Some of GLUE’s friends (thanks Kevin and Jeanne!) just realized: if you’ve been visiting this site, you might not have ever realized that WE’VE MOVED!  Update your “favorite” selections in your web browser, because you can now find us at the NEW GLUEspace.org.

The new GLUEspace has a series of interactive features that allow you to participate in the site.  Please join us as we re-imagine the mega-region!

When:            June 21st, 2008, 7-10 PM
Where:           The Buffalo Museum of Science
Who:              Open to the public

Where is the Buffalo Museum of Science?


Rustbelt Revitalization Effort Founded and Driven by Young People Launches at Buffalo Museum of Science;
‘A Regional Renaissance is Within Our Grasp’

Members of the Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE) and their friends in Buffalo have one message to send from the steps of the Buffalo Museum of Science on the evening of Saturday, June 21st: “Older industrial cities around the Great Lakes can come back. If we have anything to say about it, they will.”

Civically engaged post-boomers in cities like Buffalo, Detroit, and Milwaukee want to put a dent in the cynical speculation, anachronistic stereotypes, innovation-averse attitudes, and inter-city isolation that have stymied progress in their similarly challenged communities for too long.

They know cock-eyed optimism and glossy boosterism aren’t enough.  These cityphiles are painfully aware of the problems their homes face: population decline, an underdeveloped workforce, urban segregation, and crumbling infrastructure, to name a few. Their cities need new solutions.

GLUE’s answer: build a diverse network of younger people devoted to equitable, sustainable cities.  Put them in touch with each other.  Give them an opportunity to exchange ideas and hold multi-sector, multi-city conversations.  Empower them to tell stories about their cities using new media in order to get the world’s attention and to bring new people into conversations about public policy’s links to everyday life.  Elevate and replicate ideas that work.  Rinse and repeat.

After several months in development at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, GLUEspace, the project’s online home, is ready for prime time.  GLUEspace will embody the values of GLUE: inclusivity, dynamism, and innovation.  The site will offer more than multi-media, city-focused citizen journalism; it will afford visitors the opportunity to connect with urbanists from Rochester to Minneapolis around the issues that will transform the Great Lakes’ urban communities:

•    Environmental justice and sustainability

•    Responsible economic development

•    Empowerment of communities and individuals

•    Quality of place

•    Civic participation and government transparency

To commemorate the launch of GLUEspace, the Great Lakes Urban Exchange is holding a celebration of the industrial “rustbelt” and its future potential.   The celebration’s theme, “Community Transformation, Reinvesting in the Urban Core,” is being interpreted by a team of local community members ranging from artists and science buffs to active bloggers and students and alumni from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College.

Attendees will contribute stories about Buffalo for the website in real time via video, live blogging, podcast, and photography. Local innovators will share their “Enhance Buffalo” ideas with the public at stations inside the museum and local artists will present a series of performances intended to symbolize the transition of our economy from sole reliance on heavy industry. The highlight of these will be a sunset bronze “pour” conducted by Simon Griffis of the Ashford Hollow Foundation and a team of molten metal sculptors on the grand front steps of the museum. The products of the pour will be four square panels containing the emblematic images of our logo:  urbanism, regionalism, story-telling, and network building.

GLUE was developed by Pittsburgh and Detroit residents Abby Wilson and Sarah Szurpicki to combat negative perceptions about their cities.  Its mission evolved from new media boosterism to issue-based network-building and resource-pooling, and from a brain trust of two to a core planning team of over forty young, devoted, and solutions-oriented leaders from GLUE cities Akron, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Des Moines, Detroit, Duluth, Erie, Flint, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lansing, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Rochester, St. Louis, Toledo, and Youngstown.

GLUE was sponsored in its infancy by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program through its Great Lakes Economic Initiative (GLEI), building upon the analytic foundation laid by Brookings’ “Restoring Prosperity” and “The Vital Center,” seminal reports about the immediate needs and shared challenges of cities at the core of GLUE’s mission.  For more information, visit http://www.brookings.edu/metro.

GLUE has also been made possible by the generous support of the John R. Oishei Foundation and the Regional Institute at Buffalo.

