Posts tagged with "Detroit":

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Akoaki is blending design disciplines in Detroit

Upon their arrival to Detroit, partners Anya Sirota and Jean Louis Farges took four years to understand the complex landscapes and narratives that co-exist within the city. At the time, Detroit was fully entrenched in “ruin porn” and the design interest of the city followed a fascination with degradation or a re-imagination to building new. Cultural assets (like the industrial design of cars and jazz music) once thrived in the city and continue to have national and international range. Often though, the direct impact upon the residents is nonexistent. Akoaki [pronounced ak-o-ak-i] is compelled to research fields of architecture and art and their relationships to equitable redevelopment. By embracing the power of aesthetics and form-making, the couple peels away normative tropes of social practice. Beginning with aspirations to include aesthetics, beauty, and pomp creates pieces that do not comply with age. Often feeling burdened by good taste, Akoaki’s aesthetic quality tries to be bigger and badder. Imaging Detroit Supported by a Research on the City grant from the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, Imaging Detroit is, in a nutshell, an international film festival and pop-up agora. The project investigates the many ways Detroit has been portrayed over the last decade, be it film or publications. Sirota and Farges, along with a suite of collaborators, researched the way people construct narratives around the city and responses to those narratives. A major challenge of the project was how to stage an event in this context without contributing to a proliferation of ruin porn and social degradation. The goal was to create true conversation and a positive impact while staging a public debate and open speculation. The 36-hour event transformed Perrien Park into a civic space with screenings, conversations, exhibitions, food, and leisure—a true ephemeral urbanization. Detroit Cultivator In collaboration with the six-acre Oakland Avenue Urban Farm (OAUF), Akoaki is designing a master plan that combines agriculture, culture, business, and ecology to envision a landscape that is both economically and ecologically sustainable. The project required navigating through major issues regarding land ownership, pressure from developers, and water access. After working with the University of Michigan Law School and a team of “moral investors” to secure the land, a business plan was created with volunteers from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. The plan prioritizes the farm’s productivity to create a source of income and a flexible space for neighborhood entrepreneurs. As a result, the master plan features existing structures that will eventually become public amenity spaces; for example, a shoe-shine parlor will reopen as a multi-tenant commercial space and performance venue. Rather than keeping the farm purely agricultural, Sirota and Farges sought to activate other existing uses through building and site interventions. The project is an experimental urban prototype, though Akoaki is working to ensure the farm can become a permanent fixture in the neighborhood. Jackson, Mississippi Sirota and Farges’s experience working on Detroit Cultivator has set them up to discover a similar food-related project, this time in Mississippi. Supported by a $1 million public art grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, “Fertile Ground: Inspiring Dialogue about Food Access” brings together architects and artists with chefs, gardeners, food policy experts, and local institutions to facilitate a year of community-engaged interventions. Ultimately, the project aims to establish a nonprofit research lab on food access that will operate on a permanent basis to sustain the momentum that is created. While Mississippi is known for its agriculture, a majority of the food grown in the state leaves, and Jackson is full of “food swamps”—a plethora of fast food options as opposed to fresh food. Rather than return to the “idyllic” past of farming (an image that is not necessarily representationally positive to everyone), Akoaki has formulated a “neo-rural” environment that deserves an aesthetic value and brings together aspirations of the city. Midtown Cultural Center Detroit’s Midtown Cultural Connections organized a year-long competition in an effort to connect Detroit’s most significant cultural institutions. The winning entry includes Akoaki and their assembled team of landscape architects, urban planners, and technology-experts. The announcement of the winning proposal displays how Detroit’s participating institutions and stakeholders carry a willingness in allowing an open-ended framework a chance to succeed. The plan that Akoaki and team are working on will take issues of mobility, environmental sustainability, and stormwater stewardship into consideration. Overall, the project requires a sensitivity to placemaking in order to avoid displaced cultural queues and gentrification. When finished, the project will create a unified, dynamic, and inclusive space that facilitates connections between the Cultural Center and the Midtown neighborhood.
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First-ever Detroit City of Design Competition brings kinetic energy generators and a nap room

Detroit is known as the birthplace of Motown and techno, lauded for its thick pizzas and Coney dogs, and scrutinized as a decadent example of urbanism under late capitalism. For better or worse, the city and its reputation fascinates city-fixers, attracts artists, and galvanizes community action. Some Detroiters hope to spin a different kind of change with the first-ever Detroit City of Design Competition, an event that will bring three winning installations to select city neighborhoods. Designers from the 31 UNESCO Cities of Design, a designation bestowed by the United Nations' UNESCO on urban areas with distinctive design cultures, were asked by neighborhood organization to design "solutions" (a loaded mandate) to boost safety and walkability in Hope Village, Southwest Detroit, and Grandmont Rosedale. A jury of locals, city officials, and designers from elsewhere chose installations from Detroit's SmithGroup; Detroit's Other Work, and Montreal's Collectif Escargo. Design Core Detroit, an organization that promotes design as economic development, spearheaded the competition. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation contributed funding for the initiative. "Urban spaces have a tendency to become hard and cold if left unattended," said Caitlin Marcon, deputy director of Complete Streets at the Detroit Department of Public Works, in a press release. "Durable materials that meet our need for longevity sometimes do not spark our desires for beauty. These prototypes harness the creative and softer qualities we seek while being functional for street life and gathering." The projects will debut in September during the Detroit Month of Design and will be relocated to their chosen neighborhoods in April 2020. Each winner received $20,000 to design and build their prototype. Take a look at the images below to learn more about the selected designs. All quotes are designers' statements from the media release: Cyclerate SmithGroup Hope Village "Cyclerate aims to enhance public safety through unity, lighting, communication, and play. The installation, which lights up using kinetic energy generated by hand-powered cranks and stationary bike generators, encourages the community to work together to illuminate the structure. Participants can also engage in a friendly competition with one another to identify who can produce the greatest power output on the cycles. Expect to be surprised by the power produced through real-time statistics. The installation currently features LED lighting, Bluetooth speakers, and USB power charging stations. With its built-in expansion capability, the scalable structure can accommodate additional cycles, componentry, and lighting." Garden Novella Other Work Southwest Detroit "Garden Novella is a platform to express cultural, collective, and individual identity. It weaves together recorded stories from Southwest residents to serve as a guide through a modular system of welcoming vessels. Sun-powered lanterns, hanging gardens, seating, and the recorded stories combine to create an interactive environment. The featured stories express the double consciousness experienced by many in the Southwest community; they aim to connect generations, repair the damage caused by repatriation and explore the process of translation in a bilingual community." 3Rooms Collectif Escargo Grandmont Rosedale
"3Rooms consists of three spaces that are intimately linked to the world of the house—simultaneously conveying a sense of belonging and celebrating the beauty of united communities. The first 'room' is 'LeJardin' (The Garden), where the community is invited to participate in agriculture. 'Le Boudoir' is for nap lovers, readers and anyone who desires [siq] a rest in the shade of fruit trees. Finally, 'The Hut' features a steeper incline, making it a perfect spot for anyone who wants to be a little more playful. Each module lights up in the evening with a soft glow, functioning as a fireplace in the middle of the neighborhood. The hue alternates from red, blue, mauve or multicolored. 3Rooms is a safe cocoon for improvised gatherings. Like a poetic metaphor of the surrounding houses, it is merry, bright, colorful and full of life."
In a statement, Olga Stella, executive director of Detroit Design Core, noted the project's potential impact: "We are inspired by the innovation presented in the winners and finalists and the way they demonstrate the value of design to the community. We hope these installations will peak [siq] the interest of private and public groups to commission the winning design teams to create permanent fixtures in these and other neighborhoods.”
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Lorcan O'Herlihy renovates Detroit's African Bead Museum

