Dan Gilmartin explains why placemaking is so important as an economic development strategy. November, 2016.
>> Hi. Welcome everyone. Thank you so much for joining us this morning in our discussion of local place based economic development, also known as placemaking. Placemaking is a community and economic development strategy that attempts to capitalize on existing local assets and build upon them to create appealing spaces where people want to live, work and play. Research here at the Ford School, through the Michigan Public Policy Survey, has looked at placemaking efforts across the state of Michigan over the past few years, and found that since 2009, there has been a significant increase in its use by Michigan local governments and in increase in the confidence in its use as a strategy by local leaders in jurisdictions large and small across the state. However, I'm sure that our outstanding guest speaker is going to give you more information about placemaking in Michigan and what's going on in our communities when it comes to the strategies, so let me just talk, tell you that our talk today is sponsored by the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy, also known as CLOSUP, as well as co-sponsored by the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. The lecture is part of a series of talks associated with the CLOSUP in the classroom initiative. Through the current Ford School undergraduate course entitled Michigan Politics and Policy, CLOSUP in the classroom is working to integrate student experiences with the center's research activities, such as those with Michigan local economic development techniques. We'd like to thank the provost's office for its support, both of the Michigan Politics and Policy class, and, as well as, this lecture series. The provost's office assistance not only lets us get U of M's state and local government research into the classroom, but also allows us to bring esteemed guest speakers in today, like our speaker Dan Gilmartin. Dan is the executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. MML is a nonprofit association of municipalities and municipal leaders in the state of Michigan that was founded in 1899. And it represents the mutual interests of villages and cities of all sizes through advocacy at both the state and federal level. Dan is recognized nationally, is an expert in the fields of urban revitalization, placemaking, local government reform, and transportation policy. He serves as a member of the Michigan Future Incorporated Leadership Council and on the Placemaking Leadership Council. He recently served on the board of directors of the National League of Cities, and he's also a blogger, author and radio talk show host. Please welcome Dan Gilmartin.
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>> Thank you all. Good morning to everybody. I don't know if it's the stirring conversation of the free pizza that brought you out, but I'm going to assume it was the former. If it was the latter, we don't even need to talk about it. But I appreciate you being here, appreciate CLOSUP. One of the things the League has is a great relationship with CLOSUP and much of the work, much of the work they do from a surveying perspective of local officials is very important to us because it gives us baseline data, what mayors and city managers and council members around the state are working on and what they feel like are their biggest issues out there, and it drives a lot of what we do, and I know it drives a lot of what you guys are doing from an academic perspective. So a very important partner we had here in the University of Michigan. We also mentioned that we started in 1898. We're actually, what's that?
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>> What'd you say?
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>> The first meeting was 99, so. We're actually up on north campus in up off of Green Road so for 40 or 50 years, faculty from the University of Michigan actually staffed the organization, until the 1930s I believe, when they decided to go off and do their thing. So now there's no direct relationship between the two organizations, but it's a great working relationship we've had for a number of years. So I'm going to talk about a lot of things today. And I'm going to leave a lot of time for conversation or for questions, because I'm, it's always fun to talk to a group of students because I'm going to tell you what you all thing, and I'm sure some of you will say that's what I think, and some of you say this guy's nuts. So, I welcome both of those conversations, because so much of what we're doing from a city building perspective in Michigan and around the country, and probably if we're be honest, throughout the world, is trying to figure out what's next. What people are looking for in communities, what people are looking for in housing, what people are looking for in experience, all those different things, which really leads us to placemaking and some of the things that we're doing. It was mentioned about authorship, these are two books. The League is published. This is actually available out on the, outside on a table. Yeah. Table. It's a tough word. On the table, right outside, there's only about 80 copies. In the back of the room is Matt Bach [assumed], he was a queen way bat, Matt's our media relations person. So if you're interested, if you're an insomniac and you need something like this to help you get to sleep at night, although finals are coming up so you probably don't want to sleep, after finals if you need something, if you're not able to get one of the books out there because I don't that we have one for everybody, give Matt your information on the way out the door and we'll make sure that we get something from you and maybe set up a time to pick them up or whatever