Word Signs

March 27, 2017 by  
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Out on the town with Grams!

March 26, 2017 by  
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Out on the town with Grams!

Girls Can Too

March 25, 2017 by  
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Have I ever told you about how Eddie is a feminist?

I honestly can’t pinpoint when it happened; he has always just had intense feelings about how boys and girls can like and do the same things and anyone who tries to challenge that gets quite the ear-full from him. Actually, he is pretty passionate about social justice in general and is always looking out for the people who might be mistreated, left out, or hurting. In fact, his teacher this year described him as “quite the little activist.”

That makes me more happy than I can express.

He has a bunch or rowdy, good guy friends he hangs with who like to use their imaginations, run around, and trade Pokemon cards with him. But when he was Person of the Week and he brought home his book that everyone wrote to him in, over and over the girls (and some of the boys) described him as “kind” and “helpful” and a “good friend.” He tells me a lot that boys don’t really play with the girls at recess, but he does sometimes because they are his friends too.

I even overheard him and another kid talking about the president and Eddie said, “If Clinton had won, she would have been the first girl president ever. And that is a big deal. I wish she would have won because we need girls to do those jobs too!”

It’s probably not a surprise then that he is always thinking of his sister in this way, Whenever we watch shows that have strong female characters, Eddie says, “this would be a good show for Alice!” It’s interesting to me, because he never really says that about things just because they are girly, but it’s like he noticed the girls in the shows who do things that the boys can do too.

One of his favorite shows has been A Series of Unfortunate Events, and he has told me, “Mom, I think Alice will like this show someday because the baby, Sunny, is cute and the older sister, Violet is really smart. Just like Alice.”

He also really likes the show Trollhunters. He thinks I should get a purple stripe in my hair like Claire, but I told him maybe not.

When Eddie was very small, we always taught him that there were no such things as girl colors or boy colors; there are just colors. And if you like a color it’s a YOU color. When I would go away to conferences, he would ask that I paint his nails the same color as mine so we could think about each other when we looked at them.

And when I was pregnant with Charlie and brought home a baby doll, he loved it and immediately named it Baby and we used it to talk about what life would be like when Charlie arrived.

(Once Charlie was here, by the way, one baby was apparently enough for Eddie, and Baby was cast into the toy room never to be found again…until Alice revived her.)

Eddie has never shied away from doing or liking something simply because people think it’s “for girls”–which is probably why he has also watched every episode of Monster High on Netflix as well. He just likes what he likes!

But it makes my heart soar when he noticed strong girls and thinks of his sister, or when he hears the Disney channel commercial with the Dream Big, Princess song and sings along to it TO his sister.

It makes me feel like we’re doing something right around here, and that Eddie will do wonderful things for women and social just someday.

This is not a paid post. I am a member of Netflix’s Stream Team. They provide the Netflix and a device for our family to watch it on. We provide the opinions and experiences.

Italian Film Festival USA of Metro Detroit runs April 5-30

March 25, 2017 by  
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Detroit will show off movies from Italy during annual the Italian Film Festival USA of Metro Detroit April 5-30, featuring award-winning films and promising new talent.

Part of a nationwide festival, there will be 13 screenings, with 11 films making local premieres. There will also be a new short film program featuring seven titles from which the audience can choose a favorite, as well as special guest appearances.

Admission is free.

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“It is an honor to be part of this national event, and we are proud to have provided the opportunity for Detroit film enthusiasts to enjoy award-winning, contemporary Italian films for a decade,” says Elena Past, festival organizing committee member. “The popularity and sustainability of our festival testify to the program’s vibrancy. We are excited to continue into the future with the selection of high-quality, diverse films audiences have come to expect. We’re excited to expand our lineup with the new shorts program and are committed to bringing more sessions with film professionals.”

The films are not short on variety, from drama to comedy to documentary, few types of movie goers will be let down.

Nationwide, there will be 95 screenings as Detroit joins Boulder, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland and St. Louis in the festival’s 13th year.

Interest in the festival in Detroit is high. Last year more than 3,500 people attended, which was the highest number of any city and the most ever in Detroit.

The festival starts in the heart of the city’s cultural world at the Detroit Institute of Arts film theatre with the award winning “Like Crazy” at 7:00 p.m. on April 5. From there the movies will be shown across the region at Wayne State University, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Henry Ford College in Dearborn and Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township.

The curtains draw on the event on the month long event on April 30 at the DIA with “Stuff of Dreams,” where director Gianfranco Cabbidu making an appearance.