The Detroit office of Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects (LOHA) has unveiled its initial phase of a small-budget, big-ambition renovation of one of the city's most remarkable cultural institutions: the MBAD African Bead Museum, an independent exhibition space devoted to African material culture and art. The museum comprises three townhouses and a 6,000-square-foot backyard sculpture garden that together stretch across almost a whole city block. Founder, owner, artist, and self-styled visual storyteller Olayami Dabls uses rocks, mirrors, wood, and iron to create sculptures that are parables for the development of African and African-American history and culture. According to its website, Dabls created the museum to help visitors better understand the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement through his sculptures and his collection of African objects. The African Bead Gallery, a museum store, is as intriguing as the sculptures: trays of beads are the forest floor to strung beads and artifacts from the collection that cover the walls and overhead displays. Outside, the facade is covered in Dabls's colorful glass-and-mirror mosaic murals. As beautiful as it is, the museum's physical space is in serious disrepair. One of the townhouse's roof has collapsed, and the exterior walls are precarious. Over time and if funding permits, LOHA will reinforce the structure internally and build galleries, a new entrance, and a landscape within the new envelope. The initial $100,000 renovation zeroed in on augmenting the museum's exhibition space and performing urgent repairs. LOHA turned a run-down storage room into a 600-square-foot gallery and community events space that will allow for more exhibitions from the museum's collection, plus work from artists in Detroit and beyond. Beyond the new gallery, improvements include new heating and electrical systems, new windows, and a public restroom. "For the first time in 17 years, we will have a space where we can engage the community through storytelling programs and make the museum available to the people who need a gathering space," Dabls said in a press release. "This adds a whole new dimension to our plans for the future." A celebration of the renovated gallery is planned for June 22. This round of renovations was funded by crowdsourced donations via a campaign in partnership with Allied Media Projects. Subsequent renovations are contingent on more fundraising. The museum is already looking to add a main entrance, a central gallery, new admin facilities, and a fund for visiting artist residencies.
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Detroit picks team to shape Midtown cultural center

An effort to connect Detroit’s cluster of some of its most significant institutions, including its iconic Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), announced today that an international team of urban designers, landscape architects, and technology experts had been selected to create a cultural center in the booming Midtown district. In a year-long process, the Midtown Cultural Connections competition selected a team led by Paris-based Agence Ter, Detroit-based architecture and design studio akoaki, Ann Arbor–based hybrid design firm rootoftwo, and University of Michigan assistant professor and urban planner Harley Etienne, along with other partners. The initial design phase, which will bring all parties together to create a formal plan, will take about 18 months, officials said. The Agence Ter team suggested creating a sort of frame around the ten blocks containing a group of cultural institutions, including the DIA, Wayne State University, the Detroit Historical Society, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the College For Creative Studies, the Michigan Science Center, and the Scarab Club. Within that “Detroit Square,” the project will bring the inside out through “common ground” or communal backyards running between the buildings and their landscapes, to be activated with outdoor cafes, performance spaces, a mobile DJ booth, green spaces, public art, as well as live performance spaces for events. Woodward Avenue, which runs through this district, also may see its massive size reduced. The selection not only inspires pride among the winning team, said akoaki’s Anya Sirota, but it shows how Detroit’s participating institutions and judges are willing to give “an open-ended framework” a chance to succeed. For Sirota, that means the design will continue to evolve as the team works with local stakeholders, residents, and other parties to make the cultural center truly the heart of Midtown Detroit, one of the city’s most revitalized and vibrant neighborhoods. “We took a risk to create a memorable design that was also suggestable,” Sirota said. “We felt strongly that we would need additional feedback on these ideas [and] we’re excited that the jury went with something that allowed for more conversation with stakeholders.” The size and scope of the project are grand, Sirota added, and previous projects involving this area and around Detroit have gone forward without deep feedback, conversation, and consideration of the long-term effect on the city or its residents. This project seeks to “tread lightly” and be sensitive to placemaking within a city that is more than 300 years old and has concerns about issues like gentrification. Sirota also said she is pleased that the plan the winning team is working on will take issues of mobility, environmental sustainability, and stormwater stewardship into consideration. Having a team made up of experts in physical technology, landscaping, urban planning, and design with a Detroit-centic base should provide many new ideas for the cultural center, she noted. Midtown Detroit Inc. and DIA launched the design competition in 2017 to find a team that could unite twelve cultural and educational institutions with a kind of “town square” feel. The goal was to develop a “unified, dynamic, and inclusive space that facilitates connections throughout the Cultural Center,” DIA director Salvador Salort-Pons has said. The Midtown Cultural Connections project had 44 initial submissions from more than 10 countries and 22 cities. Those were winnowed down to eight firms and then three finalists. The other finalists included TEN x TEN of Minneapolis and Mikyoung Kim Design of Boston.

