Yesterday we were proud to receive confirmation that Dick Longworth will be joining Kate Rube, Policy Director of Smart Growth America, and Tom Wolfe, Executive Director of the Northeast-Midwest Institute, in our overview panel on the morning of the 13th–“Mapping the Mega-regional Issues” (more panelists to be added).

While Dick’s extensive journalism background has covered a range of topics–from camel treks to globalization–he’s probably most well known to GLUEsters as the author of Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism.

Almost a travelogue through our mega-region’s similar cities and towns, Caught in the Middle teases out the effects of globalization that have hurt our communities (i.e., loss of manufacturing jobs)–but finds hope in those effects that are bolstering us (the occasional HQ of a global company, the immigrant communities).  Now with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the nascent Global Midwest Institute, Dick is leading the effort to understand how our communities must adapt.  We’re thrilled to welcome him to the GLUE Conference!


Yesterday, we put the following appeal into email circulation–please email if you can help!

Dear Milwaukeeans,

GLUE is thrilled to be holding its second annual conference in your city.   In less than two months, 50-75 urbanists and activists from older industrial cities in the upper Midwest will descend on Milwuakee for over 48 hours.  We will share best practices, stories, and strategies for equitable, sustainable urban revitalization.  We will figure out how to make GLUE a more effective forum and resource for our communities.  And we will also eat, drink, and be merry – all to the end of thriving urban centers, of course!  To that end, we’re contacting you with hat in hand.

GLUE’s March 12-14 conference has been partially funded with generous support from the McCormick Foundation and the Surdna Foundation, but unless we underwrite some of our costs in Milwaukee, we’ll only be able to offer a limited number of travel scholarships for participants. Those scholarships allow this conference to be a truly representative one, permitting anyone dedicated to their “Sticky City” a chance to share information and shape GLUE.

  • Do you own a small business that can donate food, drink, or yellow bus transport during the GLUE 2nd annual conference?  We are currently looking for baked goods, coffee, sandwiches, pizza, juice, and other snacks.
  • Can you provide participants with coupons or discounts to use while in Milwaukee?
  • Can you provide printing and copy services, folders or pens?
  • Do you, as either an individual or a business partner, have the resources to fully or partially underwrite a participant’s journey to and stay in Milwaukee at $500/person?
  • Or to sponsor a dinner provided by local food enthusiasts, for $4000?
  • Could you put us in touch with people who can?

In addition, of course, to our gratitude and that of our participants, GLUE will acknowledge sponsors formally in all conference materials and in our communication with the press (unless you prefer to remain anonymous).

In an era of great hope and great challenge for America’s cities, GLUE’s 2009 conference will put Milwaukee on a regional, if not national, spotlight. We hope you will be a part of it.

Please see GLUEspace to learn about our organization, and for more information about the gathering, visit the GLUE Conference Blog.  We appreciate your time reading this message and your willingness to send it on to other Milwaukeeans.


Sarah Szurpicki and Abby Wilson
Co-Founders, GLUE (Great Lakes Urban Exchange)

Juli in Milwaukee just forwarded me a Midwest Airlines email — this might be a good time for conference participants who plan to fly to go ahead and buy those tickets!

Great fares between Milwaukee and cities such as Indianapolis for just $155 roundtrip, Newark $206, Minneapolis/St. Paul $213 and Pittsburgh $216. There are plenty more, just click the link to find them.

> Purchase tickets by Feb. 2; travel Feb.10 to June 10.
> 14-day advance purchase.
> Stay over a Friday or Saturday night.

Get Details:

We’ll be convening (and out-of-towners will be sleeping) at the InterContinental Hotel, which our Milwaukee team tells us is conveniently located in the heart of downtown.  Though we’ll try to get conference-goers out experiencing Milwaukee, this isn’t a shabby place in which to spend our time!

Details about booking your room will arrive in your inbox after you register.