For a complete schedule of other launch activities this summer, please email abby@gluespace.org

Plans to save Old Tiger Stadium–the Tigers moved to Comerica Park in 1999–have slowly declined in scale and ambition. But the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, with the help of long-time Tiger broadcaster Ernie Harwell, is still fighting to preserve one wall of the Stadium, from dugout to dugout, as a nod to the history of the site. The City last week issued a reprieve to the group, giving them a few more months to raise the $15 million price tag of that preservation plan. Detroit may be able to find a balance here between making way for needed new development, and being grounded in a proud history. But it will unfortunately just come down to that $15 million, to be raised by a group for whom I can’t find a website.

Pat Clark in Pittsburgh forwarded this poignant photo testimonial to the old ballpark. There is something inefficient and about the way we are willing to pave over this history, in desperation for the next silver bullet development. I know we need the revenue, but I can’t help but think there’s a more creative solution.

I’m also struck by how little coverage this is getting in Detroit, perhaps due to issue fatigue? (Compare the Freep article linked above to this New York Times article from a month ago.) I’m struck by the closing sentence, a quote from Timothy McKay, head of the Greater Corktown Development Corporation. “This is an old city. But history here is discounted by a lot of people.”

Our history’s not all roses, but back me up–how can we know where we’re going if we don’t remember from where we came?

At our June Sticky City Swap Meets last week, we spent some time hearing from Dave Reid, who represents a group of citizens in Milwaukee (UWM Downtown) who are fighting the planned expansion of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) to the suburbs of Milwaukee, and urging UWM to do its expanding downtown. He spoke to GLUE about the situation with UWM, and his efforts trying to open up UWM’s decision-making to public review.

Many of our cities benefit from relationships with our urban universities, and the situation with UWM is a great primer in what those relationships offer. Dave and his group also provide a primer in citizen action. Check out their website for updates, and be sure to look at the smart citizen-produced White Paper on why UWM would be wiser to stay downtown.

You can watch the video of Dave’s presentation here (first 15 minutes are his presentation, and the last 15 minutes are questions from GLUEsters meeting in Milwaukee and St. Louis).


There are lots of great neighborhoods in Toledo, but there is one that stands out in terms of residents’ enthusiasm and richness of character: the Old West End.

Recognizing this, we started our conversation by talking about some of the attributes of the other great neighborhoods of the city, before focusing on the O.W.E.

One of our attendees lives in South Toledo. He loves the architecture of his neighborhood, the fact that his house backs up against a park, which has basketball and tennis courts. The neighborhood has lots of tree coverage and is not too expensive. However, one of its downsides is that it is far from the freeways.

Old Orchard is another of Toledo’s distinctive neighborhoods. It is the neighborhood that surrounds the University of Toledo, and is home to many university professors and attorneys. Old Orchard is within walking distance of lots of things, including two hometown grocery stores, Schorling’s and Churchill’s. One can also walk easily to the Westgate shopping center and the Sanger branch of the public library.
It’s a great neighborhood in which to raise a family.

Collingwood Springs is a neighborhood right next to the Old West End, and just two blocks away from Adams Street, which is the heart of the UpTown district.

Now, onto the Old West End. It is a diverse, harmonious neighborhood not far from the downtown, and immediately adjacent to the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo’s best-known cultural treasure. It is home to a lot of young people and a strong sense of community. People new to town noted that the OWE is the neighborhood about which people say “you really have to check it out!” Many of the homes in the neighborhood are in the Victorian Style, and are available at very reasonable prices. Some of the other cultural riches of the neighborhood are the TMA’s new Glass Pavilion, the community gardens, the arboretum on Delaware and Robinwood.

In many ways the OWE is like an island – it is surrounded by neighborhoods that are perceived to be undesirable, and the property values are highest close to the museum, and get lesser as you move north of Bancroft. In our discussion, several people offered anecdotal evidence of redlining.

It is a mostly residential neighborhood except for a record store on Monroe Street, a soul food restaurant on Delaware, and a community market on Ashland.

It is widely perceived to be the most artsy neighborhood in town, though residents have a mix of careers, with 22 % blue collar jobs.
The median household income is $48,000. Schools attended by kids in the OWE include: Toledo Public Schools, Gesu Academy, Toledo School for the Arts, Cathedral School, Old West End Academy, and Scott High School (which has its own jazz radio station).

The demographics that we found for one of the two zip codes in this neighborhood show that 43620 is home to 1100 white residents and 3400 black residents. 43604 is the other zip code in this area.

