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Action Speaks Volumes: Lessons from Detroit's Urban Innovation Exchange

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of visiting Detroit for the first Urban Innovation Exchange(UIXDET). Over a three-day period, more than 500 people from across the U.S. came together to share ideas, stories and lessons from the forefront of community transformation. I was delighted to participate in the Art of Place panel to present CoSign, a collaboration between the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation and the American Sign Museum that unites business owners, artists, designers and sign-makers to create unique storefront signage in neighborhood business districts throughout Greater Cincinnati.

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CNN Money names Detroit among 'most innovative cities in America'

Light manufacturing is returning in Midtown and downtown is home to start-up incubation and a vibrant technology scene.

Those are two of the reasons CNN Money gives for naming Detroit among 10 of the "most innovative cities in America."

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Motor-less City? Bankrupt Detroit's booming bike industry

The Motor City is becoming an unlikely hub for high-end bike manufacturing.

Before there was the Model T, there was the Quadricycle. Henry Ford fashioned his original automobile from four bicycle wheels and a chain at the height of Detroit’s 19th-century bike (yes, bike) manufacturing boom. If Detroit rose and fell on for four wheels, its past—and potentially its future—was built on just two. As the city wends its way through bankruptcy court this fall and its core industry lurches back to solvency, the Motor City is revving up to become a manufacturing hub again, this time for a vehicle that has no motor at all: the bicycle.

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12 Businesses That Are Putting Detroit On The Map

Don’t call it a comeback! Business is thriving in the Motor City, and these businesses are definite proof. Discover more job opportunities in Detroit and other parts of Michigan at MITalent.org!

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20 Detroit Artists You Should Know

Although the bulk of today’s headlines about Detroit tend to focus on the city’s financial dramas, there’s another story coming out of the Motor City, and it’s not an unrelated one: the rising art scene. While the city’s 2013 bankruptcy filing has put the future of venerable organizations like the Detroit Institute of Arts into an uncertain place, neighborhoods like the Sugar Hill Historic District—home to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, and the artist residences at 71 Garfield—are keeping Detroit’s creative spirit alive.

Like New York City’s SoHo or Miami’s Wynwood, it’s Detroit’s ever-growing brigade of artists who are helping to maintain the city’s reputation as a hotbed of cultural activity. Here’s a look at "20 Detroit Artists You Should Know."

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8 small groups making big impact on Detroit

Detroit's billionaires may capture the headlines, but they are only part of the story of Detroit's future. This is a city of doers making outsized impacts with limited resources. Meet eight small organizations that make the city a better place to live.

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Why Detroit is a great city for female entrepreneurs

Detroit was built on the backs of Henry Ford and his automotive brethren. But this time, when Detroit rises, it may well be built by young women.

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G-Sync: We are the future now (reflections on UIX Detroit)

Excerpt:

As I drove back from Detroit on Sunday, I couldn't help being a bit overwhelmed as I processed nearly a week's worth of experiences from the Detroit Design FestivalDLECTRICITY, and the first Urban Innovation Exchange (UIX) hosted by UIX Detroit and Claire Nelson, director at UIX.

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Adroit Detroit and the re-branding of the Rust Belt

Excerpt:

I moved to Pittsburgh from a city with enough hype to last 200 years, even if nothing truly great happens there for as much time. I am talking about New York—lauded in songs and on shopping bags, T-Shirts, movies and assorted souvenirs made in China. I’ve attended concerts in other countries where the performer asks: “is Brooklyn in the house,” and the answer is always, invariably: yes.

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Publisher's Diary: The power of thinking small at UIX

Excerpt:

After day one of the Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange in Boston, I've toured the Innovation District, networked with many colleagues from the Philadelphia region, and taken in much of the beauty of the downtown core. Cranes hang high in the air as markers of a continual development boom and the price of real estate continues to skyrocket. 

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$5 million Knight Cities Challenge opens for ideas

Excerpt:

What’s your best idea to make cities more successful? [The Knight Foundation has started] a journey to answer that question and uncover new thinking from civic innovators of all kinds everywhere. We call it the Knight Cities Challenge, and Knight Foundation is investing $5 million to move these ideas forward.

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Detroit's Historic Market Key to City's Future

Excerpt:

In Detroit's version of New York City's meatpacking district, the meat is still being packed. And local business owners—in addition to a growing number of residents—say that's the key to one of the economic bright spots in this depressed city that is working its way through bankruptcy court.

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Detroit's Eastern Market shaping vision for the future

Excerpt:

Since completion of the 2008 Eastern Market Strategic Plan more than $40 million has been invested in infrastructure and shed improvements, new Tuesday and Sunday Markets have launched and a score of new businesses have opened.

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Here's The Vibrant Detroit Neighborhood A New York Times Columnist Considers An 'Urban Wasteland'

Excerpt:

If you're from Detroit, you learn to get used to people talking about your beloved city as if it's in a post-apocalyptic dystopian movie. But the misconception still stings, especially when it comes from The New York Times.

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15 Photos That Capture Real Life on the Streets of Detroit Today

Excerpt:

In a city that’s been marred by destruction, photographer Dave Jordano finds resilience. The faces and environments that he captures in Detroit — his place of birth — have endured countless hits to the economy, industry and population. But the communal living, public gardens, lively murals and alternative methods of earning income that Jordano photographs show not what has been destroyed, but what has survived and has been created anew. As opposed to the often muted tones of crumbling buildings and boarded up houses, Jordano’s colorful depiction of Detroit attests to the dynamic city that fosters growth and creativity.“Detroiter’s wear their pride for the city they live in much like an honored badge of courage,” Jordano says in his artist statement, “defying all odds, openly admitting that if you can survive here, you can survive just about anywhere.” 


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