Blog: Gregg Newsom

Gregg Newsom is a native Detroiter and co-founder of Detroit Evolution Laboratory --a wellness and education center -- in Eastern Market. He's seen Detroit through the eyes of a late 80's/early 90's anarchist punk as well as the eyes of a young professional during a recent five-year stint working for Compuware. Gregg will be writing will about how Metro Detroit needs to embrace a process of economic and community evolution rather than chasing the single big fix.

Post No. 5

The Next Detroit looks like the Super Bowl each and every year? Hmm…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I envision Detroit as a vibrant and successful city but this harkens back to the quick fix tactics that we have discussed prior. There appears to be a huge disconnect between the city’s vision and the community’s vision. We need to attract new industry, new investment and new opportunities but to avoid gentrification and encourage lasting evolutionary change we must empower the current population.

The recent
Detroit DrillDown Report by Social Compact documents impressive possibilities for economic growth in our city. This growth is possible due to untapped resources within our neighborhoods. Of course, in order for these resources to become available it is stated that we need to attract retail and industry to the local neighborhoods. Rather than inviting large retail chains and cold service organizations, I encourage individuals to create businesses that will resonate with their neighborhood. This takes hard work and dedication, but with the support of the community it becomes possible.

Angela and I have been privileged to witness the creation of a community driven organization designed to do just this.
Open City is a forum for aspiring and current business owners. Launched in September of this year by Liz Blondy of Canine To Five and Claire Nelson of Bureau of Urban Living, this group meets the third Tuesday of every month at Cliff Bell's to encourage and support new business in Detroit.

Claire and Liz have engaged in the immediacy I’ve been ranting about over the past few days. Without corporate or government backing they have presented a valuable resource for citizens who are ready to step up and create change. It seems to me they are fueled by certainties, like the DrillDown report, but they are also fueled by their dedication to and belief in Detroit. As the majority of small business owners have experienced, Detroiters are some of the most enthusiastic customers and clients you could ever hope for. Individual inspired community projects like Open City are requisite to empowering Detroit’s current population and engender the concept of participation. Liz, Claire and everyone else working with Open City are providing an invaluable resource for evolutionary and community driven revitalization of Detroit!

If you'd like you can follow these musings and explorations in a less structured form on
my blog.

I want to thank Metromode for inviting me to this forum and thank everyone for their comments and emails.

Viva Detroit! ~G