Author Archive

December 20 2013

Farewell to The Grid, from Meg Mulhall

December 20th, 2013Posted by 

My first post for Global Site Plans was published in January. I was eager to write for The Grid, and treated it as an opportunity to explore the urban planning issues and interface with those involved in Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan. In that first post I asked, “What are some more balanced revitalization proposals […]

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December 06 2013

Detroit Controversy over Converting I-375 into a Pedestrian-Friendly Surface Road

December 6th, 2013Posted by 

Detroit, Michigan is at a crossroads of urban development. I’ve covered the many urban planning controversies being discussed in the area: development and gentrification in Midtown and Downtown, transit problems, and increased bicycle use among them. If you’re interested in following a case study of urban ills and opportunity in the new American context, Detroit […]

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November 22 2013

Great Lakes Water Quality & Access Threatens 30 Million North Americans

November 22nd, 2013Posted by 

Michigan, being the Great Lakes State, gets a lot of attention in the national political and environmental frontier as concerns about climate change and access to fresh water begin to surface in conversations. As the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, keeping the Great Lakes great will soon become a priority for environmental […]

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November 08 2013

Detroit Center MConnector Shuttles University of Michigan Students to Detroit

November 8th, 2013Posted by 

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor provides buses for students to more easily traverse the multiple campuses spread across the city. And now the University is making it easier for students to engage with the City of Detroit, situated only forty miles east of Ann Arbor. This fall they launched the MConnector project that […]

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October 25 2013

Ann Arbor, Michigan Sees Candidates from New “Mixed Use Party”

October 25th, 2013Posted by 

I’ve been following Detroit’s upcoming mayoral election and the controversy surrounding the imposition of the Emergency Financial Manager, here on Global Site Plans, but forty miles to the west, Ann Arbor is experiencing their own political shake-ups. A new party is running candidates Conrad Brown and Samuel DeVarti in the city’s council election this year. […]

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October 11 2013

Grand Rapids, Michigan’s ArtPrize Invites Commentary on Public Space and the Built Environment

October 11th, 2013Posted by 

This year, Grand Rapids is celebrating the fifth year of their revolutionary art competition, ArtPrize. Since the fall of 2009, ArtPrize has taken over downtown Grand Rapids and attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world to the West Michigan city. The premise: any business within the ArtPrize district downtown can become […]

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September 27 2013

Attracting the Creative Class to Detroit’s Midtown: What About the Non-Creatives?

September 27th, 2013Posted by 

Detroit, Michigan’s Midtown area has been a hotbed of redevelopment in the City for the past decade and is home to Wayne State University, the public institution that has had a wide-reaching impact on the safety and popularity of the area in recent years. As a starting point, we can look at this year’s controversial […]

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September 13 2013

Kalamazoo, Michigan Farmers Market Opens to SNAP Bridge Card Payments

September 13th, 2013Posted by 

My weekly Saturday morning routine during summers in Kalamazoo, Michigan is anchored around a trip to the Bank Street Farmer’s Market. Having made this a habit the past few years, I have seen this major Kalamazoo market explode in popularity: the number of vendors has no doubt shot up along with customer traffic; and new […]

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August 30 2013

Detroit’s Urban Agriculture Ordinance Inspires Changes to Vacant Lots

August 30th, 2013Posted by 

If you take a break from the media coverage of Detroit that focuses on the City’s ever-increasing unemployment rate, ample vacant land and rampant blight, you will notice some optimistic trends in sustainability, from organizing around transit justice to increased biking. Another huge trend here turns those vacant parcels of land you read so much […]

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August 16 2013

Governing the New American Municipality: Your Crash Course in Detroit Politics

August 16th, 2013Posted by 

Detroit’s bankruptcy shocked those who obviously hadn’t been paying attention to the pandemic issues of inequality sweeping across cities in the United States over the past half century. The state of governance in Detroit becomes more twisted everyday: the City’s planning future characterized by an emphasis on the Detroit Future City Framework, the controversy over […]

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August 02 2013

Detroit Bankruptcy: A Wake-Up Call for American Municipalities

August 2nd, 2013Posted by 

Detroit’s filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on Thursday, July 18th seemed to shock national and international media, even though this next-step for Detroit has been described as “inevitable” for over a decade. In the days since the big news, it has been interesting to examine how national media outlets are covering Detroit. Journalists left and […]

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July 19 2013

Should We Still Be Inviting Private Corporations to Redevelop Detroit?

