago has deep dish pizza. Phillie has the cheesesteak. Detroit has... crepes? Our Franco-Canadian origins aside, the Metro region is hardly a hotbed of French cuisine. And yet, Creperies are popping up like dandelions. Foodie blogger Nicole Rupersburg investigates le mystere.

Solid Dudes In The Kitchen

Welcome to the Bro-tisserie. It was only a matter of time before Millennials put their profane stamp on the whole cooking show craze. Meet Dave Graw and Derek Swanson, Metro Detroit's potty-mouthed answer to Ted Allen and Alton Brown. Could these web series upstarts be the answer to culinary GenX'ers and food-obsessed Boomers? Adult supervision suggested.

The Amazing Adventures of Metro Detroit's Comic Industry

Star Wars. Cynicalman. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Mouse Guard. Metro Detroit is home to an ecclectic and fiercely independent group of graphic novelists, cartoonists, and comic book artists. This is their story.

Ringwald Theatre has its cake, and eats it too

Fringe theater is often viewed as a barometer for a city's hipness.The Ringwald, in downtown Ferndale, has garnered top billing for its campy and unconventional shows, even drawing the city's mayor into the limelight.

Scoring Michigan's New Film Industry

With Michigan's new film incentives, everyone's talking about Hollywood actors and production crews. But what about the guys and gals behind the scenes, the ones who create all those memorable movie soundtracks? Three local composers weigh in on where they see the state's burgeoning film industry is headed.

Young Guns In Metro Politics

They're under 35 and they got elected. Meet a trio of young Metro Detroit politicians, all determined to bring new ideas and new perspectives to their communities. Can they facilitate the changes SE Michigan so desperately needs?

Under 30 And Involved

Barack Obama's presidency was due, in no small part, to an energized youth movement. And those same post-college professionals are taking their passion and ideas into local governments, earning seats on local boards and commissions.

Go Comedy, Go!

They are the Justice League of improvisational comedy. The Dream Team of yucks. Ferndale's Go Comedy, brings some of the region's funniest performers together under one roof - a former Secretary Of State's office turned laughter emporium. Now that's irony.

Inside Metro Detroit

Metro Detroit is big. Really big. And not all scenes are created equal. Finding the right restaurant, the right nightclub, even the right place to buy naughty underthings can be daunting. Metromode feels your pain. That's why we created our Insider Guides. Come on in and we'll explain it all to you.

A Secondhand Economy

Barter is back, resale has embraced upscale, and salvage goes green as Metro Detroit tightens its belt and widens its consumer options. Local businesses are successfully leveraging the Internet and up-to-the-minute trends to revive old tyme economic practices.

Metro Detroit's Seven Day Weekend

Thursday is the new Friday. Or was that Tuesday? In Metro Detroit it doesn't really matter. Great local music can be had every night of the week. From punk to pop, electronica to jazz, hip-hop to hard rock, Metromode offers up seven nights of tried and true sonic scenes.

Chris Johnston's Loving Touch

Someday Ferndale will erect a statue to Chris Johnston. Or better yet, replace the police officer in Woodward Avenue's Crow's Nest with his likeness. Entrepreneur, bar owner, restaurateur, rocker and driving force behind downtown's resurgence, only one question remains: When does he sleep?

A Wish List for Motor City Transit

What does our transit system lack that other cities have? We look at not just the obvious big things, like rail, but offer some little changes that would make getting around without a car easier in Detroit.

The Bus Stops Here: Tips for the Untrained Rider

Here is everything you always wanted to know about riding the bus but were afraid to ask. Or possibly you asked and couldn't find an answer.

Detroit, One Man, One Month, No Car

It wasn't like we asked him to eat exclusively at McDonald's or anything -- just take a month, leave the car parked in the driveway and ride the bus (and train and bike). Terry Parris Jr. discovered that the glass is half empty and half full when it comes to transit options in Detroit. And somewhere along the way, he found out he liked it.

