May 18, 2015 – Westland
May 19, 2015 – Comstock Park

Michigan suburbs have faced a variety of challenges in recent years. Local governments, businesses, and residents took a hit during the recession. Changing demographics for a more connected lifestyle from both millennials and empty-nesters have increased the need to think innovatively about suburban redevelopment.

What can suburbs do to breathe new life into their underperforming properties? The Suburban Summits offered a day full of solutions, with experts sharing a variety of ideas on how to transform challenging sites into economy-bolstering gems.

Suburban Summit Recap

Power Points

  • The Business Case for Place – Anthony Minghine, Associate Executive Director & COO, Michigan Municipal League (download pdf)
  • Trends and Finance in Suburban Communities – Mark Nickita, AIA, Archive DS (download pdf)
  • Retrofitting Suburbia – Ellen Dunham-Jones, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Georgia Tech, Co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia (download pdf) (order book)
  • Debunking the Myth – Jennifer Rigterink, Manager of Redevelopment Ready Communities (MEDC) (download pdf)




[vimeo width=”500″ height=”281″]https://vimeo.com/129658513[/vimeo]

Speaker: Anthony Minghine, Associate Executive Director & COO, Michigan Municipal League

The economic model in Michigan is broken, and what is needed is a new way forward. How have the last decade’s economic factors impacted local finances, and what can new strategies mean for municipal budgets?

[vimeo width=”500″ height=”281″]https://vimeo.com/129661198[/vimeo]

Speaker: Mark Nickita, AIA; President, Archive DS

Among the many challenges that our suburban communities face are the dual impacts of declining revenue and underutilized commercial property. The recent recession deepened the challenge in both of these areas. As our economy improves, it is important for local leaders to understand the interrelations between how you can breathe new life into underperforming commercial buildings and improve your community’s bottom line.

This session will outline current municipal financial conditions, detail the historic ROI behind suburban commercial development, and offer bold, innovative strategies for making your city’s commercial properties more competitive and improve your tax base.

[vimeo width=”500″ height=”281″]https://vimeo.com/129876993[/vimeo]

Speaker: Ellen Dunham-Jones, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Georgia Tech, Co-Author of Retrofitting Suburbia

If core cities are conventionally understood as old places with new buildings versus suburbs as newer places with simulations of older buildings, how do we make sense of suburban retrofits? How do these projects challenge expectations of responsible design—both in terms of respect for the immediate context and increasing the competiveness of the suburb and the metropolitan areas? How should we evaluate their success?