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Wayne State—Designing for Urban Mobility

March 4th, 2020

Today, we take you to Motor City. Once a symbol of the dynamic U.S. economy, Detroit, Michigan, has gone through a major economic and demographic decline since the 1960s. The drastic drop in population created acres of emptiness—vacant lots, abandoned buildings and food deserts. 

Detroit’s art scene is known for countering negative growth with a resilient DIY attitude. While locals respect and sustain the history of innovation in the place they call home, the gritty urban landscape has begun to attract newcomers. Creatives from other cities are heading here to seek affordable studios and fresh opportunities. 

Education is evolving along with Detroit’s cultural character. At Wayne State University, degree programs are increasingly geared toward next generation art and design. Students taking the course Design for Urban Mobility work with local entrepreneurs to solve design problems. Past clients have been Detroit Bikes and the Detroit Department of Transportation with the Rehab Institute of Michigan. In fall 2019, juniors and seniors majoring in Industrial Design join forces with Dazmonique Carr, founder of Deeply Rooted Produce.

In our conversation with these emerging designers, we discovered firsthand the impact of an educational opportunity that invites students to make a difference. Responding to the call, they are enabling and supporting mobility throughout the city—with actionable ideas that promote self-sufficiency and health literacy.

Wayne State—Designing for Urban Mobility is one of our 2020 Student Edition episodes.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Photography Monica McGivern, except where noted

Related Episodes: SAIC—Imagining Tomorrow, OCAD University—Curating in the Digital Realm

Related Links: Industrial Design, Wayne State University, Deeply Rooted Produce

Design for Urban Mobility is a course offered through Wayne State University’s James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History. Students taking the course consider a variety of questions of how products, spaces and experiences enable and support our mobility through urban space. Each semester—often through client-based projects—they explore four distinct but interrelated concepts of urban mobility: mobility and community, mobility and discovery, mobility and economic vitality, and mobility and social justice.

Deeply Rooted Produce, founded by Dazmonique Carr, is a mobile market with a mission: to provide fresh fruits and vegetables sourced locally and support Detroit’s economy towards self-sufficiency and health literacy. The market’s purpose is to Increase access to healthy foods without sacrificing quality for affordability. DPR Promise: Provide H.E.L.P. (Health Education Literacy for People of Color) 

Siobhan Gregory, a senior lecturer at Wayne University, an industrial designer and applied anthropologist, living and working in Detroit. Her research focuses on the progress of a more human-centered design practice. In the business sector, she pulls from anthropological theory and methods to help organizations.

The Student Edition began in 2019, with visits to art schools and universities in the United States and Canada, where we began recording voices of the future. In 2020, we present the first episodes in our Student Edition—conversations about creativity with emerging makers and producers. Given opportunities to explore and experiment, students are discovering how they can shape the world they live in. What issues and ideas spark their creative impulse?

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