A huge part of what we do here is making sure that the work and innovative models we are creating in response to interesting economic circumstances and opportunities is projected outward in to the world. I always say Detroit could write the rule-book for next-generation cities. It’s true. Economic systems worldwide are crumbling, cities are re-thinking their positions amidst globalization, and in Detroit we’ve been confronting the dire version of those circumstances for many years. And over the past three years, we’ve gotten significantly better at innovating with minimal resources. And this is the stuff that the country will deem more and more significant as cities struggle more and more. In the last week or so, two outfits locally have been getting national coverage that plays a significant part in moving the narrative about Detroit’s potential forward.
DETROIT Soup featured in Dwell Magazine, a national publication:
Patrick Thompson Design featured on Design Sponge:
Peter Kageyama met Richard Florida in 2003 and it changed his career path. He had started a web development firm in 1995, but once he and Florida met the game was changed. Over time, his work became heavily focused on community development, talent attraction/retention and creative industries development. He puts on the annual Creative Cities Summit, produced the documentary “Charles Landry and the Art of City Making,” and recently just released a book called For the Love of Cities that focuses in part on Detroit.
In the book he discusses the notion of â€œlovable citiesâ€– the idea that in some places people become more invested in the social being and welfare of their city, creating a stronger tie between the city itself and its people. In many ways, Detroit has a lot of this lovin’ going on, and Peter discusses a few local efforts in the book– Sean Mann’s Detroit City Futbol League and Kate Daughdrill’s Detroit SOUP to name a couple. Both initiatives demonstrate non-traditional ways in which once can strengthen the bond between people and place. The benefits of such strong relations, as Kageyama points out, is that “we open up new possibilities in community, social and economic development by including the most powerful of motivatorsâ€” the human heartâ€” in our toolkit of city-making.”
If you miss all that, catch Peter speaking at the upcoming Rust Belt to Artist Belt Conference on April 6. He is giving a talk around lunchtime. Pick up your tickets for that event and check out the full schedule.
There is no shortage of love for Detroit in the New York Times. They’ve written another piece underscoring the growing role of the arts in Detroit and the last effect it is having on the way we live in this city.
This line seemed to resonate well:
“Attracted by cheap space and driven by a sense of civic responsibility, young artists are turning crumbling homes into art centers, converting factories into studio and exhibition spaces, and planting community gardens as artworks. As the 25-year-old Kate Daughdrill put it, for her generation Detroit is no city on the skids but â€œa theater of engagement.â€
With a laundry list of genuine needs that the city has, it really does create that “theater of engagement.” Quite a fine way to put it, Kate. You almost can’t help but want to be a part of the greater whole because there are a million ways to create and actually have a lasting effect on the city. I said it last time the Times ran an article on the arts in Detroit, but here you can create and people will listen because of the enormous effect you can potentially have. What other cities are offering this genuine quality as a way to lure young, innovative thinkers? Not many.
A whole motley crew of those innovative minds will be at the DIA this Wednesday for TEDxDetroit. Check their site out for more details. There’s an exciting collection of presenters and even a performance from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr on tap. Everything starts Wednesday morning at 9am.
Got some more photos from Maker Faire posted on Facebook. But big news this morning is the nice little ditty on Detroit that was in the New York Times print edition today. The article is titled “Wringing Art Out of Rubble in Detroit” and gives an uplifting story told through many of the doers around town that are making lemonade out of lemons. Kate Daughdrill and Jessica Hernandez were featured on behalf of their project titled Soup, a monthly meeting on Sundays above the MexicanTown Bakery where participants pay $5 entry, eat some soup and salad, and hear proposals from people all over the city for projects they want to do. At the end of the night, the best voted idea gets all the Soup money to put towards the project. It creates a nurturing environment to do cool stuff. Another feature in the article, Mr. Jerry Paffendorf and Ms. Mary Lorene Carter, got some words devoted to Loveland and the new up-and-coming Imagination Station near MCS– that is, the two houses that were purchased, are now being re-habbed and will eventually be an artists residency program. These fantastic projects aside, what’s particularly enticing in the article is the discussion of folks migrating in to the city and describing the move (from Portland and Montana interestingly enough, two favorite places of mine) to Detroit as poitive and one with “a sense of purpose.” It really starts to paint a much more vivid picture illustrating the real opportunity that exists in Detroit. When one of those featured migrants, the fella from Montana who comes with the intent to be a butcher, actually arrives and starts a charcuterie club and ingratiates himself in the young doer community, it says something about the real opportunity here. Yes, you can DO IT IN DETROIT. You can make it happen here, that’s for sure. And hey, once you arrive, people will listen, you can be an agent of positive change and growth, and holy moses, the frickin’ New York Times might even put you in a feature story.