Who knew that Detroit could teach other towns how to reanimate themselves?

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture

Feb 17

While watching Hockey Day in America, I was struck by how the city of Detroit had integrated its outdoor ice-skating rink into the very fabric of its downtown.

Most of these things are done badly; in fact, it’s surprisingly hard to create vibrant street life. Most cities and towns fail at it.

Loneliness soars as a result of a) failing to have public spaces that the public actually wants to spend any time in and b) a dizzying proliferation of choices for screen time whether viewed/consumed on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer or jumbo 5k TV with sound bar.

Why is the public room so poorly visualized and realized?

-because whatever attraction they’re creating is usually sited on some out-of-the-way, cheap piece of property that no one else wants

-because there are no other attractions nearby

-because there are no places to get a coffee/tea/sandwich/glass of wine/beer

-because they’re too cheap to put in anything more than a porta potty so they only attract soccer mom with her kids once

Not Campus Martius Park, aka Detroit’s gathering place. Here’re some photos I snapped from my 4k TV screen with my iPhone 6…

Next, I visited DOWNTOWN DETROIT PARKS’ website to learn more about:

Campus Martius Park, http://downtowndetroitparks.com/parks/Campus-Martius

What do you see?

-food trucks

-performance spaces

-monuments

-a beach (!)

-green space

-Detroit history

-programming (like ice skating and holiday music, broomball leagues, sponsored festival weekends…)

-outdoor dining

-many restaurants and bars

-dance parties

-public safety

-classes and learning opportunities

Want better cities, towns and villages?

Want higher property values?

Want safer streets?

Want more community spirit?

Want to keep your most valuable resource (your kids) from moving away for greater opportunity?

Then pay as much attention to the design of the public room as you do to your man-cave…

Go Detroit!

Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
Real Estate Investment and Business coach
Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc broker
Ottawa Senators founder
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bruce.firestone@century21.ca
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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.

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