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can small ideas add up to big change for cities? 13 projects that prove they can (VIDEO)





Many conferences sell tickets by announcing high-wattage keynote speakers from Fortune 500 companies and sexy tech startups who present bold ideas for the future.

What makes Urban Innovation Exchange (Sept. 24-26 in Detroit) unique is that it's about passionate people working on the ground, doing the creative heavy lifting to make their neighborhoods and cities better.

Their projects aren't big and flashy (in fact, they're the opposite), but their visions are no less bold.

Power House Productions in Detroit and Tiny Houses in Pittsburgh. Tiny Diner & Farm in Minneapolis. Storefronts, sidewalks, alleys, farm plots, warehouses, barber shops, community kitchenschurch basements.

They're small and that's the point.

Over the course of three days in Detroit, we'll learn about 50 innovative small-scale projects from six American cities led by artists, designers, makers, entrepreneurs, and one badass mayor. Their ideas are changing the way we think about urban investment and impact.

For the line-up, click here. And for a preview, check out these 13 videos:

REVOLVE DETROIT from Manda Moran on Vimeo.


The Empowerment Plan, Detroit

Joan Vorderbruggen Activates Vacant Spaces from Forecast Public Art on Vimeo.


Food Revolution Day (Pittsburgh) on YouTube


The Makers Coalition from Ken Friberg | Cinematographer on Vimeo.

DC3 Presents: The Alley Project from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

People's Liberty Overview from People's Liberty on Vimeo.

Urban Innovation Exchange: Kitchen Connect from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

Center for Outdoor Living Design (COLD) 2013 from KSU CUDC on Vimeo.


Mt. Elliott Makerspace, Detroit


CoSign, Cincinnati



Ride It Sculpture Park, Detroit


First Batch from First Batch on Vimeo.

And an extra bonus:

Write A House, Detroit

Like what you see? Register today to join the exchange, and follow along on Facebook and Twitter at @UIXDetroit #UIXDET.

UIX is made possible thanks to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and presented in partnership with Detroit Design Festival (Sept 23-28) and Dlectricity (Sept 26-27).

Photo Credit: Poster by Roland Tiangco
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