Thank You!

Thank you to the over 120 speakers, volunteers, and registered attendees for making #micities a success! We have posted the final program and copies of many of the speakers’ presentations to the program page. In addition, view photos from the event, and the participant survey results.

Conference Information

New information technologies are transforming life in cities across Michigan and around the world. After decades of development, citizens now wield smartphones and laptops, homes and offices are wired with broadband, and city planners and managers can choose from an expanding array of consultants and systems. As a result of this dizzying expansion of innovation, cities are only just beginning to learn how to use these tools to tackle urban problems, improve quality of life, and create dynamic places. Join a diverse group of public officials, citizens, entrepreneurs, activists and scholars interested in how new technology can reinvent citizenship, improve urban planning, and revitalize cities in Michigan and beyond at #micities on Saturday, October 4 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The event is co-hosted by the University of Michigan’s School of Information and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. The conversation will span the fields of civic engagement, public administration, and urban planning.

Keynote Speaker and Program

The program has been posted. Our keynote speaker will be Garlin Gilchrist, Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement at the City of Detroit.

The event includes speakers from the following organizations:

  • Data Driven Detroit
  • Detroit Digital Stewards
  • Detroit Future City
  • Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.
  • City of Ann Arbor
  • City of Ferndale
  • Open Technology Institute
  • Michigan Suburbs Alliance
  • UM Citizen Interaction Design Project
  • UM School of Information
  • UM Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Final Program

Links to the slides for many of the speakers are posted below. To view session abstracts and speaker bios, download the final event program here:

Keynote and Panel Discussion (9 AM)

Garlin Gilcrist“Detroit’s Future is Wide Open”
Garlin Gilchrist (@DetroitCivTech)
Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement
City of Detroit
Panel and Audience Discussion: Open Data from Multiple Perspectives

  • Garlin Gilchrist, City of Detroit
  • Edward Vielmetti, Citizen
  • Derek Dobies, City of Jackson
  • Tawanna Dillahunt, UM School of Information
  • Robert Goodspeed, UM Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning (moderator)

Lightning Talks (10:45 AM)

  • The Price of Change: New Data on Detroit’s Nonprofit Financial Ecosystem
    Jessica McInchak and Benjamin Chodoroff, Detroit Ledger (@detroitledger)
  • A Web Platform for Visualizing Your Impact on Local Health
    Kevin Kononenko, Vivergy
  • Rent Rocket: Crowdsourcing Rent and Utility Costs to Overcome Data Sharing Barriers
    Matthew Naud, City of Ann Arbor (@grea2n)
  • Governing the Ambient
    Malcolm McCullough, UM Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
  • A2 Data Dive: Promoting Data Literacy in the Community
    Jackie Wolf and Florence Lee, UM School of Information

Lunch (12 noon)

Included with registration.

Sessions I (1-2:20 PM)

New Innovations in Community Engagement in Planning

Citizen Ecology: Resident Engaged Stormwater Planning for Structure Free Land in Detroit (slides)
Erin Kelly, Detroit Future City (@DETFutureCity)

Motor City Mapping: Redefining Data Engagement Between the Public and the Public Sector (slides)
Diana Flora, Data Driven Detroit (@D3detroit)

Infrastructures for Civic Engagement

Local Governments Get “On Board” with Open Government (slides)
Emily Thompson and Hayley Roberts, Michigan Suburbs Alliance (@suburbsalliance)
Marne McGrath, City of Ferndale

Urbanization As Activism, or How to Make Advocates Out of Citizens
Jonathan Pichot, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (@_pichot)

Innovations in Youth Engagement

Mi EDU App: Bridging the Higher Education Information Divide
Frank Romo, UM Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Building Community through Wikis: Student Service-Learning Collaborations with the Arab American National Museum
P.F. Potvin, University of Michigan – Dearborn

Sessions II (2:40-4:00 PM)

Indicators and Civic Crowdfunding

Data in Action and the One D Scorecard (slides)
Jessica McInchak, Data Driven Detroit

Civic Crowdfunding: A New Method of Participatory Community Development (slides)
Robert Goodspeed, UM Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

New Tools for Transportation Planning & Management

On-line and On a Budget: Taking Multimodal Transportation Planning the Next Step (slides)
Norman Cox and Carolyn Prudhomme, The Greenway Collaborative, Inc.

