Pioneering river bank restoration

Cleveland's Green Bulkhead project recently began testing floating grass islands, beemats and CHUBs (Cuyahoga habitat underwater baskets) as innovative new technologies to improve fish habitat, water quality and aesthetic appeal along the Cuyahoga River's dead and dingy riverbanks. Success means a cleaner more attractive waterway and potentially a billion dollar market opportunity. 

Real estate play

University of Michigan prof Chris Leinberger and his colleague Patrick Doherty break down The Next Real Estate Boom. Sorry suburbia.
"The two largest population groups, half of our population, want communities that the market is not delivering due to out-of-date subsidies and policies."

Chicago graft reform

No indication yet if any candidates vying to become Chicago's next mayor will continue the vital work - first reported by the Onion - to move the city "forward into a new age of unchecked graft and corruption."

What next in Kenosha

Niala Boodhoo reports on the closing of Chrysler's 100-year-old factory in Kenosha tomorrow. Note the company reportedly "wouldn't comment on this story."

Perhaps executives were too busy orchestrating today's strategically timed announcement of a $600 million investment to modernize its plant 70 miles down the road in Belvidere, IL.

This video, produced by the Kenosha News, illuminates the city's significant role in the history of the American auto industry.

Wisconsin rail race

Here's the quote Wisconsin DOT executive assistant Cari Anne Renlund gave the Wall Street Journal for today's report on the state's passenger rail debate, which has emerged as a top issue in the gubernatorial campaign:

"Efforts to stop rail are really confusing to us. We view it as trying to kill good-paying, private-sector jobs in Wisconsin."

Ford un-focus

Toronto Mayor-elect Rob Ford gave a bizarre phone interview with CBC Radio's As It Happens earlier this week. (Listen to Part 1). The Toronist "attempted" a transcript. Hopefully he brings more attention to the job of leading the largest city in Canada (and on Lake Ontario).

United Streetcar

Chandra Brown takes MSNBC - and Midwest manufacturing - to school on streetcar. Glad to see her vision attract the well deserved national attention. Here's the brief report I did on her back in 2007. Cincy, Milwaukee and Grand Rapids have since joined the streetcar movement. Ford, GM et al apparently remain oblivious to the market signals.

Lemonade Detroit

Sven Gustafson posted an interview with Eric Proulx about what the Lemonade Detroit film project is all about. Here's the trailer for starters.

Lemonade: Detroit Trailer from Erik Proulx on Vimeo.

Reason rebuts the idea of rail in Detroit

Investment in light rail certainly could be an important ingredient in Detroit's future success - much like the highway was in the mid-20th century. But damn Charlie LeDuff makes some strong critical points...

Detroit in prime time

Wheater or not you like ABC's Detroit 1-8-7 (Really, how do you top The Wire?) it's interesting to watch Hollywood grapple with important themes of the the city's story.

The idea of shrinking a city as large as Detroit has attracted attention from the NY Times, Time and the UK's Daily Telegraph. But the controversial debate went prime time 13m 30s into 1-8-7's third episode as Sergeant Longford and Detective Mahajan drove past city's ruins:

Longford: Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be better to get rid of some of these old neighborhoods. Shrink the city limits and start over with a better plan.

Mahajan: How can you say that, man. I mean, look at these houses. Some are so historic.

Personally, I will continue watching with anticipation that these sleuths might solve the puzzling case of Tamara Greene. If Fitch can't do it, really who can? (Besides maybe Jimmy McNulty)

Kings of Flint soundtrack

The latest content from the Greening of Flint documentary effort.


Here is a run down of recent, upcoming and in-the-works TEDx events in the greater Great Lakes region.

TEDxBattleCreek – TBD
TEDxBloomington – 5/14/2011
TEDxBuffalo – 4/7/2011
TEDxChicago on Facebook – TBD
TEDxCincinnati - TBD
TEDxCincy – 10/7/2010
TEDxCLE - 4/15/2011
TEDxColumbus – 10/22/2010
TEDxDetroit - 9/29/2010
TEDxFlint on Facebook - 10/23/2010
TEDxGrandRapids on Facebook – 5/15/2011
TEDxGrandValley – 10/26/2010
TEDxIndianapolis – TBD
TEDxMidWest - 10/14/2010
TEDxNaperville – Spring 2011
TEDxNorthwestern – TBD
TEDxPeoria - TBD
TEDxRochester - 11/1/2010
TEDxTC (Twin Cities) on Facebook - 10/13/2010
TEDxUChicago – 4/9/2011
TEDxUniPittsburgh – 11/14/2010
TEDxWayneStateU - TBD
TEDxWindyCity on Facebook - 10/6/2010

Update: TedxMacatawa (in Michigan) on Facebook - 10/19/10

Syracuse Trestle Project

Artist Steve Powers' work to revitalize a Syracuse neighborhood takes on heightened meaning after you read his letter to the city's Arts Commission which briefly discusses America's lost tradition of sign painting.

More at Sign Painter Movie Productions

Grand Rapids gets another bike badge

Bike magazine showcases Grand Rapids, Michigan as a "destination" on the cover of its November 2010 issue. The honor comes just two months after Outside named Michigan's second largest city one of America's Best Towns for Mountain Biking. Not bad for a city that lacks a bike plan, a bike czar or funds for bike facilities.

The All American Train

Trains magazine names the Empire Builder the "ultimate passenger train" in their just released 70th anniversary issue. The Amtrak line, which runs between Chicago and Portland, OR, carries 700 guests per day, in each direction. This image, from a 1959 brochure, describes the accomodations. Notice the "superbly appointed lounge - a rendezvous for fun."