Metro Detroit On Deck

Now that the waning days of summer are upon us, the opportunities to sip and sup by moonlight are dwindling. Metromode points you toward some of Metro Detroit's best patios, decks and balconies for outdoor drinking and dining.

Michigan Green Jobs

Everything's gone green around here. Architects, retailers, entrepreneurs, big buys, little guys -- they are all starting to look like Kermit. But it's no wonder. Companies that embrace green-thinking, make green products and offer green services are bringing in bucks and building jobs in Michigan.

Metro Detroit Rocks YouTube

It wasn't what Gil Scott Heron envisioned, but the revolution just may yet be televised. As YouTube becomes the place to be seen, Metro Detroit's savvier rock bands are using Internet video to create their own scene.

Sign Of The Times

They say music is a language common to all humanity. Enter Sean Forbes and D-Pan, his Ferndale-based organization dedicated to bridging the gap between the hearing and deaf world via music videos.

Metro Detroit Spins

Despite the all-encompassing digital age, vinyl has gotten its groove back, filling a high-end niche that CDs and MP3s just can't seem to scratch. Metromode crunches the numbers, charts the trends and points you toward Metro Detroit's best (and still thriving) LP peddlers.

Design Democracy: The Next Evolution In Manufacturing?

The inalienable right to have furniture designed the way you want it. That's what Kerry And Bryce Moore are after. But that's not all that's behind their "Design Democracy" movement. The owners of Context Furniture intend to revolutionize Michigan's entire approach to manufacturing.

Ferndale's New Neighbors

Once upon a time Ferndale was a dying inner ring suburb. Then the gay community moved in. Now it's one of Metro Detroit's fastest developing cities, drawing a hip, young and diverse population to its walkable neighborhoods. How did longtime residents react? They not only embraced the change, they voted in Michigan's first openly gay mayor.

Hollywood Rentals

The need for quality rental units goes beyond new urbanist ideals. It also means dollars where you least expect them. Michigan just passed one of the most ambitious film incentive packages in the nation. Hollywood's come calling. And guess what they're looking for? Modern rentals in walkable downtown settings.

Light Rail Would Mean Big Things For Woodward Corridor

Monday morning's big light rail announcement would mean great things for Metro Detroiters yearning for a transit alternative. If the plan comes to fruition, it would be boom time for the Woodward Corridor.

Why No Respect For Rentals?

Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston do not thrive on home ownership alone. If you look at most successful cities in the U.S., a robust rental market is necessary for urban health (and attracting young talent). Here, however, rentals are what you end up with when you can't sell.  Should we rethink what it means to "live" in Metro Detroit?

Got LEED?

After years of lagging behind the west coast of the state, SE Michigan is turning green in leaps and bounds. Climb aboard for a discussion of what the green building standard LEED actually means, and check out some prime examples of its application here in Metro Detroit.

Two Wheel Revolution

Long intimidated by automotive roadhogs, cyclists are reclaiming their rightful place along the nation's highways and byways. From hilly Seattle to dense beyond dense New York City, bike lanes are becoming the urban standard. Metromode's Tanya Muzumdar looks at how Metro Detroit stacks up.

The D Brand and You

The 'D' brand isn't just about pulling in conventions and tourists. With the D Brand Summit, branding gurus are showing us how the power of the 'D' can also attract more talent and business to the region.

Building A Creative Corridor

Could Metro Detroit have its own version of Sand Hill or Research Triangle Park? Local business and political leaders along with Detroit Renaissance certainly think so. They see Woodward Avenue, with its cultural and educational institutions and string of developing downtowns as ground zero for a new economy sector dubbed, "The Creative Corridor."

Investing In Transit

If you view mass transit as merely a means of getting from Point A to Point B or as a social service for those who can't afford to buy a car, think again. Mass transit attracts investment. Big investment. Community changing investment. The kind of investment that could revitalize not only Detroit but most of southeast Michigan.

From Scratch: Detroit Brothers

With a slogan like "Good parts for bad people," Detroit Brothers wears their Motor City cred on their sleeve. One look at their beautiful gothic designs and precision engineering and it's clear these customer cycle makers embody the next stage in southeast Michigan's economic evolution. 

