Are you excited for 2018 in metro Detroit? We asked our writers and photographers to tell us what excites them the most about the region and what they are looking forward to in 2018.
What are you looking forward to? Tell us in the comments!
Nina Ignaczak, Managing Editor
I’m excited about the evolution of the local media landscape. In December, the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund announced $322,000 in funding for new programs and new media outlets with a focus on community engagement. For example, WDET will partner with Chicago-based City Bureau to engage citizens in journalistic activities such as covering public meetings. I’m curious to see how some of our established media outlets adopt new ways to engage with their readers.
One of these grants funds newcomer Tostada Magazine, spearheaded by local journalist Serena Maria del Refugio in partnership with Allied Media Projects. The magazine is covering the local food system with an emphasis on the diverse voices Another newcomer I am looking forward to is former Freep staffer Ashley Wood’s Detour project. Her media startup will offer a subscription email newsletter product, mixing curated stories with original reported pieces. I’m guessing it will be a must-read.
I’m also super-psyched for Metromode parent company Issue Media Group’s new project, Driven, edited by Metromode contributor Claire Charlton. The project will chronicle metro Detroit’s journey in the mobility and autonomous vehicle technology space.
On the airwaves, we have Ferndale Radio redefining community radio in metro Detroit’s hippest suburb. In other audio news, check out the Mismatch Podcast, produced by Zak Rosen and hosted by WDIV-TV anchor Roger Weber.
And finally, I’m excited about Metromode’s evolution in 2018! We’ll be continuing our deep dive into the inner-workings of the suburban cities you know and love, looking at new businesses, walkability, housing trends, and we have a few new tricks up our sleeve as well. Got an idea for a story? Drop me a line.
Karen Dybis, Writer
As an author, freelance writer and all-around news nerd, what I’m the most excited to learn about in 2018 is how metro Detroit capitalizes in on its growing reputation, smart planning and overall storytelling as established in huge plans such as the Amazon second headquarters pitch.
Metro Detroit has it all in terms of a rich architectural past, amazing historical figures, smart entrepreneurs and impressive investors. What this region needs the most in 2018 is a way to put it all together in a cohesive way that excites the rest of the world.
The word is out about how this region has changed (see Michigan as a comeback state or the many articles about Detroit in the New York Times), but how much does the rest of the nation know about our investments in autonomous vehicles, connected technology, and mobility in terms of our infrastructure?
That’s a story I’d like to see promoted more in the New Year.
David Sands, Writer
I'm happy to keep learning about the continued embrace of non-motorized transportation in Southeast Michigan.
Five Oakland County communities have received Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) money as part of $9.2 million allocated for 22 regional projects for the 2018 fiscal year.
These include crosswalks for Woodward Avenue in Birmingham, a trail extension connecting downtown Lake Orion and the Paint Creek Trail and a shared use bridge for the trail in Oakland Township, a road diet and non-motorized facilities in Oak Park, and safe school routes for the Huron Valley District Schools in Highland Township. So I'm excited to watch the region become a more walkable and bikeable place in 2018.
Kate Roff, Writer
Growing up in Australia, Detroit was always idolized as a Mecca of contemporary music. Bands from “down under” clamored for the chance to tour the city’s infamous stages and I think perhaps we sometimes take for granted how rich the music scene really is here.
For 2018 I can’t wait to see more recognition and celebration of Detroit’s music heritage. With the recent Hudson-Webber Foundation $500,000 grant to renovate the Motown Museum, I look forward to seeing expansions unfold there, as well as a revitalized public interest in some of the original sound spaces, like the Royal Oak Theatre, the Fillmore, and the Fox.
Some of the best bands from around the world will make the pilgrimage to our neighborhoods this year; Gang of Youths (who just took out Australia’s top music award) will play at Ferndale’s The Loving Touch in March, Sweden’s First Aid Kit will appear at the 100-year-old St Andrew’s Hall in February, as will the UK’s The Wombats, and England’s Stomp will grace the iconic Fox Theater in March. It turns out if you build a stage, they will come.
Lish Dorset, Writer
Getting to speak with community leaders, small business owners, and passionate residents across the metro Detroit area this year, I’m incredibly encouraged and excited to see cities, both big and small, reimagining themselves to attract new opportunities and offer the best services for their residents, trends that will no doubt define 2018.
Whether it’s shaking up what a traditional downtown looks like or how a small city continues to think big for the future, metro Detroit cities are thinking creatively when it comes to unique growth and development.
As Detroit continues to garner national attention, there’s never been a better time for our entire region to also show off what they have to offer in the new year.
Dorothy Hernandez, Writer
As someone who covers food in southeastern Michigan, I am looking forward to a more diverse dining scene in 2018. Last year we saw new restaurants open (and get attention) that didn't fit into the small plates/New American/farm to table mold we've seen lately in metro Detroit.
Last year Baobab Fare won Hatch Detroit, Maty's built a lot of buzz for its Senegalese food, and Edo Ramen opened recently, offering Filipino food in Royal Oak (which is near and dear to my heart).
I'm also looking forward to (hopefully) a more robust discussion on public transit. The recent news about SMART's new FAST service, linking downtown Detroit to the airport as well as the suburbs to the city with new express service, was encouraging.
What's next for public transit in southeastern Michigan? A millage in 2016 failed, but leaders should revisit the issue sooner rather than later, especially since mass transit is on Amazon's wish list as it seeks a city to build a second headquarters.
Elizabeth Clark, Writer
As a Dearborn native, I am most looking forward to Wagner Place, the $60 million-plus Ford Motor Company and City of Dearborn development project that will transform a two-block chunk of downtown west Dearborn into a mixed-use space for Ford employee offices and retail and restaurant establishments.
The old Wagner Hotel, whose turret is still the focal point of the west downtown landscape, will also be renovated; and streetscaping elements like planted medians, streetlights and improved pedestrian crosswalks will be implemented in the designs.
Our trademark here is to shine a light on our future and to preserve the integrity of the past, so I am excited to see both old and new stories come together to create a great place to work, live, and play.
David Lewinski, Photographer
Looking ahead to 2018, it seems almost impossible not to be enthusiastic about the changes taking place in Detroit and metro Detroit. There are a few main developments I’m keeping my eye on.
Since I live in Royal Oak one of these is just on the other side of I-696; the Iron Ridge Development slated for the Iron Ridge district in Pleasant Ridge/Ferndale. I’ve always thought that metro Detroit was primed for an epic food hall and it looks like this may be the development that finally contains one!
Another couple of things that have planned groundbreaking this year is the Hudson Site development and the Gordie Howe Bridge. I’m in my mid-thirties, so I’ve never been able to see a large-scale skyscraper built in the city. The closest thing, of course, would be the Compuware building but to me, that’s not really a skyscraper.
Another thing I’ve never seen is a bridge being built. Now, maybe it seems selfish for me to pick a few things simply because I haven’t seen them before, but to me, a bridge and a skyscraper both represent a shift in progress in our area. The benefit of a second bridge to Canada to open up more trade could have an enormous economic effect on a large part of southeast Michigan.
For me, that’s an inspiring thought going into 2018; that we finally see some game-changing developments that can help shape a progressive southeastern Michigan economy.