Right in the middle of the whole thing will be “Andrea Doria: Are the Passengers Saved?” on Friday, April 14 at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, with Detroit scriptwriter and survivor Pierette Domenica Simpson ready to discuss the film.

The schedule is as follows:

Opening Night, Wednesday, April 5 (Detroit Institute of Arts’ Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit)

7:00 p.m.

Like Crazy

2016 – Director, Paolo Virzi, Comedy, 118 min.

Beatrice and Donatella are patients of a women’s mental institution. Their friendship brings them to a hilarious escape and the search for a little happiness in the world of the sane. A modern day Thelma and Louise. 

Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8 (Chippewa Valley High School, Clinton Township)

Friday, April 7

7:00 p.m.

An Almost Perfect Town”

2015 – Director, Massimo Gaudioso, Comedy, 92 min.

The residents of a mountain village are desperate to save their small town. Will their wacky plan succeed?  

Saturday, April 8

7:00 p.m.

Where the Clouds Go

2016 – Director, Massimo Ferrari, Documentary, 75 min.

The stories of Italians who have opened their homes to immigrants from all over the world with positive  results.

Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15 (Henry Ford College, Forfa Auditorium at the Andrew Mazzara Center, Dearborn)

Friday, April 14

7:00 p.m.

Andrea Doria:  Are the Passengers Saved?

2016 – Director, Luca Guardabascio, Docu-drama, 77 min.

(Not a local premiere)

On July 25, 1956, the Italian passenger liner Andrea Doria was broadsided by the ship Stockholm. Pierette, then a 9 year-old immigrant, now recounts the harrowing experience and the truth surrounding the tragedy.

Special appearance by scriptwriter and survivor Pierette Domenica Simpson

Saturday, April 15

5:00 p.m.

Italo

2014 – Director, Alessia Scarso, Drama, 100 min.

Based upon the heart-warming true story of Italo, a stray dog that wandered into a small Sicilian town.

7:30 p.m.

Italian Race

2016 – Director, Matteo Rovere, Drama, 2016, 110 min.

The passion for racecars has always flowed in the veins of Giulia De Martino. She comes from a family that churned out racecar champions, but now it is up to her to save the family. Can she bring home the victory?

Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Friday, April 21 – Screening will take place in Rackham Auditorium

7:00 p.m.

The Last Will Be The Last

2015 – Director, Massimiliano Bruno, Drama, 103 min.

Luciana is leading the quiet life she’s always desired with her husband, Stefano. But shortly after finding out she’s pregnant, Luciana gets fired and her world starts falling apart. Will she find justice?

Saturday, April 22 – Screenings will take place in Lorch Hall, Askwith Auditorium

5:00 p.m.

Short Film Program

2016 – Comedy, Drama, Stop Motion, 90 min.

Seven recent short films are in competition for your vote for best short film. They are: “Beautiful,” “Black Comedy,” “Candie Boy,” “Dear Martin,” “Our Hebrews,” “Toilets,” “Where Water Comes Together with Other Water.”

7:30 p.m.

Feather

2016 – Director, Roan Johnson, Comedy, 98 min.

Ferro and Cate have just nine months to prepare themselves, as well as their parents, for the arrival of a baby! Will they be ready?

Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29 (Wayne State University, 100 General Lectures Hall, Detroit)

Friday, April 28 

7:00 p.m.

The Confessions

2016 – Director, Roberto Andò, Drama, 100 min.

The director of the International Monetary Fund invites an Italian monk to hear his confession at a G8 meeting. Following a tragic and unexpected incident, the G8 ministers and the monk engage in an intensifying struggle.  

Saturday, April 29 

5:00 p.m.

“On The Trail of My Father”

2016, Director, Marco Segato, Drama, 92 min.

A teenage boy and his father have a strained relationship. When a bear threatens their small Dolomite village, the father accepts a bet to search for the bear. Will he succeed in saving the village and his son?

7:30 p.m.

They Call Me Jeeg

2015, Director, Gabriele Mainetti, Drama, 112 min.

Enzo comes into contact with a radioactive substance and discovers he has superpowers. Then he meets Alessia who is convinced Enzo is the hero from the famous Japanese comic strip Steel Jeeg Robot.

Closing Night, Sunday, April 30 (Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit)

4:30 p.m.

The Stuff of Dreams

2015 – Director, Gianfranco Cabbidu, Drama, 101 min.

A boat carrying a small acting company, together with a group of mobsters, wrecks on the shores of an island prison after WWII. A homage to Shakespeare’s The Tempest and De Filippo’s Art of Comedy.

