(Editor's note: Steve Perry thought "South Detroit" sounded good for his song, even though there is no "South" Detroit.)
Less than a decade ago, the Motor City seemed headed for the scrapyard. Detroit’s unemployment rate was twice the national average, nearly 80,000 buildings stood abandoned, half the city’s parks had been shuttered and only six in 10 streetlights worked. Oh, and the city faced debts of some $20 billion (or more than $28,000 per resident).
That massive debt led the city to declare bankruptcy in 2013, making it the largest American city ever to throw in the shop towel. In approving the bankruptcy filing, Gov. Rick Snyder wrote, “I know many will see this as a low point in the city’s history.” But then he wrote this: “If so, I think it will also be the foundation of the city’s future.”
Turns out that was more than just political happy talk. Just seventeen months later, Detroit emerged from bankruptcy and began working to regain its place among America’s great cities. As Mayor Mike Duggan said the following year, “This city is on the high road, and we want the rest of the world to come here and see it. Everybody in the world has a soft spot for an underdog.”
That DEGC report highlights some impressive statistics about Detroit:
The seventh fastest growing economy among the country’s top 50 metro areas
The second highest innovation power ranking
A top-10 city (domestically and internationally) in housing affordability
And affordable housing isn’t the only thing encouraging newcomers and expats alike (yes, Detroiters uses that term) to give the city a second look. According to CBRE, office space in Detroit runs $20.46/square foot/year, compared with $65.16 in San Francisco and $74.00 in New York City. In other words, you can pick a corner office overlooking the Detroit River or a windowless cubicle in Manhattan.
Among Detroit’s key sectors are automotive and advanced mobility and advanced manufacturing (no surprise), but also medicine, food processing and “emerging industries.” Like most heartland cities, Detroit is easily accessible to most of the country, but it can also boast proximity to our neighbor to the north. In fact, Michigan lies within 500 miles of half the U.S. and Canadian populations.
While much of the attention goes to downtown, Detroit is taking a holistic approach to revitalizing a city that covers more real estate than Manhattan, Boston and San Francisco combined—138.77 square miles if you’re keeping score at home. Today, the city’s planning department is focusing on revitalizing—or maybe reimagining—neighborhoods across the city.
While the neighborhood’s revitalization is still a work in progress, it reflects how Detroit is rising from the ashes. As one local leader put it: ”trust your gut, take the hits that come at you and get it done.”
Professor Chong Ahn, an electrical and biomedical engineering professor in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, has designed a tiny portable lab device that plugs into a phone. With a single drop of blood or saliva on a custom plastic lab chip UC designed, the device smaller than a credit card can diagnose infectious diseases.
It’s a rapid diagnostic tool you can use at home. The device is accurate, simple to use, and inexpensive. “The performance is comparable to laboratory tests and the cost is cheaper,” Ahn said. “We wanted to make it simple so anyone could use it without training or support.”
Ahn is pursuing a patent to commercialize his device. Medical diagnostics company MiCo BioMed, which has offices in Cincinnati, could be interested.
“My dream for the rest of my career at UC is to improve public and mental health by providing a new mobile health tool,” he said. UC honored Ahn last year as a distinguished research professor.
The FDA has approved the use of patient-specific, 3D-printed airway stents for widespread implantation, a major breakthrough for people suffering from serious breathing disorders. Standard airway stents come pre-made, in limited sizes that may or may not fit well with a person's unique anatomy. Since no two airways are exactly alike, the use of conventional, ill-fitting stents can introduce a number of problems, including stent kinking, mucus impaction, and complications with the tissue surrounding the stents.
The bespoke stents, developed by Cleveland Clinic physician Tom Gildea, MD, are created from detailed CT scans and 3D visualization software that maps a patient's airways allowing for a perfect fit, extending the life of the silicone implants by a factor of four over their conventional counterparts.
Gildea noted, “Breathing is something many people take for granted, but for many of these patients, every breath can be a struggle. It's been gratifying to see patients receiving the customized stents feeling relief right away.”
IU discovers more genomic locations tied to skin cancer
“This is the largest genetic-associated study for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin,” Han said. “Our multidisciplinary research sheds light on new biology and the etiology of squamous cell carcinoma, confirming some important genes and also identifying genes involved in this particular cancer development.”
The researchers are expanding their population sample in an effort to locate additional risk locations. They may have their work cut out for them. The 22 locations identified so far account for only 8.5% of the “heritable risk for squamous cell skin cancer.”
Finally! An AI to connect moms with flexible employers
Co-founder and CEO Ally Myers, who graduated last year from an accelerator program run by StitchCrew, saw a need to connect mothers eager to return to the workforce with companies that were willing to help the women balance work and home life.
And instead of going the traditional resume route, which Myers says “fails to capture the hard-earned life skills that truly shape a person and contribute to the type of employee that they will be,” Suma job candidates take a skills test, record a video, and share their story. Potential employers provide details about their company culture and what they’re looking for in an employee. Then Suma uses artificial intelligence to sort through the job seekers' talents and the companies' needs to find the best matches.
Although Suma’s initial focus is on Oklahoma City, it plans to expand to Tulsa and Dallas.
It's ... Name that Flyover 'U' city!
Useless information that is strangely fascinating.
We’re taking a different track today on the trivia. We want to see if you can match the university with the flyover city in which it resides. (And, don’t get your hopes up, we’ve purposefully avoided those schools with the city in its name.)
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