The Detroit skyline. (Image via Shutterstock)
The Detroit skyline. (Image via Shutterstock)

I spent the long weekend in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by a bunch of very smart people, from many walks of life. It was a bit of a schlep to get to, but perhaps there’s something about the mountain air that clarifies one’s thoughts. It certainly gave me ideas for our remaining Techonomy programs this year. The mountains also reinforced my affinity for cities and anything related to them. I appreciate the great outdoors, which in turn makes me appreciate cities even more. There’s little that beats seeing the Manhattan skyline after a few days away.
Speaking of cities … our FOURTH Techonomy Detroit is coming up September 15. It’s amazing to have watched what’s happened in Detroit over the course of these four years. My first trip there was just before Christmas in 2011. It was freezing, grey, and desolate. And it was clear that Detroit was where we wanted to create our first additional Techonomy conference beyond our flagship November two-day retreat.
Techonomy Detroit has never been about Detroit per se, but about key national issues that many cities are confronting. It is a remarkable and tenacious city, whose history helps illustrate the urgency of the issues we wanted to focus on, especially pertaining to jobs and urban revival. It also helped us hone in on issues like education, civic tech, the maker movement, entrepreneurship, the sharing economy, open data, mobility … just to name a few.
Here are highlights from our Detroit programs over the past three years:

  • Gabriella Gómez-Mont of the Laboratory of Mexico City on Complex-Cities
  • Danae Ringelmann of Indiegogo, Marlin Page of Sisters Code, Chris Genteel of Google, Laura Mather of Unitive, Brian Forde formerly at the White House, and author Andrew Keen in a powerful discussion about inclusion and the tech industry
  • Jennifer Bradley of the Aspen Institute together with Susan Crawford of Harvard on Responsive Cities

You can also watch this short highlight video about the whole event in 2012.