Detroit Design 139: Inclusive Futures

CALL FOR ENTRIES

The 2019 Detroit Design 139 exhibition is asking all Interested participants to submit up to three (3) projects, policies or concepts that represent inclusive design in housing, economy, neighborhoods, public spaces or city systems located in Detroit’s 139 square miles or in another UNESCO city of design. Academic projects completed within the past three years are also eligible for submission.   To submit work or for more information click HERE SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 30th, 11:59 pm EXHIBITION: September 9th - 30th  

INCLUSIVE FUTURES

As the nation’s only UNESCO City of Design, Detroit has a unique opportunity to utilize inclusive design in order to create a more equitable and sustainable future for both our city and those around the world. By prioritizing diverse experiences, accessible opportunities, and collaborative relationships, Detroit will show how inclusive design develops goods, systems, services, buildings, communities, and urban spaces that work for everyone. Throughout history, cities have been shaped by significant design decisions made by a few, for the many. These design solutions were meant to solve issues relevant to a city’s specific time period and were often made by experts without meaningful input from the people impacted by these plans. As a result, urban design solutions have often resulted in unintended consequences for subsequent generations. This repetitive cycle of top-down design outcomes – divisive highway infrastructure, failed public housing, anti-pedestrian streetscapes and under-utilized public parks – can be found in cities around the world. In response to the vision laid out in Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design Action Plan, Detroit Design 139 proposes that through inclusive design, Detroiters (designers and non-designers alike) can prioritize the importance of both PROCESSES and OUTCOMES for all future projects throughout Detroit’s 139 square miles. Through exhibitions, events, and shared conversations, we will explore inclusive design strategies that break this repetitive cycle of creating future problems by acknowledging all aspects of our shared history in order to solve long-standing urban issues. With this approach, we will focus on creating multigenerational design solutions that result in INCLUSIVE FUTURES for everyone.  

FOCUS AREAS

In September 2019, Detroit Design 139 will showcase inclusive design projects, policies and concepts throughout the built and natural environments of Detroit and other UNESCO Cities of Design. The program will be structured around five focus areas that emphasize learning from the past in order to inform a successful approach to the inclusive design process. Each focus area will consider the entire spectrum of human diversity and individual experiences – in the past, present and future – but with dramatically different outcomes.
  • ECONOMY - What is the role of design in a more inclusive economic future? Where should these economic centers be located to provide the most opportunity for all? What are the new design models for economic development? These projects will spark discourse on the current and future design trends for economy-based space. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use developments, light industrial development, future work environments, adaptive re-use demonstrations, comprehensive retail masterplans, shared office models, etc.
  • CITY SYSTEMS - How do we develop inclusive systems, services and infrastructure for our future city? How do we make the most of our shared urban assets while planning for a more sustainable future? How do we make it easier for people to move freely, safely and efficiently throughout our city? These projects will look at the visible (and invisible) inclusive infrastructure projects that will bring people, neighborhoods, industries, places and things closer together in a cohesive future urban environment. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: sustainability strategies, wholistic infrastructure, stormwater management, alternative mobility systems, shared digital technology networks, vacant land ecosystems, future streetscapes, etc.
  • HOUSING - How do we design inclusive housing? How do we make it affordable and sustainable? These projects will consider the future of housing, changing lifestyles and inclusionary growth. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use developments, affordable and market rate housing typologies, alternative housing models, etc.
  • PUBLIC SPACE - How do we design inclusive public space, regardless of scale? What does inclusive and accessible public space look like? What activities are offered in those spaces? These projects will demonstrate the importance of public space as an inclusionary network within and throughout the city. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: vacant land re-use strategies, community gardens, neighborhood land networks, parks, plazas, waterfronts, etc.
  • NEIGHBORHOODS - What does a more inclusive future offer our communities? Is it possible to live, eat, shop, work, learn and relax within the same neighborhood? How can we design new residential developments without displacing current residents? These projects will explore strategies for inclusive neighborhoods that integrate diverse living options, neighborhood retail opportunities, walkable streets and welcoming public spaces. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: community masterplans, large-scale neighborhood developments, form-based code, community-oriented adaptive re-use, shared community assets, future streetscapes, neighborhood retail, commercial corridor revitalization strategies, etc.

FORMAT

Submissions for each of the above five focus areas should provide at least two of the items listed below:
  • VISUALS. What best illustrates your project, policy, or concept? Potential content could include photographs, drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations, model images, or other digital media about an individual project or a focus area topic.
  • NARRATIVES. What is your project’s inclusive design story? To help us illustrate your narrative, potential content could include publications, short films, video, radio, photography, diagrams, illustrations, poetry, or other means of storytelling about an individual project or a focus area topic.
  • PROCESSES. For this exhibition, the inclusive design process is just as important as the outcome. Potential content may include drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations or other digital media about a project’s inclusive design process or a focus area topic.
  • HISTORICAL ANALYSIS. To support each focus area, we also will be accepting comprehensive urban, architecture, or planning analysis of historic Detroit design projects. The projects must illustrate grand design decisions that solved historic problems while creating future problems for the next generation. Potential historic analysis could include photographs, drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations, written research, or other digital media about an individual project or a focus area topic.
For examples of work from the 2017 exhibition visit the Detroit Design 139 website.

ELIGIBILITY

All submitted projects, policies and concepts must be completed within the past three years, currently in process, or planned to commence before 2021 and located either within Detroit’s 139 square miles or another recognized UNESCO City of Design. Academic projects completed within the past three years are also eligible for submission. Projects displayed within past DD139 exhibitions are ineligible.

DETROIT DESIGN 139 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

In 2015, Detroit was awarded the first UNESCO City of Design in the United States, joining a worldwide network of cities committed to utilizing design as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy. In celebration of that designation, design advocates from across the city came together in 2017 to demand a higher design standard for all future projects within the city’s 139 square miles. In pursuit of that ideal, these advocates curated the inaugural Detroit Design 139 exhibition around ten guiding design principles. The first exhibition, “Detroit Shapes Design” showcased 41 projects that represented a future Detroit populated with thoughtful projects that honored the city’s design legacy, while pushing the city towards becoming a leader in world-class design excellence. Crafted to benefit all Detroiters, the ten guiding design principles are:
  1. Empower design as a means to improve the quality of life for all people.
  2. Advance a thoughtful design process rooted in meaningful community engagement.
  3. Seek creative solutions to solve longstanding urban issues.
  4. Honor context and history through contemporary design.
  5. Activate the public realm.
  6. Promote community cohesion and aesthetic diversity.
  7. Impress the value of design on all projects and all audiences – emphasizing equity, design excellence and inclusion.
  8. Explore new ways to live, work and play together in the 21st-century city.
  9. Celebrate Detroit’s design legacy, while contributing to the city’s design future.
  10. Balance function and beauty.
To submit your work for years exhibition click HERE
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Detroit Design 139: Inclusive Futures