The assets of the Old West End are numerous: parks, the museum, gardens, interesting architecture, the cathedral and all the churches on Collingwood Avenue. The Collingwood Arts Center is an unique residential arts community housed in a former nunnery that is reported to be haunted (though none of us have ever seen ghosts there). The OWE is convenient to uptown, downtown, the Warehouse District and the expressway. There is a bike co-op, and many historic buildings, including Libbey House, and one of Ella Fitzgerald’s favorite places to stay, the Park Lane Hotel (now residential). The Old West End festival happens the first weekend of every June, and encompasses yard sales, an art fair, a wild art parade, and many yard parties. The neighborhood offers a bohemian lifestyle attractive to its eclectic residents. One attendee mentioned that all of “THE parties” of Toledo happen in the Old West End, including the parties during the festival, on Halloween and on New Year’s Eve. It is a very musical neighborhood.
The Old West End magazine is run by a resident and local champion, who covers stories about local personalities, events, history, and notable architecture.

The history of the Old West End is that its earliest inhabitants were wealthy industrialists who moved to the area as Toledo was expanding out of the downtown.

More info with links here:


In terms of transportation, there is the bus system, TARTA, and a shuttle to the University of Toledo. Most people use cars for transportation, but it is easy to bike downtown or to UT from the OWE.

There used to be a trolley system in the neighborhood.

To sum up, there is a strong neighborhood bond and sense of community in this unique part of town.

Thanks, Robbie, for winning the GLUE streetcar advocate award. Your prize?  A street car, of course! (Obligatory Not-So-Fine Print: Please note that this prize is entirely contingent on forces outside GLUE’s control)

As a life-long Columbus resident, young professional and downtown employee, I will greatly benefit from a streetcar system. More than half of my external meetings during the week occur within the “benefit zone.” On the evenings and weekends, I patronize local establishments and attend events several times between downtown and OSU. Hopping on a streetcar for various activities would save me gas, and time that I currently waste walking to and from my car and searching for a parking spot. I have no problem paying a little more at the parking meters, or a nominal surcharge for off-street parking or for admission to an event at Nationwide Arena, Ohio Theatre or on OSU’s campus. On average, I would ride a streetcar 5-10 times per week and would encourage my family, friends and colleagues to do so as well.

I have a hunch that most streetcar critics have never boarded a COTA bus. Therefore, how can they really understand Columbus’s needs for alternative public transportation? Streetcars play a vital role for Columbus moving towards being a greener, world-class city.

To remain competitive in the global marketplace and attract young talent means a strong public transportation system and this is the first step in the right direction. It’s time for Columbus to take the first step for a rail transit system – WE NEED A STREETCAR.

Our new friend Jim Rowen at The Political Environment has been blogging about the Great Lakes Compact in Wisconsin, and the politics surrounding its passage, since February 2007. For many of us, the Compact elicits an easy, “Sure, I think the Compact is important. Let’s pass it! I love the lakes!” But once you delve into the eight states, complicated implementing legislation that varies from state to state, amendments, diversions, permits and pending Congressional re-districting after the census in 2010 – it starts to get a little muddy.

Never fear, Jim has been keeping it all straight. For instance, here’s a great summary of the bill Wisconsin just passed that will untangle the web of complexities and make you go, “hmmmm.”

And here’s a list of Compact-related resources he’s compiled, from around the region.

We’ve got Jim in Wisconsin, and the Great Lakes Blogger in Minnesota (and watching the region at large). Who else is doing this in other states?


Our buddy Melissa in Chicago sent us a map from Biohabitats, a national ecological restoration firm. It shows a number of the projects they’ve completed in our dear watershed. As Melissa reminds us, “A crucial part of revitalizing the basin is restoring ecosystem services (aka, the things that nature does to provide us the conditions that allow us to exist).” Uh, yeah, that does seem important. Check out some of the amazing things they’re doing here.

At the Detroit Sticky meeting, we had a hard time choosing which neighborhood to highlight for the “Our Favorite Neighborhood” feature. I don’t think I’ve ever before been a part of a debate about which is the BEST neighborhood in Detroit, so the experience was refreshing. We settled on Midtown, and the list of assets we produced will make it easy to see why. But also under consideration were Southwest Detroit – which has a history of hosting every immigrant population to come through this city, and is currently home to Mexicantown and some of the only grocery stores within city limits – and Northwest, with its neighborhood sensibilities and the presence of Marygrove, U of D, and other schools.