works, because there's messing in there around again, what, what everybody's doing, what we're trying to do as far as working together to build better communities. So I'll tell you a little bit about how the organization that I work for, which advocates and educates and educates and does research on all kinds of different things in terms of cities and what we can do to make our cities more competitive, what we can do to make our cities better places to live. And so, we went and we looked and we tried to figure out sort of where we're at. So our whole issue started about, or our whole campaign if you will, started about seven or eight years ago. And you know, this slide talks about the way we were and the way we are. Who knows what? Sorry, you've got a little thing. Who knows where that is? No? No? Pcker Plant! Free book for that man back there. And a free slice of pizza, too. They're probably both gone so we'll get you back. That's the old Packard Plant in Detroit. So again, if you look at Michigan, the economy we were built on. Let me step back. How many of you are from Michigan? How many not? Okay, so maybe half and half, a little more from Michigan. So I'll talk a lot about Michigan here because it's really been our focus, but our focus then works out around the country and literally around the globe. So for the better part of 100 years, you could have an eighth grade education and walk into a place like this and do work paying you above the national average, first to get health benefits, first to get retirement. You can live in a community, you could fish and hunt up north, you could live the American dream if you will. And this is what you could do. And this is how we built our cities, and this is, when you look at our infrastructure and everything else, we built around, sort of who we were as a state and I would say that a lot of the quote on quote rust belt states were built in the same fashion, east coast states as well. So that's how we were. How are we now? And you look at what's happening in Michigan with, we're 32nd in per capita income in 2015. Since 2000, that's a drop in 16 spots. So if anybody here is studying economics, and is familiar with statistics and looking at those types of issues, you know one or two or three spots in a decade is a solid trend. But to go from a relatively, or from the top third in the terms of per capita income to the bottom third in terms of per capita in well under two decades is pretty amazing. And that's the manufacturing industry in this state, literally falling off a cliff over the last 15 years. And as it reinvents itself, there's a lot of good things happening with the corporations, but one thing they're not doing is hiring people back, as we all know. So again, you look at those people in the background and they're not having those jobs come back. We're now 39th in GDP per capita, we're 34th in taxes paid per capita, 42nd in employment as a share of population and Michigan's two biggest metropolitan areas, Detroit and Grand Rapids, rank 38th and 49th out of 52 metropolitan regions in the country in terms of our per capita income. So those are all really bad numbers and then you can trace that across unemployment, across per capita income, and all kinds of different things. We like to look at per capita income because it kind of wipes everything else aside. No, it doesn't adjust all the time for cost of living, but you know, unemployment is unemployment. Alabama and Minnesota have relatively the same unemployment but the Minnesota quality of life is a lot better and we're within about 12,000 difference in per capita income, so we try to hang our hats on that one a little bit, where we can look a number of different ways. So basically the manufacturing industry in the state, and all of the sudden people want something completely, not all of the sudden, but people want something completely different from their communities in terms of how we are building them. So again, as I said, manufacturing as we know it is gone. Manufacturing is still vitally important to Michigan, but it's a different kind of manufacturing. In most factory jobs now, you can't get hired without a college degree. They're very technical jobs. If there were 2 or 3,000 people working at a Ford plant in 1960, chances are that Ford plant's gone, but the Ford plant's still there. There's probably now 400 people working there, most of them working from a technological standpoint, so this sort of [inaudible] labor that we were famous for in Michigan is not there. And even as the car companies are coming back and posting record profits, they're still not hiring people back. So that way of life if you will, is completely different. It gets back to how we build our communities and what people want. So as you talk the recovery rate there as well, we're recovering and we brag about oh we're creating jobs in the state, but we're, you know, we hammered so many, we're creating back at a very low average. So we've got to figure that one out. That's the Packard Plant now. Whoops. Sorry, my fault. I did that to you. So a little bit different in terms of the picture you just had a little while ago which was sort of held up there as Great Americana. Who knows where that community is? Anyone? 