Friday, April 04, 2008

Boulder, Detroit, Greenburg, and Cities Ascending

Thinking about how cities and their people constantly make themselves better (as opposed to those that don't!)

In Detroit, check out the approach of Bizdom U. - a part-time, residential entrepreneurial boot camp in Detroit's Cultural Center. Awesome idea for a program that could help regenerate Detroit from the inside out. No surprise that inspiring entrepreneur (and, ironically, Cleveland Cavs owner) Dan Gilbert - he the founder of Quicken Loans and Rock Financial - is behind it, as Gilbert is a leader by example among advocates of inhabiting urban areas with businesses and entrepreneurs. Last year Gilbert moved Quicken's headquarters downtown Detroit and actively recruits other businesses to follow suit. No need to mention Mayor Kilpatrick's ongoing and embarrassing legal foibles; let's instead focus on the inspiring impact that one ridiculously successful business leader can have on an area, as 4,000 Quicken employees are now part of the downtown Detroit economy. Gilbert:

"There's a new energy in downtown Detroit," Gilbert said. "A thriving, central area, where the threads can be tied between entrepreneurs who have creative ideas, and people with capital seeking to invest, is essential to our city's future."

Meanwhile Boulder, Colorado, will become the nation's first "fully integrated Smart Grid city," says Inhabitat. Not surprising that this progressive town - a perennial in many media's "Best Cities" lists - is tabbed as the pilot town in Xcel Energy's (Minneapolis) plan for decentralized grids encompassing multiple power sources and intelligent communication and distribution.

While on the topic of Boulder check out Solar Row, a set of nine "near net zero energy" rowhouses locally developed by Wonderland Hill with a funky and colorful urban appeal.I visited Boulder last year with my family, and it is an awesome town (just check out the Inhabitat photo). It is inspiring to visit a town full of conscious consumers where people and businesses are trying so many different approaches to living in an environmentally focused style.

One final inspiring city- this one from the heartland. Check out plans of the enlightened citizens of Greenburg, Kansas, to resurrect their tornado-tattered town as a model of environmental sustainability. Unbelievable!

And last, check out this best seller from Richard Florida- Who's Your City? Cool book, interesting author who I heard speak recently, and a fun website to play with, all on the theme of how "cultural creatives" figure out where to live!

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