Tag Archives: Great Lakes Urban Exchange

Urban Farms: Bad Idea?

Urban farming in places like Detroit (and elsewhere) has gotten a lot of good press, this blog included.

But the author of this piece, Richard Longworth says we shouldn’t necessarily be praising urban farming, but instead seeing it as a symptom of how far some cities have fallen. (We’ve written about Longworth, and his work at the Chicago Council’s Global Midwest Initiative before.) His suggestion? Better grocery options for central-city neighborhoods, including big box retailers like Wal-Mart.

Reading Longworth’s post reminded me of a speech I heard at last year’s GLUE (Great Lakes Urban Exchange) conference in Cleveland. The speaker, from the Genesee County (Flint) Landbank, said some in the urban planning community mistakenly might assume inner city residents are always enthusiastic about having an urban farm in their neighborhood. This isn’t necessarily true though, she pointed out. Some residents who migrated to Flint (or Detroit or Cleveland or wherever) came from a background of being rural sharecroppers in the South. A sizeable number of folks in the Flint community she dealt with were not enthused about farming in their neighborhoods, they wanted where they lived to feel like a city. 

What do you think?



Filed under Featured, Green Jobs, Real Estate, sprawl, the environment, Urban Farming, Urban Planning

Wisdom from the Cleveland Coalition and Declaration Detroit

Reporting from the third annual Great Lakes Urban Exchange Conference in Cleveland …

Fran DiDonato was tired of hearing people complain about Cleveland–idly complain without trying to influence. Out of that process, the Cleveland Coalition was born.

DiDonato and fellow Cleveland resident Gauri Torgalkar became part of a team of about 11 that started thinking about how engaged citizens could affect public decision-making for the future of the city.

The group that formed is known as the Cleveland Coalition. Their strategy is to educate, collaborate and then act.


Beginning just over a year ago, the group recently held their first meeting at the City Club. Their first project is influencing the design of the new downtown casino for the public good. The discussion drew about 120 Cleveland stakeholders, according to DiDonato.

Like many issues in Cleveland, talks about the casino were happening among government and business elites, but the public was being left out of the process. The group set their sights on changing that.

“How can we have a voice?” DiDonato said. “Nobody was talking about it. Here they’re just going to build this thing in the middle of the city and nobody is saying what they want?”

DiDonato and Torgalkar spoke Saturday as part of a panel on Citizen-Led Visioning and Organizing Models at the third annual Great Lakes Urban Exchange conference in Cleveland.

Also speaking on the issue were Matt Clayton and Sandra Yu of Declare Detroit.

Rust Wire has written about Declare Detroit in the past. As an update, the group grown, with 4,000 signers now pledging allegiance to their “Declaration” of core principles aimed at moving Detroit forward.

Declaration Detroit’s mission is an 12-part proactive, place based agenda that values sustainability. Their current focus is on transportation, arts and culture and land use.

“In Detroit we’ve had 50 years of decline and 50 years of reactive decision making,” said Clayton. The group is aimed at long-term visioning for the struggling city.

Using adherence to their core principles as a litmus test, the group is supporting four candidates for the Michigan house and senate.

They’re calling on signers to help candidates through grass-roots canvassing.


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Filed under Art, Good Ideas, Headline, Politics, Real Estate

GLUEsters descend on Cleveland

Today, the Great Lakes Cities: Urban Laboratories conference kicks off in Cleveland. The program promises a mix of policy discussions, neighborhood tours of Cleveland and lots more.

Read what Bruce Fisher has to say about it in his column in Buffalo’s ArtVoice. He’s very enthused about “the hopeful, the engaged and the talented” who will convene in Cleveland. And he gives Rust Wire a shout out!


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Filed under Economic Development, Good Ideas, regionalism, Rust Belt Blogs

What can GLUE do for Cleveland?

Cleveland residents,

The Great Lakes Urban Exchange is hosing its third annual conference in Cleveland this year.

The group, which aims to share ideas and best practices for revitalizing Great Lakes cities, has a survey about how how the conference can best be used for “ACTION, rather than agendas.”

The group is “issuing this preemptive survey to help us plan conference activities that will be immediately actionable, useful, and effective in answering the needs of the ‘do-ers’ who are making Cleveland a healthier, more sustainable, more equitable and successful city.”

Find out more and take the survey here.


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Filed under Brain Drain, Economic Development, Editorial, Good Ideas, regionalism, Rust Belt Blogs

The New Metropolis screening

Our friends at Great Lakes Urban Echange (GLUE) alerted me to this event: a film screening Tuesday, (Nov. 24) at 7:30 pm at the Drexel Theater, located at 2254 E. Main Street, in Bexley, Ohio.

The film is The New Metropolis, about America’s first suburbs and the problems they face. For a more detailed explaination of the film, click the link to the movie’s web site (above), or read a more detailed explanation from Cincinnati CityBeat.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion. The screening is being hosted by Greater Ohio.


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Filed under Art, Economic Development, Good Ideas, regionalism, Rust Belt Blogs, The Media, Urban Planning

“I Will Stay If …” Cleveland Edition

Great Lakes Urban Exchange is bringing its “I Will Stay If” campaign to Cleveland tomorrow.

A Detroiter sounds off.

A Detroiter sounds off.

If you’re in the Cleveland metro area, stop by Speakeasy Bar, 1948 West 25th Street, between 5:30 and 8 p.m. Hear from speakers Lillian Kuri, Randell McShepard, and Matt Zone. Connect with like-minded urban advocates.

Also, tell local leaders what you want from your city.

Here’s mine: “I will stay in Cleveland if the city finally coordinates its traffic signals and takes down the 300 that are completely unnecessary.”



Filed under Brain Drain, Featured

New Midwest Blog

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Global Midwest Initiative have launched an new blog to talk about the future of our region.

These folks should be familiar to you if you heard Richard Longworth speak at the Great Lakes Urban Exchange conference earlier this year or have read his book Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism.

Welcome to the conversation!


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Filed under Brain Drain, Economic Development, Good Ideas, regionalism, Rust Belt Blogs, The Media