20 miles from here? Northville? No? Just happens to be where I live, I don't know how that slide got on there. So what do we know? So we get back, so my organization, seven, eight, nine years ago, sitting here dead in Michigan, that picture of that Packard Plant had become who we are in this state. And I would argue the state's sort of a canary in the coal mine, not a one off as people like to look at Michigan and some of the other cities that are suffering. So we look around the country, looked around the world. Why are we getting by Portland? By Austin? By Boston? By Seattle? By Chicago? Minneapolis here in the Midwest. Why are those cities, regions, states, doing much better than us? Massachusetts, by any measure out there, they're doing well. How many of you have a friend who's recently graduated move to one of those places? You know, lots of you. And, if you're, when you graduate, if you stay in Michigan, and your friends, as my colleagues Allison up here, who was recently hired into our organization knows, they say what are you still doing in Michigan? You should be in one of these places. That's what's happening. So when we try to figure that stuff out we try to say why are they losing? Because Michigan, like other places, and we just got through a presidential campaign so we talked about, we talk about economic development, we talk about taxes, and we talk about government regulations and the conversation stops. And we don't lose in Michigan on that stuff anymore. Our taxes used to be relatively high, now they're relatively low. And all the places I just mentioned, many of them have much higher taxes, have lousy regulations. I mean how many of you have friends that are working in Chicago? A lot of MBAs tending bar in Chicago rather than taking a job with a CPA firm in Detroit or in Grand Rapids because they want to be in Chicago. And for people that are going there, how many of your friends come out and say hey, I'm going to move to Chicago, and the reason I'm going is because the taxes are low and regulatory environment's wonderful. I mean, the next person who says that's going to be the first person who ever said that. So all we're ever hearing from state government and from the feds and in the media is, we've got to work on taxes, we've got to work on regulations. Lower than Minneapolis. Lower than Massachusetts. Lower than Boston. You know, if you look at regionally or city wise. So, that wasn't working. So we started like, what is working? Why are these places beating us? And we started to see some themes develop. That was very early on into this sort of conversation, this movement, there are people like Peter Allen in the back of the room engaged in it and others, Jermaine, who was with Mister. Where's Jermaine? Over here. Over there. We're sort of getting our arms around this trying to figure out what it all meant. We know that when it comes to building great communities, improving people's quality of life, improving the experience of the place, we know that knowledge based jobs matter. And a knowledge based economy matters. The good jobs now are where people think, not necessarily where they do. Education counts, degrees matter. Now you can say we have a tendency to talk about talent. You mentioned the Michigan Future, which talks all about talent, Blue Glazier if any of you ever walked into him, and talents to find his four year degrees and higher. Now we all know that just because you have a four degree doesn't mean you're talented, and if you don't have one doesn't mean that you aren't. But it is literally one of those few statistics out there where it is a one to one nexus between having a relatively educated population and high per capita income. The two go together right now more than anything. And I think for those of us that have been working on this a while, you know, I first got into sort of looking at how to improve job fronts, how to improve economies, how to improve cities, the thought was always it's either business or quality of life. Because again it was that Packard Plant. Let's let them pollute, let's let them take a whole box. Let's create big, wide roads and things that don't make sense for sort of the human experience, but that's what drives our economy, so it was always sort of a zero sum gain. And we've found now is really it's a same gain. Quality of life is where people are going, it's certainly with means and where people with entrepreneurial spirit, where people with access to all sorts of different things are going. So it's one in the same now about creating that great place, in terms of creating a great economy. Technology allows people to work anywhere, yet they're choosing cities. This is something the futurists got wrong. So 23 years ago now, is Netscape Browser, 1993 is that right? The whole, all cities were going to empty out, everyone was going to live on a mountaintop and you know, e-mail their stuff, or probably fax it in then or whatever it was. Didn't happen. Right? We're now more urbanized as a people than we've ever been. People are going to cities and metropolitan areas, they're not going to rural places and I think what we've found out is two things. Number one is we forgot that human beings are social animals, and when given a choice they want to be around other human beings. And number two from an entrepreneurial spirit, there's something about the turning that happens in an economy that can't happen if you're sitting alone on a mountain top. Now, I'm sure someone discovered a Fortune 500 business sitting along a mountain top, so that happens. But in the totality of it all, having places like Ann Arbor quite frankly, where you get a lot of turning going around, and a lot of smart, engaged, entrepreneurial, thoughtful people working on particular issues, that's where you get real changes that move people forward. So something we got wrong, because I think if we were sitting here 20 years ago saying what's the future? We'd be like wow. You know, we've got to close down these and do whatever it is we're doing somewhere else. Populations are more mobile than it's ever been. And again, something that is very different. It used to be jobs would follow, or people would follow jobs. Again a few, maybe some of your parents or grandparents worked at Ford Motor Company in 1965 and they said you're getting transferred to Knoxville, Tennessee, you went home and threw a for sale sign up and grabbed