Parking 2.0

Rack 'em, stack 'em and move 'em underground.  As southeast Michigan communities build better, more compact downtowns new ideas about parking are being put into place.

Busking Up Downtown

Southeast Michigan is alive with the sound of music... and the silence of mimes. If you want a barometer of how happening your neighborhood is, check out who's playing on the corner. More than just local color, buskers are a leading indicator of downtown vibrancy. After all, when's the last time you saw a drum circle at the local stripmall?

The Michigan Growth Capital Symposium: More Than Money

Like American Idol, each year local startups strut their stuff at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, presenting in 'lightning round' pitch sessions for the attention of venture capital managers and angel investors. But support can mean more than just a quick infusion of cash, it can also spell success for Michigan's economy.

Michigan Music Fests: Mozart To Mosh Pits

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are." Clearly the man loved his polka. metromode offers up a Summer Music Festival guide worth singing about.

Guest Blogger: Maud Lyon

Our guest blogger for this week is Maud Lyon. Maud is the founding director of the Cultural Alliance, and a consultant for numerous nonprofit organizations.Check back here each week day to read Maud's thoughts on the state of arts and culture in Michigan.

Discipline Five: Get on Base

United Way president Michael Brennan examines the importance of continued success over time in the fifth installment of his series on a Community of Progress.

Green Urbanism

Green and urban. More than a contradiction in terms, they're now a movement. Local architects and developers are starting to adopt 'bioregional' philosophy that asks: What does it take to build a sustainable city?

RAZ Survey: Regional Transit

Mass transit is a hot topic at water coolers throughout southeast Michigan. United Way and Metromode are interested in your thoughts on our regionís transportation options.

Guest Blogger: Dan Gilmartin

Dan Gilmartin is our guest blogger this week. He is the youngest executive director in the 108 year history of the Michigan Municipal League. Dan previously served as the League's deputy director and as an advocate in Lansing and in Washington, where he concentrated on transportation, land use and urban redevelopment. Check back here each week day to read Dan's thoughts on regionalism and how we can build the kind of community that attracts knowledge-based workers.

Survey: Race Relations

While Metro Detroit has been identified as one of the most racially segregated regions in the nation, our growing diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Metromode, United Way, and New Detroit are interested in your thoughts on race relations in this community.

Michigan Freakonomics

"Conventional Wisdom is often wrong." Whether he's writing about abortion, crack dealers or penalty kicks in soccer, "Freakonomic's" author Steven Levitt raises eyebrows and blood pressures with his findings. After a recent lecture at WSU, the rogue economist trained his sights on the Mitten State.

Guest Blogger: Todd Palmer

Todd Palmer is our guest blogger this week. Todd founded Diversified Industrial Staffing, a company that provides staffing for manufacturing, construction and logistics businesses, and Diversified PEOple, a professional employer organization for small businesses. He sits on the board of directors for the Detroit Chapter of Entrepreneurís Organization, and is a recent graduate of the Birthing of Giants class held at MIT. Check back each week day to read Todd's thoughts on keeping, identifying and attracting talent.

Fuelish Thoughts

As the buzz for biofuel grows, Michigan has the opportunity to capitalize on its rural and auto-based communities and emerge as a true innovator. Can a state historically dependent on mineral-based energy play a leading role in the national movement toward alternative fuels?  

Guest Blogger: Brian Balasia

Brian Balasia is our guest blogger this week. Brian founded Digerati Solutions while an aerospace engineering student at U of M. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Detroit Regional Chamber, WIRED, and the U of M Alumni Society.  Check back here each week day to read Brian's thoughts on attracting talent to SE Michigan and nurturing innovation.

Three Big Ideas For Michigan

The time has come for Michigan to make bold choices about how to transform its economy, communities and culture. metromode offers up a trio of initiatives and ideas that challenge conventional thinking and dare the state to think big.

