Tech equity and redesigning Detroit

By | June 17, 2019
rendering of Detroit Square design

U-M professors were a key part of the DIA Plaza/Midtown Cultural Connections international design competition’s winning submission, called Detroit Square. The project provides the opportunity “to leapfrog the current generation of technology and do something that is very progressive and future proof,” said team member John Marshall, an associate professor at the Stamps School of Art & Design.

Public WiFi, 5G connection, LED controllable lighting, sound projection mapping, and outdoor urban screens are part of the master plan. The winning design works toward making Detroit an “equitable smart city” that also considers privacy and ethics.

“We’re obviously viewing this through a technology lens, but we’re also looking at it through a social justice lens,” Marshall said. “We’re going to design for 5G in a way that big tech companies won’t — we’re interested in protecting the privacy of the citizens that interact with the space.”