Posts From September, 2018

Detroit Sustainability Director Talks Equity, Environment, and Economy at NASEO Annual Meeting

Detroit Sustainability Director Talks Equity, Environment, and Economy at NASEO Annual Meeting

On September 24th, NASEO kicked off the 2018 Annual Meeting with keynote Joel Howrani Heeres, the City of Detroit’s Director of Sustainability, who addressed how sustainable energy and transportation can help cities and states address pressing challenges and priorities.


Howrani-Heeres emphasized the need for resident engagement. “How do we enable Detroiters to produce less waste, use less water, conserve energy, and interact with their government? How do we make the government a partner rather than an inhibitor? How do we train Detroiters to participate in this green economy?”


His presentation had a large focus on inequality in Detroit as well. “We need to talk about the triple bottom line… but equity is most important. Then after that, we have economy and environment. We know the city is growing economically, but is it equitable growth? Is it inclusive growth?”


The city of Detroit has 14 sustainability ambassadors who engage residents (over 16,000 thus far) through town halls and in-person visits. These ambassadors have also analyzed over 600 existing locations in Detroit to identify trends and gaps in existing sustainability actions in Detroit in order to work on ways to improve these issues. A large focus of this effort is on improving housing.


To learn more about Detroit’s sustainability efforts and get involved in the conversation, visit www.courb.co/detroit.

Things to Do in Detroit!

Things to Do in Detroit!

As a bustling international city, Detroit has limitless things to do, especially with the greater state of Michigan as a magnificent backdrop.  Michigan is bordered by four Great lakes and is home to 11,000 lakes within the state, providing abundant opportunities for the adventurous at heart.  The city of Detroit also sits on the Detroit River, with Windsor, Canada on the other side, only a quarter mile away.  Bring your passport if you want to visit! For a recent piece of history, walk through the Woodlawn Cemetery to see Aretha Franklin’s grave. For some older history, check out the Motown museum, home to Studio A, a famous recording studio, and the flat where Berry Gordy lived. Brewery and riverboat tours as well as getting outdoors in Belle Isle State Park are popular attractions for people new to the area too.  The Charles H. Write Museum of African American History and Ford Rouge Factory, where the F-150 was built, are also options.  Special visits on the Annual Meeting program include General Motor’s Detroit-Hamtramck Plant Tour; the Detroit Institute of Art, which houses the Diego Rivera murals; and a Henry Ford Museum Tour, taking us back in time to what the city looked like in the early 20th century.

Detroit Restaurants

Detroit Restaurants

Detroit has everything from glamorous black tie restaurants to hole-in-the-wall bars and swanky jazz club eats. The range spans “Detroit Vegan Soul Food” to the “best sandwich in America” (found at Slows Bar BQ).  And better yet, it’s known for its local ingredients due to being one of the most agriculturally diverse areas in the U.S. Some Michigan must-have eats include Mackinac Island fudge, fresh caught whitefish, artisan cheeses, and “Detroit-style pizza” at famous Buddy’s Pizza.  Coney dogs are an additional Detroit staple, a variation on the classic American hot dog.  The famous coney dog dispute over who invented the first coney dog, either the restaurant Lafayette Coney Island or its rival American Coney Island, is right across the street from the convention center.  Eastern Market is also very close by, a walkable attraction for a number of food hotspots.

Detroit’s Renaissance

Detroit’s Renaissance

In the early 1900s, Detroit was a booming industrial town, put on the map by hosting Henry Ford’s first car factory. GM and Chrysler soon found a home in Detroit as well, which spurred population growth and innovation in the region. Detroit has experienced an incredible revitalization since the 20th century though, and is no longer recognizable as merely an industrial town.  Over $24 billion has been invested in renovation projects since 2006.  Midtown Detroit is now named one of the 25 hottest neighborhoods in America. The city is home to four major sports teams; an emerging walkable 50-block hub called District Detroit, chock full of restaurants, bars, businesses, and parks; and a thriving riverfront scene.  The city has a widespread bike share system as well as a new streetcar, called the QLine.  This summer, DTE Energy built Beacon Park in the middle of the city, which houses food trucks, a restaurant, walking paths, and ample space for sports and music.  Detroit is now known as a romantic getaway full of history, activity, and life. We are excited to explore what the city has to offer at our Annual Meeting!