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Richard M. Daley is spending his last week as Chicago mayor. As if to bid him goodbye, thousands of tulips have burst into bloom on Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile.

The two are closely related. In nearly 22 years as mayor, Daley made the beautification of the city a top priority in his efforts at economic redevelopment. If Chicago looked attractive, tourists and business travelers would be more likely to come, and residents would feel better about their city, or so he reasoned.

Changing Gears reporter Niala Boodhoo looked at Daley’s approach to beautification and his other efforts to spur development on the eve of Chicago’s mayoral election in February.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (Photo courtesy of Kate Gardiner, WBEZ Flickr)

On Monday, the public has been invited to bid farewell to Daley at City Hall from 1 pm to 4 pm. He’ll be succeeded next Monday by Rahm Emanuel, the former Congressman and White House Chief of Staff.

Daley is far from alone in using beautification as an approach to attracting visitors and business. Last week, Holland, Mich., kicked off its annual Tulip Festival, which attracts more than 500,000 a year to the town on Lake Michigan. The festival, which began in 1927, runs through Saturday.

Farther afield, Ottawa, Ontario, is celebrating its own tulip festival through May 23. The Canadian capital is awash in tulips each year, thanks to the gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs from The Netherlands marking the close association between Holland and Canada during World War II.

And New Yorkers look forward to the annual displays of tulips and other flowers on Park Avenue and at Rockefeller Center. This year’s tulips were orange, planted in honor of the Netherlands.

Does your Midwest city make an effort to spruce up its downtown? What does it plant — and do you think it makes a difference

Send your pictures to and we’ll post them here.

American 2050 reports:

A new study, “The Economic Impacts of High Speed Rail: Transforming the Midwest,” outlines the potential benefits of a high-speed rail system in the Midwest Megaregion with it’s $2.6 trillion economy, the fifth largest in the world, behind only the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany.

Download the executive summary.

Read more from the Midwest High Speed Rail Association web site.

Midwest High Speed Rail Association 2011 Economic Study Executive Summary

See this made me smile. I probably should go back into the BFD archives and find all the posts and comments re: this. Suffice it to say we told you so:

In April 2006, the Richard Florida show arrived in the Southern Tier of Upstate New York. It was only one of the scores of appearances this decade by the economic-development guru, whose speaking fee soared to $35,000 not long after his 2002 book The Rise of the Creative Class made him a star on the lecture circuit. Cleveland, Toledo, Baltimore, Greensboro, Green Bay, Des Moines, Hartford, Roanoke, and Rochester were among the many cities that had already shelled out to hear from the good-looking urban-studies professor about how to get young professionals to move in.

Of course, none of these burgs has yet completed the transformation from post-manufacturing ugly duckling to gay-friendly, hipster swan…

Apparently, Florida is reaching for the brass ring, only consulting with cities who can afford his blotted consulting salary: “In a warm-up to his next book — The Great Reset, due out in April — Florida has been arguing that the recession has so decimated many cities and regions that it’s time for the country to cut its losses and instead encourage growth in places that are prospering, like Silicon Valley, Boulder, Austin, and North Carolina’s Research Triangle.”

via Economic Development Marketing: The Ruse of the Creative Class.

In Part I, I told you about the emergence of the first killer app of open fabrication (formerly known as open source digital fabrication).

In Part II, I showed you that it works.

Now, Part III – Cliché Time

The train has left the station. It’s Game On!

Though leaves are falling and that Arctic wind is close…things just get hotter and hotter…

Now, a mere three months removed from Part II, not only am I using my open source 3d printers to print 3d objects, I’m also manufacturing parts to improve these machines and I’m shipping these parts all over the world.

And, there is a good article (with a silly title) and accompanying video on the WSJ homepage today about the resurgence of Making. (If you watch the video intro carefully you’ll even see MakerGear whiz by) From first print to WSJ cameo in three months…it’s happening, happening fast and happening everywhere. Well, except for Cleveland…

Where have all the makers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the makers gone
Long time ago…

Maybe we can start to change this at Cleveland Startup Weekend. I have one more ticket to the event and I’d like to take a local maker. Let’s spark a local resurgence…tap into this wave of innovative energy…Surfs Up, Dude.

Let me know if you want to Hang Five at #SWCLE.

Press play to hear the Hawaii Five-0 theme.


Looking forward to Startup Weekend Cleveland Nov. 20-22. It is going to be a fun-can-do-action-packed event. Get your tixs:

Can’t make the whole event? Buy a Sunday Night Demo Ticket for only $20 and join us Sunday evening around 5pm for drinks and final presentations.

I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this conversation on Issues 5 and 6 particularly Nina Turner and Mike Foley. I think you’ll have a much different perspective on this issues if you’ll give this a listen. It’s worth listening to the entire hour, particular for Marc Canter’s question towards the end.

My friend Di is co-charing this event: IPM’s 2009 Annual Luncheon featuring Hina Shah of India’s International Centre for Entrepreneurship & Career Development. A great op to support IPM’s work while learning how ICECD is creating “a new cadre of Entrepreneurs, Managers and Specialized Professionals to foster the process of non-reversible socio-economic development on the global map.”

What are you doing tomorrow night after work? I’ll be speaking here: NEO Premiere of PolyCultures v1.2 @ CSU: The Social Media & Sustainability Conversations. Join us?

“Shields imagines a day when the Botanical Garden and the city collaborate on an urban farm with a large-scale composting facility and an all-season greenhouse that operates with renewable energy.”

Growing more than food in inner city | GreenCityBlueLake

Part I is here.

A month ago I posted about the revolution in digital fabrication and the emergence of the first killer app…the MakerBot Cupcake desktop CNC machine…

Printer with ABS plastic

My Bot constructed from 50 year old douglas fir plywood.

Under $1,000 for the complete 3d printer kit including print material – easy to assemble, totally open source, customizable, out-pacing demand, a win on many levels…and…

Pulley printed in ABS plastic

A pulley it printed.

…it works!!