All Detroit’s a Stage

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“Detroit is big enough to matter in the world and small enough for you to matter in it.”

That quote is from a conversation with Jeanette Pierce, CEO of the City Institute, at the DDP’s Centennial Celebration in Campus Martius Park.

What I love about this is that it speaks directly to our need for both outward thinking and inclusivity in our planning.

When the public and private sectors come together to pitch regional, national and international events – and we’re getting darn good at it – we take a holistic view of what we offer as a Downtown. Detroit is important, and sports organizations, significant publications and conference planners are taking note. (City planners around the country are also taking notes, as I learned at a recent presentation at Harvard.)

And when these same organizations  — including the DDP — plan events within the city and Downtown, we look more inward. What would be best for the residents and businesses? What would engage our diverse set of constituents? What would enhance our cultural norms and values? How do we leverage single events to make a lasting impact?

We’re darn good at this, too, as witnessed over the past year culminating with last month’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Detroit Tree Lighting. The multiplier effect we saw for these – Downtown companies and groups of friends and families planning their own events —  is a perfect example. We create a critical mass of events that individuals and organizations can embrace as their own.

We are making Detroit a national stage and a place for local theatre. A place where people can curate their own entertainment using our parks, riverfront and city streets as their set.

Here’s another quote; from Melissa Roy, president of Roy Public Affairs Management:

“Detroit is like an Airbnb. Sometimes we live in it, and sometimes we dress it up and let others enjoy it. Either way, it’s a win.”

Well said, ladies. Well said.

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