Retooling the Manufacturing Community Through Technology

What is it going to take to pull Detroit out of the downward spiral it has sustained over the last 40 years? Urban plans such as high speed rail, cultural museums, park space and the like have no chance of reviving the city’s pride and stopping the bleeding that is devastating the city’s urban core. Not to mention that the city has no money and is having to cut essential surfaces like police, fire and community services.  The future of Detroit does not lie in new casinos or sporting complexes. The future of Detroit lies within its people and their ability to adapt to the ever changing world. The future of Detroit lies within its economy and its ability to adapt to new technologies and industries. The future of Detroit lies within its people to create something truly transcending.

What the city needs is a flood of ideas and innovation. This can be achieved through advancing the city into the digital age. The automobile manufacturing industry needs an infusion of digital technology, one that brings innovative advancement to the American car makers. These advancements go beyond the things we know today, they push the envelope and bring new creative blood to the design table. Along with these advancements come opportunities for new industries in a city that has relied heavily on the automobile industry.  These opportunities will diversify the economy of the city and allow it to flourish in downturns of certain industries.

The goal of this project is not to create a fancy new program that claims to provide recovery efforts for the city of Detroit, like a casino or sports venue. The project is designed to engage people in a fundamentally different way.  It engages them directly with the future of the economy of Detroit. It is not going to be a place where they can spend time and money, but rather a place to educate themselves, as well as collaborate and invent the future of the city. The innovation, the creativity, the aura are the essential elements that keep people coming back. The idea is not to create a place that is flashy and is the talk of the town for a couple of years until the next big thing comes along. The idea is to create something that truly progresses the norm, something that transcends current comprehension and opens up new doors that no one knows exist.

All of this can be achieved through a Technology Incubator. In some instances, this type of process is often called a business incubator. Similar to a business incubator, this process will aid in the ushering in of ideas and creative mind-set that is necessary to maintain a business in today’s society. The only difference is that this incubation process focuses on the advancement of technology, which in turn will aid in transcending the economy of the city. For Detroit, the biggest downfall of the city has been the one-trick pony aspect of the manufacturing industry. Although the automobile industry has brought so much prosperity to the city, it has been the single issue with the exodus the city has experienced in recent years. The technology incubator will cultivate new ideas, which will immediately help the automobile industry, as well as usher in new industries to the city.  The project retools the manufacturing community through technology.

The project includes three parts.  First, a mobile laboratory is established that can begin to have immediate impact on the manufacturing community.  This laboratory is a pavilion type structure that can be erected in a short period of time.  Following the opening of the Mobile Think Tank, begins the process to design and construct the build out of a Technology Incubation Center.  The TIC is constructed around the site of the Mobile Think Tank and utilizes vacant buildings to establish a learning campus that provides long term space.  The entire process involves a collaborative process that ensues between the people of Detroit, the manufacturing community, and education providers in the region.  This collaboration begins at the Mobile Think Tank and progresses to the TIC, where industry, organizations, educators, and students share collaboration and innovation space.

The project is located in buildings that currently exist, spaces that have been neglected for thirty years. The project adapts these buildings to create spaces and architecture that do more than provide a place for people to visit. It provides a place for people to learn, to collaborate, to adapt and to transcend themselves into new discoveries


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