Biting Into Downtown

Armed with only a saute pan and a vision, restauranteurs have become urban pioneers, transforming neighborhoods (even whole communities) one meal at a time.

Guest Blogger: Roger Gullickson

Roger Gullickson is our guest blogger this week.  Roger is the President and CEO of MVP Collaborative since 1996.  He moved to Michigan in 1989 to head FTD's Marketing Group after an international career with Tenneco and Case Corporation.

Check back here each weekday to read Roger's thoughts on Michigan's need for renewal and how it can achieve it. 


Running Michigan: Resources

If you've got two good legs, a few hours a week and a whole lot of willpower, SE Michigan has got pretty much everything you need to maintain a constant level of runner's high.

Guest Blogger: Dennis King

Dennis King is our guest blogger this week. Dennis is President of American Institute of Architects, Michigan and Chairman and CEO of Harley Ellis Devereaux, an award-winning, full-service archittecture firm. Check back here each weekday to read Dennis' thoughts on National Architecture Week and how design and architecture have a profound impact on quality of life. 

Urban By Design: Why Architecture Matters

In celebration of Architecture Week metromode chats with Royal Oak architect Frank Arvan about how architecture and urban design can improve Metro Detroit.

Pass the Torch of Leadership

To be a community of progress, the development of next generation civic leadership is a requirement of current leadership, says United Way for Southeastern Michigan president Michael J. Brennan.

Taking It Downtown

What separates one city from the next? After decades of suburban sprawl, communities in SE Michigan are starting to realize the importance of walkable, workable and liveable downtowns.

Guest Blogger: Pavan Muzumdar

Pavan Muzumdar is our guest blogger this week. Pavan is the CEO of MV Software Company and a coach for the Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest business plan competition.Check back here every weekday to read Pavan's thoughts about competing in the global marketplace. 

Guest Blogger: Brad Frost

Bradford Frost is our guest blogger this week. Brad works at United Way for Southeastern Michigan.  He recently moved to Detroit and currently lives in Mid-Town with his girlfriend. Check back here every weekday to read Brad's thoughts about reframing Metro Detroitís problems and finding new solutions. 

Feel Da Noise

From Parliament-Funkadelic to the Stooges to the entire stable of Motown artists to today's techno pioneers, metro Detroit isn't the next anything, it is a musical force of nature. Panelists at a recent MOCAD event waxed poetic about our region's reputation for revolutionary sound.

Guest Blogger: Jim Townsend

Jim Townsend is our guest blogger this week. He is the executive director of the Tourism Economic Development Council, serves on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, which he founded in 2002, and lives with his family in Royal Oak. 

Check back here every weekday to read Jim's thoughts about branding our region.


Living Here: The Survey Is In

Attracting and keeping talent here comes down to quality of life. United Way and metromode asked you what you thought of education, public safety, and arts and culture in SE Mich. Here are some of the first results from that survey.

Put Your Money Where Your Art Is

Some neo-realism with your money market account? How about fairy dust with that root canal? Local businesses are partnering with artists to help sculpt an identity that stands out against a landscape littered with cookie-cutter chainstores.

From Rust Belt to Green Belt

Metro Detroit has a rep for being more rusty than green around the middle, but sustainable initiatives are taking hold. The real question is not if S.E. Michigan can go green, but just how green it will go.

Guest Blogger: Lou Glazer

Here's Post No. 4 from Lou Glazer, the president of Ann Arbor-based Michigan Future Inc., a think-tank that is a resource of ideas for how Michigan can and should reshape its economy. Check back daily for more of Glazer's thoughts.

Design Evolution

The basic tenet of Darwinian evolution is "adapt or die." With today's expanding global market and its ever-shifting demands, the mantra for business survival could easily be "innovate or vanish."

Ann Arbor, Welcome Detroit

Ann Arbor needs Detroit. Detroit needs Ann Arbor. As much as these places are their own communities, they need one another more than ever.

Guest Blogger: Doug Rothwell

Metromode's guest blogger this week is Doug Rothwell, president of Detroit Renaissance. Here's what he has to say about transforming the region's economy.
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