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Eric Larson, Downtown Detroit Partnership.

Downtown Detroit continues its remarkable transformation, with more and more foot traffic, construction sites sprouting like weeds and new businesses opening up on the reg.

On this episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, we caught up with Eric Larson, CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, for an update on what’s happening in downtown Detroit, how it’s evolved over time and what the future could look like for the rapidly growing central business district.

“We really have tried to use the downtown quite frankly as that case study,” Larson said. “If it works downtown, we really try and make sure it’s replicable in other areas. Not only in other areas of the city, but quite frankly a lot of the public space activation and placemaking activities that we’ve been doing now for over 20 years are being done all over the country and have become sort of the buzz approaches for continuing to turn around urban centers.”

Among the topics Larson touches on:

  • The DDP’s involvement in the Super Bowl XL in 2006 (around 5:30)
  • How the DDP works with agencies outside the downtown core (just after 8 minutes)
  • The 2016 Downtown Detroit Perceptions Report (around 12 minutes)
  • How downtown is whiter and more affluent than the city overall (around 17:30)
  • Transportation options, including MoGo, the low marks given to the bus systems and last year’s failed RTA transit millage (19:45)
  • The present and possible future of the QLINE (26 minutes)
  • How the new Spirit of Detroit Plaza represents a “civic space where people can congregate” (31:30)
  • How bike lanes will transform downtown (37 minutes)
  • Early results — and future plans — for the “mighty MoGo” bike share (41:45)
  • The future of downtown, vis a vis real estate and autonomous vehicles (46:00)

Friends, this is our longest podcast episode BY FAR, but frankly there was a lot to chew over. Give it a listen and you won’t be disappointed. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Listen to the episode above, or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, via Podcast Detroit or wherever fine podcasts are downloaded. There are also more on our website here.

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