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Creating an alternative transportation system requires more than less cars

The challenge to building a city that truly offers alternative transportation amenities means reconciling some difficult relationships. CityLab sums up the issues with transitioning to a multimodal community.


"Supporting many modes requires including multiple actors in the planning process, all with different priorities and preferences. More travel choices also means private entrepreneurs will take the lead on some services normally offered by the public sector: from taxi or bus services to parking management to goods movement. And with the benefits of redefining and reallocating street space in a multi-modal system come new political problems in terms of fighting for that space, too."

Read the rest here.

NBC spotlights Dearborn's success with assimilation

NBC visits Dearborn, MI to look at what successful assimilation looks like with regard to to the immigrant Muslim community.

Watch below.


Royal Oak gets web-savvy parking meters

You know the future is now when even the dreaded parking meter has an app and happily accepts internet transactions.


The sticker represents Royal Oak’s partnership with Parkmobile, a parking payment provider that allows visitors to conduct parking transactions via their smart phones. Users can pay for parking through the internet, a mobile application or a toll-free number.

There also are options for users to receive alerts to notify them when the time on the meter is set to expire.

Read the rest here.

DDOT to get 80 new buses, real-time app

Detroit bus service is entering the new millennium with a fleet of new buses outfitted with GPS technology and an app for riders.


"The city says 10 of the buses from the fresh fleet will be longer, 60-foot articulated buses that provide additional capacity on DDOT's busiest routes. The other 70 will be standard 40-foot buses. The new fleet arrives thanks to a $38 million in federal grants, with the Michigan Department of Transportation kicking in the necessary amount in local matching funds. "

Read the rest here.

How Southfield became a suburb to watch

Local press stalwart Jack Lessenberry sings praises to Southfield's surprising successes.


"Today, Southfield’s neighborhoods are neat and well-kept. Ranch and two-story houses are on leafy streets a few blocks from the office towers across from the city’s civic center.

Southfield has a huge, impressive new library that other suburbs envy. While there are concerns about the city’s public schools, there has not been the enrollment collapse Detroit schools have experienced.

Southfield’s ethnic transformation has been nearly as dramatic as Detroit’s. The population was less than 1 percent black in 1970. Twenty years later, it was 29 percent."

Read the rest here.

How housing stock can influence the fate of an inner ring suburb

While many people understand the longterm impacts of white flight on inner ring communities, what's less obvious is how the post-war housing stock in these communities are gravely impaction their economic future.


But what’s not being discussed is how this racial tension is happening in some inner ring suburbs and not others. And one of the factors that may be contributing in a strange way is the housing stock in some of those suburbs. And not just the age. The problem is that in some of these suburbs all the housing was built at once, and it is all getting old and unsaleable at the same time — and no new housing is being built to take its place.

The suburbs that seem to be falling victim to quick decline (and the subsequent racial divides) are the ones that had most of their housing built between the end of World War II and 1959. About 60 percent of Ferguson’s housing was built in that time frame, meaning that these old houses are now wearing out all at once, hitting the point where they are not appealing to most new home buyers, regardless of race.

Read the rest here.

In Detroit, a shipping container called home

GM is teaming up with a local nonprofit - Michigan Urban Farming Initiative - to provide homes made out of shipping containers. That's pretty dang cool.


Organizers hope the container project can lure millennials who don't want their grandfather's bungalow yet also provide predominantly poor, longtime residents with a low-cost housing alternative.

"Finding a place where both those communities can find common ground is beautiful," said Gersh, president and co-founder of the group that operates a farm and owns property in the North End, where blight and vacancy are common, but so are signs of residential and commercial renewal. "It's scalable, works for everyone and it's also not going to ruin the environment. It's easier to maintain and can repurpose existing materials."

Read the rest here.

Henry Rollins digs obscure Detroit bands

Ever heard of long gone metro Detroit rock bands like Sonic's Rendezvous Band or Death? Henry Rollins has. And he considers them top o' the underground heap.


"One of the most undermentioned American rock bands of the last century. It was, literally, a Detroit supergroup. Fred 'Sonic' Smith of the MC5 on guitar, Scott Morgan of the Rationals on guitar and vocals, Gary Rasmussen of the Up on bass, and Scott Asheton of the Stooges on drums. This is both post-Stooges and post-MC5. In my opinion, both Smith and Asheton, two of the most solid musicians to come out of the entire Detroit late-'60s, early-'70s scene, both realized their mightiest playing in this band. Most of their recorded output is live material that is fairly easy to locate. They made a single of one of their best tracks, 'City Slang,' and released it in 1978. In a little over 5 minutes, the band delivers some of the most thrilling, blowout, burn-up rock and roll. Smith's tone and attack is without peer, Asheton's solid drive is the epitome of rock drumming. The band is a cohesive thing of perfection. I was introduced to this song in the early '80s and have never recovered."

Read the rest here.

Made in Michigan: Failure: Lab

A Grand Rapids company has come up with a new spin on the storytelling craze - an evening of screw ups, bad ideas and set backs. 


The founders had held events in Detroit, Chicago, and other Michigan cities, when requests from Australia and India started to come in.

In mid-December, Failure: Lab launched a website that encourages its storytelling event planners to connect. The company relies on sponsorships and ticket sales to generate revenue, and they are looking to sign up global sponsors as part of its expansion plan.

Read the rest here.

McClary Bros. delivers on new taste for craft vinegar

Vinegar is much more than the standard base of garden-variety salad dressings, or even balsamic. Here's an artisan maker that's using fruits and vegetables to craft gourmet, drinkable vinegars, soon to be found in stores around the country.


