Press Contact:  Bonnie Fahoome 313-664-1479


Multidisciplinary Design Challenge Uses Inclusive Design  to Advance Community Resiliency in Detroit 

April 26, 2023, Detroit, MI - Seven teams have been selected to participate in the 2023 City of Design Challenge. The City of Design Challenge is a program that invites designers, residents, changemakers, and other community stakeholders to collaborate on projects that improve the quality of life for city residents. 

The 2023 Detroit City of Challenge is led by Design Core Detroit, in partnership with the College for Creative Studies, Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) and CultureSource, and made possible with financial support from the Hudson-Webber Foundation. 

“These seven teams include community leaders and creatives working together to address resiliency in a way that is authentic to their neighborhood. All 27 applicants to the program represented the range, high quality, and diversity of community-driven innovation happening in Detroit, “ said Design Core Co-Executive Director, Bonnie Fahoome.  “We are excited to see how each group uses this experience to advance its work and engage more residents in their design process, and how that in turn strengthens unity and builds resilience.” 

The 2023 Finalists include:

  • Fennigan’s Farms’ Afro-AgroFuture Design Space and Community Kitchen Table will create a physical space where neighbors and visitors can see how sustainable design and agriculture can work together to rebuild what has been divested and act as a model that can be replicated across the City of Detroit, in disaster zones, and locations where communities are vulnerable.
  • TheJOYproject Growers Community Kitchen will design an accessible all season structure used as a gathering space, equipped with a community kitchen, methane digester, solar and Wi-Fi accessible to community members in the area.  
  • McDougall-Hunt Social Off-grid Urban Landscape (SOUL) will incorporate off-grid energy solutions (wind, solar), run-off mitigation (permeable hardscaping and native plantings) into a relaxing, aesthetically pleasing, and accessible space. 
  • Solar Party Detroit will provide musicians with access to an off-grid workspace where they can run their equipment on 100% solar infrastructure, and learn the basics of photovoltaics and other clean energy sources.
  • Urban Acupuncture to the Rescue will extend access to their resilience toolkit and training program and will invite leaders from other communities to create "Rescue Squads" and develop their own neighborhood toolkit. 
  • East Canfield Innovation Hub will be a space dedicated to improving the lives of Detroit residents by inspiring innovation and expanding opportunities to problem solve.
  • Motor City Auto Repair  will be a DIY auto shop in Detroit, offering affordable solutions for customers to work on their vehicles. Equipped with state-of-the-art tools, the shop provides engine diagnostics, with classes and workshops.

Community Advisors selected and will support the teams throughout the Challenge. This year’s Community Advisors include: Brandi Keeler (Civilla), Ben Williams (Motor City Sings), Caitlin Murphy (LIVE6), Alex B. Hill (DETROITography), Jessica Brown and Yelena Ramautar (Community Development Advocates of Detroit), Cinthya Casillas (Hubbard Richard Resident Association), and Michelle Matthews (Capital Impact Partners). 

Accepted teams will receive a $3000 stipend to develop their concepts and will participate in an interactive and comprehensive inclusive design training program May through July. The classes, consisting of seven two-hour sessions, will feature guest speakers and workshops as well as individual and group work to practice applying lessons learned to their community projects. Subjects broached will include cultural competence, social justice, systemic oppression, and power asymmetries.

Each team will pitch their concept to the Community Advisory Council at the Challenge Pitch event September 26 during the 2023 Month of Design. Two to three teams will be selected to receive additional grant funds to prototype and test their concepts, document their process and showcase their work at the 2024 Detroit Month of Design.

For more information about the 2023 City of Design Challenge please visit our website, read our FAQs, or contact us at


Design Core Detroit champions design-driven businesses and their role in strengthening Detroit’s economy. It offers services to strengthen, grow and attract design businesses, increase market demand for design services, and tells Detroit’s design story locally and globally. Design Core is a department within the College for Creative Studies, which is a private, nonprofit art and design college in Detroit, MI. 

Design Core serves design-driven industries that specialize in design or utilize design as a central discipline of their business strategy. As the steward of Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design designation, Design Core serves as the convener and backbone organization for the Detroit City of Design initiative. 


The City of Design Challenge program was launched in 2021 to support community-driven solutions to important challenges in the city of Detroit by connecting teams with support and resources, especially to help achieve more inclusive outcomes through inclusive process. The 2021 Challenge examined the digital divide, while the 2023 Challenge will tackle community resiliency. 

As the first and only UNESCO City of Design in the United States, Detroit is proud of its rich and diverse design legacy and eager to highlight inclusive design as a powerful tool for creating equitable communities in Detroit and beyond. Inclusive design centers itself around people who are often left out of the design process in order to create places, products, and services that allow more people to fully participate in society.