the spouse and family and you were gone. And nowadays it's how many of you are going to look for a place you want to live before you look for a job? You know, most of you, if we know that. So, and we now have numbers and figures and statistics that prove that out. So we've got this hugely mobile population, no one expects to work somewhere for 40 years anymore and retire. So that comes into play in terms of what we're doing to attract. Okay, so we're not doing a midterm exam, but if we were, just write down place attracts people, and repeat that like nine times when asked by your professor and you will pass this course. Because that's what really matters. It's about the place. That's what this is all about. People are going to places. People want to be able to experience things in a place that they live, where they work, where they play, where they learn. And if we're not providing that stuff at a high enough number we're going to continue to hemorrhage people out of the state and cities like us around the country will do the same thing. You know, I said earlier, young people, two thirds of them, two thirds of college educated people under the age of 35 choose where they want to live first, then look for work. So I want to be in Chicago, and I'll figure it out when I get there. Or I want to be in Portland, I'll figure it out when I get there. Maybe somebody went with an offer, but more often than not, they don't. They know they want to be somewhere. And that again, is fundamentally different than where we before. And by the way, all the companies know where everyone's going. They know who lives on a street more than the mayor does. In terms of who's there, what skills they have, what degrees they have, whether or not it's a place to sit your company. And I always tell a story about, I tell two stories about this. Number one was VW. Volkswagen of North America used to have its headquarters in Auburn Hills. Anybody from Auburn Hills? Anybody from somewhere they can drive to Auburn Hills in a relatively short commute? Okay. It was then Governor Grant home, so it's been a few years, but it was a big thing. VW said they were going to go to the coast. And they wanted to go to the coast because they felt like they needed to attract a different type of employee. They felt like their market if you will, was more coastal in terms of people looking for a better driving experience and some of the things they want to do as a corporation. And they decided they were going to go out to the coast. And remember Governor Grant home came and offered every possible tax advantage they could offer and they said no, that's where we're going. And they left behind I think 100 or 200 call center jobs as a nice little see ya to Michigan, which may or may not still even be here. So that's something of people just deciding where they want to go. The other one was I was contacted by a software engineer who was, or a software company, who was doing gaming. Computer gaming, again one of the more, I would imagine, I'm not in that field, but I would imagine it's one of the more technically competitive fields out there in terms of you know, games change every day it seems like, and there are new things coming out. And this individual had gone from 50 employees and was on their way to 200. They were expanding rapidly, and they were considering Seattle or Detroit at the time. Seattle's college educated adult population is 53%. Detroit's at that time was 11. They can't choose Detroit. You know, because they're going to look to get the best people in to literally compete with you know, people and business and countries that none of us could even find on a map, and they couldn't choose Detroit in that situation. So again, taxes, incentives, that stuff doesn't even matter at that point in time. Might matter if you're putting a big manufacturing spot in the field, but it ain't there. So and again, we're in this sort of whole global initiative and global hunt for all this stuff. A lot of times people will challenge us and say oh it's this placemaking stuff is all feel good, but here's the publisher of Forbes magazine a few years ago, said the most valuable resource of the 21st century is brains. Smart people tend to be mobile. Watch where they go, because where they go, robust economic activity will follow. And we see this time and time and time again. Where people decide where they want to be, and again, when I asked earlier where you guys, what you guys were thinking, you've probably got ideas about where you want to go when you're done with your educational experience. And you'll figure out the job stuff later. And that's something we continually see. So we've got to do a better job here in this state of working on that, because we're losing big time on that stuff. So I'm talking to students here, but there are, not everyone in this room is a student. So here's a little bone for everybody else. The dirty little secret about creating great places is that their baby booming, baby booming, baby boomer mothers and fathers want the same kinds of places to live in as their millennial children do. Which is interesting. So when you talk about this is from AARP, 90% of the 45 plus population indicated they want to stay in a community for as long as possible. And it's important for them to remain near their family and friends and to be able to access the services they need. And when you start talking the retiring boomers, and I'll get in a second to what we really believe from a placemaking standpoint makes a city attractive, it makes a city competitive, you'll find the same types of things is what older, empty nesters are looking for in terms of what they want out of their lives and out of the places they live as their millennial children, which is really interesting. So you talk about walk-ability and culture