CALL FOR ENTRIES

The 2019 Detroit Design 139 exhibition is asking all Interested participants to submit up to three (3) projects, policies or concepts that represent inclusive design in housing, economy, neighborhoods, public spaces or city systems located in Detroit’s 139 square miles or in another UNESCO city of design. Academic projects completed within the past three years are also eligible for submission. To submit work or for more information click HERE

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 30th, 11:59 pm

EXHIBITION: September 9th - 30th

INCLUSIVE FUTURES

As the nation’s only UNESCO City of Design, Detroit has a unique opportunity to utilize inclusive design in order to create a more equitable and sustainable future for both our city and those around the world. By prioritizing diverse experiences, accessible opportunities, and collaborative relationships, Detroit will show how inclusive design develops goods, systems, services, buildings, communities, and urban spaces that work for everyone.

 

Throughout history, cities have been shaped by significant design decisions made by a few, for the many. These design solutions were meant to solve issues relevant to a city’s specific time period and were often made by experts without meaningful input from the people impacted by these plans. As a result, urban design solutions have often resulted in unintended consequences for subsequent generations. This repetitive cycle of top-down design outcomes – divisive highway infrastructure, failed public housing, anti-pedestrian streetscapes and under-utilized public parks – can be found in cities around the world. In response to the vision laid out in Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design Action Plan, Detroit Design 139 proposes that through inclusive design, Detroiters (designers and non-designers alike) can prioritize the importance of both PROCESSES and OUTCOMES for all future projects throughout Detroit’s 139 square miles. Through exhibitions, events, and shared conversations, we will explore inclusive design strategies that break this repetitive cycle of creating future problems by acknowledging all aspects of our shared history in order to solve long-standing urban issues. With this approach, we will focus on creating multigenerational design solutions that result in INCLUSIVE FUTURES for everyone.

 

FOCUS AREAS

In September 2019, Detroit Design 139 will showcase inclusive design projects, policies and concepts throughout the built and natural environments of Detroit and other UNESCO Cities of Design. The program will be structured around five focus areas that emphasize learning from the past in order to inform a successful approach to the inclusive design process. Each focus area will consider the entire spectrum of human diversity and individual experiences – in the past, present and future – but with dramatically different outcomes.

    • ECONOMY - What is the role of design in a more inclusive economic future? Where should these economic centers be located to provide the most opportunity for all? What are the new design models for economic development? These projects will spark discourse on the current and future design trends for economy-based space. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use developments, light industrial development, future work environments, adaptive re-use demonstrations, comprehensive retail masterplans, shared office models, etc.
    • CITY SYSTEMS - How do we develop inclusive systems, services and infrastructure for our future city? How do we make the most of our shared urban assets while planning for a more sustainable future? How do we make it easier for people to move freely, safely and efficiently throughout our city? These projects will look at the visible (and invisible) inclusive infrastructure projects that will bring people, neighborhoods, industries, places and things closer together in a cohesive future urban environment. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: sustainability strategies, wholistic infrastructure, stormwater management, alternative mobility systems, shared digital technology networks, vacant land ecosystems, future streetscapes, etc.
    • HOUSING - How do we design inclusive housing? How do we make it affordable and sustainable? These projects will consider the future of housing, changing lifestyles and inclusionary growth. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use developments, affordable and market rate housing typologies, alternative housing models, etc.
    • PUBLIC SPACE - How do we design inclusive public space, regardless of scale? What does inclusive and accessible public space look like? What activities are offered in those spaces? These projects will demonstrate the importance of public space as an inclusionary network within and throughout the city. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: vacant land re-use strategies, community gardens, neighborhood land networks, parks, plazas, waterfronts, etc.
    • NEIGHBORHOODS - What does a more inclusive future offer our communities? Is it possible to live, eat, shop, work, learn and relax within the same neighborhood? How can we design new residential developments without displacing current residents? These projects will explore strategies for inclusive neighborhoods that integrate diverse living options, neighborhood retail opportunities, walkable streets and welcoming public spaces. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: community masterplans, large-scale neighborhood developments, form-based code, community-oriented adaptive re-use, shared community assets, future streetscapes, neighborhood retail, commercial corridor revitalization strategies, etc.

FORMAT

Submissions for each of the above five focus areas should provide at least two of the items listed below:

    • VISUALS. What best illustrates your project, policy, or concept? Potential content could include photographs, drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations, model images, or other digital media about an individual project or a focus area topic.
    • NARRATIVES. What is your project’s inclusive design story? To help us illustrate your narrative, potential content could include publications, short films, video, radio, photography, diagrams, illustrations, poetry, or other means of storytelling about an individual project or a focus area topic.
    • PROCESSES. For this exhibition, the inclusive design process is just as important as the outcome. Potential content may include drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations or other digital media about a project’s inclusive design process or a focus area topic.
    • HISTORICAL ANALYSIS. To support each focus area, we also will be accepting comprehensive urban, architecture, or planning analysis of historic Detroit design projects. The projects must illustrate grand design decisions that solved historic problems while creating future problems for the next generation. Potential historic analysis could include photographs, drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations, written research, or other digital media about an individual project or a focus area topic.

For examples of work from the 2017 exhibition visit the Detroit Design 139 website.

ELIGIBILITY

All submitted projects, policies and concepts must be completed within the past three years, currently in process, or planned to commence before 2021 and located either within Detroit’s 139 square miles or another recognized UNESCO City of Design. Academic projects completed within the past three years are also eligible for submission. Projects displayed within past DD139 exhibitions are ineligible.

 

DETROIT DESIGN 139 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

In 2015, Detroit was awarded the first UNESCO City of Design in the United States, joining a worldwide network of cities committed to utilizing design as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy. In celebration of that designation, design advocates from across the city came together in 2017 to demand a higher design standard for all future projects within the city’s 139 square miles. In pursuit of that ideal, these advocates curated the inaugural Detroit Design 139 exhibition around ten guiding design principles. The first exhibition, “Detroit Shapes Design” showcased 41 projects that represented a future Detroit populated with thoughtful projects that honored the city’s design legacy, while pushing the city towards becoming a leader in world-class design excellence.

