Building Resilient Communities through Experiential Learning

Cities are complex and dynamic entities that are constantly evolving. They are also the epicenter of innovation, creativity, and economic growth. However, to retain talent and promote economic development, cities must ensure that their residents feel connected to the place they call home. This is where the work of Jeanette Pierce, a social entrepreneur and lifelong Detroit resident, comes in.

Pierce founded the City Institute to help cities attract and retain talent by ensuring people feel connected to where they live and work. Her approach involves experiential learning and non-traditional tours that teach locals and newcomers about Detroit’s assets, small businesses, historic neighborhoods, city planning and development policies, and innovative solutions to the city’s challenges. By providing a deeper understanding of the city, residents and stakeholders are inspired to be a part of building a more equitable and thriving future.

Pierce’s work is crucial for the success of cities in the 21st century. This article will explore the City Institute’s approach to helping cities build stronger, more resilient communities by engaging their residents and promoting a sense of place. We will also examine Pierce’s background, achievements, and impact on the City of Detroit.

Jeanette Pierce’s lifelong passion for cities and storytelling has made her a force for change in Detroit. She is a data nerd who uses statistics, historical facts, and personal anecdotes to provide context around complex urban issues. Her work has helped over 150,000 locals and newcomers fall in love with Detroit, inspiring them to invest in small businesses, volunteer at nonprofit organizations, and collaborate with neighbors throughout the city.

Pierce’s approach to city building goes beyond traditional planning methods. She understands that for a city to thrive, its residents must feel connected to the place they call home. This means creating opportunities for locals and newcomers to experience the city meaningfully. The City Institute achieves this through its experiential learning and non-traditional tours that engage participants in a deep exploration of the city’s history, culture, and assets.

Pierce’s work has not gone unnoticed. She has presented at over 200 events, including Atlantic Magazine’s CityLab Conference, Governor’s Economic Summit, Downtown Las Vegas Annual Meeting, and the Oregon Main Street Conference. She has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Michigan, as one of the Top Forty under 40 by Crain’s Detroit Business, and as a Thirty in their 30s by DBusiness Magazine. She has also received the prestigious Shining Light Award from the Detroit Free Press, among other honors.

In addition to her work at the City Institute, Pierce serves on the Michigan Municipal League Foundation and Detroit Historical Society boards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Aquinas College and lives with her husband and toddler triplets on Detroit’s Eastside.

Jeanette Pierce’s work at the City Institute is a testament to the power of storytelling and experiential learning in creating strong, resilient, and equitable communities. Her approach to city building is innovative and practical, emphasizing the importance of fostering a sense of place in urban environments. As cities face new challenges and opportunities, the lessons learned from Pierce’s work will be invaluable in shaping their future.

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