But Midtown won – and you’ll see from this impressive list of assets that Detroiters value everything from the anchor institutions to the sidewalks to the optimism of the student population.

List of Assets:

Wayne State, College for Creative Studies, Detroit Institute of Art, Science Center, Museum of African-American History, Skillman Building, MOCAD, Majestic Complex, Orchestra Hall, Hillberry Theater, Henry Ford Hospital, Avalon Breads, Traffic Jam & Snug, Bureau of Urban Living, Beans & Bites, Honest Johns, the Inn on Ferry, Circa 1890, WDET, Woodward Avenue, the Whitney, the 1st Unitarian Universalist Church, Buddhism Center, sidewalks, regular buses on Woodward, The Hub (bike shop), view of downtown and the New Center, proximity to the Lodge and 75, recycling facility, college students, “best water in the world,” diversity, housing in various ranges (crumbling to new), walkability, “newness,” optimism of academia: flow of ideas and “note of idealism,” perception of new development as a positive: “activity as an intangible”

It’s not perfect though, and our group did have a few recommendations:

greater police presence, more mixed-use development, incentives for small businesses and grocery stores, live-work developments

What’s Your Laundry List Notes from the Burgh:  Lost on an attendee’s laptop until just now!!!

  • Courtney = from Toledo, has passion for hometown, wants to see it break away from Rust Belt stereotypes, came to Pittsburgh 4 years ago for grad school, thinks region is neglected
  • Sara = grew up in Western New York (Westfield) and Erie; is a sailor, baker and makes yoga accessories out of repurposed materials; moved to Pittsburgh after visiting family here, just bought a house in East Liberty; thinks low cost of living frees people up to be creative; wants to see that development extend to places like Erie
  • Daniel = grew up in Rochester, family left during economic decline, cost of living allows more free time for community involvement, sees a lot of potential here
  • Jennifer = wants to see more local businesses, better utilization of architecture, thinks of
  • Emily = thinks a cohesive group could work together to Pittsburgh more interesting
  • Lindsay = thinks Pittsburgh has an interesting story to tell
  • Elaine = from St. Louis for 20 years, thinks people like her need to invest in the city and guide its transition, its an interesting place to live with a lot of hidden jewels and is small enough that you can experiment socially and politically
  • Ken = grew up in Fox Chapel, moved to Boston/New York when 18, came back 20 years ago, thinks Pgh is unique and its worthwhile to preserve it


· Major Problems In Pittsburgh

o It was built for more people than it houses so smaller population now has to support larger infrastructure

o Entrenched culture of “the way things are done” i.e. old boys/girls network, city bureaucracy preempt innovative things that don’t fit into the mold = very traditional/conservative – can do old things in a new way, but not new things in a new way

o Pittsburgh is still pretty racially/economically segregated, affordable for only certain groups

o There’s very little effort to keep downtown office workers from leaving at the end of the day

o City is too democratic – winds up being 1 party system

o Pittsburgh is so tied up and bound against itself that it can’t take advantage of its assets:

§ Pgh is extraordinarily insecure about where its next paycheck will come from and how it fits into the world – who’s going to do what in what way? What’s our competitive advantage? It’s been very insular in its thinking about this when to be successful you need to be part of a network.

§ There is a very traditional social structure – relic of the industrial era – in which rich people don’t want to give up money and power, working people are insecure about jobs, urban and rural poor are having an increasingly difficult time.

§ Ethnicity, race, gender and religion all play a role – particularly religion – one of the churchiest in the region but little interaction between the religious communities (ministeriums don’t include all the denominations)

o There is no regional public transit or access to waterfront – a key asset – that’s not privatized.

o Categorization of city is debatable. Midwestern? Applachian? Peripheral to one of these? Not knowing who we’re like confuses our agenda for the future?

o City of Pittsburgh is in a bad way financially which will impact city service delivery which will impact how we’re perceived.

o There’s a lot of apologizing amongst people not from here – very distrustful of outsiders. We need to celebrate how diverse we are. Need to make it easy for people to feel comfortable here. There is segregation between those from here and not.

