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Old 11-08-2008, 01:15 PM
 
51,893 posts, read 47,713,403 times
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I have read many things about Michigan. Normally, images of cars, the Great Lakes, and Kellogs(as well as Post) cereal come to mind. For some reason, Grand Rapids stands out in Michigan as a unique place(at least in my mind). It is the second largest city in Michigan, and yet it sems different from the rest of Michigan. I know its definately different from Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, and Ann Arbor. The GR isn't particularly a college town. It wasn't big on automobiles like Detroit. It doesn't get the reputation for being violent and blight-filled like Detroit or other places for that matter. I do know that Grand Rapids was one of the main cities in the USA that Dutch immigrants settled in.

What do you think makes Grand Rapids different from other cities in Michigan?
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,742,937 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pirate_lafitte View Post
I have read many things about Michigan. Normally, images of cars, the Great Lakes, and Kellogs(as well as Post) cereal come to mind. For some reason, Grand Rapids stands out in Michigan as a unique place(at least in my mind). It is the second largest city in Michigan, and yet it sems different from the rest of Michigan. I know its definately different from Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, and Ann Arbor. The GR isn't particularly a college town. It wasn't big on automobiles like Detroit. It doesn't get the reputation for being violent and blight-filled like Detroit or other places for that matter. I do know that Grand Rapids was one of the main cities in the USA that Dutch immigrants settled in.

What do you think makes Grand Rapids different from other cities in Michigan?
The whole Western 1/3 of Michigan is different. Its history is not inexorably linked to the automotive industry like much of the rest of the state. While R.E. Olds and Henry Ford were working on automobiles, Dutch and French immigrants in Grand Rapids were building fine furniture and entertaining Chicagoans. Then think about the massive growth in cities like Detroit, where millions moved up from the South (including many African Americans) to work in automobile factories from the 1930's to the 1970's, spilling over into Lansing and Flint, and how that affected the culture and character of those cities. That didn't happen in Grand Rapids.

So the question "Why is Grand Rapid different from the rest of Michigan?" should be changed to "Why would Grand Rapids be like the rest of Michigan?" Why would Des Moines be like Southeast Michigan? Why would Madison, WI be like Southeast Michigan?

Hope that makes sense.

Here are some resources to check out:

Amazon.com: grand rapids: Books
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:25 PM
 
51,893 posts, read 47,713,403 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
The whole Western 1/3 of Michigan is different. Its history is not inexorably linked to the automotive industry like much of the rest of the state. While R.E. Olds and Henry Ford were working on automobiles, Dutch and French immigrants in Grand Rapids were building fine furniture and entertaining Chicagoans. Then think about the massive growth in cities like Detroit, where millions moved up from the South (including many African Americans) to work in automobile factories from the 1930's to the 1970's, spilling over into Lansing and Flint, and how that affected the culture and character of those cities. That didn't happen in Grand Rapids.
So the question "Why is Grand Rapid different from the rest of Michigan?" should be changed to "Why would Grand Rapids be like the rest of Michigan?" Why would Des Moines be like Southeast Michigan? Why would Madison, WI be like Southeast Michigan?

Hope that makes sense.

Here are some resources to check out:

Amazon.com: grand rapids: Books

The furniture industry did make its mark on GR history as well as Dutch and French immigrants. True, the automobile industry wasn't big in GR,, but African-Americans went to Grand Rapids as well.
To me, Grand Rapids isn't perfect but seems to be doing better than the rest of LP Michigan. I don't know how true that is.
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Old 11-09-2008, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,742,937 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pirate_lafitte View Post
The furniture industry did make its mark on GR history as well as Dutch and French immigrants. True, the automobile industry wasn't big in GR,, but African-Americans went to Grand Rapids as well.
To me, Grand Rapids isn't perfect but seems to be doing better than the rest of LP Michigan. I don't know how true that is.
It is doing better, but it's still having challenges like many Great Lake cities.

This is a pretty good resource about job growth, development and innovative companies in Grand Rapids (and some cool lifestyle pieces):

Rapid Growth Media - Home Page
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:35 AM
 
447 posts, read 1,122,538 times
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I think several factors contribute to West Michigan's unique cultural and economic vitality.
+ Slow, steady, sustained population growth growth
+ Local re-investment of locally generated wealth by people who did not leave the area
+ Lack of labor unions in manufacturing
+ Lack of partisan bickering at the city, township and county level

We'll see what the future brings...
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:34 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,467 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allbusiness View Post
I think several factors contribute to West Michigan's unique cultural and economic vitality.
+ Slow, steady, sustained population growth growth
+ Local re-investment of locally generated wealth by people who did not leave the area
+ Lack of labor unions in manufacturing
+ Lack of partisan bickering at the city, township and county level

We'll see what the future brings...
That's a good list.

I look at the last bullet item as one of the biggest.

For whatever reason, people in West Michigan seem bent on bi-partisan cooperation. That single characteristic has allowed the region to move forward while the rest of the state slides backwards.
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
112 posts, read 269,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pirate_lafitte View Post

What do you think makes Grand Rapids different from other cities in Michigan?
The Grand Rapids area is the primary outstate funding source for the Detroit area.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:16 AM
 
447 posts, read 1,122,538 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suydam View Post
That's a good list.

I look at the last bullet item as one of the biggest.

For whatever reason, people in West Michigan seem bent on bi-partisan cooperation. That single characteristic has allowed the region to move forward while the rest of the state slides backwards.
Be be precise, I think it's "NON-Partisan" rather than "BI-partisan". It simply doesn't enter into the discussion. Sure, each person has his or her own personal liberal or conservative leanings -- it's what makes us unique -- but when debating, discussing and voting on community issues such as public safety, zoning, infrastructure, etc, the community good is all that's considered.
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:44 PM
 
51,893 posts, read 47,713,403 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topshop View Post
The Grand Rapids area is the primary outstate funding source for the Detroit area.
And a major center for Western Michigan.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Midwest America
194 posts, read 889,487 times
Reputation: 108
I haven't lived in GR very long at all, but I find the general attitude of the residents here, is one of cooperation and collaboration through mutually beneficial partnerships; eg. be it community projects or business enterprise. I've lived in many cities around the world, but have discovered Grand Rapids' folk to be some of the friendliest, easy-going and quite sincere people. But they are also hard-working and anxious to achieve material success albeit without stepping on those around them. Of course this is just the opinion of one person, but I hope others also see this as true.
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