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Expanding Detroit's innovative businesses and start ups

The Detroit Innovation District is an initiative to help transform 4.4 square miles of Detroit into a vibrant place that stimulates and expands the innovation economy. Funded by the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan as a part of their New Economy Initiative, the Innovation District represents a collaboration among key organizations dedicated to placemaking and economic growth including the Mayor’s Office, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Midtown Detroit Inc., Downtown Detroit Partnership, Invest Detroit, Wayne State University and Quicken Loans / Detroit Rock Ventures. The work is an outgrowth of the Detroit Future City’s Economic Growth Plan (co-authored by Interface Studio) strategies, developed to expand the City’s creative, information technology and innovation sectors, in addition to strengthening Detroit’s industrial infrastructure and businesses.  

With Ninigret Partners, we led the development of “Physical Place” initiatives to help identify and prioritize investments within the area that can best support the range of potential business activities suitable for Detroit. A comprehensive survey of existing conditions and trends led to the identification of “micro-districts” where concentrated investments in land assembly, infrastructure and public space would spur greater redevelopment.

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We developed specific building typologies that could support new and expanding businesses identified through a market analysis and, prioritized specific sites for development based on a range of criteria developed with local partners and stakeholders.  We created development standards for the district and designed a package of public realm improvements to help foster vibrant places that would serve to attract talent and businesses.  

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