Public x Design will comprise a series of workshops, discussions, and explorations over three days. In particular, there are iconic public spaces in Detroit, such as Eastern Market, the Riverfront, and Downtown, as well as neighborhood-based projects, that will serve as guideposts for us to discuss and discover how a city can champion inclusive design and inclusive growth, in particular through a changing economic landscape.

We are curating a program that will allow you to explore each other’s expertise and the city of Detroit itself. With your participation, we offer a diverse array of experiences that will harness your knowledge and enthusiasm to create a vision for elevating this work everywhere. With our partners, we will demonstrate how smart development can make communities both accessible and inviting. Download the full program here.


Sunday, Sep 23

5:00-8:00 PM: Registration and Opening Reception at MOCAD

Performance by Efe Bes, founder and lead musician of iBm and Bambuti music and movement group

Welcome by Maurice Cox, City of Detroit

Keynote by Majora Carter

Interactive Art Installation “CityCanvas” by Brandon Christopher


Monday, Sep 24

Location: College for Creative Studies, A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, 460 W Baltimore Ave, 11th Fl, Detroit, MI 48202

8:30 AM: Breakfast

9:00 AM: Welcome and Opening Panel

10:00 AM: Public Life Sessions:


Cities for Youth

Led by Ryan Lo, Urban Minds

Empathetic Data: How to Hear Stories That Improve Space Design

Led by Marc Brudzinski, Onesuch Design

Garden Classrooms: A Lesson in Field to Table

Led by Rick Schneider, ISTUDIO Architects

Kids ‘n the City

Led by Tina Govan, SOMOS Design Group

Making Space: Optimistic Strategies for Addressing Urban Homelessness

Led by Brice Maryman, HomeLandLab

Open Demolitions: Detroit Neighborhoods Transforming Through Data Visualizations

Led by Avigail Vantu, NYU

Public Libraries: The Ideal Third Place

Led by Richard Kong, Skokie Public Library

Radical Trust: Resident-Led Action for Stronger Civic Life

Led by Rhiannon Chester and Joe Rashid, ioby

RBD Bay Area Challenge: How Community-Driven Planning Processes Create Resilience

Led by Stephen Engblom, AECOM

Starting with Stories: An Ethnographic Approach to Toronto’s Waterfront Development

Led by Elle Ziegler, Doblin

Tactical Meets Creative: Empowering Latinx in the Public Realm

Led by Joshua Silver, District of Columbia Office of Planning

The Power of Partnership and Cultural Humility

Led by Colleen Echohawk, Chief Seattle Club, Headwater People Consulting

Theater of the Oppressed for Practitioners

Led by Mallory Nezam, Building As Body

Young, Dumb, and Broke: Visions of Future Planners

Led by Anna Thompson, Wellesley College


12:00: Lunch

12:45: Featuring Keynote Speaker, Abdul El-Sayed, physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist
1:30 – 4:30: Public Life Labs (more TBA):


Biking the Cut: A Tour of the Dequindre Cut and the East Riverfront

Led by Brian Charlton, SmithGroup

Designing Child-Friendly, Equitable Communities in Detroit

Led by AJ Pearlman, kaBOOM!

Detroit: Decline, Hope, and Renewal in a Divided Region

Led by Brian Doucet, University of Waterloo, with Boggs Center, Detroit

Jefferson-Chalmers Neighborhood: Inclusion Through Participatory Site Interventions

Led by Kaitlynn Hill, Hamilton Anderson Associates, Jefferson East Inc., Detroit Collaborative Design Center, McIntosh Poris Associates

Reimagining the Civic Commons: Fostering Engagement, Inclusion, and Equity

Led by City of Detroit, Planning and Development Department

The Revitalization of the Detroit Riverfront

Led by Mark Wallace, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy


6:30: Party at Conner’s Creek


Tuesday, Sep 25

Location: College for Creative Studies, A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, 460 W Baltimore Ave, 11th Fl, Detroit, MI 48202

9:00 AM: Breakfast
10:00 AM: Public Life Sessions:


A More Age-Friendly City: Designing with and for Youth

Led by Adam Rosa, Camiros; Isobel Araujo, Territory Chicago; Sophia Schuff, Gehl

Advancing Detroit’s Legacy of African American Public Life

Led by Rainy Hamilton and Chris Riggert, Associate Landscape Architect and Hamilton Anderson

Design, Maintenance, and Public Space: Shifting Aggravation to Community Action

Led by Bryan Ross, Center for Active Design

Going Beyond Inclusion: Allowing Space for Recovery Within the Planning Process

Led by City of Detroit Planning & Development Department

How Social Big Data Can Transform How You Understand (and Measure) Place

Led by Lucinda Hartley, Neighbourlytics

Inclusion as a Driver of Health

Led by Jennifer Gardner, Gehl Institute

Mapping Detroit’s Public Art

Led by Crystal Penalosa, Stae Inc

Mitigating the Impacts of High-Profile Public Space Projects: Pathway Toward Equitable Development

Led by Shafaq Choudry, The Trust for Public Land

Placemaking for Public Health Outcomes

Led by Francis Carter, PhD Candidate, Carnegie Mellon University

Projects for Public Health

Led by Michelle Marcus Rushing, Georgia Health Policy Center GSU; Megan Marini, 3×3 Design

Restoring Spatial Justice: Shrinking Highways and Re-knitting Communities

Led by Janet Attarian, Detroit Planning and Development

Rooted in Place: Public Life Data Protocol in Community-Led Practice

Led by Jennifer Goold, Neighborhood Design Center

Street Dreams: Redefining Revitalization at West Warren Ave.

Led by Natasha Hicks, Harvard Graduate School of Design

The Lived Experience of Community-Engaged Design

Led by Kaja Kuehl, Columbia University

Transforming Fear into Vibrancy and Inclusion: an Edmonton Story

Led by Keren Tang, City of Edmonton


12:00 PM: Lunch
1:00 PM: Closing Jam Sessions and Reflections, led in part by the Applied Theater Collective