Issue Media Group, the parent company for media outlets like Model D and Metromode, is initiating the Urban Innovation Exchange (UIX) with funding from the Knight Foundation.
It’s clear that Detroiters are re-imagining themselves and their city in very unique ways. Sure, there are traditional developments that are occuring that are rather easy to value– ie, a neighborhood development project that costs 1M and a return of 2M is expected, with X amount of resources coming on the heels of such development. But such a large part of Detroit’s allure right now is tucked in the efforts that are harder to value. How do you economically value a community garden that gives kids in the neighborhood a new sense of purpose? This gets tougher. And my hope is that the Urban Innovation Exchange will begin to disseminate some of the many factors that are propelling this new form of social capital forward and really making a difference in the identity and movements of the city.
What’s exciting is that I think the idea in and of itself is good, but it seems as though the muscle needed to make this happen is there. There are lots of players moving this effort forward, including DL!. We are very excited about being a part of this exchange in a variety of ways– creating original content and also playing an editorial role. Other media partners include the Detroit Free Press, Huffington Post Detroit, Model D, New Michigan Media, Thrive Detroit and I Am Young Detroit. Data Driven Detroit is playing a part handling some of the analysis and codifying the information in to valuable data sets and models that are scalable.
It’s funny, I just had a visitor over the weekend from out of town, and just like everyone else that visits, he said there is something special going on in the city. Something real. My hope is that efforts like UIX begin to put some sensible data sets and analysis around the realized factors and efforts that are moving the city forward. Instead of all this meta-Detroit talk that can sometimes be more emotional than tangible, I hope we begin to put in to place models that disseminate the nature of our innovation in Detroit. And then, from there, we scale it up and really have a hand in writing the rule book for next generation cities.