You may have noticed a link to Growing Power over in the “Milwaukee Organizations” blogroll, and the intentionally vague “Milwaukee Tour” that occupied the 1:30 slot on Thursday’s agenda.  Well, that has been replaced with a Tour of Growing Power, which we have been hoping for all month, and have now confirmed!

Growing Power is an incredible organization (you may have seen Abby’s GLUEspace post about founder and CEO Will Allen’s receipt of a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2008) dedicated to the understanding that healthy food systems are a necessary component of any healthy community.  I love the story on their “Our History” Page:

In 1993, Growing Power was an organization with teens who needed a place to work.

Will Allen was a farmer with land.

Will designed a program that offered teens an opportunity to work at his store and renovate the greenhouses to grow food for their community.  What started as a simple partnership to change the landscape of the north side of Milwaukee has blossomed into a national and global commitment to sustainable food systems.

Since its inception, Growing Power has served as a ”living museum” or “idea factory” for the young, the elderly, farmers, producers, and other professionals ranging from USDA personnel to urban planners.  Training areas include the following: acid-digestion, anaerobic digestion for food waste, bio-phyto remediation and soil health, aquaculture closed-loop systems, vermiculture, small and large scale composting, urban agriculture, perma-culture, food distribution, marketing, value-added product development, youth development, community engagement, participatory leadership development, and project planning.

One of GLUE’s friends in Milwaukee takes a tour of Growing Power every six months, because there’s always something new and fascinating.  We’re thrilled to be showing off this Milwaukee gem.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Lynn Todman, the Director of the Adler School’s Institute of Social Exclusion, last December, after being introduced to her via a radio interview on Worldview (blogged about by GLUE intern Katie Marcuz).

Dr. Todman is engaged in an enormous effort to re-frame issues of equity, social justice, and social disadvantage from their current silos (i.e., prisoner re-entry is one issue; low income housing another) to an understanding that all of these issues are interrelated and often exacerbate each other (i.e., did you know that people who have been convicted of felonies, once released from prison, are ineligible to live in public housing?).

We are excited to announce that Dr. Todman will join us in Milwaukee.  She will serve as an incredible guide for our members who want to re-think public policy as a tool for increasing the inclusivity of our communities.

Of the first 12 participants to register for the conference:

  • 1 is from Chicago
  • 2 are from Cleveland
  • 1 is from Detroit
  • 1 is from Flint
  • 1 is from Minneapolis
  • 3 are from Pittsburgh
  • 2 are from St. Louis
  • and 1 is from Silver Spring, MD — a member of the Buffalo diaspora!

One element of the conference is what we’re calling “Track Breakouts:” three breakout sessions where the same group of conference participants is led by seasoned professionals in one specific area of GLUE activity.  The three “tracks” are: Community Journalism, Movement Building, and Issues Research & Advocacy (we ask you to choose your track during registration).  Each track will receive an educational overview and then actual training in: creating community-based media, building constituencies, or doing issues research and developing advocacy strategies.

We’ve confirmed that the Issues Research & Advocacy track will be co-led by representatives of Smart Growth America (SGA) and the Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMW), two of GLUE’s favorite policy mentors.  They know the urban policy landscape like the backs of their hands, and I can think of no better guides for GLUEsters thinking about how to strategically weigh in on policy opportunities in 2009, and beyond.

(If you’ve been reading your GLUEsletters, you also know that NEMW and SGA are partners on the upcoming Revitalizing Older Cities Capitol Hill Summit, in DC on February 11-12.  GLUE will be in effect, and we hope many of you will be able to join us in both DC AND Milwaukee!)

Carol Coletta, president and CEO of CEOs for Cities; John Austin, Executive Director of the New Economy Initiative; and Alderman Willie Hines, President of the Milwaukee Common Council, have confirmed that they will be joining us at the conference.  GLUE is honored and excited.

We’ll continue to add bios and to the agenda as details are confirmed.

Some of the first GLUEsters might enjoy reminiscing about GLUE’s Inaugural Conference, held from January 31 – February 2 in Buffalo, NY.


  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.