Crafted to benefit all Detroiters, the ten guiding design principles are:

    1. Empower design as a means to improve the quality of life for all people.
    2. Advance a thoughtful design process rooted in meaningful community engagement.
    3. Seek creative solutions to solve longstanding urban issues.
    4. Honor context and history through contemporary design.
    5. Activate the public realm.
    6. Promote community cohesion and aesthetic diversity.
    7. Impress the value of design on all projects and all audiences – emphasizing equity, design excellence and inclusion.
    8. Explore new ways to live, work and play together in the 21st-century city.
    9. Celebrate Detroit’s design legacy, while contributing to the city’s design future.
    10. Balance function and beauty.

To submit your work for years exhibition click HERE

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NOMA President Kim Dowdell on the politics of Detroit and the architecture profession

Detroit is an entrepreneurial city. In its heyday, it was full of forward-thinkers who were breaking boundaries by building big business dedicated to innovation and manufacturing. That same spirit still exists in the Motor City today, though some have written off the gritty, Michigan enclave as a place of the past. Many dedicated Detroit natives are working hard to rebuild its legacy as a capital of American economic and cultural development. Kimberly Dowdell, in particular, is using her experience as an architect and a real estate developer, as well as her innate entrepreneurial drive, to change the face of urban housing in Detroit. Along with her team at Century Partners, an emerging firm in the city, she’s tackling long-standing social injustices through the lens of home ownership. She’s doing the same in her new role as president of the National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA) by advancing representation in the architecture industry and fighting for professional equity. AN spoke with Dowdell about her unique career path, what drives her to rebuild Detroit, and why addressing architecture’s internal issues can help build stronger cities. The Architect's Newspaper: You spent time on the East Coast working as an architect and developer, and then studied public administration as a graduate student at Harvard University. What drew you back to Detroit? Kimberly Dowdell: I grew up in Detroit in the early '90s when the city was in pretty bad shape. The buildings were ghosts of their former selves, which fascinated me, but economically, Detroit was devastated. Instead of moving back after graduating from Cornell with my bachelor’s in architecture, I decided to sample cities on the East Coast (Washington, D.C., and New York), rounding it all off in Cambridge for the Harvard program. Many people ask me why I studied government since I came from a design background, but I firmly believe buildings are intrinsically part of the public realm, so it’s our responsibility to learn everything we can about how policies can work to better the built environment. In 2015, I was recruited by the City of Detroit’s Housing and Revitalization Department, where I worked closely with the Planning and Development Department, collaborating with a long-time mentor, Maurice Cox, Detroit’s Planning Director. That unique opportunity to contribute to Detroit’s resurgence ended my 14-year East Coast tour. AN: Since you’ve been in Detroit, you’ve transitioned into a more entrepreneurial role as a professional and within your current firm, Century Partners. How does your background in public service and design serve you in thinking about housing in Detroit? When I was younger, I didn’t like that Detroit looked bad, so I decided I was going to become an architect. I didn’t really see many people trying to solve the city’s big problems growing up, so I aimed to do it myself. A lot of what I’ve chosen to do in my career has been in response to things that I think are not ideal. As a kid, I actually wanted to be a doctor, which is funny now because I consider myself kind of like a doctor at the macro level. I get to help heal neighborhoods. Architects have to be knowledgeable of all the issues at hand in order to get a project done successfully. To be a developer, you also have to understand the bigger politics at play. With Century Partners, I’m able to use my design eye as I try to maintain the historic fabric of Detroit as much as possible through our projects. AN: What’s the biggest thing you’re working on at Century Partners? Detroit is well-known for its expanse of single-family homes. We’re currently looking at building out neighborhoods that are positioned to contribute to the multi-family housing fabric of the city. We’re currently fundraising to purchase commercial and multi-family buildings in Detroit’s core that will spur economic development, increase density, and create a 24/7 neighborhood. The other major project that we're working on right now is called the Fitz Forward Neighborhood Revitalization project, a city-backed, public-private partnership that will eventually revitalize over 300 parcels of land, including existing homes, open lots, and parkland, across the Fitzgerald neighborhood in central Detroit. AN: You spend a lot of time thinking about Detroit’s future and how to solve these big-picture problems. How is this mindset helpful as you start your new position leading NOMA? I’m three months into my presidency and the biggest thing I want to be really mindful of is fundraising for the organization. As a woman, I think there’s a general consensus that we don’t directly ask for money—as if fundraising is a taboo thing to do. But as president, I want to commit to doing that, which coincidently ties into my fundraising efforts with Century Partners for the commercial property and multi-family housing fund I mentioned. Money is always part of the bigger picture in architecture, but it’s a new challenge for me to think about it so directly.   AN: How could more money for your organization have an impact on architecture? I was recently possessed to say out loud in a podcast interview that if someone gave NOMA a million dollars, it could change the face of the profession. We’d have money to fuel our access-related programs like exposing K-5 students to architecture through classes and products, while middle and high school students could more deeply engage with our NOMA Project Pipeline summer camps. College students, especially aspiring architects of color, need help with studio supplies, technology, housing, transportation, and scholarships. As the first millennial president of NOMA, I’ve also begun considering how the architecture profession can alleviate the student debt crisis. Many of my colleagues have really high levels of student debt coupled with comparatively low professional salaries (consider lawyers and doctors) and limited flexibility and financial freedom. How can we as an organization motivate or incentivize people to pursue architecture knowing that compensation is a challenge and the student loan debt is higher than ever? We will miss out on some really talented people if things don’t change. This is also a diversity issue. Minorities in particular struggle with this given the wealth gap. NOMA is about getting people to believe in the power of diversity and the success of companies and organizations who support that vision. I want to make the case that investing in NOMA is investing in the future of a more diverse and equitable profession, which can help build more diverse and equitable cities. AN: So you think addressing the architecture’s internal inequalities would have a trickle-down effect on not only the way firms are set up, but how projects and cities get built? I absolutely think that there is a correlation between who is empowered to author the built environment and how that environment shapes the well-being of the community that it serves. In the words of Winston Churchill, "we shape our buildings and thereafter our buildings shape us." I believe that this statement holds true and I would add that the heightened diversity of our built environment stewards (developers, architects, builders, real estate brokers, etc.) will contribute to a more thoughtful and responsive set of buildings, spaces, and places that will equate to more sustainable cities. I believe in quadruple bottom line sustainability—incorporating financial, ecological, social and cultural priorities. While everyone in the development process has a particular purpose and role, I think that the more we see greater cohesion between those quadruple bottom line priorities, the better off our cities will be moving forward.
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Utile envisions a grand, new future for Detroit's Eastern Market