"While craft beers and spirits are gaining much of the buzz, craft cocktails are also seeing a rise in consumer interest. With bars like  Sugar House  and  Punch Bowl Social  in Detroit and  The Oakland  in Ferndale wowing their customers with craft cocktails, there is also a DIY movement for those looking to change up their at-home imbibing. 

That’s where  McClary Bros.  drinking vinegars come in.

Farmington-based McClary Bros. uses locally grown fruits and vegetables to create drinking/culinary vinegars. These vinegars are not like the ones you use to clean out the coffeepot. These are considered “colonial-era drink mixers” in that these recipes are formulated using unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with added natural ingredients...

A semifinalist in the 2014  Comerica Hatch Detroit  business competition, McClary Bros. expects to have distribution for its infused vinegars in 13 or 14 states soon, thanks to word-of-mouth among high-end retailers operating in several states."

More here.

Thrillist ranks Detroit as one of nation's best food cities

When it comes to eats, Detroit is fat city (in the best way). Thrillist applauds metro Detroit's culinary diversity and quality, putting it no. 14 out of 40 of the nation's largest populations centers. We want seconds!


"When  Detroit  became the magnet for American dream-seekers, it also became the Midwest’s most  diverse and fascinating  food scene. Southerners brought soul food andBBQ  that often stand tall against the cuisine’s origins. Polish food? There’s a whole city within the city --  Hamtramck  -- where you can get some of the country’s best, along with tons of Middle Eastern foods. Greek food and Mexican? Head to Greek Town or Mexico Town. You get the idea.

This is a place where coney has nothing to do with New York, but rather  hot dogs  made exclusively (it’s a law) with real cuts of meat and topped with a meaty coney sauce that will basically ruin all other hot dogs to come. It’s a spot where pizzas are square and thick, with cheese caramelizing the edges. It’s a city where traditions are embraced, adopted, and adjusted to fit a certain Motown mentality. If Detroit was half its size, it would be the most dense and rich food scene in the world. But where it loses points (with the Lions, they’re used to it) in sprawl, it more than makes up for with destination foods scattered across the metro area waiting to be discovered."

More here.

Former Hamtramck restaurateur, AKA the "revolving chef," goes on national cooking spree

Sometimes the chef changes as often as tonight's specials. It's good to see this culinary concept that became rooted in Detroit and Hamtramck way back when go national.


"Since our email filters were tightened up a few years ago, the number of entreaties I receive from Nigerians has dropped considerably.

One that made its way through came from a chef, Tunde Wey. He sought attention, not my bank account number.

Wey, 31, born in Lagos and living in Detroit for the last 14 years, co-founded a restaurant in Hamtramck, Mich., called (revolver) that rotates guest chefs every weekend.

Wey also cooked pop-up Nigerian dinners, based on the Yoruba and Igbo food of his youth.

After selling off his shares in (revolver), Wey began he called a haphazard cooking tour of the cities he had always dreamed of seeing."

More here

New Dearborn Amtrak station gets kudos for size, amenities, and convenience

In time for the busy holiday travel season, it's looking like Dearborn's new train station will spur more leisure and business traffic into the city. 


"The federally funded, $28.2 million, 16,000-square-foot center is designed as an intermodal passenger rail station on the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac. It's near the Rouge River Gateway Greenway Trail that connects to the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Henry Ford College campuses, and a pedestrian bridge should make it easy for passengers to enter the Henry Ford and Greenfield Village, Dearborn city spokeswoman Mary Laundroche has said...

It's the third train station to open in Michigan in recent months. In October, the long-delayed $6.4 million Troy Transit Center and the $6.1 million Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station opened in Grand Rapids opened for business."

More here

Brooklyn's famed Galapagos Art Space to move into nine Detroit buildings

Detroit will get a new center for burlesque, visual, and other performing arts when a (soon to be former) Brooklyn institution, Galapagos Art Space, moves into rehabbed buildings, including an old power plant, in Corktown. (The new lake planned for the property should make a big splash.)


"The  Galapagos Art Space, a performance center and cultural staple in Brooklyn for nearly 20 years, will close this month, another casualty of rising rental prices that its founder says are making it difficult for independent arts organizations to survive in New York...

Although the last night of programming is likely to be Dec. 18, the center will have a second life — more than 600 miles away, in Detroit. Over the past year, Mr. Elmes and his wife, Philippa Kaye, have bought nine buildings totaling about 600,000 square feet in that city’s Corktown neighborhood and in neighboring Highland Park, paying what he described as the price of “a small apartment in New York City” for the properties....

One of the places where “young artists and thinkers” appeared to be gravitating, he said, was Detroit."

More here.

That being said, while luxury Detroit apartment rents are nowhere near those in NYC, is the Brooklynization of Detroit coming? Check out this report in the Detroit Free Press


University tech transfer offices bridge gap between academia and commerce

In Michigan's growing tech economy, there's no doubt that many of the innovators are coming from the halls and labs of academia. But how to get from concept to commercialization?


"Coming up with a technological breakthrough is a feather in a university researcher's cap. 

But taking that brilliant notion, and forming a profitable business, involves another degree of difficulty. So professors and other researchers who want to turn their intellectual gifts into gold will probably need a little help along the way. 

"It takes more than a great idea," said Paul Riser Jr., managing director of technology-based entrepreneurship for Detroit business incubator  TechTown. "Professors sometimes are great technologists or great engineers and sometimes they don't have the know-how, from a business perspective."

The place to start may be the university's technology transfer office."

More here.
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