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Sit On It Detroit: Community Building Workshops

Our contribution is to provided public amenities for the Impact Area of City: One Michigan Central Station.

Photo of SOI Detroit
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Our idea is to provided sustainable street furniture that's incorporated with recycled/ reclaimed wood; SitOnIT Detroit library benches, picnic tables, garden beds and more. The idea would be to activate public space and create social gathering spaces for residents within the Impact Area. This will also include adopting Detroit area bus-stops and providing seating for those stops. 

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

The project benefits communities, workers and visitors of Michigan Central Station area because they will learn first hand how to plan and build these public amenities through our interactive workshops. We've successfully hosted over 50 SitOnIT Detroit bench building workshops, where we've taught basic woodworking skills to various groups that accomplished building park benches, picnic tables and other amenities for the communities they live in. It's one thing for us to come and build, but the public participation is a key a component to empowering communities. This will have a long-term positive effect on sustaining community ownership and creative place-making. Photos attached are building workshops we've hosted in the past and pocket parks that's been activated with picnic table, benches and even oversized giant furniture.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Prototype - you have built a prototype and tested it with potential users
  • Pilot - you have implemented your solution in a real-world scenario

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

We've piloted our idea back in 2013 by taking action and providing residents with handcrafted public benches at Detroit area bus-stops across the city. In addition, we've help activate and curate social gathering spaces by designing and building custom exterior furniture for public spaces. From this experience and doing this for half a decade, I've learned how to organize workshops, projects and manage public participation throughout the process.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Our team consist of designers, skilled builders, artist and urban planners. Our organization is called SOI Detroit (SitOnIt Detroit). We started back in 2012 initiating community-based projects, particular within urban environments. We have experience activating pocket-parks and provided a better quality of life for residents in communities across the city.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

Sit On IT Detroit

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $150,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Funds will go towards the general operational cost of hosting various workshops in neighborhood. Renting a space within the impact area that can be converted to a semi-permanent workshop. Tools, materials, hardware and supplies would be need to be purchased through out the year. We would like to hire someone local who lives in impact area to train, learn and assist with projects.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

I have experience in community organizing and feasibility studying. I plan to get a since of what it is people would like to see in there neighborhoods and replicate those ideas. We can start by hosting community meetings with existing block clubs to gauge residents interest and willingness to participate. It would be equally important to meet with local small business leaders and owners as well. I have a workshop in Detroit where I prototype all my projects. Having a space to create is very advantageous and important when looking to scale.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

We can measure the success of this project through the public and private sectors participation. Have people who look to take part in the project building along side with us. Expanding on ideas of what can be created and bringing them to life. We can also gauge the success of the project successfully activating and programing spaces, installing library benches at bus stop and deploying those public amenities residence wanted to see.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

This project can be sustained by allowing creative economic opportunities. For instants, one of the things we do at Sit On It Detroit is rent furniture build for special events. Providing seating and table arrangements for private events is a great way to raise revenue to keep the project going. We also open up sponsorship opportunities and acknowledgements for organizations interested in collaboration with us.

Social Media

Facebook: SitOnIt Detroit Instagram: @sitonitdetroit


Join the conversation:

Photo of Boratha Tan

Hi SOI Detroit thanks for submitting your proposal! I work with the rest of the facilitation team here at City:One. Just wondering what other types of projects/furniture you can design. I do see benches and tables being made. (Would a design that can "house other forms of mobility be feasible, such as wooden bike racks?) Have you thought about partnering with DDOT? Or maybe even city officials in charge of city parks? Just trying to give some ideas of how you can grow your vision even more!

Photo of SOI Detroit

Hi Boratha Tan 
Thanks for reaching out. I've recently uploaded some additional photos of furniture designs that we've built this summer. In addition to a prototype of a Bike Rack/ Bench that I'm working on that you'll find in the slide of photos. Check' em out, let me know what you think. We've worked closely with the City of Detroit and recently been awarded the "Spirit of Detroit" award for our efforts in raising the quality of life for Detroiters across the city. In addition we've worked with counsel member James Tate and his team building benches for District 1. Project like our are very inclusive for many to participate and we look to continue to expand in those efforts of having more groups to work with!!