activities and a whole bunch of other things. Transit. Now their Saturday nights probably look a little different. Right? But the concept that there's a lot of options and a lot of ideas are things that they're looking for. Although we just have anecdotal information at this point in time, we probably, it's probably more than anecdotal at this point, I just don't have that information. But what we're seeing the last few years is, it used to be everyone would say kids move away, you know they go have their fun in Chicago then they get married and have kids and they move back here to be with grandma and grandpa. And that apparently happened for a long time. You know what? Grandma and grandpa are moving to them. It's like, you want to come to Sterling Heights or should we go get a condo in Wrigleyville and enjoy ourselves and have fun? And we're seeing that happen now. So again, that has hard statistics on that, but we see it. Who reads Fast Company magazine? Who's familiar with it? Okay, a little bit. It used to be cool. Magazines are like night clubs, they go along and it's like that's not cool anymore. So Fast Company is sort of the Forbes of the new generation of businesses. I would describe it, and then you can say if I'm wrong, it's sort, half lifestyle, half entrepreneurism. They're trying to find the next Google. They're trying to find next Microsoft. You know, we like to see, they're out there doing exposes on a guy sitting in his mother's basement in his underwear blogging who's going to a billionaire next year, perhaps you know this gentleman, and I'm sure we all do. So they all, they do, they try to find those fast companies again. One of the things they do every year is they pick fast cities. Best places to do business around the world. So they do big cities and small cities. They've done the Chicago won one year, London won one year, other places, and then a couple years ago they did something where the small city was 2,500 people, I think the largest one was San Francisco. So we're literally going from little tiny places like Northville which I just showed, up into the big metropolitan regions. And they picked nine I believe. Yes, right? Nine different places. Now I don't have have the communities up here, but this is why they chose them. It's a business magazine, right? Where are we going to do business? How are we going to improve our economy? What are we as a business publication putting out there as being a top place to do business? These are the reasons they chose them. Farm fresh food, venture capital mindset, Renaissance neighborhoods, car sharings, smart energy, all this kind of stuff. Now is that taxes? Is that regulations? No. It's none of that stuff. So when you hear taxes and regulations going along with good places to do business, that's not where it's at anymore. And it's not like we'll raise taxes and everything will be better, that's not my message. But the fact that we focus almost from a hyper standpoint, especially in the political environment on that stuff, these are the things that matter. This is why you want to live somewhere. Stuff like this. Maybe not everything up here is your bag, but this where they say cool stuff is happening. Culture. Open source government. These are where people want to live. So again, and for all our studies and the book we have here out front for people again, you can check it out. This is the second book, which is more of a look, actually Zingerman's is in here and some other Ann Arbor programs that you can check out. But this more sort of a case study of a number of different places that have been doing good stuff. The first book was more explaining sort of what I'm talking about here which we've learned from people all over the world. So we've created something we call our eight assets. When we go and try to figure out what actually makes a community move forward, the nexus between strong economies, between communities, looking to the future, between communities being more competitive for people, for jobs, came down, we thought broke down into these eight particular areas. So it's the physical design and the walk-ability of the place. You know, think about the human scale. When people ask me what is placemaking? I say placemaking is improving the human experience. You know, everybody else probably, I know everybody, a lot of people have different definitions of it. Some are really long. Peter you teach a course. Do you have a definition? One you want to share? No. It's good. It's good. Alright. So much for audience participation, huh? I do that. But I mean everybody's doing that kind of stuff and saying you know, it's this, it's that, it's the context, it's a lot of different things but it's about knowing, it's sort of like you know it when you see it. You know, for those of you from Michigan, when I talk to groups in Michigan I say, if we're going to decide on the five best communities right now, think about it, we'd have consensus in five minutes. Ten minutes. It had this stuff. Has some history. Has some architecture. Has some cool downtown feel. Have kind of a neat vibe to it. Some neat businesses. Some forward thinking. Probably some water front maybe somewhere. I mean all those types of things, that's what we describe. But 95% of Michigan doesn't look like that. It's five and six and seven lane roads. And nothing's walkable. And it's built for sort of a different type of a place. So we've done city building since 1950 for a different culture, set it around automobile, and all of the sudden people are saying wait a second, now, if I have a choice in this matter, I'd rather enjoy my everyday life and that's what the type of place I want to live in so. Physical design and walk-ability matters an immense amount. Green initiatives. You know, completely, 20 years ago, being green was sort of okay fine, you