July 19th, 2013Posted by 

Many revolutionary types in Detroit today will tell you that the City’s downfall was brought on largely by the influence corporate automakers have had historically over urban planning and policy. Even the 1987 film Robocop was a comment on corporate overreach and the preference for privatization in the city. You’d be hard-pressed to find an […]

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July 05 2013

The State of Transit in Southeast Michigan

July 5th, 2013Posted by 

Transit has been a topic of interest in 2013 Detroit. With the M1 Woodward Avenue rail project given the go-ahead and news of the expansion of Interstates 94 and 75, organizations and movements like the Detroit People’s Platform and Convention are shifting their focus to organizing for transit justice. Issues like sustainability and economic viability […]

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June 21 2013

Detroit Healthy City: Health Impact Assessments and the Detroit Future City Plan

June 21st, 2013Posted by 

At the intersection of public health and urban planning, you can find the trend shaping policy across the United States: health impact assessment (HIA). Health impact assessments seek to manage both the effects of and the distribution of the effects on health from specific planning policies or practices. This is achieved by combining many procedures […]

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June 07 2013

Detroit, Michigan SOUP: Feeding Community Projects

June 7th, 2013Posted by 

Hundreds of Detroiters pour into an empty warehouse near the New Center section of the City and gather around tables near the floor made of milk crates and plywood boards. As more people settle in, a woman takes the stage to explain what this night is all about. Boiled down to one word, that description […]

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May 24 2013

It Shall Rise from the Ashes: A Review of the Film ‘Detropia’

May 24th, 2013Posted by 

Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus is the official motto of Detroit meaning “We Hope for Better Things; It Shall Rise from the Ashes.” Adopted after the city of Detroit burned to the ground in 1805, Detroiters today are embracing these words and the city’s potential for and successful history of rebuilding and rebranding. ‘Detropia,’ the film […]

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May 10 2013

Biking in the Motor City: How Detroit, Michigan is Returning to Its Roots

May 10th, 2013Posted by 

Maybe one of the biggest surprises you’ll find in Detroit is the presence of a great bike culture. This is surprising for two main reasons: Detroit is the Motor City: a major part of your associations with Detroit deal with the auto industry here, and the impacts of the industry’s elite on transportation and infrastructure […]

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April 26 2013

Drama and Genius in Florence: A Book Review of Brunelleschi’s Dome

April 26th, 2013Posted by 

Leonardo da Vinci. Michelangelo. Voltaire. Isaac Newton. These are some of the great thinkers that probably come to mind when you think of the Renaissance. But for some of us more versed in the history of the time, architect and sculptor Filippo Brunelleschi may be a familiar name. A native of Florence, Brunelleschi is often […]

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April 12 2013

League of American Bicyclists: Is the University of Michigan Deserving of Bronze Bike-Friendly Status?

April 12th, 2013Posted by 

I recently explored the bike-friendly status bestowed upon the University of Michigan and its town Ann Arbor by the League of American Bicyclists. A general consensus on their respective bronze and silver-level ratings is that there is room for improvement. An interesting way to look at the bike community in Ann Arbor is to consider […]

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March 29 2013

Go Blue on a Bus: Subsidizing Public Transit at the University Level

March 29th, 2013Posted by 

Even on a university campus neatly integrated into downtown, University of Michigan students still find themselves sprawled out across the city. The University’s three Ann Arbor campuses stretch across the city: South Campus houses athletic buildings, Central Campus is home to most of the University’s academic colleges, and North Campus is a retreat for art, […]

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