· What Innovatve Projects/Organizations are Working Successfully on These Problems?

o CMU brings in people from all over the world as do other major universities

o Bike Pgh provides good mix of public transit/policy advocacy and community organizing and great enthusiasm

o Sprout Fund facilitates and pulls out groups at community level and gets them to talk to each other and make progress, fill the need for risky start-up small grants for projects that would otherwise not get funding, cultural micro-lender – public improvement in a cultural sense, decision-makers are diverse

o Small businesses and start-ups coming out of the universities and recruiting people from other regions

o Public works i.e. grants, libraries, museums – more than cities of comparable size

o Very large art community – over 10k artists. Also have a connective spirit around sports that can be somewhat negative but has capacity to get people to develop joint identity. If you could mobilize that around whole region (including Cleveland) would aid capacity to solve problems.

I. My Favorite Neighborhood Story
a. Warehouse District: Full of life and energy throughout the seasons
b. Tremont: Sense of community, know the neighborhood
c. University Circle: Arts Center
d. Flats (West/East Connector)
e. Detroit Shoreway: Green neighborhood, neighborhood within the larger neighborhood, access to the lake
f. Slovik Village: People of decent choose to stay, extremely ethnic
g. Larchmere: We wouldn’t live anywhere else in Cleveland, transit oriented, direct line to downtown with Shaker Rapid, walkable, We Just Love It
h. Euclid Avenue: High Density urban development, housing comes back downtown, variety of people, very diversity in the true sense, exciting place to live, love living IN the city, development is continuing to come
i. Cleveland has an assortment of neighborhoods that offer whatever a person needs, Neighborhoods are Cleveland’s Strength! “I fell in Love with Cleveland by accident.” Cleveland is constantly reinventing itself.

From scribe and organizer Ann Mestrovich:

At first we threw around some ideas for neighborhoods in the city that “stood out” – the area around Canisius College (anchored by higher ed); the East Side (active community and church groups); and the Fruit Belt (adjacent to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus). We then decided to go the obvious route – Elmwood Village. Elmwood is what you’d consider a “cool” area with rising housing values, independently owned and interesting shops, nightlife, and some diverse demographics. This neighborhood is a destination because of its many restaurants, bars, and shops. It has good architecture and green space, with a weekly farmers’ market and annual arts festival. It’s also bookended by museums, a plus for a city that’s just been ranked the #1 arts destination for a mid-size city.


Other positives: the neighborhood refers to itself as a “village” giving it some distinction; we generally agreed that it provides proof to our out of town guests that Buffalo really is, in fact, cool. Especially to Canadians: our proximity to Canada, the value of the dollar, and the Village as a destination bring tourist dollars and positive experiences in.

What isn’t so great:

· While rising housing values are good for homeowners/sellers, it may not be so good for buyers/renters.

· A majority of the population is white (and does a lot of yoga!) so it’s not as diverse as it could be.

· Public schools are an issue; many families try to get into the charter schools or go private – a negative for some.

So I asked, “why did Elmwood turnaround?”

The response was the private actions of dedicated residents and business owners organizing themselves for change.

Another question: “what role did/does the public sector play here?”

Answer: not much, as far as we could tell. One major public sector example, though, was Buffalo State College, which anchors one end of the neighborhood and works to recruit faculty from out of state…which led to this interesting tidbit:

University at Buffalo and other colleges here provide incentives for faculty who buy houses locally, through home loan guarantees, closing fees and down payment costs, etc.

Reactions to Joe Edwards:

Liked the idea of keeping 1st floor space open to retail only; as well as dissuading retail overlap. Elmwood is prized for its independent retail establishments.

It’s near Washington U – which feeds into the local economy; same for Buff State

To note: Joe seemed to own a heck of a lot of property and had very clear ideas of what he wanted to see be developed in the Loop. We wondered, is it good to have development tied to only a powerful few? Some suggested this is true of Elmwood, with only a handful of owners controlling space and rent prices…

Major points to sum up: all of the neighborhoods we mentioned were anchored to cultural or educational institutions and independent business. These anchors, along with strong private sector organization, and good PR are all good for making Elmwood a neighborhood of choice.