can do that, and people look at you cross eyed. It's a value. It's a value that an entire generation's grown up with. So again, when I talk about, when people say it's all about environmental regulations and those types of things that hurry us from an economic standpoint, I'd say ask a young entrepreneur if she'd rather be, put her business in a community with a relaxed environmental policy or with a long term commitment to sustainability, she'll choose the latter you know 99 times out of 100, unless she's in the landfill business or something like that. And that, I can tell you that goes completely against some of the things we talk about at city hall, we talk about at the state government level, what we talk about in Washington. Cultural economic development, what distinguishes you a little bit differently from where you're at. I mentioned Northville, it's an old Victorian town, with some sort of a neat Victorian story to it. Ann Arbor's a college town. It's got a whole bunch of things going on here. Those are things that you want to dig into. The Detroit experience is a really interesting. 10 or 15 years ago, 90% of the articles about Detroit were negative. Now 90% of them are positive. It's still the same city. It's changing rapidly as we all knot, but sort of that grittiness of a community and the history of it there, and yes, it needs polishing and scrubbing and rebuilding and everything else, but the bones of the place are still cool. People can't keep themselves away from it. Yet, our entire policy of how we create communities, where we fund infrastructure, what our local guidelines and zoning regulations look like, all look like Canton Township, which is you know 2,500 square feet, or 3,000 square feet on a quarter acre lot, in an un-driveable place. If you're a builder, you can build that pretty much anywhere in the state but you can't rebuild South View anywhere. Or Woodburn Avenue or anything like that. What does that mean? That doesn't make any sense, right? So when people say we need more of this or more of that, we're playing different sports here. You know, it's like we're shooting free throws and we need to be scoring touch downs. It's not a different, it's just a whole different animal in terms of aiming at places that people want to be in. And that's something that I think we all want to see. Entrepreneurship, you know, again, think back to the picture of Packard. Packard will come in, I don't know how many people they employed at their height, probably 20,000 people. The automobile industry itself, hundreds of thousands of people. Didn't need any particular training or anything like that. It's the ultimate irony I say in Michigan that Henry Ford, who, for all of his obvious faults, in my opinion goes down as the top entrepreneur of the 20th century, he literally recreated an entire world around an industrial economy. And the fact that he created a culture that's so non-entrepreneurial, is sort of the irony of this whole thing. Because it used to be you know, worked there for 40 years, have the same job, retire, live for five years, move to Florida, where high socks and a white belt and then die. And that's everybody did, right? And you know, who expects to do that? Anyone? Come on? Somebody does? Who does? [inaudible] does. And that's just not where we're at. So now it's all about hyper-entrepreneurship, and it's about people doing different things. Nobody expects to be in the same place for 40 or 50 years, let along five or ten years. So it becomes a whole different game in terms of how we're working on that. So if you're in a community that rolls up it's sidewalks at five o'clock at night, who here wants to work there? You know? Coffee shop closes at night because nobody drinks coffee at night. And the park closes. And everyone goes home. And nothing happens. Storefronts close. You know, I can give you a free building, I can abate your taxes, you aren't going there. Not happening. So we've got to figure out that stuff as well. Messaging technology is kind of obviously. Becoming welcoming. This is something we do a particularly poor job of in Michigan. And probably if we're being honest, a particularly poor job across the country has been illustrated in a number of different ways. But as I like to say it, especially when it comes to a different generation of people, and I'm talking all about you, most of you people here in this room, because we all know how you think more than you do, so feel free to push me on that. But we're all studying that. But I say people used to walk down the street and see individuals who looked just like them and now they kind of want to walk down the street and see individuals who don't. And does your community play to that at all? You know, and it's not about a Kwanzaa day or something. That's not what we're talking about here. It's about are we welcoming to new ideas, are we welcoming to all kinds of different ideas or are we not? And I can tell you, especially in this state, we're not in a lot of places. It's obvious in our bigger cities, we have strife in a whole bunch of different levels and we can get into that if you guys want to, but even in our small towns, people don't want to change. And as we say, it's okay, you don't have to implement this kind of stuff, but if you don't and you want to complain that you're sort of not keeping up from an economic standpoint, you know, you can't do both. You can do both, but it doesn't work that way. You've got to sort of figure this stuff about. Transit. Who'd rather not own a car for the next five or ten years? You know, a lot of people. You know 500 bucks is a month for a car insurance and a payment and gas and parking or more is wasted money to most young people. They'd rather get a transit pass and use that money on technology or booze, whatever comes first. And