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At the end of a long week spent mostly behind a computer, I was completely stir crazy on Friday night. As Alvin and I contemplated our first weekend night of entertainment, sedentary activities (bars, shows, etc.) looked like our only options. I couldn’t deal! I was prepared to chuck all the amazing happenings to run sprinting drills down our hallway!

Until we came up with roller skating.

Thirty minutes after a google search, we were at the incredible Detroit Roller Wheels. On Gospel Night!

You guys, seriously. This roller rink is awesome. You probably want to go there as soon as possible. The rink itself is enormous and really well maintained — no potentially maiming bumps or crevices. (This is important because it turns out my meager skating skills haven’t spontaneously improved since the last time I was on skates in 1992. Alvin, however, is an evil genius on eight wheels. Who knew?)

Detroit Roller Wheels is affordable ($6 gets you in the door, $2 for skate rental) and the tunes are bumpin. Read: GOSPEL NIGHT. I could totally be persuaded to go back every week — any takers?

Hey Detroit Concertgoers,

A quick plug for a performance of a new musical “The Story of Job” sung by the Michigan Concert Choir. It’s based on the old testament book, which you might think, wise biblical scholars that you are, is pretty dark material for a musical. But we saw Sweeney Todd, didn’t we, and that worked. So, I definitely recommend checking it out.


Here are the details on the recently added performance:
     The Story of Job
      June 19, 2010
     7:00 pm
     Royal Oak First United Methodist Church
     Cost: $0.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention this show features my dad in a heavenly role. I am biased, but daughterly predisposition aside it is a great show. I caught one of their performances several weeks ago, and I give it 5 out of 5 leprotic boils.

In other news Alvin and found a place to live; moving day is July 19th! More on that soon!

Here are some follow-up thoughts on the 2010 Michigan Land and Prosperity Summit.

First, the stats:
Location: Michigan State University
Attendees: 250
Shape of butter pats: Spartan helmets.

The substance:
The day as a whole was lots of food for thought. More than I could address here. However, I heard two major themes emerge from the conversations:

  • The quality of place matters, and Michigan has that quality of place.
  • Transportation options are what make a neighborhood livable and there is a tremendous opening in the market now for walkable, transit-oriented communities.

In their words:
“Place matters. Place assets matter.”
Soji Adelaja, Director of the MSU Land Policy Institute

“Urban land is not a disposable commodity.”
Daniel T. Kildee, President and CEO, Center for Community Progress

“Transportation drives development. Transportation dictates what we build.”
Chris Leinberger, Visiting Fellow at Brookings Institution

Think of the problem in a portfolio. Incorporate time. For some aspects of the problem you need to have patience and for other aspects of the problem you need to push forward.
Lou Anna Simon, President of MSU

“We are not going to succeed as a state without a successful Detroit.”
Bill Rustem, President and CEO, Public Sector Consultants

Other resources:
I highly recommend plugging in your address to obtain your walkscore. The Walk Score team currently ranks the walkability of our current and future homes 14th and 23rd, respectively, of the 40 largest cities in America. Chris Leinberger of the Brookings Institution also cited several data sets demonstrating that improvements in walk scores boost property values. I am convinced!

Also check out this very striking map of the Chicago region by CO2 emissions per household. Households in the far suburbs produce more than 4 times more CO2 than households in the city! If you look closely the red dots on the map spell the words: “please ride a bike.”

I’ll just close by giving a shout out to the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute for hosting an awesome day. Feeling pretty good about Michigan’s future. What are your thoughts on the role of land use in the economic recovery?

Happy Earth Day, everyone. I am headed to the 2010 Michigan Land and Prosperity Summit tomorrow. Anything you would like me to bring back? Send me your questions!

Alvin and I have made the big decision to move to Detroit this summer. Here is our blog chronicling our adventures as we explore our new city. Detroit, you are about to get two new committed, young people. Are you ready? Are you pumped?

I visited Detroit yesterday – just a little driving tour with my parents who live in suburban Detroit. Our aim was to get a feel for some of the neighborhoods, and as a first impression I was absolutely blown away by the vacancy and desolation. I expected it – I’m no newb to The D – but now that I have a different perspective (I am a future resident — not just a visitor anymore), I was struck all over again by what I saw. Nevertheless, I am confident that the smattering of positive things happening in Detroit can be knit together into a full on movement. We want to encourage that movement along. We’re not looking for a life in the suburbs. We’re saying yes to you, Detroit.

And so a little driving tour. A quick run down:

First up: a visit to the Midtown neighborhood. Midtown is pretty sweet — it is the area immediately surrounding the cultural institutions that I grew up visiting: the Detroit Institute of Arts, Orchestra Hall, Wayne State University. Midtown was bumping yesterday despite the chill and the snow. Seems relatively walkable and has a lot of amenities in close proximity. I’m excited about the possibility of living near so much creativity. Could this neighborhood be our new home?

Second: the Corktown neighborhood. Corktown is the area surrounding old Tiger Stadium and the abandoned Michigan Central Station, which has to be one of Detroit’s most striking buildings. It pains me a little bit to be describing a neighborhood by what used to be there, but I acknowledge that Tiger Stadium’s empty field and MCS’s empty shell are an important part of Corktown’s history. These days, Corktown is loaded with fun old houses built close together and some of Detroit’s most famous restaurants and bars (Slow’s BBQ, anyone?). In 2009 I had a chance to experience Corktown both on foot in the Turkey Trot (15,000 people running through the streets of Detroit in costume? you must love this race) and on a bike in the Tour De Troit (a must ride bike tour of Detroit starting and finishing at MCS with lots of delicious local food.)

Third: Boston-Edison. This is a really cool part of town full of gorgeous homes and mansions. Check out Model D’s neighborhood guide for a nice description. I found this driving tour online, so we were able to identify the former homes of pretty much anyone famous who ever lived in Detroit ever. It’s 8 pages of famous people! Take the tour!