1. Bridging the Border: Collaborative Solutions to Enhance Kelly Road

    Mark Rivett posted May 9, 2018
    Read the full report
    Kelly Road Satellite View

    Kelly Road forms the 1.2 mile-long boundary between Greater Regent Park, a neighborhood in northeast Detroit, and Harper Woods, a small suburb of Detroit.

    Leaders from the City of Harper Woods and LifeBUILDERS, a non-profit organization serving the Greater Regent Park community in northeast Detroit, asked a team of eight graduate students from the Taubman University of Michigan Urban and Regional Planning Program to identify strategies to enhance retail and economic vitality. The project was shaped by community engagement that included resident focus groups and interviews, along with a survey of area business owners along the corridor. Urban Planning’s Harley Etienne and Eric Dueweke identified the Capstone project and led their students through the research and design process.

    Kelly Road forms the border between the cities of Detroit and Harper Woods in the northeast corner of Wayne County, Michigan. It was once a thriving commercial corridor, providing goods and services for local residents. In the present day, Kelly Road struggles with vacancy, blight, and declining economic activity.

    Kelly Road is remembered by many residents as a vibrant, family-centered retail and residential corridor that served the neighboring communities. As population and incomes declined, Kelly Road suffered from disinvestment which resulted in many commercial vacancies and a loss of vibrancy. The imminent closing of Eastland Center, a large shopping mall located in Harper Woods, adds to the declining retail landscape.

    “Kelly Road had a diner called TJs and it was a Friday night staple where family could meet. Waitresses knew what your kids ate…Kelly Road was a social atmosphere,” said one resident.
    “Biggest thing is teenagers that don’t have a place to hang out. [We need] some kind of place for kids to go.” said another.
    Bridging Border Team

    Bridging the Border Team: Grace Cho, Yu-Hung Kuo, JP Mansolf, Michelle Rubin, Anna Shires, Jordan Solano-Reed, Dewi Tan, Emilie Yonan

    Through research, the collaborative effort crafted recommendations to strengthen the retail corridor in ways that reflect the desires of residents and business owners. Recommendations focus on recapturing revenue lost to alternative shopping destinations, galvanizing business owners and their consumers to further invest in the corridor, and reviving the local economy by:

    1. Increasing the variety of retail businesses
    2. Marketing Kelly Road
    3. Encouraging local entrepreneurship
    4. Supporting existing business owners
    5. Improving consumers’ opinions on quality of goods and services
    Read the full report

  2. Road Scholars tour gives faculty, staff new perspectives and ideas

    Mark Rivett posted May 7, 2018
    Read Full Article at The University Record

    From a startup incubator in the heart of Detroit to a school district in rural northern Michigan, the weeklong Michigan Road Scholars tour of the state energized 29 U-M faculty and staff with new perspectives and ideas for action.

    Days and evenings packed with opportunities to listen to community leaders, business owners large and small, students, government officials and nonprofits showed tour participants a side of the state even Michigan natives hadn’t seen before.

    Assistant Professor, Family Medicine Assistant Professor of Information, School of Information Lorraine Buis

    Lorraine (Laurie) Buis, Ph.D.

    Laurie Buis, assistant professor of family medicine and of information, found the trip invaluable in helping expand her research into informing policy. Her work focuses on the use of mobile technology for chronic disease self-management, especially in underserved populations.

    “I’m kind of done having my research stop at publication,” Buis said. “Why am I doing this if I can’t effect change? I want to be a better communicator of my science to the public, and to policymakers. In order to do that I need to see different parts of the state through a different lens.”

    “So many things have an impact on our health — for instance education and socioeconomic status. So, getting a better understanding of health issues statewide was important to me.”
    John G Searle Professor of Internal Medicine Professor and Chair Department of Internal Medicine Professor of Human Genetics John M. Carethers

    John M Carethers , M.D.

    The tour sparked an interest in community involvement for John Carethers, professor and chair of internal medicine and professor of human genetics, as he saw challenges he didn’t know existed and ways that organizations are finding to address them.

    “I’ve seen that a passionate person can make a big difference in a community,” he said. “We’re a little insulated at the university, and I think we have to be more aware of not only the issues around the state but the power of a community to make a positive difference.”

    Author: Terrence Kosdrosky

    terrykos@umich.edu

  3. Michigan Road Scholars Tour to connect U-M faculty, state

    Mark Rivett posted April 30, 2018
    Read Full Article at The University Record
    Assistant Professor Tony Reames

    School for Environment and Sustainability Assistant Professor Tony Reames

    Tony Reames, assistant professor of environment and sustainability, is no stranger to community-based research while he focuses his studies on energy justice.

    But most of his collaborations have been in southeast Michigan, and that’s a big reason why he’s embarking on the 2018 Michigan Road Scholars Tour, which rolls out of Ann Arbor today.

    “I’m working on a statewide research project so I really want to learn about the rest of the state when it comes to energy issues,” Reames said. “I want to see other parts of the state outside the southeastern portion so I can understand people’s perspectives on government policy and the environment.”

    This year’s tour will visit Detroit, Midland, Mackinaw City, St. Ignace, Hessel, East Jordan, Traverse City, Grand Rapids and Lansing. The group will meet with large and small manufacturers, school districts, nonprofits, community organizations, Native American tribal leaders, city officials, economic development groups and state government. It also will visit the Sault Tribe Youth Facility and with the Kent County Human Trafficking Task Force.

    Author: Terrence Kosdrosky

    terrykos@umich.edu

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