you know, and so if you can't live that way in Michigan, then we're not staying here. And it was brought up to me by, a few years back, at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, wonderful hospital, and they used to bring in residents, people would come in from all over the country for medical residence to come to Henry Ford, and they compete for the best you know, residents, the way other people do. And so somebody coming in is probably interviewing in Chicago and Los Angeles and everywhere else, and he said they delayed at the airport in Detroit. Wonderful international airport in Romulus, and there's no train, there's no bus, no taxi service. There's one taxi service, it's a single group that's allowed on premises, that's another story. And you've got to take an eight lane highway to get downtown and then there's no way to get around down there in a lot of respects. I mean, it doesn't matter what Henry Ford does at that point. That [inaudible], you know? Doesn't want to come. I travel a ton in my job and when I land anywhere, people say how are you getting to hotels? I have no idea. There's going to be a shuttle, there's going to be Uber, there's going to be some way for me to get to where I need to go and it's probably going to be really easy for me to get to certain places like downtown, the convention center, the business district, suburban shopping even. We, a few years ago, a gentleman who worked for us tried to get from downtown Detroit to oh boy, big beaver Troy, Somerset Mall. So big, if you're not from Michigan, it's a big high end mall. It took him three and a half hours on public transportation, and he had to walk the last mile and a half. That's how long it took him to get to get from downtown Detroit to big beaver, to do shopping. Now if I go anywhere else in the country and say I'm a high end shopper, I want to get to your high end mall, you know, I'll have a private plane come for me, it's ridiculous. So how, you know, and again, so we can, but we can tell the people in Troy, the people in Detroit, that's a problem. It's like with VW, the people in Auburn Hills actually lost the business but if you're anywhere within a driving distance of Auburn Hills, they don't want to be in your community either. So that's where you get into sort of the regional strategy of this whole thing as well. We've got to figure out better ways of doing this. Education's important, and obviously it's K-12, it's higher ed, those things are all very important, but it's a commitment to education. And again, think about the economy that we're in now, and the ways in which we're committed to an educated workforce. And the thing I always bring up at a number of the Ivy League schools, if not all of the Ivy League schools at this point in time, if you're 55 and older you can all take classes for free. There's a ton of trailing spouses, there are professors and faculty in second careers, all kind of different things happening there. You can literally go to one of the top schools in the entire country, for free, if you live in that county or that city and it depends on the different areas of the different schools that offer it. What does that say? Who wants to live there? You know, who would choose that from a value standpoint? I want to be there to do that. Would you rather the person looking for that? Or somebody saying I'm going to go where the taxes are the lowest? Taxes are the lowest in Mississippi or Alabama by the way, go there. No choice. No chance in the new economy. Lovely places. I have relatives in Alabama, not cutting them down, but they can't compete for these jobs. They're going to get a whole bunch of the sort of mid-range manufacturing jobs and different things that are out there and they're going to competing with places that offer even a lower scale if you will. And in Michigan sort of, we taught racing to the bottom. When we pushed from our state policies to try to compete with that, why are we doing that? You know, why are we, it's per capita income versus unemployment. If everybody's employed in an industry making $9 an hour without benefits, have we done anything? Just because we dropped the points, the number two or three points, we really haven't done that. So education isn't just obvious K-12, higher ed, those type of, that stuff's all very important. But how we celebrate that and what it means in terms of the value of a community, matter a great deal. Chris Lineberger, he used to teach here. Hasn't for a long number of years, right Peter? So nobody here probably would have stumbled across Chris Lineberger, but in addition to teaching he's also the president of LOCUST, which I should know what that stands for, and I don't, but it is a group of developers, private developers who work to do infill style housing, walkable housing, downtown entrepreneurial stuff, and this Chris I thought was great, expecting early 19th century or mid 20th century government structures to handle the challenges of the early 21st century is not realistic. And I will submit to you that this is legal in about 99% of the landmass in Michigan. 99.9 I would guess. That is, that beautiful, gorgeous place, is legal. And [inaudible] in 99.9% of it. Zero walkup, no parking, old. That's illegal everywhere. Where do you want to be? Do you want to be in there? That's what all of our structures look like, you know. If you're going to go try to build a building you can build that, that's wonderful. Got a little car gutter in front of it. Got wonderful, horrible, aluminum. You know. It's really kind of striking. And again, what does this say? Was it Churchill who said a buildings tell you about a people? Architecture tells you about a people. What does that you about us? We're low bid and we're not terribly what, someone, what's the world? Look for your book in it. No? Everyone?
