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March 01, 2008


If Detroit doesn't use Chicago as a model for a successful city, what does it use?

With all due respect to Chicago--a city that I love for a lot of reasons--I just meant that acting as if Chicago is the single manifestation of a worthwhile city would be limiting and unimaginative. It would also, I suspect, lead Detroit to myopic view of redevelopment--importing the businesses and design and culture that Chicago has, rather than growing and supporting the best that's already here in Detroit. I feel like Detroit's best hope is to follow through on what's already strong here, to push the native culture and ingenuity to the next level, rather than play copy-cat to its Midwestern neighbor.

Learn from Chicago, certainly, but it'll only exacerbate Detroit's kid-brother inferiority complex to try to strictly mimic it. I'm hopeful that Detroit will have enough courage to create ne possibilities for hat a viable city looks like.

It seems worth pointing out, as a Chicagoan, that lately the city's been using homegrown models for redevelopment, rather than copy-catting other places. All part of the city's mission to make Chicago the greenest in the country.

We've planted hundreds of thousands of trees, flowers and mixed planters. Chicago City Hall is the nation's first rooftop garden on a municpal building. The CCGT (Chicago Center for Green Technology) building is one of only 5 LEED Platinum-certified buildings in the country. It's elevator runs on canola oil! (splendidly I might add)

I'm glad my city is innovating, rather than following another city's pattern.

But don't you think learning from your neighbors' best practices is a fundamental piece of city planning? You don't want to go so far the other direction, that you RESIST the smart planning another city manifests, simply because it happened in another city first. That's not only reactionary, it's the 'kid brother' attitude you deride.

rock! i love the spiral collective!

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