As expected when a film debuts in a foreign land, there will be subtitles to accommodate English speaking audiences.

The festival is brought to Detroit Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Minigrant program.

At a time of the year when blockbusters start to roll out, this is a chance to experience what film making is like in another country, or at least an aspect of it.

Go wings! Early birthday gift for C-Hopp. #redwings #detroit…

March 24, 2017 by  
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Go wings! Early birthday gift for C-Hopp. #redwings #detroit #hockeytown #birthdayboy (at Joe Louis Arena)

Render Unto C-sar

March 24, 2017 by  
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A few weeks back, I did a presentation at Forward Swift, the idea of which to explore how the media frameworks reveal some really interesting pain points in using Swift, and what this tells us about the language.

Slides are already up on Slideshare, and can be viewed here:


Forward Swift 2017: Media Frameworks and Swift: This Is Fine from Chris Adamson

I’ll be doing this talk again at CocoaConf Chicago and an NDA event that will probably be announced next week. Forward Swift usually posts its videos eventually, and I’ll blog here once mine is available.

But I want to dig into one of the key points of the talk, because it came up again earlier this week…

As I said, the gist of the talk is to see where Swift either can’t or shouldn’t be used, and great as Swift is for a lot of common types of app development, it does hit some rough spots when we want to use it with Apple’s media APIs.

First off, there are a couple places where you flat out are not allowed to use Swift. For example, the render block of an AUAudioUnit cannot call Swift, for reasons explained in the WWDC 2015 Audio Unit Extensions session. In short: because rendering occurs on a real-time thread, you cannot perform any action which could block. Obviously this rules out things like file or network I/O, but you also can’t block on a mutex or semaphore. This makes both the Objective-C and Swift runtimes unsafe for use in this context.

Surprisingly, when you write a custom v3 Audio Unit, even if you specify Swift as the language for the app extension target, the AUAudioUnit subclass created by Xcode will be in Objective-C. I’m not sure why — I asked on the coreaudio-api mailing list — but my hypothesis is that since audio units can be loaded into their host process on macOS (but not iOS), this isn’t going to fly in Swift until the ABI is stabilized. But I haven’t gotten an answer either way on that.

So, OK, there are cases where you cannot use Swift. But increasingly, I’m seeing times I don’t want to. Not because I don’t like the language. In fact, it’s because I do like the language that sometimes I choose not to use it. And that obviously deserves an explanation.

For reasons explained in the beginning of the talk, I recently needed to call a Core Media IO function in order to allow AVCaptureDevice to see my Lightning-connected iPad as a video input device. Here’s what the call looks like in C:


CMIOObjectPropertyAddress prop =
 { kCMIOHardwarePropertyAllowScreenCaptureDevices,
     kCMIOObjectPropertyScopeGlobal,
     kCMIOObjectPropertyElementMaster };
 UInt32 allow = 1;
 CMIOObjectSetPropertyData( kCMIOObjectSystemObject,
  &prop, 0, NULL, sizeof(allow), &allow );

As is often the case with the low-level media APIs, this is multiple lines of song-and-dance to set up one call: CMIOObjectSetPropertyData is the general-purpose setter for properties in Core Media IO. We’re setting a property for the entire system (rather than some individual object), but we still have to send in a CMIOObjectPropertyAddress struct to indicate the property name, the scope (input/output/global/etc), and an element (or “bus”… this should look really familiar to anyone who survived the audio unit chapters of the Learning Core Audio book, because it’s very analogous). Then the rest of the call is the new value of the property, and mostly sizeof-type overhead that comes with APIs that have to take open-ended *void in-out parameters.

Now, look at the Swift equivalent:


var prop = CMIOObjectPropertyAddress(
    mSelector: CMIOObjectPropertySelector(
kCMIOHardwarePropertyAllowScreenCaptureDevices),
    mScope: CMIOObjectPropertyScope(kCMIOObjectPropertyScopeGlobal),
    mElement: CMIOObjectPropertyElement(
kCMIOObjectPropertyElementMaster))
var allow : UInt32 = 1
CMIOObjectSetPropertyData(CMIOObjectID(kCMIOObjectSystemObject),
  &prop,
  0,
  nil,
  UInt32(MemoryLayout<UInt32>.size),
  &allow)

It goes without saying that this isn’t particularly Swift-y. The typical Swift developer may complain that it looks like C.

