Hosted by Olga Stella

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Design impacts everyone, for better or for worse. Each week (for ten weeks), we invite designers, changemakers and the curious to participate in a spirited conversation on how design can be used to create conditions for better quality of life and economic opportunity. We see Detroit as a global model for sustainable and equitable development, and we want to keep this conversation going. We will focus on themes such as investment, mobility, neighborhoods, public space, and design practice around the world, and their relationship to forward progress here in Detroit.


Episode Details

Olga Stella, executive director of Design Core Detroit, previews our upcoming Detroit City of Design Podcast. 

Tracy Reese Talks Detroit’s Opportunity for Sustainable Fashion Production

Episode Details

After years of living and working in New York, fashion designer Tracy Reese is building a sustainable fashion brand in Detroit. Host Olga Stella talks with Tracy about what makes Detroit an ideal location for a sustainable fashion movement and how she is engaging the community in her design process.

Craig Wilkins Talks Hip Hop Architecture and the Intersection of Design and Activism

Episode Details

Craig Wilkins is one of the first theorists of Hip Hop Architecture, a movement that aims to empower marginalized communities and individuals through design. Both a practicing architect and a scholar, Craig talks with Olga Stella about how hip hop architecture is embodied in his work and the importance of diversifying design fields.

Episode notes: University of Michigan A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, The Wilkins Project

Ralph Gilles on the Role of Automotive Design in a World of Changing Mobility

Episode Details

As the global head of design at Fiat Chrysler, Ralph Giles is the mind behind some of the most iconic contemporary cars. Host Olga Stella talks with Ralph about the future of automotive design and designing cars with distinct personalities.

Frida Escobedo on Designing Spaces that Reflect Cultural Experience

Episode Details

Frida Escobedo became the youngest architect to work on the Serpentine Pavilion in 2018 and is known for infusing her designs with inspiration from her hometown, Mexico City. Host Olga Stella Talks with Frida about her design philosophy and recent projects.

Zena Howard Talks Remembrance Architecture and Giving Residents Autonomy in their Communities

Episode Details

Architect Zena Howard is known for creating cultural destinations that celebrate the history and context of displaced, forgotten communities. Host Olga Stella talks with Zena about the importance of co-designing spaces with residents and the inspiration behind some of her most iconic projects.

Mark de la Vergne and Lisa Nuszkowski on Designing an accessible, seamless transit system

Episode Details

Mark de la Vergne and Lisa Nuszkowski are both working to develop infrastructure for an inclusive transit system in Detroit. Host Olga Stella talks with them about the future of transportation in the city and how smart design improves mobility for all.

Episode notes: SmithGroup, Detroit Future City Strategic Framework 

Dan Kinkead on Designing Equitable Cities for Future Generations

Episode Details

Host Olga Stella talks with Dan Kinkead about the resilience of longtime Detroit residents and the role of municipal policy in ensuring equitable development. Dan played a leadership role in developing and implementing the 2012 Detroit Future City Strategic Framework, which is a shared vision for Detroit’s future that aimed to foster job growth and economic prosperity and improve neighborhoods and infrastructure.

Episode notes: SmithGroup, 
Detroit Future City Strategic Framework

Sarida Scott on Co-creating Communities with Residents

Episode Details

Sarida Scott has over a decade of experience working in community development and is the Executive Director for the Community Development Advocates of Detroit, the leading voice of Detroit’s community development industry. Host Olga Stella talks with Sarida about prioritising community engagement in the design process.

Suchi Reddy on Finding Wonder in Detroit and the Healing Power of Architecture

Episode Details

Architect Suchi Reddy works from the philosophy “form follows feeling.” She is the mind behind a diverse roster of projects, including several famous installations, private residences and large-scale industrial projects. Host Olga Stella talks with Suchi about her experience as a woman in a male-dominated field and the impact that sensory-rich design can have on health and mood.

Episode Notes: Readymade, University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture, Johns Hopkins University, Times Square Arts “X”

The Detroit City of Design Podcast is produced by Olu & Company, edited by Jag in Detroit and recorded at Motor City Woman Studios. Music by Diamondstein courtesy of Assemble Sound. This podcast is a product of Design Core Detroit, part of the College for Creative Studies.