Newark and Detroit: design and planning exchanges

Via Newark Riverfront Revival

In the fall of September 2014, the Work Department, along with our friend Diana Nucera, facilitated a design and planning exchange between Newark, New Jersey and Detroit with local residents and key community collaborators focused on place-based design and organizing. We found Newark to be an inspirational and welcoming community with a complex sociopolitical history that often parallels Detroit’s narrative. (Image above via Newark Riverfront Revival)

We are thrilled to continue to build relationships with key community leaders like Damon Rich, Newark’s Planning Director & Chief Planner for the City of Newark and co-founder of the Center for Urban Pedagogy, Nancy Zak from the Ironbound Community Corporation , and Wilbur McNeil and his team at the Weequahic Park Association.

Via Newark Riverfront Revival
Image via Newark Riverfront Revival

Building opportunities for learning exchange between cities like Newark and Detroit is important. The Work Department’s Nina Bianchi also hosted Damon as part of her work with the Great Lakes Leadership Academy's Collaboration Detroit experience. At this inaugural event at the Department of Natural Resource’s Outdoor Adventure Center , stories and experiences were shared between Newark and leaders across the state of Michigan.

Diana Nucera, from Allied Media Projects , wrote an article that coalesces some of her experience in Newark around participatory planning and community-based problem solving. She cites her learnings from Damon Rich’s experiences to illustrate this work, “Assembling a real group of people is so much harder and more powerful than a rhetorical understanding of the public,” Rich explains. “It is in the assembly of these people that you learn what it takes to gather input, and what ideas people are attached to.” But that’s when the real work begins. “It is less about having faith in good ideas, and more about how we can create a philosophy between the government and the people. There are benefits beyond achieving the objective when we do things together.”

Read Diana's article in Civic Quarterly here!

We’re looking to continuing to build these bridges. Stay tuned!