Ironically, the C developer who’s used the media APIs may complain that it doesn’t look enough like C. For example, sizeof(allow) (ie, sizeof(UInt32)) is now the very unintuitive UInt32(MemoryLayout<UInt32>.size). It makes sense, because you’re saying “get the MemoryLayout struct for a UInt32, get its size member, but oh wait, CMIOObjectSetPropertyData() takes UInt32 instead of Swift Int (or size_t for that matter), so now we need to construct a UInt32 from it.” But it takes a while to tease that out, to figure what Swift wants from the C programmer.

Worse perhaps are the strange concessions to Swift type-safety. The first object must be provided as a CMIOObjectID, and moreover, the three fields of the CMIOObjectPropertyAddress struct (mSelector, mScope, and mElement) each have a distinct type (even though they’re all actually just typealiases of UInt32). That’s what produces this rather ridiculous line:


var prop = CMIOObjectPropertyAddress(
    mSelector: CMIOObjectPropertySelector(
kCMIOHardwarePropertyAllowScreenCaptureDevices),
    mScope: CMIOObjectPropertyScope(
kCMIOObjectPropertyScopeGlobal),
    mElement: CMIOObjectPropertyElement(
kCMIOObjectPropertyElementMaster))

For each member of the struct, we’re basically being made to say the same thing three times (this is most clear with the second and third elements): we have the argument label, the initializer call, and the name of the constant. Scope, scope, scope… element, element, element…

Yo dawg, I heard you like Core Media IO property scope

To further draw out the un-Swifty nature of Swift code that calls the lower-level audio frameworks directly, I wrote a sample app, audio-reverser, that has parallel implementations of its core functionality in both C and Swift. My point here is that you usually don’t make one-off calls to the lower-level frameworks; you usually have to do a bunch of things together, like reading in buffers, decoding them, and processing them.

And if you’re going to do that, you’re going to be writing a lot of Swift that doesn’t look or feel like Swift.

So that leads me to an approach I call “Render unto Caesar” (or, and I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this earlier, “Render unto C-sar”)

Peter Paul Rubens - Render Unto Caesar

From the parable of Jesus saying “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s”, the simple idea here is that if you’re going to be making a bunch of related calls to Core Audio/Video/Media, and if they’re all idiomatically be more pleasant to read and write in C than in Swift, then why not just go ahead and write them in C? You can lash all that code together in one C function, then expose it to Swift via a bridging header. As long as you’re reasonably thoughtful about the types you send across that bridge — and knowing how Core Foundation types like CFURL and CFString cast to Swift will help here — you can make the call points from Swift much more pleasant for Swift developers.

Let me just add here that if you can use AV Foundation — and 8 times out of 10 you can — just use that. It works great with Swift. The point of my talk was to think seriously about what to do when you can’t. I also discuss ways to make the Swift calls more pleasant (you can put extensions on all those Core Media types, after all), but I do find myself thinking that if you suspect that you could do something more easily in C and that Swift is fighting you, fine, go ahead and do it in C.

And when I said this came up earlier in the week, it was @colincornaby who ran into a very similar problem working with Core Video from Swift:

We had parallel threads going on with @jckarter on Twitter, and I made the case that I do above, that maybe just doing it in C is going to be better than hopping through hoops just to satisfy Swift type-safety, especially for things like [void*], which are totally un-idiomatic in Swift (upon reflection, since C arrays are just syntactic sugar over pointers, this is really just UnsafeMutableRawPointer<UnsafeMutableRawPointer>, which Colin identified as being exactly what CVPixelBufferCreateWithPlanarBytes() wants, but he was facing a hassle getting his Swift [Int] into that type).

In my thread, I made the case that just letting those calls be C and offering the functionality to Swift via a bridging header may in fact be the cleanest way to write that code.

What we miss when we focus only on test scores

March 24, 2017 by  
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At Michigan Future, we’ve been making the argument for some time now that our k-12 accountability systems need to measure schools based on the outcomes that matter most: what happens to students after they leave k-12. This is far different than what we do now. And therefore, our current system tells us very little about actual school quality.

Our current school accountability system ranks schools almost exclusively on standardized test scores. But standardized tests capture only a small piece of what it means to be college-ready.

A couple pieces of evidence. The book Crossing the Finish Line used a large, nationally representative set of student data to analyze what truly predicts success in college. And what they found was that a student’s high school GPA – made up of grades given by individual teachers across four years of high school – was far more predictive of eventual college graduation than her SAT/ACT score. And the student’s GPA was predictive regardless of high school attended; whether the student went to a “good” high school or a “bad” high school, a good GPA predicted college success.

