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 All:

Hope you have had a great week.

My apologies for going quiet on the updates over the past two weeks. I was fortunate enough to travel to Brazil to catch a couple of World Cup games, and while I had emails scheduled to be sent out, alas the technology failed. My thanks to Kris for getting the update sent out last week on my behalf.


In recent news, among the many great features of having our GR Forward website up and running is that we can start tracking public involvement. This occurs not only through the interactive map feature on the site (which currently has 25 posts), but also by looking at the traffic that visits the site. Through Google Analytics, we can see that in the 21 days the website has been live, there have been 621 visits from 451 unique users. As you might expect, 93% of those 451 users are from Michigan, with a smattering coming from elsewhere in the United States (Note: We also have 6 international visits, from a combination of India, Niger, Denmark, and Canada). However, only 63% of those from Michigan are in Grand Rapids. The rest of the top 5 is as follows:

  • 1.Grand Rapids 267
  • 2.Ypsilanti Township 17
  • 3.Brighton 13
  • 4.Lansing 13
  • 5.Beechwood 12

While it is important to keep in mind the website is only a supplement to the larger community engagement activities, it is exciting to see the reach and the interest that is already occurring for GR Forward.


Related to technology and its role in city building, I found this article from Wired interesting:

The article makes the claim that in the rush to embrace technology, cities are prone to lose sight of what their priority should be – namely governing in an efficient and effective manner. Discussions of technology in city building are prone to focusing on a shiny futuristic state. What those visions miss, however, is that technology in itself is not the end. Rather, it needs to be a tool that is used to create policies that allow for the creation of great places. To that point, the authors offer five recommendations to ensure the proper use of technology in municipal governance. A good reminder to make sure we are focusing on the right outcomes in all of our efforts.

As always, if you have any questions please let me know. Otherwise, have a great weekend.