Our team will create Better Block: Corktown, a semi-permanent placemaking event that will activate local public space through a community-led process. We will accomplish this by blending design-led public furniture builds, community input, and inclusive site design with a flexible shipping container pavilion incorporating the ability to open, close, and store our flat-pack furniture. As with many Better Block projects, we take beloved, but overlooked or blighted parts of town, to partner with locals in activating strategic spaces and bring people together. A key part of placemaking and creating areas for congregation lies in having strong “sight lines” or focal points - Michigan Central Station is a perfect example of an excellent, beautiful focal point behind which we can rally the neighborhood.
With a core group of locals called “Block Captains” and our team of designers and urban planners, we work with local stakeholders to gather input on the chosen site and what the space should feel like. We then create the interventions in-house, craft volunteer-driven workshops onsite, and bring the community together in a weekend of ribbon-cutting and celebration to bring these ideas to life. As placemaking is an iterative process, the fabrications and space are designed with a flexible layout that can drive further ideas for long-term development. We exist to rapidly deploy a place for the entire spectrum of community to belong.
Our initial review leads us to consider the front lawn of Michigan Central Station as an ideal site for a Better Block. Just off bustling Michigan Avenue and with the historical station overlooking the event, the location will help anchor the space as a central focal point for the neighborhood as well as invite locals to participate in the design of a space in their own backyard. Through a placemaking event celebrating Corktown, the station, and Detroit's unique history, we can converge volunteers, Ford employees, and residents of Corktown in an immediate, inclusive way.