>> Artistic. Artistic. It's the wonderful Oedipus in the background, that's sort of like the Eiffel Tower of this place. We deserve better than this. Come on people, we deserve better than this. Who wants to live there? Anybody know where that is by the way? That? We're not going to talk about it. Okay. This is a little bit better. When I talk about governing structures there, I think the governing structure at the local level, at the state level, has to change, to make sure we don't have those places, we have more places like this. So again, trying to create communities that can attract and retain talent and enterprise, and again, where people want to live, is something that matters a great deal. You know, so again, and I want to save a lot of time to talk about specifics when it comes to placemaking and how we can create these places. But we think about how this has to happen in Michigan, and how this has to happen in communities in Michigan, and really anywhere, we talk about bold leadership. We talk about, I kind of feel like we're in a big short moment in the state and then we see the film The Big Short or read the book, you're familiar with the story, these guys sort of figured that, I think it was in the second quarter of 2007, that the, with the mortgage backed securities were all going to go upside down so they bought low and they shorted everything and then it came and they went what happened? Nothing changed. The stock market didn't move. Their numbers didn't go up. And it was like this huge event happened and nothing went into it, and they started digging in, and that's when they found out the regulators were in bed with the bankers and the bankers were in bed with the builders and you know, all that stuff, and you know the story, they created a wonderful story out of it. And a great movie out of it and a book. But I kind of feel like we're in our big short moment because we build this kind of a community, and we govern for it, and for years, we've been talking about a different kind of community, right? We've been talking about a community maybe a little bit more like that as a great place. Now we know empirically, that this place is a much better place from an economic standpoint in terms of creating jobs, in terms of living, where people want to be. We know that. But we're still doing all this. So it's sort of our big short. Sort of, if we just did that, we'd be there. And that's where I think it, we've got to change the entire mindset. So when I talk about needing bold leadership here, I think we need bold leadership at all levels of governance. I think we need it in citizenry, I think we need it in business, we don't see that. We understand, it's a global understanding of what we are. Again, if you look at you know, Canton Township 20 miles east of here next to Westland 25 miles east of here, for the last 50 years, they've been staring down at each other as competitioned in the economic development field for a Ford plant, for a dollar store like we just saw or whatever it might be. They're not in competition with one another. Greater Detroit's in competition with global, with places all over the globe. You know, can we come there? Can we attract talent? Can our people live in the kind of places they want to live? Can they flourish? Will they stay there? Those are the things that businesses are asking, so the blue collar town and the affluent suburb and the gritty downtown and the cool hipster markets in the college, everything else, we're all in it together using our assets of today to try to figure out how we can go forward. And from a big short perspective, we're still talking about 1980 and building plants and trying to steal a GM plant from Tennessee. A knowledge based economy, higher education investment, we do a horrible job of investing in higher education in this state. And I'm not one to say invest, invest, invest, but you know, I thought about this a number of years ago. You're at a place that is the economic driver, the largest single economic driver in the entire state, by a mile, and it's not even close, when you're throwing the University of Michigan, it's hospital and all the entrepreneurial activity that kicks out from it. Ain't even close. And I can tell you, and I don't know if there's any faculty here that's ever been to Lansing to beg for money, it's not fun. And it's an issue. We have 15 public universities and 40 some private ones, and they're all similar to what happens here on different scales, MSU being similar and places like Alma College being very important. Alma opened up you know, too far up outside of it. And we just sort of turn and push and move away from that kind of thing. So it doesn't make a great deal of sense. At the University of Michigan, where General Motors, and they threatened to sort of pick up and go become you know, the University of Tennessee, or Tennessee Southern or somewhere, and ask for a tax abatement, I can't even imagine how big of an abatement they would qualify for and need and get if that were the case. But instead, they're a public university, so we continue to push and punch on that stuff. And everything I just talked to you about in terms of education and jobs and everything makes a great deal of a place. Quality of place matters, and again from regional focus. If any of you are looking at government as a potential, as a potential career, or have been looking at local government here in Michigan, has seen Detroit's bankruptcy, and some of the issues that we're dealing with, everything gets talked about in terms of regionalism. And to me that's sort of a cop out, because there's not a lot of regional savings from combining a police department or something that. There's some there but it's not the end of the world, believe me. But what we need more is a regional focus and a regional strategy of how we're going to move forward. That's what I talked about a few minutes ago in terms of getting everybody to think in terms of how do we take an asset of U of M, of a great international airport, of a cool, chic downtown like Detroit that's getting different types of people to come into it, that want to be part of sort of regrowing it and how we all sort of work together on those types of things is what we need to do regionally. And I would offer the research triangle in North Carolina and what they did in Boston around the universities there about 20 years ago quite frankly, as ways to look at that kind of stuff and how they can leverage one another to create something somewhat unique and really special. So there's a nice Ann Arbor picture. Again, including people is there. We talked about that and we've talked about our infrastructure and how we get sort of everybody to think about things. This is a little about art, it's a little bit about engagement, those types of things. Again, I would argue are very important to an economy, just to superficialists or feel good stuff on the outside which they've always sort of been looked at. So that ends my prepared remarks. I hope I left some time, yes, for questions or challenges because I would appreciate both if you've got them. And with that I will say thank you and ask if we have questions. Everybody still awake?
>> Yeah, still there?
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