UDM’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center helps build on Detroit’s Future
University of Detroit Mercy’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC), part of the School of Architecture, was instrumental in crafting the recently released Detroit Future City strategic framework plan, which has been endorsed with a $150,000,000 pledge from the Kresge Foundation.
In July of 2011, DCDC was selected by both the Kresge and Ford Foundations to lead a renewed effort to engage residents and key stakeholders in the city of Detroit to actively participate in the planning phase of Mayor Bing’s “Detroit Works Project Long Term Planning” Initiative. From November of 2011 through December of 2012, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, led by Associate Professor of Architecture Dan Pitera, FAIA, guided a collaborative effort to fully engage all citizens and community leaders in a dynamic conversation that was instrumental in shaping the recently released Detroit Future City strategic framework. Over this time period, the University has received approximately $2,000,000 from the Ford Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in support of this process.
The Design Center’s contribution to the Detroit Works Long Term Planning Project, now entering a new phase under the name “Detroit Future City,” has been crucial to the project’s success. One of the key characteristics of this process, in contrast to typical urban redevelopment plans of the past, is the unprecedented level of meaningful community engagement that was built into the process. The plan will certainly prove to be transformational in the evolution of Detroit in terms of the impact it will have on future land use, prosperity, and quality of life for Detroit’s residents, and in the arena of urban design and urban planning, it is certain to receive global recognition for the groundbreaking nature of the Design Center led community engagement process.
The Center co-authored the plan, reaching out to 163,000 community members in over 30,000 meetings with area stakeholders. “People are our greatest asset,” said Pitera. “And it’s the people who will define the vision of the project. We didn’t come in with an idea of what the end result would look like. The vision is being created by the Detroit community, through the process of engagement", he added.
The expertise of the Design Center staff has developed over the past 19 years and has earned a global reputation for setting the highest standard for the meaningful participation of stakeholders in various projects. DCDC has completed hundreds of projects over the years that have been guided by an exemplary community participation process. With the Detroit Works Project, that expertise has evolved remarkably to engage the entire city in order to give Detroiters a meaningful voice and ownership in the process of envisioning new potentials for the city.
One of the most important successes of the civic engagement process so far is that the collaborative work of the Design Center has helped to knit together the beginnings of a strategic coalition of community leaders that will be crucial for the implementation of these ideas. Dozens of key community leaders in the public, private and philanthropic communities have already come together to help craft the plan, and those networks of collaboration will be extremely valuable as the project moves forward.
As the Detroit Future City initiative now moves into various stages of implementation, the Design Center will continue to play a vital role in the process and the ongoing conversation with all Detroiters. Their expertise will also be instrumental in helping neighborhood groups and non-profits develop project plans on a more local scale.
To view the Detroit Works plan, visit the website at: http://www.detroitworksproject.com.
Local & National Media Coverage Highlights
January 16, 2013
- Detroit Metro Times
Detroit's vision and revision
Which brings us back to Dan Pitera, an associate professor of architecture at UDM and executive director of the university’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center, which, as the school’s website notes, is focused on “fostering university and community partnerships that create inspired and sustainable neighborhoods and spaces for all people.” http://metrotimes.com/detroit-s-vision-and-revision-1.1430411?pgno=1
January 13, 2013
DETROIT FREE PRESS
John Gallagher: Tale of two futures? Future City blueprint shows what Detroit could be...
"You can almost close your eyes and imagine what the city would look like in 50 years if every recommendation is followed," said Will Wittig, dean of architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy. http://www.freep.com/article/20130113/BLOG31/301130166/John-Gallagher-Tale-of-two-futures-Detroit-Future-City-blueprint-maps-an-alternative-to-a-blight-metropolis?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE (same article ran in the Battle Creek Enquirer) http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20130113/NEWS01/301130011/Blueprint-shows-what-Detroit-could-be?nclick_check=1
January 9, 2013
- THE DETROIT FREE PRESS
Detroit Works unveils 'Future City' concept, suggests uses for vacant land
Following two years of study and 30,000 conversations with the public, the Detroit Works Long-Term Planning team is unveiling a book-length final report this week that holds out the promise of a better, if different,Detroit.That long-term report was produced by a team of urban planners led by project manager Toni Griffin, a New York-based expert on urban redevelopment, and including multiple Detroit-based experts, including DanKinkead, an architect with the firm Hamilton Anderson Associates, and Dan Pitera, a professor of architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy. Theresa Foundation and other philanthropic funders paid for the staff work and the report itself.
- THE DETROIT NEWS
Long-term Detroit neighborhood stabilization plan to be unveiled
"This cannot live in city government alone," said Dan Pitera, executive director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center. He served as director of civic engagement for the project. Pitera and his colleagues said their multi-layered project would require the participation of all segments of the city. "It cannot be (accomplished thorough) non profits alone," he said. "It cannot live in business alone,institutions alone - it has to live with all of that. For this to continue,this kind of multifaceted structure should exist and should move forward for that to happen."
Detroit Future City plan lays out blueprint for reinventing neighborhoods
Dan Pitera, executive director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center,said an organization of block clubs, businesses, non profits and other entities is being formed to oversee implementation of the plan, which includes economic growth, land use, city systems, neighborhoods and public assets elements. For the parts of the city that are already thriving, listed as the Central Business District, Midtown, New Center and the Cinches, the plan is to incentivize retail development and create salable districts.
Detroit's Innovative Survival Plan Is A Model For The World - But Will It Work?
"We're talking 50 years out, but that doesn't mean we have to wait 50 years to see these changes," said Dan Pitera, a professor of architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy, who is director of civic engagement on the Detroit Future City project.
- ARCHITECTURAL RECORD
Detroit Initiative Unveils Recommendations for City's Renewal
"They aren't all interested in the same thing‹some are interested in land use, some are interested in blue-green infrastructure, some in civic engagement," said Dan Pitera, the director of Detroit Collaborative Design Center, who led Detroit Works' community outreach. But Detroit's lessons go beyond other shrinking cities. "This plan is about adapting to change," said Pitera.
- THE HUFFINGTON POST
Detroit Future City: Detroit Works Project Strategic Long Term Plan Presents New Concept
Local voices involved included Professor Dan Pitera of University of Detroit-Mercy, Melissa Dittmer of Rogue HAA and Dan Kinkead, an architect with Hamilton Anderson Associates.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/detroit-future-city-detroit-works-project_n_2436626.html (same article in Michigan Chronicle), http://www.michronicleonline.com/index.php/local/breaking-news/9205-detroit-future-city-detroit-works-project-strategic-long-term-plan-presents-new-concept
Release date: January 14, 2013
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The University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan’s largest private Catholic University, with more than 100 academic majors and programs. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy, the University has campuses located in downtown and northwest Detroit.
UDM is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and the largest of 17 Mercy institutions of higher education in the United States. For the 13th consecutive year, University of Detroit Mercy is listed in the top tier of Midwest universities in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News and World Report's "Best Colleges."