Why? Because while test scores measure a student’s ability on a narrow band of math and reading skills, GPA measures a diverse set of capacities, encompassing academic habits, content knowledge, and non-cognitive skills, exhibited day after day across four-years of high school.

Research from Northwestern economist C. Kirabo Jackson came to a similar conclusion. Using a large set of student data from North Carolina, Jackson found that a “non-cognitive” index of grades, attendance, and disciplinary records was more predictive of long-term success than test scores. And he also found that the set of teachers that were able to improve this index was an entirely different set of teachers than those that were adept at raising test scores.

The message from both cases: when we focus only on test scores, we miss the really important stuff.

 

The case for focusing on long-term outcomes: data from Metro-Detroit schools

The argument we often hear against using long-term outcomes to measure school success is that there are far too many factors that intervene between high school graduation and college graduation to meaningfully hold high schools accountable for postsecondary results.

Our argument, however, is that there is so much a high school can do – outside of improving test scores – to improve postsecondary outcomes that it’s irresponsible not to include this data on an accountability scorecard.

A look at local data is illustrative. Detroit’s selective high schools, Cass Tech and Renaissance, were ranked in the 21st and 45th percentile, respectively, in the 2015-16 school rankings. High-ranking suburban high schools, like Birmingham Groves and Saline High School fell in the 84th and 95th percentile. To some extent, this is to be expected: test scores are highly correlated with socioeconomic status, and Cass and Renaissance, despite being “test-in” schools, serve a far higher proportion of economically disadvantaged students than their suburban counterparts.

Yet if we look at the high school class of 2008, postsecondary outcomes for these schools look remarkably similar. 57% of Renaissance graduates and 45% of Cass graduates earned a four-year degree in the 6 years after high school, with another roughly 7% at each school collecting a degree in the following two years. Meanwhile, 57% of Groves graduates and 49% of Saline graduates had earned a four-year degree 6 years after high school, with another 6 to 10% earning a degree in the following two years.

The postsecondary outcome data for these schools was roughly the same, despite the fact that a larger chunk of Cass and Renaissance student will likely face a more difficult path to college graduation.

Yet although postsecondary outcomes for these schools look largely similar, in the picture the public receives on school quality, Groves and Saline are exemplary, while Renaissance and Cass are failing.

What might be going on at Cass and Renaissance that we miss by looking only at test scores? Perhaps they’ve developed a rich college-going culture, a strong college-counseling department, or a broad curriculum that targets the wide-range of skills students need to do well in college.

Regardless, this example demonstrates just how much is missed when we only focus on test scores. Groves and Saline may very-well be exemplary. And Cass and Renaissance may very well have a lot of room for improvement. But we can’t tell any of that based on the picture of school success we’re given through the state accountability system.

Including long-term outcomes in our school evaluation system doesn’t give us all the information we need, but it certainly makes the picture just a bit clearer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post What we miss when we focus only on test scores appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

What We Kept – The Return of the 90s

March 24, 2017 by  
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Have I ever told you guys the story of the Docs I’ve regretted not buying for the past 30 years? No? Well, it was a wondrous day when I walked into a TJ Maxx in 1995 and they had the Andy Warhol Doc Martens AND the snakeskin Docs there ON SALE. I only had enough money for one, and of course it had to be the Warhols. Now, I’ve never doubted that decision (as far as I’m concerned those are one of the best pairs of boots ever made), but I did wish that I could have gotten both.


And then, my friend Jeff found these. At a thrift. In my size. And texted me. Now, the love story is finally complete and we are happily reunited after all these years. THANK YOU JEFF!


Not nearly as dramatic, here is a Death T shirt that I have wanted for ages as well and while I never “wanted” a Party of Five soundtrack CD, I also can’t not buy it for 99 cents, so here it is.


I was so bummed when I went to get the 90s reissue Gap mock turtleneck tank and it was sold out in my size. Then I went thrifting the next evening, and BOOM, there is an original one, in black, and it fit! Can’t wait to wear it out when the temps rise. Next to that are two fantastic tanks from the 70s I grabbed for myself from a massive haul at a house call. Some of that collection is already on the site, and there is lots more coming soon. Stay tuned!

Hope you have had some good scores lately too! Got a vintage love story of your own to share? Tell me in the comments!

More and better parks can help position Detroit to attract more millennials

March 22, 2017 by  
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When my husband and I moved to a high-rise building near the Renaissance Center in Detroit in 2000, calling our new neighborhood “downtown” would be an aspirational description at best.