Detroit is often referred to as an example of a city in which citizen effort and innovative design in certain areas have increased the standard of living, despite the city's overall struggles. The Eastern Market district is an example of such uplift. In the five long, 19th-century "sheds" along Russell Street, cafés, local farmer-vendors, jewelers, and Coney Island–style hot dog stands now flank the corridors. Murals on brick brighten up the exterior walls. Jazz musicians and Motown singers play music for guests every Saturday when the markets are at their liveliest. Outside the sheds, there are local coffee companies, clinics, restaurants, and grocery stores. In recent years, the space, a 24-acre plot in the heart of Detroit, has been dramatically revitalized. The bustling marketplaces reflect this. However, it is clear that more effort is needed to make the most of the possibilities the district offers. Today, the Eastern Market's historic core requires both structural and environmental updates. Additionally, an increasing number of visitors means the sheds and surrounding businesses require expansions. In a group effort by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the Eastern Market Corporation, and the Nature Conservancy, Boston-based firm Utile, Inc., and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) have been commissioned to lay out a comprehensive framework for the district and the surrounding neighborhood. In doing so, the district hopes to become a larger center for food distribution. Further goals involve becoming a high-tech hub in order to present more opportunities for employment. Tim Love, principal at Utile, spoke to The Architect's Newspaper about the challenges, plans, and aspirations for the project. The Architect's Newspaper: What were the guidelines for the project and the issues present that the client wants to solve?  Tim Love: The project has two separate but related focus areas: the historic core of the market, centered on the market sheds, and an area targeted for the expansion of food industry businesses to the north and east of the existing market district. The expansion of the market is necessitated by new federal food regulations triggered by the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act and the desire by the City of Detroit to retain and expand the job opportunities provided by the food industry. The plan for the market expansion area required the thoughtful integration of an industrial real estate development strategy with a centralized stormwater management plan. As a result, the Utile/MVVA team needed to test alternative food business building prototypes and the network of open spaces that threaded between the buildings. The design problem was complicated by the need to provide truck access to the food businesses while screening the truck aprons from non-industrial uses on the boundaries of the expanded food industry district. The final recommended urban design strategy, conceived at the block scale, weaves together industrial buildings, stormwater greenways, truck aprons, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly streets, and live/work building types. The net result is an urbanism that acknowledges the need for large-footprint, truck-dependent buildings, but organizes them in a way that makes for a more environmental-friendly and walkable district. The plan for the core market area meets related but slightly different goals. In this case, the preservation of the market sheds and the funky building fabric on the blocks to the east and west of the sheds were identified as a cultural as much as a historic resource. As a result, a set of design guidelines were developed that encourage developers to preserve the existing buildings while allowing for penthouse additions of three to four stories above. To reinforce the existing ad hoc character of the district, we decided to embrace the mismatched stacking of contrasting architectural expressions rather than encourage a more canonical restoration of the historic fabric. Along the Dequindre Cut and Gratiot Avenue, where less of the historic fabric survives, dense residential mixed-use development is proposed. An increase in the local residential population will enliven the public realm, especially in the evening, when Eastern Market is mostly deserted. The twist, in this case, is that fabrication and light manufacturing spaces are encouraged on the ground floor rather than retail. The goal is to encourage smaller-scale food and fabrication businesses that complement the larger-scale facilities being planning in the market expansion area. In addition, favoring fabrication spaces over retail will help steer retail businesses closer to the market sheds, where food-focused retail already benefits from the busy public market. Our team is still working with the city to determine how our plan will be implemented, both in the short- and long-term. Certainly, zoning regulations will be one tool that will be used to shape future private investment. AN: What is the current state of the Eastern Market neighborhood, and where does your team envision it being when your design has been implemented? How will your team’s designs impact Detroit on a city-wide scale? TL: Today, Eastern Market neighborhood is an island of walkable urban fabric within a larger landscape of vacant parcels and auto-centric uses. The economy of the market core is defined by symbiotic relationships between food production, distribution, and retail businesses in close proximity to one another and in connection with larger supply chains. Our goal is to extend the district to accommodate the needs of the modern food industry while introducing a mix of uses that reinforce the public realm and increase both the daytime and evening population. The expansion of the market district will also increase the number of food industry jobs, important in a city where the largest areas of job growth have been in the customer service and retail sectors. The industrial buildings that surround the historic market sheds are not suitable for modern food processing and fabrication. Their floor plates are too small, and their ceilings are too low. And even if they were adequate in size, modern food safety codes make the buildings prohibitively expensive to renovate. To answer the need for modernization, a market expansion area was identified directly to the north and east of the core market where new larger state-of-the-art industrial building can be accommodated. As existing businesses move or expand into new facilities in the expansion area, the core market buildings can be renovated to support a mix of uses, including retail, commercial-office, loft residential, and smaller-scale food startups. New multi-floor rooftop additions are allowed per the design guidelines developed as part of the plan. The additions will increase density in the district and will cross-subsidize the rehabilitation of the lower floors. The expanded market area will both keep existing businesses from leaving the area and will attract new food industry businesses to Detroit. Preserving and enhancing the economic engine of Eastern Market not only creates jobs and generates revenue for the city, but also a strategy for maintaining an authentic working market district. AN: How has the community been involved in the design process? What are some of the features of the final design that allow for and encourage community engagement? TL: We partnered with the City of Detroit and City Form Detroit, a local urban design and planning firm, to craft a comprehensive engagement strategy. The process included well-attended open houses hosted by the city that included short presentations, informal break-out sessions, and visual survey activities. As a sign of the city’s ownership of the process and emerging plan, representatives from the city and the Detroit Economic Growth Council gave the presentations and not members of our team; the first time one of our public agency clients has owned the content early in the planning process!

