City As Platform

This new approach to a session offers hands-on, boots-on-the-ground immersive learning about urban issues and solutions on the streets of Detroit. City As Platform events will be two (2) hours long and take place Saturday, June 11. City As Platform Sessions will take many forms, including group dialogues on neighborhood-specific issues, hands-on workshops intended to solve a local problem, interactive tours, or more.

Saturday | June 11

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

AIA 1.5 HSW
8 Mile & Gratiot: Planning for a Pedestrian-Oriented, Transit-Served Future In Detroit

How can a major Detroit intersection, and the surrounding neighborhood, be transformed to welcome pedestrians and support transit? This session includes a short tour of 8 Mile and Gratiot. In a table exercise, participants will focus on principles of street redesign, pedestrian-oriented infrastructure, and how to connect two sides of a street. Ideas from this session will be transferable to other jurisdictions dealing with similar issues.

This session is timely because the new regional transit authority has slated Gratiot as a future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor, just as 24-hour bus service has recently been restored.


AIA 1.5 HSW
NorthEnd: How Art & Urban Farming Rejuvenate Neighborhoods

A visit to the NorthEnd and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm will explore strategic financing of community development projects like urban gardens and art; sustainable community asset development; and neighborhood planning, safety, beautification, and engagement.

Participants will learn about an approach to strategic neighborhood development that is robust, sustainable, and targeted at diverse residents. Neighborhood activists are collaborating to overcome barriers and implement solutions in an African American and working-class neighborhood.


AIA 2 HSW
Brick + Beam Detroit & Michigan Historic Preservation Network: Rehabbing Homes As A Way to Build Civic & Financial Equity

How can communities use small-scale interventions—the rehabilitation of a single house, physical improvements on a block, small-scale job-training or skills education, for example—to spur greater neighborhood impact?

A brief walking tour of target residential and commercial properties in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood will highlight new areas of growth as well as remaining challenges to overcome. Organizations working in the neighborhood will set the context for these challenges and discuss their initiatives that promote building rehabilitation and community engagement as a strategy for neighborhood stabilization. Participants will then join a guided conversation in how to leverage these investments in the area to bring financial and civic wealth to the neighborhood, sharing best practices from other cities across the nation.


AIA 1.5 HSW
Banglatown & Global Detroit: Immigrant Communities & Their Role in Neighborhood Revitalization

A trip to the immigrant community of Banglatown will explore urban farming, community planning, and data visualization—and how these impact neighborhood revitalization. Global Detroit and its Banglatown partners will reveal ways to break through cultural and language barriers to community planning processes in immigrant and low-income neighborhoods.

Examples of community outreach, data utilization, and creative and successful community planning outcomes will form the basis for a larger discussion. Participants will tour Power House Productions project spaces, explore how arts and culture informs community development, and examine infrastructure challenges.

1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

AIA 1.5 HSW
Live6: Anchor Institutions Reviving Surrounding Neighborhoods

A facilitated discussion will explore the sometimes-fragile relationship between anchor institutions and their surrounding neighborhoods. While the focus will be on public/private partnerships and grassroots community relationships, participants will play an active role in this conversation and brainstorming exercise.


AIA 1.5 HSW
Remodeling Lives / Denby: How A Community Can Design, Build, & Maintain Neighborhood Public Park

Of the many capstone projects generated by Denby High School graduates since 2013, one has risen to the top: The plan to create a community green space adjacent to the school. Residents have rallied behind this project as much as students, but the challenge is building it.

The session will explore ways a community can design, build, and maintain a neighborhood park. Participants may suggest mechanisms to fund repairs and maintenance, and help to design a parcel across from the park. The plan calls for a botanical garden aligned with science curriculum.


AIA 1.5 HSW
Grandmont Rosedale: Infill Strategies for Neighborhood Development

See firsthand how a small neighborhood in northwest Detroit is experiencing a rebirth of the entrepreneurial spirit. Tour a coworking space, green parking lot, multi-tenant building, new property acquisition, and a site under consideration for purchase and development. This is a story of placemaking and construction in a place with few resources. Grandmont Rosedale is a case study in improving a commercial corridor without waiting for the market to support substantial new development.


AIA 1.5 HSW
Southwest Detroit: Designing Mixed-Industrial Communities To Be Healthy Places

How can mixed industrial communities be designed to protect health and improve quality of life? Can "buffers" and implementation reduce the impacts of nearby heavy and light industry?

Leaders from Delray, a Southwest Detroit community, share ways to address these challenges. The community seeks expert advice on best practices and new ideas on policy and implementation on a pressing issue: The community faces increasing industrial encroachment and potentially negative health impacts.

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

AIA 1.5 HSW
Southwest Detroit: Reusing & Repurposing Public Infrastructure

Phoenix Multicultural Academy is set to close at the end of the 2016 school year. Across the street from the school is a vacant warehouse on Pershing Street and a vacant lot near the viaduct on Central. Vacancies like these are too common in economically distressed communities. Many cities are asking: How can public infrastructure be re-used or repurposed for the public good or for private business?

This session will study the Phoenix, Pershing, and Central areas to make recommendations on avoiding vacancies and to formulate a long-term reuse strategy for the school.


AIA 1.5 HSW
Cody Rouge/Joy Southfield: From Vacant Industry to Green Industry

This session includes a short tour of three buildings of different sizes, each zoned light industrial, along a half-mile strip in the Cody Rouge neighborhood of Detroit. The community's building reuse plan centers on the green industry.

Together with local leaders and new urban experts, participants will brainstorm on how these buildings can be reused. The floor will be open to any and all ideas on how "going green" can lead to growth.


AIA 1.5 HSW
Osborn's Eight Special Streets: Stabilizing & Restoring Vulnerable Communities

Economic development is happening in just a handful of Detroit Neighborhoods—but that list doesn't include Osborn. With the help of new urban experts, neighborhood leaders seek advice on creating an economic development plan for their community that can spur construction in Osborn. This brainstorming session will focus on stabilizing and restoring the residential area, priming it for small-scale real estate investment, and adaptive reuse of vacant buildings.


AIA 1.5 HSW
Michigan Avenue: Activating & Reactivating Vacant Places

How can residents and small business owners work together to activate vacant places along the struggling, yet vital commercial corridor of Michigan Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in Detroit?  

Participants will engage in a hands-on, collaborative session to examine tactical interventions and projects that can connect to other activity along the corridor. The immersive discussion will relate to previous AIA Urban Priorities Committee work in this neighborhood.