The city center we moved to lacked amenities so basic that even our apartment’s stunning views of the Detroit River and Belle Isle barely made up for it. We had to get into a car to reach the closest drug store, movie theater, dry cleaners, and grocery store. Even the most attractive thing about the neighborhood – the Detroit River – was barely accessible by land because the riverfront of those days was a long-abandoned industrial wasteland.

When our son’s arrival made our apartment too cramped for three people six years ago, my husband and I thought about buying in one of the city’s traditional residential neighborhoods, but the pull of downtown was hard to resist. Folks thought we were crazy when we told them we were moving just a mile away to a near-east neighborhood near the edge of downtown because – even then – building a life near the city’s center seemed like far from a sure bet.

Today, the signs of rebirth in my neighborhood are undeniable. Long-shuttered storefronts near Eastern Market have sprung back to life as hip restaurants, coffee shops and other millennial magnets. And new housing is being developed and built in and around downtown at an impressive pace.

But the primary amenity that made me move to and stay downtown is my home’s proximity to the Dequindre Cut Greenway and the Detroit River Walk . I’ve watched my son play with new friends and learn to ride his bike in these beautiful, art-infused green spaces, so thoughtfully planned and beautifully realized. We were among the first to experience the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Outdoor Adventure Center when it opened on the Dequindre Cut a few years ago. We love to take in summer concerts at the Chene Park amphitheater on the Detroit River. And after all these years, the view when I take a walk or ride my bike on the River Walk still takes my breath away. It’s like the city’s greatest assets are in our backyard.

Turns out I’m not alone when it comes to choosing a home simply because of its proximity to green space. New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman recently wrote about efforts in Chicago and Philadelphia to transform abandoned and underused land into green spaces. The city’s mayors are betting on revitalized parks as a way to boost civic pride, not to mention housing values. As an added bonus, early statistics show that violent crime is practically non-existent in these newly vibrant public spaces in Philadelphia.

“Urban policy often focuses too much just on housing,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel told Kimmelman. “Housing alone doesn’t make a neighborhood.”

I recognize that mine was not exactly a novel approach to home buying: There’s a reason real estate surrounding Central Park is at a premium in Manhattan. But with a few exceptions, Detroit’s long-neglected parks have hardly been a draw for home buyers in recent decades.

In fact, there was a time when living near a Detroit park could saddle a homeowner with more responsibilities than amenities. A few years ago, my father, who lives in a sprawling condo that faces Palmer Park, called the city’s recreation department to offer to pay for new basketball hoops in the park out of his own pocket because he was tired of seeing disappointed kids playing ball with imaginary baskets. The city later installed the hoops, but many of Palmer Park’s improvements can be attributed to the city’s partnership with People for Palmer Park – a non-profit organization that has created programming for and brought structural improvements to the park. For example, the group worked with the administration of former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Lear Corporation to bring a splash park and play scape to a section of the park that was once home to an abandoned swimming pool. It’s a hopeful sign that citizens, non-profits and city officials are working together to improve public spaces like Palmer Park.

It matters because Michigan desperately needs an infusion of talent and educated millennials are obsessed with living in walkable, vibrant, urban communities. Global commercial real estate services firm Avison Young issued a report last year that predicted that communities that are rich in amenities will hold on to millennials, even as their predecessors de-camped for the suburbs once they started having children.

“Millennials will choose to locate where they can access the city center but live in neighborhoods that still offer an urban experience that most closely resembles the denser downtown. Inner city neighborhoods, in-fill locations, improved public space and walkable amenities will continue to attract some millennials as their life circumstances change.”

Detroit still has a long way to go before we can offer amenities that rival cities like Chicago, but I’m excited that there seems to be a recognition – from both non-profit and city leaders – that green spaces are a vital feature of a functional and attractive city.

I’m still pulling for Detroit to provide more and better amenities – not to mention basic services – to make the city a magnet for talent. In the meantime, my family and I have five glorious months of play at the river’s edge each year. It’s not enough. But it’s pretty good.

The post More and better parks can help position Detroit to attract more millennials appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Capital City Film Festival Preview

March 22, 2017 by  
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Lights, camera, action! The Capital City Film Festival (CCFF) is preparing to let the cameras and the good times roll. The 7th annual five-day festival is full of film screenings, concerts, and red carpet parties. The festival kicks off with its Red Carpet Premiere Party on Thursday, April 6 at Lansing Brewing Company. If the venue […]

The post Capital City Film Festival Preview appeared first on Awesome Mitten.

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