Detroit City of Design Competition

Design Core Detroit announces the first edition of Detroit City of Design Competition, an international, multidisciplinary competition for designers hailing from all 31 UNESCO Cities of Design. Qualified designers are invited to prototype design solutions for Detroit neighborhoods that address safety and walkability. As the first and only UNESCO City of Design in the United States, Detroit will leverage its global connections to bring innovative design solutions to its neighborhoods. When completed, the competition will result in three unique temporary pilot installations that address safety, mobility and walkability issues for residents in Grandmont Rosedale, Southwest Detroit and Hope Village. Debuting in a central location to an audience over 40,000 during Detroit's Month of Design in September 2019, the three prototypes will ultimately be moved to their respective neighborhoods. The competition will fund the three pilot installations with a budget of $20,000.00 that includes $15,000 for materials and $5,000 stipend for each installation.   Eligibility Any individual, team or firm from Detroit and the other 30 UNESCO Design Cities is invited to apply. At least one professional designer must be a part of the team. Design Core encourages the formation of multidisciplinary teams.
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Detroit's House of Pure Vin lets visitors wine in style

1433 Woodward Avenue Detroit, 48226 (313) 638-2501 M1/DTW House of Pure Vin is a minority-owned wine shop in downtown Detroit contributing to the revival of the city’s historic Woodward Avenue. Architect Christian Unverzagt from M1/DTW helped transform the 3,000-square-foot space into a sophisticated wine tasting shop and tourist attraction. Unverzagt converted a twisted and irregular retail space into a series of smaller rooms—including a climate-controlled champagne room, recessed retail nook, and tasting room—to provide a sense of visual clarity and allow the space to slowly unfold to reveal new activities to visitors. The shop holds over 4,000 bottles of wine, displaying the majority of them within a wall of cardboard tubes typically used for manufacturing. The tubes serve as wine racks, an eye-catching way to store the bottles sideways and shield them from light. Cork is used for various surfaces within the shop, including the walls and cash wrap, acting as a warm contrast to the black steel and industrial materials elsewhere in the store.
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Akoaki designs a new future for Detroit's Oakland Avenue Urban Farm

Detroit Cultivator, a six-acre urban plan developed between design firm Akoaki and the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm (OAUF), uses architecture and community organizing to help formalize a legacy urban farm in Detroit’s North End neighborhood.  The OAUF started with a single plot back in 2000, but over time has grown to encompass over 30 lots and 8 structures. Today, the farm administers mentorship programs, hosts classes, and offers community and art spaces alongside its agricultural activities. As Detroit has recovered from financial calamity following the Great Recession, development interests have taken to surrounding areas, threatening the farm’s future. That’s where Detroit-based Akoaki saw an opportunity to apply its design expertise and institutional connections in innovative ways. The firm is helmed by Anya Sirota, associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and her partner, designer Jean Louis Farges. Together with neighborhood residents, several university-based teams, and outside “impact investors” like The Kresge Foundation and ArtPlace America, Akoaki has helped design a way to ensure that the farm can become a permanent neighborhood fixture by setting out a long-term growth plan and designing site-based interventions that will promote economic and environmental sustainability. Sirota said, “As architects, we became interested in the challenge of what architecture could do systemically to create a more sustainable operating system for the farm.” The designers sought to discover how the farm could become an “autonomous cultural actor in a complicated urban scenario” that included unclear land ownership, development pressures from land speculators, and water access issues, among other concerns. Because some the farm’s components were located on blighted plots of land that the farm did not own outright, the first step for the project was to secure a path toward formalizing land ownership over these parcels to ensure that developers could not wipe away the farm’s gains. The designers worked with the University of Michigan Law School and a team of “moral investors” to flip the script on land speculators by studying and imitating the tactics they use to exploit Detroit’s land bank. The plan secured land ownership for little-to-no cost via a community land trust ownership model that will keep the land out of the hands of speculators. Once the existential issue of land ownership had been laid to rest, the team worked with volunteers from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business to craft a business plan for the farm. The plan focuses the team’s efforts on two complementary goals: First, by prioritizing the farm’s productivity to create a stable source of income to fund operations and second, by designing the farm’s individual components to create a flexible one-stop-shop for nascent neighborhood entrepreneurs. As a result, the farm is peppered with existing structures that will each eventually become activated as public amenities: A vacant big-box grocery store will be converted into a community gathering space containing a commercial kitchen with the help of a for-profit social venture, Fellow Citizen; an existing shoe shine parlor and former speakeasy will reopen as a multi-tenant commercial space and performance venue; several of the existing homes on the property will eventually house an herbarium, studio, and a design-focused library. New elements created for the site will include a commercial market hall as well as water-harvesting and power stations.  In creating their plan, the designers realized that they could not keep the farm purely agricultural, and they instead sought to formalize other existing uses through building and site interventions. The design embraces both the “urban” and “farming” aspects of OAUF, which, according to the architects, is what the community wants and needs most.  The project, according to Sirota, represents an “attempt to marry form-making with productive landscapes,” to sustain the social and economic impact of land that was once considered marginal in value.  Next, the designers are working on developing and prototyping water harvesting, solar generation, and insulation techniques to help feed into the long-term sustainability plan for the farm while fundraising efforts get underway. 
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Five years after Detroit’s bankruptcy, design fuels recovery

