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Deep Thoughts on Fixing Up Detroit

Dear City of Detroit:

I hope you enjoy the $170 I contributed to your general fund this week in the form of two payments: $10 for a parking ticket and $160 for my traffic ticket. While I admit responsibility for my traffic error, the parking ticket was a raw deal (you need to fix the meters outside of YouthVille; really, I put in two different credit cards, and your high-tech system rejected them both.)

Don't spend the money all in one place. If I may, I'd like my funds to go toward the rightsizing effort. You can pretend all you want about backing off this plan; you and I both know it is the right thing. But I agree that you do need more citizen participation, so I dig your efforts to relaunch the project.


Now, onto the real business of the day. Some good reads for your Detroit-obsessed brains:

  • Detroit's “renewed sense of purpose” gets a shout out in Architect magazine. Blog favorite Michael Poris is included in the story, which focuses on the efforts to clean up our horseless town.
  • Well-deserved tribute to Phil Cooley of Slows Bar BQ in The Detroit News. This is the kind of energy we need if Detroit stands a chance. (Do you sometimes feel like all of the enthusiasm for the city found in some media is just a way to get us all pumped up and maybe off our fat Midwestern duffs?)
  • Fun new blog from Norm Silk, one of the two wonderful men who are restoring the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Detroit. I'm truly enjoying the bloggers on Metro Mode, and Silk has a nice flavor to his writing. Here's my favorite line: “Make Detroit the city you want to live in.”
  • Fun piece in the Detroit Free Press about how Detroit's cultural organizations are collaborating and collectively keeping us cool. One of my hopes for this blog is to show the collaboration theme across the many groups here, so I loved this piece.
  • Great story by former Metro Times editor Ron Williams on AlterNet about what he sees happening in the city, especially is potential sustainability movement efforts (including urban gardens). He takes Time magazine to task as well for its decision to publish those ruin photos. My favorite line: “DO NOT underestimate the capacity of this city to achieve great things.”
  • Old news, but still great stuff: NPR's The Takeaway let Detroiters talk about what they love about the city (in the wake of the much-maligned Dateline piece. Really, Outside World, we do not eat raccoons on a regular basis.)
  • For those interested in urban farming, check out this great article in Crain's Detroit by Wayne Law Review survey editor Sarah Kwiatkowski and my favorite professor, John Mogk, about the potential here for going green in Detroit.
  • I missed this piece, but it is worth finding (or buying on Amazon) called Regional Roots: The Birth and Evolution of Detroit and Its People. It was produced by One of Us Films and the Detroit Orientation Institute. Here is the preview of it if you want to get a taste of what you'll see. If I can find the whole video, I'll post it here.
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