Category Archives : Michigan Cities

Ideas to Revitalize Michigan Cities


Growing Ann Arbor 2

Had an opportunity to talk with the Ann Arbor City Council about the economic future of the city. (For an excellent summary of the session see this MLive article.) My remarks and the conversation was mainly about retaining and attracting college educated Millennials. But we also had a chance to discuss Ann Arbor being part […]


Mayor Heartwell

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell’s latest State of the City Address is terrific. Worth reading. It lays out an agenda for making Grand Rapids a place where people from across the planet want to live and work. Its an agenda that other Michigan cities should want to adopt as their own. And the state too. […]


Repopulating Detroit as the priority

In an interview with the New York Times, new Detroit mayor Mike Duggan said: “Everything that we are doing, from the time we get up in the morning, we’re thinking about: How are we going to build the city where the population is growing again?” Mr. Duggan said. “And that’s ultimately what’s going to define this: […]


Central cities winning

A central theme of our work is that the most prosperous places are big metros with a vibrant central city. Defined by a high proportion of adults with a four-year degree or more living in the central city. In many of the most prosperous regions the central city has a higher college attainment rate than […]


San Francisco winning 1

Conventional wisdom is the places with the lowest costs (so-called business friendly) have the best economies. Think again! If that were true New York City–particularly Manhattan–and San Francisco should be collapsing. Instead they are surging. We explored Manhattan’s success in a previous post. Lets turn out attention to San Francisco, most likely the second most […]


21st Century central cities

In our 2006 A New Agenda for a New Michigan we wrote: “For many Michiganians, vibrant central cities are part of the past. No longer relevant or just something you visit in unique places like Manhattan, Toronto or Chicago. Think again! They are an important ingredient to future economic success. The pattern across the country […]


21st Century neighborhoods

Just finished reading the End of the Suburbs by Leigh Galagher, assistant managing editor at Fortune. Highly recommended. She details, with data and stories, the new reality that more and more Americans want to live in high density, walkable, mixed use neighborhoods. Where walking and transit are as important as driving. That the odds are […]


21st Century transportation

What concerns me most about Michigan’s politics is how much of it, on a bi-partisan basis, seems designed for the 20th Century. We seem to be having a hard time learning what made us prosperous in the past, won’t in the future. Our fixation on trying to once again make Michigan a factory-based state is […]


The economic case for density

In two recent New York Times posts Paul Krugman has explored the economic benefits dense regions enjoy compared to those characterized by sprawl. They are worth checking out. The first looks at the Detroit bankruptcy. Its entitled “A Tale of Two Rust-Belt Cities“. Krugman asks: “Here’s a question: is the crisis in Detroit simply a […]


Detroit collapsing

The best commentaries on the Detroit bankruptcy I have read are a Forbes article entitled “The Unions Didn’t Bankrupt Detroit, But Great American Cars Did” and a Robert Samuelson column for Real Clear Politics entitled “Reinventing Detroit”. Both make the point that the chief cause of Detroit’s collapse is the region (not just the city) […]