I had a lot of fun curating "Mind the Gap," my little design ideas competition for in-between spaces in Detroit. Totally brought me back to my days at Van Alen Institute: Projects in Public Architecture in New York where we hosted competitions, exhibitions and lectures on design in the public realm.
Ever since I left Van Alen in 2002 to move to Detroit, I've been itching for more design competitions here to generate creative ideas and solutions for public space. When my friends at the Detroit Creative Corridor Center announced the first-ever Detroit Design Festival, I jumped at the chance to coordinate a small project about the "missing teeth" in our urban fabric. DC3 was kind to support the project with a micro-grant, and Detroiters were awesome to share their ideas.
I posted the top 21 submissions on the website, displayed them in an exhibit at Bureau of Urban Living, and reviewed some of them in an article for Model D. Last week we announced the winner -- Wyatt Gage, an 8th grade student at the School for Creative Studies. Here's Wyatt sharing his proposal for a railroad garden on the abandoned tracks behind Michigan Central Station in Corktown:
Big thanks to Vanessa Miller for covering the competition for the Knight Foundation, and Travis Wright for the Metro Times. Moving forward, I think I'll continue to use the Facebook page to share creative examples of urban design and public art, both around the world and in our own backyard.
It should be noted, "Mind the Gap" was inspired by many people and projects I've been following for a long time. Thanks to James Howard Kunstler for calling attention to the missing teeth in our cities, Candy Chang and the Civic Center in New Orleans for their many creative projects, and the Green Garage for showing that an urban alley need not be a forlorn pathway of trash and puddles.
Finally, many thanks to the Institute for Urban Design's "By the City/For the City" campaign for reminding me that any conversation about how to make our cities more livable and beautiful ought to begin with its residents.