The TechTown District Plan is an inspiring vision for the revitalization of an emerging knowledge district in Midtown Detroit. It leverages the potential of three institutions that anchor the district: Wayne State University (WSU), College for Creative Studies (CCS), and Henry Ford Health System (HFHS).
The purpose of the plan is to define a framework for district development that accelerates innovation, promotes entrepreneurship, and builds a community around the generation of ideas in a vibrant, mixed-use setting.
The jury said, “ . . . positive thing for a down and out city . . . sets a precedent of collaboration beyond the boards . . . commendable . . .”
Goals for the plan are to: realize the potential of the three institutions; enable them to expand their biotech and life sciences research agendas; create an environment that fosters knowledge generation and innovation; strengthen connections within Midtown Detroit and to surrounding neighborhoods; repurpose the historic building stock with uses that support innovation; and create a vibrant urban neighborhood that meets institutional housing needs.
The plan supports the institutions’ collective desire for collaboration, experimentation, and hands-on learning, within a safe, active, and vibrant neighborhood.
A plaza at the heart of the district is a key feature of the plan. It connects the institutions and contains a variety of program and design elements to foster creativity and the exchange of ideas.
Collaboration cubes, moveable and adaptable work stations, are in the plaza and can be reconfigured and relocated to meet user needs. The cubes create an icon for the district.
Significant new innovation uses will reposition the district to become Detroit’s primary science and technology hub. It will support commercialization of research and ideas and nurture a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship.
“The district plan provides a long term aspirational framework, along with clearly defined catalytic projects that support the ways people want to live, work, and learn in the future,” says Susan T. Mosey, President, Midtown Detroit, Inc.
TechTown has many historic buildings that played an important role in the automotive innovations of an earlier era. The plan maintains a mix of building types and repurposes much of the historic fabric.
Project Team: Midtown Detroit, Inc. representing Wayne State University, College for Creative Studies and Henry Ford Health System for the TechTown District Plan with Sasaki Associates, Inc.; also U3 Ventures; Rebar Group; Street Plans Collaborative; Interface Studio; Institute for the Future