Grand Rapids responds to Newsweek saying it is dying

Infrastructurist: Just because population is decreasing doesn’t necessarily mean a city is dying. Some supposedly dying cities are in fact re-inventing themselves.

A fantastic example of a community taking the negative by the horns and turning it into a community development opportunity comes from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Number 10 on the Newsweek list, Grand Rapids responded in creative kind with the world’s largest “lip dub” in May of 2011 (a lip dub is a continuously shot video of people lip synching to a song). The Grand Rapids lip dub involved over 5,000 people, and necessitated the closing of downtown for an entire day as the amazing video was shot.

The lesson for cities everywhere is to expand their definitions of growth, progress, and of what success looks like to them. Using someone else’s yardstick usually leaves you coming up short and feeling like you failed. Creating your own success metrics is not cheating especially when you then challenge yourselves to meet and exceed those measures. Communities that look deeper will likely find surprising vitality and opportunities in unexpected places and perhaps change what the world believes about them and more importantly, what they believe about themselves.


  1. Amazing video, and an eye opener to lots of people who think Michigan in general is a dying state due to the economy. I live outside of Detroit and I love Michigan and I would never leave this state. Michigan will forever be my home.

  2. This is honestly one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. The immense planning behind it is truly awe inspiring. It’s well done, well shot, and well executed. Respect for everyone involved. Awesome, awesome video.

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