Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Planning Manager Tim Kelly emails a weekly GR Forward update to the project Steering Committee. Here's this week's communication:

Good Morning Everyone:

I hope you had a great week.


Two quick updates for you this week.

First, the public launch for GR Forward went extremely well last weekend (6/6 & 6/7). We were able to take advantage of the great crowds at both Movies in the Park and Festival of the Arts. At both events, we had team members circulating in the crowds to explain the goals of GR Forward, and ask participants what their one big idea is for improving both Downtown and the River. If you have not seen any of the photos from the input we received, make sure you check out our Instagram feed here:

Second, earlier this week a new feature was added to our project website at: The interactive map at the bottom of the page is a great tool and allows for website visitors to leave site specific comments. The comments are incredibly useful, especially when it comes to making project recommendations. Please make sure to visit the site to provide some feedback. Also, feel free to share the website with anyone you think may be interested.


This is article from City Lab is good read about trying to standardize metrics for city evaluation.

A new ISO standard, similar to the system used for financial management, electrical engineering, and a host of other industries, has been created to evaluate world cities. The tool is designed to allow cities to compare themselves against each other on a standardized scale. Just as important, it will allow citizens to see how well their cities are performing in a variety of categories, including environmental conditions, debt, and a number of other performance categories.

As the article points out, the goal of the ISO standard is to encourage higher levels of city service delivery by making the data open and transparent. The need to collect and verify data could improve cities’ credit and bond ratings, appealing to investment decision-makers. Cities that show high performance may also be able to argue more forcefully for higher national government assistance and tax sharing. While no two cities are the same, evaluating them using a standardized criteria has practical applications for helping improve both services and quality of life.

If you have any questions on anything please let me know. Otherwise, have a great weekend!