Check it: http://www.foreverelmwood.org/

Short North: My Favorite Columbus Neighborhood
An Inner-City Neighborhood that “Works”

“Columbus has become the Heartbeat of Ohio” Downtown Columbus resident, Dennis Sanders

Short North/Victorian Village
• New discovery
• Mixture of ethnicity and subcultures
• People come in from out of town for Gallery Hop

• Cruising your car up and down High Street

What is the mix of commercial and residential housing?
• Street level is commercial, above is residential

What is the racial breakdown of residents? Age breakdown?
• Mostly Caucasian
• Under 40ish, YPs

What is the average income in the neighborhood?
• Varies with mix of housing, but definitely increasing; possibly $100,000 annual household income?

What do most of the people who live there do for a living?
• Pretty diverse: artists, college students, entrepreneurs

What are the schools like?
• Few elementary, all Columbus City Public and a Montessori School; not necessarily family-friendly, not a lot of kids, but some young families.
• Private school options close in proximity

What urban amenities exist there?
• Dry Cleaners, Parks, ATM’s, restaurants, Urban Garden Place, Bike Path, Bicycle Racks, Pet Stores, Retail Stores, Wine Places, Boutiques, Art Galleries, Art Supply Stores, Yoga place, Gym, Patios, Churches

What unique culture can be found there? For what is this neighborhood knows?
• Very LGBT friendly
• Artists
• Recent college graduates
• Career Minded Entrepreneurs
• Environmental Friendly
• Empty Nesters
• Asian, African American, lots of different cultures
• Different Residential styles, rental, condos

Does anyone know anything about the history of the neighborhood?
• It used to be “the hood” over 25 years ago and the residents themselves turned the neighborhood around.
• Beautiful old Victorian homes

Is there any public transit, in, out, or around?
• Bus line that runs up and down High Street
• Potentially a street car
• Bikes trails that run close to the area

What draws people to the neighborhood?
• The variety of restaurants and bars
• Galleries
• Boutiques
• Gallery Hop
• Festivals
• Com Fest
• Goodale Park
• Walkable Neighborhood
• Other People there
• Proximity to Convention Center, Downtown, the Arena District

What makes it different from the rest of the city?
• The eclectic mix of people
• Mostly local establishments; not much big-box retail
• Mix of galleries, retail and restaurants in between Downtown and The Ohio State University.

Our team in Milwaukee likes their Brady Street Neighborhood. You can see a great collection of photos here, and the GLUEsters thoughts about the neighborhood, below:

What is the mix of commercial and residential housing?
Steady balance of practical stores and boutique places, low-rent, high-rent, condos, and home owners

What is the racial breakdown of residents? Age breakdown?
Majority white, far from all white though. Both young and old people, families, students, and workers
16-25% minority residential

What is the average income in the neighborhood?
77,820 (home-owners only)

What do most of the people who live there do for a living?
Healthy mix, decent student population

What are the schools like?
Both private and public schools, high school, middle school, and elementary school all within a mile

What urban amenities exist there? annual street festival
a short walk from the beach, easttown shopping and entertainment and the North & Farwell area (Oriental Theatre, Whole Foods, etc.)

What unique culture can be found there? For what is this neighborhood known?

  • Historically Italian, then hipsters, corner pubs (social centers)
  • Fairly eclectic mix of people and businesses
  • Neighborhood characters
  • Community invest by people to preserve look of neighborhood

Does anyone know anything about the history of the neighborhood?
Once Italian, then hipsters, now diverse

Is there any public transit, in, out, or around?
Bus line through it, walking corridor from lake to river, prevalent amount of bike racks

What draws people to the neighborhood?
Food, bars, hardware store, lake, other people, coffee shops,

What makes it different from the rest of the city?
Not a prevalence of chains, but some of them.
Good buildings, history to them

One of our GLUE organizers, Dan Knauss, also blogged about this meeting, and GLUE’s activities in Milwaukee. Party on!

Our friends in Indy love the Broad Ripple Village. Why? Locally owned shops… a mix of housing… an atmosphere of creativity… They were apparently inspired by that creativity, and decided to show, rather than tell us why this is their favorite neighborhood, in this 1-minute video!

Duluth shares discussion notes regarding the topic: What’s your favorite neighborhood?

The first discussion item considered was “choose a neighborhood that works and try to determine why.”

We had a good discussion on how we define a neighborhood that works. What does that really mean? We thought it meant something different for Duluth than other communities – we don’t really have the “ideal” neighborhood.