Welcome to Ann Arbor! Please Park Here. (slides)
Edward Vielmetti (@vielmetti)

Smart, Participatory, and Resilient Cities

Designing Participatory Tools for More Just and Resilient Smart Cities (slides)
Greta Byrum, Open Technology Institute (@gretabyrum)
Nina Bianchi, The Work Department (@Nine_Blench)
Monique Tate, Detroit Digital Stewards (@MBTintheD)

Networked Intelligence: Crowdsourcing for Increased Urban Resilience
Therese Tierney, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (@tierneytoo)

Reception (4-5 PM)

Speakers: To add or edit a Twitter or web link, email aliana at

Conference Location

Michigan Union
530 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI


#micities speakers will explore the application of new technology to civic engagement, municipality administration, and urban planning.

The Changing Nature of Civic Engagement

New information tools have transformed many industries in the past several years, but have rarely been applied to interactions between local governments and their citizens. New information tools could change one of the critical issues facing local governments: how to better enable citizens to engage with their local officials in constructive, effective ways. Together with their partner city of Jackson, Michigan, the UM School of Information has launched a three year project centered around designing new information services. Work emerging from this project will be presented at the conference, and we invite presentations on all aspects of the emerging field of civic technology.

Reinventing Municipal Administration

In recent years, most of Michigan’s municipalities have struggled to provide services and maintain infrastructure while revenues have dipped. Meanwhile, citizens demand greater transparency, improved customer service, and efficiency. This track explores how new technology can help improve city operations and increase efficiency. It will also discuss the challenges surrounding new technology in local government: How can procurement processes be reformed to ensure vendors don’t overpromise and underdeliver? How can municipalities innovate with limited resources? How should public policy balance transparency with other goals like privacy?

New Tools for Urban Planning

Social media, crowdsourcing, online mapping, data visualization, and advances in geographic information systems provide Michigan planners with more tools than ever to engage stakeholders, solicit feedback on proposals, and conduct analysis. From participatory mapping to planning support systems, this track will focus on how these tools can improve planning and placemaking efforts statewide.


We are excited to be collaborating with some amazing organizations and events. However, this is more than a thank you page. If you’re excited about our event and are hungry for more, these are some opportunities to get more involved in the intersection between information, technology, and urban spaces.

2014 A2 DataDive

The 3rd annual A2 DataDive run by the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) is a hackathon-like event, wherein both students and practitioners spend a weekend helping local nonprofits answer business questions via data exploration. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn, teach, make an impact in the community, or all three.

Ann Arbor Civic Technology Meetup

The Ann Arbor Civic Technology meetup meets on the fourth Monday of each month to discuss how technology can be used to engage in civic activities. We hope to include topics like the use of technology to mobilize for local political action, the use of open data to build civic applications, and other subjects where technology meets the city.

Emerging Local Government Leaders Network

ELGL is made up of innovative local government leaders with a passion for connecting, communicating and educating. We believe that working creatively, harder and smarter makes our professional association unique, relevant and timely. We provide educational offerings that address new trends and ways we can proactively respond as local government professionals. We believe that building a network of support will attract and retain the best and brightest to the local government profession.

The Alliance for Innovation: Transforming Local Government

The Alliance for Innovation is an international network of progressive governments and partners committed to transforming local government by accelerating the development and dissemination of innovations. We seek out innovative practices, challenge existing business models, exchange knowledge, and provide products and services that help our members perform at their best.

American Planning Association Technology Division

The American Planning Association (APA) Technology Division links you with others who share your interest in the use of technology in land use planning and community development. The use of technology is integral to how communities are communicating and engaging their citizens to plan for the future. Rapidly evolving tools for community design and decision making are creating new opportunities to enhance public involvement, share information, and make more informed decisions in cities and towns throughout the country.


We thank the following organizations for their financial support:

  • UM School of Information
  • UMSI Citizen Interaction Design Project
  • UM Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
  • Rackham Graduate School
  • UM Office of Research