Detroit Design 139

Coming this Fall:


Sept. 09 - 30, 2019

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 multi-generational design solutions that result in inclusive futures for everyone.

2019 How International Design Award Winner

How Design Award Medal/Button

Detroit Design 139 was recognized as one of the 226 award-winning designs from around the world to exemplify high-level design.

Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Meet Our Advisory Committee

The advisory committee helps guide the strategic direction of Detroit Design 139, offering feedback on work being completed by working groups. The group is comprised of city planners, design leaders and community advocates.


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