We agreed that there were good things about a lot of neighborhoods; the neighborhood group in Park Point, the business coalition in West Duluth, and the diversity across the city. But we couldn’t identify one neighborhood that “had it all.”

Canal Park has seen a huge transformation from a run down, seedy, waterfront area to a tourist destination with restaurants, hotels and specialty shops. But it doesn’t have a core residential component.

One attendee shared a metaphor for Duluth – a widow in a big old house. At one time, the house was beautiful, vibrant, full of family and life. Now the husband has passed, the children have moved away, and the elderly woman can keep up, it is more infrastructure than she needs and can handle. We felt like this might explain a bit about why Duluth doesn’t have just one perfect neighborhood.


From: Jim Cossler, Chief Evangelist, Youngstown Business Incubator

To: You

And we’re open for business!

With former Governor Bob Taft as our honored guest, the new $6 million Taft Technology Center was officially opened yesterday in Downtown Youngstown.  Located adjacent to the Youngstown Business Incubator, the Center will house accelerated companies from the YBI program.

But, we discovered a problem. The Taft Center is already completely full.

So… shortly we will begin a $3million renovation of the Semple Building, adjacent to the Taft Center, to house more of our accelerated companies.

And in 2010, we will begin renovations of the Wells Building on the other side of YBI.

And in 2012…..

Well, you get the picture. We’re not stopping until we are the most recognized software application cluster in the Midwest.

Heck, we’re not stopping even then.


Will Milwaukee, like Youngstown, wither? Forum would study how cities thrive

From our friend Dan Knauss in Milwaukee on this recent Journal-Sentinel piece (http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=749831):

This is at least the second time I’ve seen a recent story on Longworth that picks up on a comparison he’s making between a category of cities-that-can-be-saved (Milwaukee is one) and others that are the negative examples, apparently beyond saving or virtually guaranteed to go on in terminal decline. This gets attention, but is it accurate? St. Louis may be barely half as big as it once was, but is it really just a “strange, empty, echoing place?”

If Youngstown, Detroit, Cleveland, etc. really are in the category of those that “truly may not come back,” how do we interpret “may”?

Sounds like Dan should talk to our friends in Buffalo.

On Valentine’s Day, we urged Presidential candidates to support the future of America’s cities and to develop a serious urban platform.

Earlier this week, our Milwaukee-dwelling friend Dan forwarded us Senator Obama’s belated Valentine. It is not clear from the Senator’s website when this platform was unveiled, or to what fanfare, but it is critically important that those of us who care about America’s cities look closer at this proposal.

We at GLUE have stressed, and will continue to stress, the major role federal policy must play in the creation of more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous urban centers.

In addition to supporting much-needed core infrastructure investment, a fully funded Community Development Block Grant, and the transformation of historic manufacturing centers into clean technology centers for an adequately trained workforce, Senator Obama laudably proposes the creation of a White House Office on Urban Policy.

This kind of high-profile federal attention paired with a Congressionally ratified Great Lakes Compact would catalyze an inevitable resurgence in cities like Buffalo, Milwaukee, and Detroit.

Senator McCain is also running to represent our metropolitan nation. He should follow suit and develop a comprehensive urban platform sooner rather than later.

Michael Allen has been a passionate advocate for neighborhoods on St. Louis’ North Side for years.  Sarah and I had the chance to spend an afternoon with him a few weeks ago when we were in town.  In addition to having encyclopedic knowledge of virtually every building on the North Side, he maintains an inspiring hopefulness about what our cities can become, and how.

I was, of course, excited to find a recent articulation of that sentiment on his blog:

Without imagination, we couldn’t think through changing our own circumstances. Now, granted that some people have mighty fine circumstances and probably don’t want to imagine a change in the world that may benefit others. The rest of us, though, need to have the power to envision our neighborhoods and own lives improved physically, economically and spiritually. In St. Louis, imagination fuels the work of my neighbors in Old North St. Louis as much as it keeps developers like Craig Heller going. Sometimes it’s not acknowledged, and rarely gets political play, but we need imagination to make this city a better place….

And later:

Change without imagination is tantamount to continued loss of opportunities. We can’t let the technocrats plan our future through financing formulas. Without a vision — a dream — of what shape we want St. Louis to be in, we won’t be able to resist or even influence the people whose dull plans are despoiling the landscape that once was an international city.

Thanks, Michael.  Keep fighting the good fight.