Detroit Design 139
AUG 31 - SEPT 30, 2019
As the nation’s only UNESCO City of Design, Detroit is utilizing inclusive design to create a more equitable and sustainable future for both our city and those around the world. By prioritizing diverse experiences, accessible opportunities and collaborative relationships, Detroit shows how inclusive design develops goods, systems, services, buildings, communities and urban spaces that work for everyone.
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 proposed that through inclusive design, Detroiters (designers and non-designers alike) demonstrate the importance of both PROCESSES and OUTCOMES for all future projects throughout Detroit’s 139 square miles. Through exhibitions, events and shared conversations, we explored 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 focused on creating multi-generational design solutions that result in INCLUSIVE FUTURES for everyone.
Detroit Design 139 was recognized as one of the 226 award-winning designs from around the world to exemplify high-level design.
The 2019 Detroit Design 139 exhibition expanded its outreach with a central exhibition in Downtown Detroit, and neighborhood locations within three Detroit areas. In each of these spaces, Detroit Design 139 highlighted projects that help solve community issues through design. In addition, each exhibition space featured programs that served to facilitate neighborhood design conversations.
Detroit, MI 48226
Old Redford Neighborhood
Motor City Java House
17336 Lahser Rd
Detroit, MI 48219
7426 W McNichols Rd
Detroit, MI 48221
16451 E Warren Ave
Detroit, MI 48224
In September 2019, Detroit Design 139 showcased inclusive design projects, policies and concepts throughout the built and natural environments of Detroit and other UNESCO Cities of Design. The program was structured around five focus areas that emphasized learning from the past in order to inform a successful approach to the inclusive design process. Each focus area considered the entire spectrum of human diversity and individual experiences – in the past, present and future – but with dramatically different outcomes.
How do we design inclusive public space, regardless of scale? What does inclusive and accessible public space look like? What activities are offered in those spaces? These projects will demonstrate the importance of public space as an inclusionary network within and throughout the city.
What is the role of design in a more inclusive economic future? Where should these economic centers be located to provide the most opportunity for all? What are the new design models for economic development? These projects will spark discourse on the current and future design trends for economy-based space.
What does a more inclusive future offer our communities? Is it possible to live, eat, shop, work, learn and relax within the same neighborhood? How can we design new residential developments without displacing current residents? These projects will explore strategies for inclusive neighborhoods that integrate diverse living options, neighborhood retail opportunities, walkable streets and welcoming public spaces.
How do we develop inclusive systems, services and infrastructure for our future city? How do we make the most of our shared urban assets while planning for a more sustainable future? How do we make it easier for people to move freely, safely and efficiently throughout our city? These projects will look at the visible (and invisible) inclusive infrastructure projects that will bring people, neighborhoods, industries, places and things closer together in a cohesive future urban environment.
How do we design inclusive housing? How do we make it affordable and sustainable? These projects will consider the future of housing, changing lifestyles and inclusionary growth.
Need More Information?
Download the full abstract for additional information on the INCLUSIVE FUTURES exhibition.