Design Core Detroit

Industry Economic Development, Design, Inclusive Design
Communities Engaged Design Professionals, Business Owners, Community Organizers, City Planners
Collaborator Jake Creative

“Organizations and people are incentivized to share their data when they can see its operationalization in a tool or policy that reshapes the world in which they live.” (Local Codes: Forms Of Spatial Knowledge, Shannon Mattern, January 18, 2019)

Detroit stands out as a grassroots model for partnerships leading the way for inclusive design. As part of the UNESCO design cities network, and the only U.S. city in that role, Design Core Detroit has mobilized partners and peers to embody inclusive design principles in their work. Through these partnerships, Design Core Detroit is strengthening communities through the lens of design.

Design Core Detroit sought to lift up progress to date, share the stories of its partners working to build more inclusive communities through design, and transmit tools, processes and learnings about inclusive design. Our project objectives were to:

  • Communicate progress toward strategic goals through data and partner stories, contained within an annual monitoring report

  • Share tools, templates, and processes for how Design Core Detroit facilitates inclusion

  • Build a system for operationalizing ongoing storytelling

  • Stake Detroit’s position as a leader in inclusive design through partnerships

  • Inspire more entities to see and take advantage of their opportunities to get involved in inclusive design planning, building, and policy development.

Qualitative analysis of the partner stories collected surfaced several emerging themes. These themes provide depth, dimension, and nuance to Design Core Detroit’s stated goals. Quantification of these qualitative themes aids in prioritization, informs messaging and strategic communications, and inspires future program development, among other possibilities.

Additionally, stories collected were used to seed a story library. The content nuggets contained in the library vary in size, with applications ranging from social media posts to thought leadership and trade publication editorial opportunities.

To view the complete Inclusive Design Together report, click here.


“We’re spurred on by the idea that something like Design Core Detroit considers our work important and promotes it through their mission. It’s like they spirit along the vision our community has created for itself.”

— Karen Washington, Community Organizer, Restore NED