Detroit: The Host With the Least

Post ImageI’m sure the mood was jubilant in Detroit yesterday as the Super Bowl went off without a hitch. I have to wonder how long it will last though, after reading a very interesting Slate article which examines the city and the sorry state it appears to be in:

Local architects have set up displays in seven abandoned buildings and more than 20 eye-level store windows near Ford Field so that passers-by won’t be greeted by gated or boarded-up shops. In addition, the city has spent money to turn some vacant buildings in the area into temporary memorabilia shops. They will most likely return to their previous state once visitors—and Super Bowl retailers—have left town following the game.

Sounds like a lot of patchwork right? That’s the general vibe the article gives – that Detroit is almost a city in ruins, and they have no idea how to redevelop it. The Super Bowl would have been a great chance, but it seems they missed the boat on that one.

But the main explanation for these missteps is Detroit’s perennial problem: Suburbanites don’t need the city. The resources that most cities offer—high-end restaurants, movie theaters, retail, museums, hotels—are located in the suburbs instead of the city core.

When people talk about the city of Edmonton, there is much of the same – too much development has occurred in the suburbs, the downtown core is dying, etc. Fortunately our city has seen a great revival of the downtown area in the last few years, so maybe Detroit can too one day.

Read: Slate

Nice Weather in Edmonton!

Downtown Edmonton from Stadium LRT #1The last couple days here in Edmonton have been rather nice! Fairly sunny and clear, and not too windy. The only bad part has been the tiny little bits of snow mixed in with the brown muck. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve had a warm winter. It’s about 8 degrees celcius here right now, and around the same is expected for tomorrow. Looks like the weekend will be a little cooler.

I took this photo yesterday afternoon from the platform at the Stadium LRT station. It’s kind of an interesting view of our city’s downtown – normally photos are taken from the other side, where it’s a little more picturesque. There’s a few more in my photostream too.

UofA Heads Downtown

Post ImageWell it’s official! The proposal from the University of Alberta to purchase the aging Hudson’s Bay building in downtown Edmonton was unanimously approved by the University’s Board of Governors today. From today’s Edmonton Journal:

Gary Kachanoski, the U of A’s vice-president of research, said the deal would harnesses the intellectual and research power of the university to establish Edmonton and the surrounding area as the next knowledge-based sector in North America. The total cost of buying the building and refurbishing it will be about $62 million.

Of the city’s money, $7.5 million will go towards renovating the former Hudson’s Bay building to house the TEC Centre – which will give affordable space on the building’s third floor, and eventually its second floor, to fledgling technology-based companies. The University of Alberta will match that amount.

Sounds like they want to get things moving quickly too. If the purchase goes through successfully, construction will begin this fall with the first tenants moving in sometime in the next 12 to 18 months.

As I have said before, I think the deal is excellent for the University and for Edmonton’s downtown. I’m really glad the deal is going go through!

Read: Edmonton Journal