January 4, 2000

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 Mayor Dennis Archer on Jan. 11 at 4:30 p.m. at the Teamsters Welfare Fund Building at 2700 Trumbull Street. The public is invited to this presentation.

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.

map of design teams' focus areaThe 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.

Robin Bachin ­ Associate Professor of history, University of Miami, Florida
Craig Barton ­ Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Virginia,
Dede Christopher ­ Principal, Christopher Illustration, Marysville, Tennessee
Ellen Dunham-Jones ­ Associate Professor of Architecture, MIT
John Hartigan, Jr. - Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Texas
John Kaliski ­ Principal, AIJK Architecture and City Design, Santa Monica, California
Alex Krieger ­ Chair, Harvard University Department of Urban Planning and Design
Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk ­ Dean, University of Miami, School of Architecture; Principal, Duany Plater-Zyberk,
Buster Simpson ­ Artist, Seattle
Phillip Jones ­ Photographer, Boston

Robin Boyle ­ Associate Dean, College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs, Wayne State University
Daryl Edwards ­ Urban Designer, City of Detroit Planning and Development Department
Randall Fogelman ­ Planner, Midtown Development Corporation
Patricia Machemer ­ Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Michigan State University
Douglas McIntosh ­ Principal, McIntosh Poris, Birmingham
Maurice Parrish ­ Associate Director, Detroit Institute of Arts
Thomas Sherry ­ Architect, Hamilton Anderson Associates
James Singleton ­ Architect, Hamilton Anderson Associates

University of Michigan
Yvette Amstelveen - Visiting Scholar/Artist-in-Residence, School of Art and Design
Charles Bright ­ Lecturer in History, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
James Chaffers ­ Professor of Architecture, Taubman College
Donna Erickson ­ Chair of Landscape Architecture, School of Natural Resources and Environment
Aseem Inam ­ Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman College
Douglas Kelbaugh ­ Dean and Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, Taubman College
June Komisar - Lecturer in Technical Communication, College of Engineering
David Scobey ­ Associate Professor of Architecture, Taubman College
Laura Swartzbaugh ­ Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman College
Blake Williams ­ Adjunct Lecturer in Architecture, Taubman College
Andrew Zago ­ Adjunct Lecturer in Architecture, Taubman College; Principal, Zago Architecture, Detroit

University of Michigan: Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Arts of Citizenship Program
Office of the President
Office of the Provost
Detroit Edison
Michigan Teamsters Joint Council #43

Participating Organizations:
Corktown Citizen's District Council
Corktown Consumer Housing Cooperative
Greater Corktown Economic Development Corporation
The Greening of Detroit
City of Detroit - Office of the Mayor
City of Detroit - Planning and Development Department
Michigan State University
University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan School of Art and Design
University of Miami (Florida)
Wayne State University

Contact: Joanne Nesbit
Phone: (734) 647-4418
E-mail: mjnesbit@umich.edu