DETROIT Living Labs 2014/2015:  
Experimental and Exploratory Urban Installations 

Each student will define a theme for a design project by testing a variety of hypotheses in the experimental context of the city of Detroit. SoDETROIT: Experimental and Exploratory Urban Installations FOR A CITY OF THE FUTURE through design research is the focus for this years project. The city of Detroit has already experienced most pangs of large modern metropolitan cities since the wake of the industrial revolution.  A place for all urban fantasies, a point of convergence of gurus of start-ups, a speculative test bed for all genres, like street artists, where we cannot even count all the studies, projects, competitions, initiatives, declarations, statistics, photographic dossiers, urban actions, etc. that have sought to understand both, the past and the future of such a megalopolis.

The availability and strikingly poor condition of vacant land, is one of the most widely perceived characteristics of Detroit’s current condition. While vacant land is often cited as one of Detroit’s greatest liabilities, the Detroit Future City’s (DFC) Strategic Framework believes that such land can actually be an asset in the city’s transformation. With nearly 70,000 parcels owned by the City of Detroit, these land assets can be leveraged to create a new green and sustainable city unlike any other in the world. This plan includes establishing the city as a leader in innovative open space land uses that provide employment opportunities, blue and green infrastructure that will help to clean our air and water, and greater recreational spaces. The main goal for neighbourhood place-making is to create an environment that contains access to amenities for invigorating social encounters, for public resting areas, for recreation and relaxation, such as pocketparks, urban agriculture, projections on abandoned wall and buildings, reuse of abandoned park spaces and furniture, innovative urban lighting options, redesign of abandoned spaces, shelters for homeless, for parks areas, or for public transportation – in the form of some kind of urban (interactive) installation.These should all be with the intention of neighborhood revitalization or for transforming vacant lots into open recreational spaces.

In this approach, the design process rests on an oscillation between research and experimentation through CONSIDERABLE making to help you develop your own proactive design – creating your strong proposition – while allowing you to conceptualize a very different portfolio project. 

This project is an inter-university collaborative project between Universite de Montreal, School of Architecture and Concordia University, Design and Computation Arts department. 

The objective is to design and construct an artifact inspired by nature while considering life cycle implications for a specific site and program in Detroit. Final presentations will be done at Detroit Future City in Detroit in mid April, 2015

Critique at Detroit Future City:

Detroit Sites Explored:

Partners for this project were members of Detroit Future City