Detroit has suffered a wide range of negative consequences due to an unprecedented phenomenon of shrinkage over the last several decades. The entirety of the Rust Belt Region has been experiencing similar problems. Recently, the White House, the American Institute of Architects, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other influential entities have expressed concern over the undesirable impacts of the built environment; and they have expressed interest in the role of architects in addressing issues such as rebuilding the Rust Best, cultivating livability, public health (e.g., decreasing the levels of obesity), access to healthy food, sustainability, and the like.

In response, the AIA Detroit Urban Priorities Committee (UPC) intends to assist Detroit in its current efforts in addressing shrinkage by focusing on three themes (transportation, urban centers, and urban agriculture), and by exchanging ideas and sharing our experiences with cities facing similar problems.

A symposium is proposed that will be divided into three separate events followed by a closing panel discussion that reinforces the triple bottom line impact of sustainable design. The three separate events will each focus upon a specific topic; Transportation, Urban Centers and Urban Agriculture, respectively. Prior to the symposium, information and discussion forums will be open for public and designer dissemination via an online blog. Each separate event is proposed to culminate in a week long exhibition of design related to each topic followed by a day long event that brings in nationally recognized experts to decide upon and present findings related to the specific focus topic. The selected exhibits are intended to be a collaboration of both public and professional input.

All required registration information will be available through the AIA Detroit website,


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