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.
These Urban Design projects exemplify Detroit’s best practices for developing inclusivity at the district scale. Through the strategic analysis of existing assets, design strategies turn disconnected parts into a thoughtful and cohesive whole.
These exciting New Construction projects represent Detroit’s future as a leader in world-class design excellence – that is already under construction today.
As evidenced by these Adaptive Reuse projects, a building’s original function may change, the surrounding urban fabric may falter, but the remaining architectural forms can still host future opportunities for unexpectedly modern uses.
The City of Detroit Planning and Development Department partnered with the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning's Masters of Architecture program, exploring experimental housing typologies throughout the city of Detroit.
A selection of projects spearheaded by the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department.