AIA Detroit Urban Priorities Committee To Host “Detroit By Design”


DETROIT – (Mar. 23, 2011) – The American Institute of Architects Detroit’s Urban Priorities Committee (AIA-UPC) announced that it is hosting a series of exhibits and discussions focusing on transportation, urban centers and urban agriculture at the Detroit Public Library.

Called “Detroit By Design” and sponsored by the AIA National office in Washington, D.C., this three-month event seeks to assist the city with its efforts to reorganize by helping with the Detroit Works Project (DWP) while bringing together architects, community and business leaders, public officials, allied professionals and other key stakeholders in the region.

In each of the three symposiums in April (Transportation), May (Urban Centers) and June (Urban Agriculture), participants will discuss the specific theme as it relates to the Detroit’s current status, its historic efforts, and the Detroit Works Project. Through this collaborative public event, the UPC, a group of volunteer architects, seeks to bring design awareness to the communities and promote sustainable communities in the city and region through collaboration.

All exhibits and symposiums are free and open to public (except architects’ seeking continuing education credits). For more information, please contact the AIA UPC at or go to You also can catch up with the latest activities at  (UPC blog) or on facebook at

TRANSPORTATION—April 5 (Exhibits) and April 13 (Discussions)
How does transportation help lay the groundwork for healthy growth in the city and region? How do we promote diversity in transportation choices and connectivity? How do we create more walkable communities? How do we ensure light rail promotes sustainable communities? These are just some of the questions that will be asked when Detroit By Design kicks off in April focusing on Transportation.

Opening Tues., April 5 from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m., at the Detroit Public Library exhibit hall, the public is invited to view the exhibits focusing on this theme.  Projects displayed were selected projects from almost 80 submissions by teams and individual designers from several countries and U.S. cities. They will be on display through June.

The discussion sessions will take place in the auditorium on Wed., Apr. 13. They will feature a distinguished group of panelists, UPC members, local residents, community leaders, public officials, local architects, allied professionals, and area school faculty and students, who will conduct a community workshop.

1 p.m.-3 p.m.: Marja Winters, deputy director for the City of Detroit and co-project director for the Detroit Works Project, and UPC members will co-moderate the opening discussions on selected exhibits as they pertain to the city of Detroit. Attendees will review each of the chosen exhibits, discuss key lessons, and explore how these projects can be beneficial to the city and its Detroit Works Project.

Other panelists include: Transportation Riders United Executive Director Megan Owens, SEMCOG Director of Transportation Carmine Palombo and SMART Managing Director Sue Zielinski.

4 p.m. to 5 p.m.:  Bob Hastings, FAIA, headlines this discussion on the TriMet system in Portland, Ore., and whether something similar could benefit Detroit.  Hastings’ professional emphasis has been in transit, urban design, transportation, institutional, commercial and mixed-used housing projects. He is responsible for coordinating the agency’s multi-modal efforts in station and urban design, including signage & graphics, and art & architecture coordination. He also coordinates TriMet’s sustainability initiatives, including renewable energy opportunities, for Light Rail Projects.

6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.: Moderated by Marja Winters, the last discussion of the evening focusing on the outcomes of the community workshop and the keynote presentations. The discussion will explore how the City and the DWP can benefit from the ideas and proposals generated from the afternoon sessions, make recommendations for transportation in Detroit, and wrap up the Transportation symposium. SMART General Manager John Hertel will join Owens, Palombo, Zielinski and Hastings as panelists.

The goal of the American Institute of Architects Detroit’s Urban Priorities Committee (AIA-UPC) is to bring awareness to the design community, and encourage involvement in the planning and design of the city and region toward a sustainable future. Through such activities as interaction with local community stakeholders and city officials, and creation of seminars and other educational events, the AIA-UPC is available to assist the city of Detroit in the historic process of planning and altering the city to achieve a sustainable community design. For more information or to join the UPC committee and volunteer for events, visit