World populations are increasingly moving from rural to urban centers, making large cities more dense than ever, and Americans are increasingly moving to downtown areas, increasing urban sprawl.
The technology components of cities range from smart grids and driverless cars to automated buildings and advanced sensors. Each city is an ecosystem that also includes education, jobs and economic opportunity.
How cities are designed affect how we work, live and play as we navigate throughout the day to access schools, hospitals, playgrounds, retail stores, restaurants, parks and workplaces.
Think about how you can reimagine aspects your everyday life –is there a playground or baseball field near your home? Can your parents walk to a grocery store or do they need to drive or catch a bus? Is the temperature at your school comfortable all year round? What would you redesign in your city to make it more inviting using technology?
Make a game that identifies issues in your community that you want to change with technology and utilize design thinking to re-imagine the space or place in your city to create solutions. Determine your solution by using and exploring a variety of techniques including research, interviews with people in your community, site visits, drawing prototypes, and creating models.
Detroit was founded in 1701 and its name originates from the French word d’Etroit, which means strait, in reference to its location on the river connecting the Great Lakes. In the early-1900s to the mid-1900s, Detroit was an automobile manufacturing boomtown. Detroit is still most notably known as the “Motor City”, the birthplace of the American auto industry and headquarters location for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
Detroit is also famous for introducing the “Motown sound” to the world with the establishment of Motown Records, which began popularizing the Soul and R&B genres during the 1950’s. From a design viewpoint, Detroit has been referred to as the “Paris of the West” for it’s grand electrified boulevards and distinct architectural character.
The city’s economy soared in the twentieth century, towering buildings were built and the city was full of jobs. But, in the coming years, a combination of population decline, competition from foreign manufacturers, and soaring unemployment due to the recession in 2008, led to a crippled economy. Today, many of the architectural gems of Detroit have fallen into disrepair as a result of drastic disinvestment in the City since the population loss of the 1960’s. In 1950, the City of Detroit was one of the largest and most influential American cities with a population of nearly 2 million. In 2016, the population count was just under 700,000 residents occupying a land mass of 139 square miles. Plagued by high vacancy rates and low population, Detroit now has a unique opportunity to reinvent itself.
While still facing the outcomes of these issues, the city is recovering. The city has settled its bankruptcy and has ended its second fiscal year with a balanced budget and has enacted a restoration project to remove the crumbling Flint River Dam and surround the river with80 acres of park space to increase recreation. Despite the renewal, there are aspects of the city that could be improved upon.
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