September 1, 2015 / Nina Bianchi and Libby Cole

The Work Department is growing!

Check out this article in Model D about our growth and approach to our work.

July 23, 2015 / Allied Media Projects

CreateNED: community revitalization project in Northeast Detroit

We are thrilled to announce that we are part of a phenomenal project called CreateNED, with our frequent collaborators Allied Media Projects and new-found friends RestoreNED, that is one of the grant recipients of this year's ArtPlace America’s 2015 National Grants Program. The project will promote and begin to implement a plan for equitable and creative development in Northeast Detroit, utilizing art, design, and digital communications in the revitalization strategy.
June 10, 2015 / Michael Gregor

Collaborating to help kids succeed in Head Start

Since it was created 50 years ago, Head Start has impacted 32 million children and their families. It’s one of America’s most successful education programs, and uses evidence-based practices while engaging parents in meaningful ways. We helped Detroit Head Start providers begin to build shared communication strategies to recruit more families to enroll in their programs.

May 14, 2015 / Meg Heeres

Every community is resilient

This spring, we partnered again with our friend and colleague Greta Byrum at the Open Technology Institute to facilitate collaborative mapping workshops to help identify and build communication tools for neighborhood resistance in New York City.

February 17, 2015 / Meg Heeres and Nina Bianchi

Newark and Detroit: design and planning exchanges

In the fall of September 2014, we 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.
October 21, 2014 / Nina Bianchi and Kat Hartman

What makes a city 'smart,' anyway?

Nina teamed up with frequent collaborator and friend of The Work Department Kat Hartman to publish an article for Model D titled, “What makes a city 'smart,' anyway?” about their impression of the recent Meeting of the Minds conference in Detroit. In it, they take the phrase “smart city” to task.

June 25, 2014 / Michael Gregor

Co-design in the classroom

“Are you a scientist?” a student asked me as he walked into the room with his class group. I paused to think in the midst of organizing construction paper and Play-Doh. “Well, sometimes, yes.”

June 9, 2014 / Geoff Hing and Michael Gregor

Connecting to LGBT-affirming healthcare providers

Affirmations is Michigan’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community center. Its health and wellness program is revealing the health impacts of stigma, discrimination and societal inequalities while leveraging community strengths and celebrating resiliency. The program is expanding, and staff members are seeking new ways to share crucial health information with the community.

March 24, 2014 / Nina Bianchi

Designing a better future: peer to peer toolkit primer

Recently, Nina had the opportunity to speak at the College Art Association’s national conference in Chicago on “Designing a Better Future.” This is her presentation that introduces peer-to-peer learning to more traditional college educators.

March 13, 2014 / Michael Gregor and Benjamin Chodoroff

Opening local government with Drupal

A few months ago, the Michigan Suburbs Alliance needed to rapidly prototype and deploy a web application to help municipal governments publicize vacant board and commission seats. We excitedly jumped on the project and launched in early February.

December 31, 2013 / Nina Bianchi and Greta Byrum

Distributed design: Commotion Construction Kit

Urban planners and designers generally don’t give much thought to communications infrastructure—it’s difficult to understand and outside of our core expertise. But as technology becomes increasingly essential to community health and development, urbanism professionals have an opportunity to experiment with a powerful new medium, and to interact with communities in new and more participatory ways.

December 17, 2013 / Nina Bianchi

Demystifying online communications for community empowerment

Nina Bianchi wears many hats, but they all relate back to one thing: making technology accessible and bringing people together. This is especially seen in her work with the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (DDJC), which is made up of a group of organizations that came together under the main belief that communication is a fundamental human right.