Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blog Release: Collaborative Rust Belt

From the Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE):

Sharing Opinions
You read last time how urgently we need Great Lakes city-lovers and livers to be loud about our assets, our needs and our strength in numbers.

Apparently the Detroit Free Press agrees. In a recent editorial, Free Press editors made a passionate plea for mega-regionalism, reminding readers of the American South´s successful effort to do the same, changing the dynamics of electoral politics in the process. We could not be more excited about their call to action. Please urge you local paper to follow in the Free Press´s footsteps (see our Toolkit for a sample letter).

The paper is also running a series of editorials calling for much-needed national focus on our urban cores. And the Free Press isn´t the only one demanding attention to urban issues in this year´s Presidential election. A New York Times editorial ¸although not regionally specific, recently argued for cities to serve as more than an occasional backdrop for Presidential politics.

With the Pennsylvania primary fast approaching and Indiana not far behind, Great Lakes primaries will play a central role in the yet undecided Democratic contest. Whatever your party affiliation or candidate preference, don´t pass up the opportunity to make cities and not just any cities, our cities ­ matter this Presidential election.

QUESTION: Do you think a Presidential Debate should take place devoted specifically to the concerns of Great Lakes States? Post your comments here.

Grab a Seat at your Local Table
In early April, GLUE will hold the first of monthly meetings to take place simultaneously across the region.

Any and everyone in a GLUE target city (Akron, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Des Moines, Detroit, Duluth, Erie, Flint, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lansing, Louisville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Rochester, St. Louis, Toledo, Youngstown) is welcome to participate.

Although we will continue to use twice weekly "fireside chat" conference calls to share our mission and plans with the uninitiated, GLUE table meetings will get things moving on the ground.

At monthly local meetings GLUE team members will:

  • Discuss region-wide issues with local peers, ie: water, transit, population decline, freshwater technology;
  • Elevate local issues to the entire GLUE region, maximizing the impact of our comparative conversation; and
  • Strategize about upcoming events such as a summer weblaunch, as well as collaborate on articles for and projects of GLUEspace.

*** Please note that just because your city is listed does NOT mean we have already organized a meeting there. That´s why we need your help! A complete set of instructions will be available on our website soon.

Ahoy, GLUEsters! Healing Our Waters Cruise Coming to an Older Industrial City Near You
We are pleased to announce a partnership with the Healing Our Waters--Great Lakes Coalition on their Healthy Lakes Healthy Lives Campaign. This summer, with the help of the National Wildlife Federation and National Parks Conservation Association, HOW will be sending the Earth Voyager on a cruise of the Great Lakes, stopping in the ports of many GLUE cities. Earth Voyager is a unique, 60' long, 40' wide trimaran with a mast that stands 97' off the water. Check out the Healthy Lakes Healthy Lives Tour site for pictures and more information.

Each of these stops will provide a great opportunity to talk about invasive species, water treatment, toxic hotspots, green businesses, waterfront access, and how cleaning up our water makes good economic sense. In addition, it's a great opportunity to network with other non profits and gain exposure for what we´re doing.

We´ll be using the tour to launch discussions about these and other water-related issues in each of our GLUE cities, and will help HOW showcase some of the wonderful things that we've stumbled across.

If you´d like to be involved in planning the Earth Voyager´s stop in your city (anyone is welcome to help) and live in Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, Rochester, or Buffalo, email Janice Littlefield at bythequay@comcast.net. Planning meetings are being held over the next two weeks in each of the above cities - so act quick!

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