Maybe not everyone thinks of Michigan when we say thriving cities. But with a pop of 200,000 (approx.) and a metro pop of 500,000 +, Grand Rapids is there to prove us wrong. It is this year’s locale for the CEOs for Cities’ national meeting (ShiftCentral is here as a content partner of the organization). City builders and thought leaders alike are here to swap notes on such issues as the strategic use of public art as a driver for development and civic pride (we are in the middle of ArtPrize, the biggest display of public art in the US, a 3-week annual extravaganza), the “next” economy, amongst other subjects.
Now these conversations can range from the tired to the enlightening, but I choose the latter when it comes to the depth and heft of ideas allotted by these true community drivers.
There are complex issues at play here – investment attraction, the right demographics, social inclusion, urban planning.
On the communications side, Grand Rapids does a great job at positioning itself for families, which in turn requires the appropriate jobs, higher learning institutions, sports infrastructure and cultural attractions, to name a few. What is the most striking when one comes here for the first time is the sense of optimism provided by the city dwellers, cabbies, bartenders, buskers and business folk alike. Every city cannot be the exclusive domain of the young trendy set, or the childless creative class and high-net worth individual. There is something of a democratic élan that can be felt here in Grand Rapids.
All of this to say that at ShiftCentral, our market intelligence and curated content is at the heart of all of these conversations. Our clients and friends are intelligent and smart. They are at the heart of today’s issues. They lead complex organizations and try to bring them to a higher plane to make a difference. That’s what makes ShiftCentral unique, and I would argue essential. And as they say, you can judge us by the company we keep.
This article was originally published on ShiftCentral, now part of LAC Group.