The vision for the new Michigan

The Business Leaders for Michigan earlier this week introduced their 2012 Turnaround Plan. Get past the excessively dramatic musical score in this video overview and it sounds to me like their message drops the needle on the record.

How younger people in Toronto see transit

Good commentary from next gen Toronto thought leadership on the state and future of the city's transit-building movement. Derek Flack at BlogTO offers a little more reflection.

Hat tip to My City Lives for producing the vid.

Framing Michigan's energy debate

A coalition of advocates for energy innovation in Michigan is pushing a proposal to raise the state's renewable energy goal from 10 to 25 percent by 2025, the Detroit Free Press reports. The article also reveals an interesting choice of messenger to lead the charge:
"This initiative will ultimately save lives by giving Michigan cleaner and healthier air and water, reducing asthma and lung disease, and protecting our Great Lakes," said Joyce Stein, a board member of the Michigan Nurses Association.

Toronto: Balanced and Bolder

Councillor Peter Milczyn issued a research paper (PDF) to inform bolder and more creative planning for the future of the City of Toronto. The Concillor believes his city lags behind such global cities as London, New York, Singapore, San Francisco and Melbourne. A sample of the recommendations intended to help Toronto keep pace:

  • Transform active thoroughfares to car-free pedestrian boulevards, shared zones and transit malls.
  • Offer land use and housing credits to developers proposing multi-use developments in transit-supportive areas to encourage a balance between employment and residential growth.
  • Re-develop "dead" urban space, including alleys, passageways, parking lots, utility corridors, and other underutilized interstitial spaces as active and functional components of the urban fabric.
  • Encourage the construction of iconic and identifiable buildings as gateway elements throughout the City.
  • Redefine the "base building" and "middle (shaft)" elements of Tall Buildings as a "streetwall zone" and "pedestrian zone", respectively, to reinforce the defining role of the street.
  • Establish maximum parking standards within a 500m radius of mass transit stations for retail, office, institutional, industrial, and public facilities.
  • Establish a system of Transit Revitalization Investment Districts to encourage density increases, redesigns, and infrastructural improvements in the areas surrounding mass transit stations
  • Develop a View Management Framework to support the preservation of significant views and vistas within the urban landscape.
  • Develop a detailed food policy for the City to encourage the growth of an accessible, resilient and sustainable City food system.

New plan for downtown Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Downtown Council has a new 13-year, estimated $2 billion plan of action to build a "flourishing 21st century city."

  1. Double downtown population
  2. Transform Nicollet Mall into a must-see destination
  3. Build Gateway Park
  4. Create a consistently compelling downtown experience
  5. Establish a downtown sports district that includes a new Vikings stadium
  6. Lead the nation in transportation options
  7. Create and sustain green infrastructure
  8. Forge connections to the University of Minnesota
  9. End street homelessness
  10. Launch a festival of ideas