Design Guide for Real Estate Development

The guide will help developers utilize design to achieve their goals and drive inclusivity


Design Core Detroit is proud to release the Design Guide for Real Estate Development—​ a book that aims to strengthen the working relationship between real estate developers and designers by offering actionable tools to ensure every project is attractive, financially profitable and beneficial to the community. Input from an industry advisory council, service vendors, and more than 100 stakeholders allowed Design Core Detroit to produce industry-specific content for Detroit developers. The project was made possible through support from JPMorgan Chase.

"As stewards of UNESCO's City of Design designation, Design Core Detroit is committed to developing Detroit as a leader in inclusive and innovative design practices," ​said Olga Stella, Executive Director of Design Core Detroit​. "As neighborhood investments increase across the city, designers can be important partners to real estate developers—from durable material choices, cost-saving designs, community engagement, sustainability and more.

Through case studies, exercises and infographics, the guide shows developers how design can help them address each part of the real estate development process and i​ntegrate local culture into projects authentically. Both of these factors ensure the longevity of projects by cultivating neighborhoods that are resilient, and e​conomically and environmentally sustainable.

“The Design Guide for Real Estate Development and accompanying programming allows us to share these principles with those leading development in the city,” s​aid Bonnie Fahoome, Director of Business Programs for Design Core Detroit.​ “By providing developers with the tools to create thoughtful, effective and inclusive spaces, we hope to support the creation of successful projects that also improve quality of life for all Detroiters."

“Equitable development and housing for all Detroit residents is incredibly important for our city,” said ​September Hargrove​, Head of Global Philanthropy for Detroit, JPMorgan Chase. “We’re pleased to support Design Core Detroit in their efforts to create more inclusive practices around development and design. Together, we can all work to rebuild a more inclusive economy that works for more people.”

Design Core Detroit will host a series of workshops that expands upon the ideas and concepts introduced in the D​esign Guide for Real Estate Development.​ Any individual who manages property or is interested in learning more about the value of design is welcome. Each participant will receive a copy of the Guide.

Copies of the Guide will also be distributed to developers through key partner organizations, including Urban Land Institute, Capital Impact’s Equitable Development program, Better Buildings Better Blocks, neighborhood CDCs, past Motor City Match awardees, Building Community Value and others.

About Design Core Detroit
Design Core Detroit champions design-driven businesses and their role in strengthening Detroit’s economy. They offer services to support and grow design businesses in Detroit, help increase market demand for design services, and tell Detroit’s design story, both locally and globally. Design Core is the steward of Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design designation and is a part of the College for Creative Studies.

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