Designers go to bat for Detroit neighborhoods

January 4, 2000

Designers go to bat for Detroit neighborhoods


Designers go to bat for Detroit neighborhoods

ANN ARBOR—Detroit’s Greater Corktown and Briggs neighborhoods will be the focus of a five-day planning and design workshop, Jan. 7-11, hosted by the University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. This urban design charrette will bring together some of Detroit’s leading design professionals as well as top urban designers from across the nation and graduate students from several universities.

The charrette will culminate in a presentation of the results and remarks by Detroit
The Greater Corktown and Briggs neighborhoods were selected as the focus of this year’s charrette because these areas are experiencing transition with the departure of the Tigers baseball team to Comerica Park. Both hold great potential for new growth opportunities.

Although organized by Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, several other schools at the U-M as well as Wayne State and Michigan State universities and the University of Miami (Florida) will contribute students and/or faculty. Additional sponsors include Detroit Edison, the City of Detroit Office of the Mayor, the City of Detroit Department of Planning and Development, and the Teamsters Joint Council #43. Participating organizations include the Corktown Citizen’s District Council, the Corktown Consumer Housing Cooperative, the Greater Corktown Economic Development Corporation, and the Greening of Detroit.

Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, principal of Duany Plater-Zyberk of Miami and co-founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and Alex Krieger, chair of Harvard University’s Department of Urban Planning and Design, are two of a number of designers of international acclaim who will lead design teams at the charrette.

The design teams will focus on several hundred acres between Michigan Avenue and Temple Street, from 14th Street on the west to the Lodge Freeway on the east, including Tiger Stadium, the Michigan Central Train Depot, and the Old Wonder Bread Factory, now functioning as the temporary location for the Motor City Casino. Teams may expand the site north to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in their plans.

The charrette will begin with a walking tour of the site and environs. This will be followed by a briefing of all participants by civic and neighborhood leaders and professionals. The teams will work at the Detroit Edison headquarters overlooking the project area.

[Agenda of charrette]

What is a design charrette? The short answer is that it is an illustrated brainstorm. The long answer is a five-day, intensive design and planning workshop in which competing teams led by local and out-of-town design professionals, develop design proposals and present them at a public review. It is meant to advance creative but feasible solutions to social, civic, and environmental challenges. Although it advances theory and teaching, the charrette is not a hypothetical or pedagogic exercise, but is an attempt at civic engagement and community service. It can galvanize a neighborhood, jump-start real projects, or generate a vision for a neighborhood.

Paul Bernard, director of the Detroit Planning and Development Department, suggested the study area and local community groups embraced the exercise in hope it may help them clarify a vision and kick-start investment and development in the area. This charrette is offered pro bono to the community as a contribution to the revitalization of Detroit as the city defines itself for the next century.

VisitingRobin Bachin ­ Associate Professor of history, University of Miami, FloridaCraig Barton ­ Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Virginia,Dede Christopher ­ Principal, Christopher Illustration, Marysville, TennesseeEllen Dunham-Jones ­ Associate Professor of Architecture, MITJohn Hartigan, Jr. – Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North TexasJohn Kaliski ­ Principal, AIJK Architecture and City Design, Santa Monica, CaliforniaAlex Krieger ­ Chair, Harvard University Department of Urban Planning and DesignElizabeth Plater-Zyberk ­ Dean, University of Miami, School of Architecture; Principal, Duany Plater-Zyberk,Buster Simpson ­ Artist, SeattlePhillip Jones ­ Photographer, Boston

LocalRobin Boyle ­ Associate Dean, College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs, Wayne State UniversityDaryl Edwards ­ Urban Designer, City of Detroit Planning and Development DepartmentRandall Fogelman ­ Planner, Midtown Development CorporationPatricia Machemer ­ Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Michigan State UniversityDouglas McIntosh ­ Principal, McIntosh Poris, BirminghamMaurice Parrish ­ Associate Director, Detroit Institute of ArtsThomas Sherry ­ Architect, Hamilton Anderson AssociatesJames Singleton ­ Architect, Hamilton Anderson Associates

University of MichiganYvette Amstelveen – Visiting Scholar/Artist-in-Residence, School of Art and DesignCharles Bright ­ Lecturer in History, College of Literature, Science, and the ArtsJames Chaffers ­ Professor of Architecture, Taubman CollegeDonna Erickson ­ Chair of Landscape Architecture, School of Natural Resources and EnvironmentAseem Inam ­ Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman CollegeDouglas Kelbaugh ­ Dean and Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, Taubman CollegeJune Komisar – Lecturer in Technical Communication, College of EngineeringDavid Scobey ­ Associate Professor of Architecture, Taubman CollegeLaura Swartzbaugh ­ Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman CollegeBlake Williams ­ Adjunct Lecturer in Architecture, Taubman CollegeAndrew Zago ­ Adjunct Lecturer in Architecture, Taubman College; Principal, Zago Architecture, Detroit

SponsorsUniversity of Michigan: Taubman College of Architecture and Urban PlanningArts of Citizenship ProgramOffice of the PresidentOffice of the ProvostDetroit EdisonMichigan Teamsters Joint Council #43

Participating Organizations:Corktown Citizen’s District CouncilCorktown Consumer Housing CooperativeGreater Corktown Economic Development CorporationThe Greening of DetroitCity of Detroit – Office of the MayorCity of Detroit – Planning and Development DepartmentMichigan State UniversityUniversity of Michigan School of Natural Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of Michigan School of Art and DesignUniversity of Miami (Florida)Wayne State University

A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban PlanningWayne StateDuany Plater-ZyberkAgenda of charrette