Dan Gilmartin and Melanie Piana Bring Michigan Placemaking Story to China

Posted on December 12, 2018 by
Dan Gilmartin talks about placemaking in Michigan earlier today in China!

Dan Gilmartin talks about placemaking in Michigan earlier today in China!

Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League, and League Board President Melanie Piana are wrapping up their placemaking journey in China this week.

Gilmartin and Piana, Ferndale city councilmember, are attending  Placemaking Week in Wuhan, China  to represent Michigan’s placemaking programs at the United Nation’s Habitat Conference on Placemaking. Gilmartin and Piana are attending the Wuhan conference as invited guests of UN Habitat. They even heard from an author who wrote a book about the Flint Water Crisis, called “A Poisoned City.”

Today, Gilmartin presented Michigan’s accomplishments in the field to a group of local leaders from China and several other countries. (Australia, New Zealand and Japan among them). Piana joined Gilmartin in her role as League president, Ferndale councilmember, and Jefferson East executive.


Piana stands in front of a Placemaking Week 2018 billboard in Wuhan, China.

It’s a big deal that our state organization and its members continue to be recognized as examples for others to follow, in the U.S. and globally.

Here are some of the highlights and photos from the trip as posted on Twitter and Instagram by Gilmartin and Piana:

Dec. 12:

@DPGilmartin starting the day presenting on Placemaking in Michigan, showcasing innovating strategies for connecting people, places and careers @MMLeague “Place” attracts people. #detroit #placemakingweek @PPS_Placemaking @UNHABITAT

Melanie Piana I love learning what other cities are doing to create place. @mythinkcity teaching how they to unlock lane ways to preserve local heritage. #urbanacupuncture @PPS_Placemaking #placemakingweek

They explored this historic district in Wuhan, a cobblestone neighborhood and shopping area that used to be abandoned.

“Belonging, inclusion and well-being. Mainstreet is the backbone of community life. Streets are the anchor for everyday life.” @jen_keesmaat discussing how to retrofit towers and parks into an urban neighborhood. #toronto #placemakingweek @UNHABITAT @PPS_Placemaking

Dec. 11:

Melanie Piana  @melpiana: Trees provide shade and hold up infrastructure. #exploring #electrialspaghetti #urban

Melanie Piana looks at the construction of the third tallest building in the world.

Dec. 10:

Melanie Piana  Retweeted Dan Gilmartin

The world is going forward, the US is getting further behind. It’s clear our country is stymied by austerity. World cities are working toward cleaner air and water, and the ours wants to dismantle/ignore our policies

Struck again at emphasis many countries put on building city spaces “for women, children, older persons and those with disabilities.” In U.S. we often devalue these steps, replace them w/ economic analysis. #PlacemakingWeek

Grandma and bubbles

dan_gilmartin: Bubbles. Grandma. Waterfront Park.  #placemakingweek

Dan Gilmartin: Excellent words from @jen_keesmaat on connecting the fabric of the city to its people through effective public places in Toronto. #PlacemakingWeek at­ Jiefang Park

Melanie Piana Retweeted Ashley Catherine Woods

Anna’s book A Poisoned City demonstrates how austerity and disinvestment in Michigan cities hurts our communities. Go hear her talk about #flintwatercrisis @SaveMICity

Ashley Catherine Woods @Ash_Detroit: Come learn how @annaleighclark wrote THE book on the #flintwatercrisis. Plus, free snacks. … #detroit #flint #journalism

Melanie Piana  Retweeted Dan Gilmartin: Everyone has the right to live in a great place. A strong vision to guide this city’s urban planning #placemaking efforts


dan_gilmartin: Yangtze River, Wuhan. Dozens of sporting sculptures dot the 8 km waterfront park  #placemakingweek

Dan Gilmartin: #PlacemakingWeek The Wuhan Declaration. @UNHABITAT @PPS_Placemaking @mmleague

melementp: Explored a historic district in Wuhan, a cobblestone neighborhood and shopping area that used to be vacant.  #placemaking  #placemakingweek  @unhabitat@pps_placemaking

melementp: In Wuhan participating in Placemaking Week with  @unhabitat and @pps_placemaking  @dan_gilmartin#placemaking

Dan Gilmartin moving frogs in China.

melementp: Frogs at work @hanskarssenberg and @dan_gilmartin #placemakingweek@pps_placemaking #riverfront #placemaking#wuhan

melementp: Third tallest building under construction in Wuhan. #placemakingweek#waterfront  #lunchbreak  #sunisout #buildings

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