A Big Week in Michigan

UPDATE 4/11/13: The League’s Capital Conference was an interesting event. I have not seen, in my time working with communities, so many really unhappy local officials with the direction of the state government. I expect that there will be a great deal of discussion in the coming months about how the state and its cities and villages can work together more productively.  The state leaders boasting about their $500M surplus after a decade of redirecting over $6B intended to provide local services didn’t, as you may have guessed, go over well.

Thursday’s Placemaking Leadership Council’s inaugural meeting in Detroit was excellent. Participating with leaders from 10 foreign countries sand 25 states was inspiring to say the least. There are a lot of really talented individuals working in this arena. The meeting continues tomorrow. More to come…

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We’re heading into a big week here in the state of Michigan, and only part of it is due to the University of Michigan’s appearance in the NCAA basketball championship game. OK, most of it is, but try to stick with me here while I make a few points.

Inside of the Michigan State Capital Building

Inside of the Michigan State Capital Building

On April 9-10 the Michigan Municipal League will hold its annual Capitol Conference in the city of Lansing. Elected and appointed officials from cities and villages throughout the state will gather together to discuss important public policy initiatives with state lawmakers. Transportation reform, public financing, and economic development are just a few of the topics that will be debated. Among the more thought-provoking proposals being considered by the League’s Board of Trustees are the concepts of regional infrastructure financing and utilizing Michigan’s depleted core cities as hotbeds for greater foreign immigration and economic opportunity. We’ll hear from Governor Rick Snyder and U.S. Asst. Sec. of Transportation John Porcari, too. It should be a stimulating few days. For those on Twitter you can follow along at #mmlconf.

On April 11-12 Project for Public Spaces will be hosting an inaugural meeting of the Placemaking Leadership Council in Detroit, the “North American capital of resilience”. About 250 participants from around the world will focus on creating a global agenda around Placemaking in cities using case studies and demonstration projects, publications, films, and social media as ways of demonstrating the true power of place. A follow-up council meeting is slated for later this year in Stockholm. I am pleased to be leading the first morning’s discussion on some of the efforts that we in Michigan have been spearheading. Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert will also address the group on his monumental private sector driven approach to reimagining the public realm through entrepreneurship and community based economic development. You can follow the proceedings on Twitter at @PPS_Placemaking.

Inside of Detroit's Compuware Building, site of the inaugural Placemaking Leadership Council Meeting

Inside of Detroit’s Compuware Building, site of the inaugural Placemaking Leadership Council Meeting

I will also be Tweeting from @DPGilmartin throughout the week. I expect some really poignant results from both events. Until then, I look forward to gaining some knowledge and sharing some ideas.

And, all together now… Go Blue!

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