The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning will once again have a say in the future appearance of Detroit. The Detroit Design Charrette 2003 begins today and culminates in a reception, exhibition and presentation on Jan. 13.

A charrette is a series of intensive workshops that give University faculty and graduate students a chance to work with nationally renowned and local design experts to produce solutions to urban problems.

About 80 students, faculty and industry professionals will be in attendance.

Taubman Dean Douglas Kelbaugh said that the main goal is “to provide four compelling visions for the development for new neighborhoods along a one-mile stretch of the Detroit River.”

This year’s charrette, titled “Reflecting the Riverfront,” will be the University’s fifth charrette in Detroit but is the second of a series of three proposed to focus on revamping downtown.

“Previous charrettes have resulted in new plans for the city and jumpstart several new developments and redevelopments,” said Kelbaugh.

Several nationally acclaimed design professionals have accepted the invitation to participate. Each guest will co-lead one of four teams with a faculty member from the college and a design professional selected from a local design firm or institution.

There will be five teams participating in this year’s charrette – four design teams and one real estate development team.

Each team consists of a distinguished visitor, a local professional, a local design professional, a faculty member from the college of Architecture and Urban Planning and students from the Schools of Natural Resources and Environment and Art and Design.

For the first time, students from the University’s Business and Law schools and Rackham will be attending the charrette.

University faculty members lead follow-up studios to develop the general concepts and specific downtown building projects in greater detail. The charrettes and the studio work conclude with the publication of a book during the summer.

Kelbaugh said the charrette “is a gift to the city, funded by Taubman College, provost’s office, president’s office, SNRE and a number of corporations in Detroit.”

The public is invited to a presentation on Monday, Jan. 13 at 4:45 p.m. in the UAW-GM Center at 200 Walker St. More details can be found on the college’s website at

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