880 Cities Immersion

Move Detroit

Project Objective

To connect stakeholders and to build awareness on how all cities can create accessible mobility networks and vibrant public spaces through a series of discussions, public events, and workshops.

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  • Date: June, 2015
  • City: Detroit, MI
  • Partners: Jefferson East Inc.
  • Funding provided in part by: Knight Foundation

Move Detroit was a week-long series of workshops and presentations by Gil Penalosa and 8 80 Cities, held in various locations and neighbourhoods across Detroit.

Throughout the week hundreds of residents, business owners, city staff and elected officials took part in sessions that focused on how cities can create accessible mobility networks and vibrant public spaces with Gil Penalosa and 8 80 Cities.

8 80 Cities met with city officials and planners who were all eager to learn how they can apply the 8 80 City principles to Detroit. Optimism for Detroit’s future was also evident in the jam-packed audiences Gil presented to at public events throughout the city.

In four days, 8 80 Cities hosted ten public presentations and workshops. Each event focused on a specific theme such as street design, civic engagement, public parks, riverfront programming, and sustainable mobility.

In the “Strengthening Park Assets Through Programming” workshop, participants worked in groups to identify existing opportunities and barriers in their neighborhood parks, and selected specific amenities and programs they would like to see.

Groups discussed the importance of adding park benches in the Jefferson Chalmers neighbourhood, installing traffic calming measures along Jefferson Avenue, and increasing wayfinding signage to improve connectivity between parks.

8 80 Cities also hosted a workshop on Open Streets. Gil Penalosa and Emily Munroe presented on the logistics of organizing and planning an Open Streets program, based on their experiences of hosting programs in Toronto and Bogota, Colombia.

After the presentations, participants worked together to design an Open Streets program in Detroit. The groups were instructed to answer the following questions:

a) Where should the route be
b) What programming should be offered
c) Who should be involved in organizing

Detroit hosted its first Open Streets program on two Sundays in summer 2016. The route on Michigan Avenue and West Vernor Highway took participants past several iconic parks and green spaces, including Campus Martius Park, Roosevelt Park and Clark Park. The program was made possible in part thanks community leaders who attended the 8 80 Cities workshops and sessions.

8 80 Cities produced a summary report to highlight key lessons, and to record the public space and sustainable mobility plans that residents developed at our workshops throughout the week.

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