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Detroit: From Ghost City to Future City

Posted in Models, Visions by Jessica Bird on February 1st, 2013

Source: FastCoExist

detroit future city
Image from The Detroit Future City Plan.

From “A Framework For Creating A Thriving Detroit Of The Future” by Ariel Schwartz.

A new plan outlines how the Motor City can go from grabbing headlines about decay to being a model for a new kind of American urban center. […] In 2010, the Detroit Works Project, a public-private partnership between the City of Detroit and a number of foundations, launched with the goal of rethinking land use by understanding the demographics of the city (today, Detroit has miles upon miles of vacant land). “We understood from the beginning that land use had to be understood, but there were many pieces beyond land use that had to be part of the study,” explains Dan Pitera, executive director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and one of the driving forces behind Detroit Future City.

So in 2011, the Detroit Works Project was split into two: one piece worked on short-term planning, and the other focused on longer-term goals. After two years of research and discussion, the Detroit Future City report was released this month. The goal, according to press materials for the launch, is nothing short of a citywide reboot. […] The city framework–which is broken down into sections including economic growth, neighborhoods, land use, and city systems–comes from 30,000 conversations with city residents and more than 70,000 survey responses and comments. “When it was launched, we weren’t revealing a plan or framework because people have been seeing the work develop. It’s more of a celebration,” says Pitera.

We won’t try to sum up the mammoth report here, but Pitera stresses that the key point is that “Detroit is closer to its future than it imagines.” Much of the work that needs to happen is already beginning–now it just needs to be tied to a larger framework. One of the best known examples of Detroit’s burgeoning revival is the urban agriculture movement that has sprung up in response to all the abandoned land. […] The initiative’s creators imagine that these open spaces and environmental systems will sit alongside repurposed transportation corridors that accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, all while collecting storm water runoff in swales located in the right-of-way. At the same time, new walkable retail districts and residential developments will keep things buzzing.

The authors aren’t done generating awareness for the project. Pitera tells us that a street team shows up at barber shops, grocery stores–wherever people are–to have conversations with people. Because while Detroit Future City calls for sweeping change on a systemic level, it needs individuals to get onboard too. “In our minds, civic engagement never ends. It’s the way a city should do business,” says Pitera. “People can come in, look at this, and see very realistic but aspirational plans and see themselves in it as well.”

Detroit Future City looks 50 years into the future: the first five years are focused on stabilization of the city, years five to 10 will grow and nurture the city, years 10 to 20 will sustain a larger population, increase in local jobs, and a new and improved infrastructure, and years 20 to 50 will ideally see Detroit regain its position as one of America’s great cities. Is it possible? Sure. Detroit has one big advantage over many U.S. cities: It has already hit rock bottom, and so it can build a resilient, sustainable city from the ground up instead of trying to modify its infrastructure piecemeal–a strategy that will ultimately hurt some of today’s thriving urban centers. […]

>>> You can read the full article here.
>>> You can Read the Detroit Future City Framework and learn more about the project on the Detroit Works Project website.


Future Everything Conference: Keynote Addresses

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on June 12th, 2010

Source: Experientia

From Design Everything, a futures conference by Mark Vanderbeeken:

I finally had a chance to listen to the two excellent keynotes of Design [Future] Everything, the futures conference that took place last month in Manchester, UK.

Keynote: Ben Cerveny

Ben Cerveny’s keynote explored how, as newly-emerging urban-scale technology infrastructures are implemented, citizens will begin to gain the ability to affect their environment in new ways, using city services the way they would use a digital application in an online environment. Through collaborative interaction with such tools, users of public spaces can configure them for specific temporary functions and even begin to ‘perform’ space together.”

Keynote: Keri Facer

In her keynote, Keri Facer explored the scenarios emerging from the Beyond Current Horizons programme and ask how, as a society, we can learn together as communities to respond to the profound environmental, demographic and technological opportunities challenges we face over the coming two decades.



Visioning the City: FutureEverything Conference Panel

Posted in Events by Rob Eales on April 20th, 2010

If we could co-create the city we wanted, what would it look like? The Visioning the City panel will explore our collective dreams of urban utopia as well as addressing practical plans to understand and improve city life.

FutureEverything is an award winning, world class organisation using mass participation in creativity and social innovation to bring the future into the present. It has a strong global network and international profile, and is recognised around the world for leading pioneering projects and important international debates. The organisation delivers a range of benefits, including mass engagement, awards, international networks, local advocacy, training and thought leadership, on themes including innovation, technology, art, society and the environment. It is embedded in business support networks, and is central to the innovation ecology in the UK.

The Future Everything Conference is a desination for a world-wide community of inspirational people; an engaging, entertaining and essential event to attend. Exploring the interface between technology, society and culture, the internationally acclaimed FutureEverything Conference is the crucible that allows artists, technologists and future-thinkers to share, innovate and interact. Keynote speakers include Keri Facer, Dame Wendy Hall, Ben Cerveny, Nigel Shadbolt and Darren Wershler.

Taking place at Contact on Oxford Road, Manchester, 13 – 15 May 2010


ABC News wants YOU to report from the future

Posted in Events by Devin Maeztri on October 28th, 2008

If you consider yourself as a citizen of the world and want to make contribution to the global community, ABC gives you the opportunity to make it happen! Roll your camera on and join the Earth2100 Project!

For more information on how to get involved visit the Earth2100.

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