Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Remaking Detroit

Fast Co's recent article profiling Detroit gives a spot on look at the city, the hopeful and exciting optimism of a creative class moving in, set against the stark reality of a dysfunctional city battling a half century's worth of decline. I like the honest look at where the city is and largely agree with many of the opinions shared by the folks interviewed. Detroit is cool and certainly has a feeling of renewed bravado for those of us lucky enough to choose to live here and craft our own careers. Yet, for most in the city, as LeDuff correctly points out, there's nothing cool or prideful about living on a crime ridden street without street lights and sending your kids to a poorly maintained school where they'll get an education that leaves them behind their better off peers. But I guess that's why I like living here so much (while acknowledging the sad fact that it comes at a very high expense of those less fortunate). The tale of two cities being played out in such clear terms, right in front of you. The good and the bad, the really exciting and the really depressing makes for a city that feels real, that feels alive even on the most deserted and vacant corners, and makes you ask questions you didn't even know you had.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lafayette Park

Source: http://www.freep.com/article/20130218/BUSINESS06/302180059/Greater-downtown-Detroit-has-more-wealth-racial-diversity-than-city-as-a-whole-report-finds

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

M1 Rail

Woodward light rail looks like it will actually become reality. After finally sealing the deal on the federal government's $25 million funding portion, construction is expected to begin in the fall of this year and completion slated for Fall 2015. Only 59 years after the original Woodward streetcars made their last run and were shipped to Mexico City. It's about time they came back.

What a beautiful map.

Kenya's Silicon Savannah

Kenya has released plans to build a new city for 185,000 people 40 miles outside of Nairobi. It still remains one of the world's poorest countries, but while living in Nairobi and to this day, watching from afar, I'm continually impressed with the skill and ambition of the country's business and entrepreneurial communities. The exciting forward thinking and inspiring vision of a city that this plan showcases is in stark contrast to my current city's attitude, which continues to hold on to a glorified past that is no longer (at least in the government).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lafayette Towers renovations?

My Detroit home has a new owner. I've seen a few articles since Gregory Jackson purchased the towers and they all seem to say the right things - he's planning on renovating and improving the units and the entire complex. $5 million, as my friend Ryan pointed out, seems like a pretty low amount based on how my kitchen and bathroom look (1960s), and that doesn't even touch the heating/cooling issues, the hallways, nor the state of the parking lot. But, $5 million is $5 million, and it's likely more money than has been invested in the property in many years. Mr. Mies can't complain with that.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A 2013 wish

It was exactly two years ago that I quit my life and job in Chicago and boarded a plane to Kenya. In certain ways it doesn’t seem that long ago and yet my life has changed so drastically from that point that it’s hard to imagine that it’s only been a couple of years. Reflecting back on my decisions to move to Kenya to work with KickStart and to subsequently go through Code Academy in Chicago, it’s hard to believe that I was close to deciding against both. And the thought that I could very easily still be in Chicago working within the online marketing industry, if not for a couple of decisions that at the time felt a bit reckless, leaves me so very confident that giving up on the well laid out professional track I had before me in Chicago was the right move. Both experiences were great reminders of how enjoyable life can be when I actively make decisions about what I desire rather than simply sliding into something without much intentional thought or behavior.

Two years ago I didn’t really know what I was looking for in Kenya, I just knew that my job in Chicago wasn’t something I wanted to do for long and certainly wasn’t close to work I loved. And I trusted that my intuition might know where it was going. Two years later, I enter 2013 with more confidence and excitement than any previous year and doing work that feels right. May the next two years be as exciting, worthwhile, and meaningful as the last two.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Detroit's filter

I enjoyed this short article on downtown Detroit, specifically this thought from George Royce, a bartender at Detroit Beer Company.
Royce acknowledges that Detroit is not for everyone.
“The people who live here usually have something going on,” he says. “They’re artistic, they’re handy, they’re self-starters. People who are finicky don’t come to Detroit. There’s a filter at work here. You’ve got to have self-sufficiency.”
One reason I really enjoyed living and working in Kenya and going through the Peace Corps was the ability to meet, learn, work and become friends with, etc the very interesting people that those types of opportunities attract. I've found that to be the case in Detroit as well and it's certainly one of the reasons I enjoy living here way more so than some of the well manicured and more well off cities where I've lived in the past. Royce's comment above perfectly captures the person Detroit is attracting and why that might be the case.

A city reimagined

Popular Mechanics takes an entertaining look at what Detroit could become by 2025 based on projects that are currently happening and the real people leading the charge.

I've always liked the idea of Detroit becoming the world's greenest city.