Could Detroit be pioneering a new type of gentrification? It is possible. The recovery—with its innovative experiments in revitalization—is set to become a laboratory of ideas that will redefine gentrification, learning from the urban renaissance of the last 20 years in other cities. The Detroit of the late aughts was a desolate place: The municipal government had all but crumbled in the wake of a depopulation that saw the city go from over 2 million residents to around 700,000. With the loss of people and jobs came the loss of density and infrastructure, which left Detroit the poster child for apocalyptic Rust Belt landscapes. During this period of the late 2000s to the early 2010s, steep real estate discounts allowed artists and entrepreneurs to buy houses and commercial buildings extremely cheap. This legendary scenario led The New York Times to publish an article titled "Last Stop on the L Train: Detroit,” in 2015.  And it certainly feels that way, with vibrant music, arts, food, and design scenes in the city that seem to be linked together by a small community of like-minded people working on a host of cultural projects together. However, much of the buzz about Detroit in the national media has died down. How is Detroit doing five years after becoming the largest city ever to go through a structured bankruptcy, and how is design helping to speculate on new future urbanisms? Today’s Detroit is a different place than five years ago. The days of $500 houses bought at auction and dark, empty landscapes are becoming a thing of the past. Developers and speculators have bought up much of the land around the city center, with Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Ventures owning almost 95 percent of the downtown area. This area could now pass for a street in downtown Chicago, with high-end boutiques and chains like Warby Parker and lululemon. In other neighborhoods, such as the more industrial Milwaukee Junction, near the Russell Industrial Center—an icon of gritty urban reuse—land and property have been claimed by those waiting to sell or develop it. Other neighborhoods like Corktown and Midtown have seen a resurgence in development, an increase in market-rate housing, and more traditional forms of urban revitalization. Infamously abandoned sites have been bought for eventual redevelopment or reuse. Most strikingly, a Ford-branded security Ford Escape is parked outside the Ford-emblazoned fence at Detroit Central Train Station, a ruin-porn poster child now slated for redevelopment as the auto giant’s “innovation” hub, focusing on autonomous vehicles. Now the challenge will be to deliver on some of the potential that has been so evident over the last decade. Detroit’s municipal government has long been seen as incapable of addressing the city’s problems, such as abandoned buildings, vacant lots, lack of infrastructure, and general disinvestment. Since declaring bankruptcy in 2013, the city has implemented a series of initiatives that have in many ways stabilized it. These include basic things like improving emergency services and transportation. Perhaps most important, new LED streetlights were installed, ending the days when residents carried flashlights in their cars. Perhaps the most dramatic change in Detroit’s governance has been in the city planning department. Architect and former Charlottesville mayor Maurice Cox has been tasked with overseeing the recovery. His first step? Hiring a diverse, interdisciplinary team of 36 planners, architects, urban designers, and landscape designers to rethink how a city can incentivize investment, rebuild infrastructure, redensify targeted neighborhoods, and provide services to new residents while preventing displacement of existing residents and cultures that have endured the city’s darker times. Cox calls it “inclusive recovery.” This comprises measures that harness one of the unique things about Detroit—a high level of community engagement. As a majority African-American city, it is an especially promising place to pioneer these ideas. At a recent event at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), the artist Tyree Guyton sat down for a talk at the closing for a show about his Heidelberg Project, a self-started community art project he has developed since 1986. Rather than a typical artist’s talk, the event was more like a community town hall, where residents of the nearby neighborhood spoke in detail about how they see the neighborhood changing, and how the evolution could be better. This kind of community-led development will be key to making sure that Detroit can innovate without displacing people or local cultures. The most important priority of the plan is to recover while preserving both local neighborhood culture and affordable housing. Cox’s initiatives include framework plans for targeted neighborhoods that have strong residential numbers and some active housing stock. The planning department identified weak spots surrounded by higher-density areas that could be tied together with coordinated investment, resulting in—thus far—six quarter-mile-by-quarter-mile areas where recovery could be easiest. The proposed Joe Louis Greenway will be a 31.5-mile bike-pedestrian loop that passes mostly through neighborhoods with a median income under $27,500 a year and a 70 percent rate of car access. The greenway will incorporate existing routes, such as the Dequindre Cut, a below-grade rail-line-turned-pedestrian-promenade that is being used as a gentrification vehicle to spur development of a mix of affordable housing embedded in market-rate developments. Development group The Platform will be developing a housing complex at the north end of the cut. This could lead to displacement, but because the city owns so much land along the path, it will experiment with ways to provide affordable housing and transportation without driving people out. Local housing research includes a joint venture between the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the City of Detroit. In studios led by Lars Gräbner and Christina Hansen, students generate ideas about what housing might look like in Detroit, some of which are displayed in exhibitions such as 2017’s A City For All: Future Housing Models for the City of Detroit. These studios also helped produce a series of design guidelines. For example, one line reads: “Impress the value of design on all projects and all audiences—emphasizing equity, design excellence, and inclusion.” As design thinking ramps up, so too will design excellence. Detroit has a long legacy of designers and architects who have called Michigan home, such as Eliel and Eero Saarinen and Albert Kahn. But in recent years, there have been fewer high-quality projects. This is changing, however, with firms such as Lorcan O’Herlihy, SCAPE, Walter Hood, Adjaye Associates, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and others signing up to design housing, parks, and urban farms. O’Herlihy, for instance, is working on a housing study for Brush Park, the first of Cox’s targeted neighborhoods just outside downtown, designing a 24-building, 410-unit densification plan. And design is baked into the new planning department goals and regulations. What could be design’s biggest impact is the preservation of existing cultures, which includes the existing building culture, one of the goals for “inclusive recovery.” To prevent the loss of the visual character of the neighborhoods, incentives such as a double density allowance are offered for projects that preserve the existing shell of a building. Layering history in this way will inevitably lead to interesting new adaptive reuses. These building refills are a good metaphor for the new type of gentrification being pioneered here: They redensify the abandoned fabric with useful infill, but do not take away the texture that makes Detroit unique. As part of VolumeOne, Gräbner and Hansen’s private practice, the pair is working on a redevelopment of the historic Stone Soap Building, an historic 1907 factory. The structural concrete frame and brick infill will be preserved, and a minimal, floating addition will be clad in a galvanized metal panel system. The strong visual contrast between old and new will articulate a strategy of respect for the existing structure while implying continuity through the use of industrial materials. Imagining new uses for vacant land will also play a big part in making the future of Detroit, and nature is integral to the next image of the city. There are about 24 square miles of vacant land that are very costly to maintain. In collaboration with developers and designers, the city is programming many experiments in urban agriculture and self-reliant landscapes. The ad-hoc, community-initiated urban farming pioneered by projects such as Oakland Avenue Urban Farm has become a staple of Detroit urbanism and is becoming part of larger, city-led projects as well. Walter Hood Studio’s Rosa Parks Neighborhood Master Plan does not propose any new buildings but rather infills vacant lots with tree nursery gardens that will provide jobs and act as productive landscapes. In the Fitzgerald neighborhood, local developers Fitz Forward have set out to improve 100 vacant houses and 200 vacant lots. The strategy included some 28 community meetings and 50 neighborhood meetings that resulted in creating a park—a connective tissue—for the neighborhood, as well as flowering meadows in vacant lots. Cox sees it as a success in testing the idea of using design to create a place and restore beauty and community. Detroit is not without its issues, of course, but the future looks bright for the city. Its unique problems, such as the over-the-top reliance on the car built into the city’s planning, and its sprawling, vacant lots, could become assets when coupled with its strengths: relatively cheap land, strong communities, diverse leadership, and many cultural artifacts that have survived the dark times. Five years after bankruptcy, it is an exciting time in Detroit, and there is reason to believe it will provoke a new kind of urban revitalization: one in harmony with nature and existing cultures, informed by the urban progress made over the last few decades.