Design Center in a Box
A place for informed community exchange

Q & A


REMINDER: Please note that the Concept Board and Project Team Summary should be submitted as separate documents.  Concept Boards will be reviewed blind by the jury, so there must be no team names, or identifying information included on the Concept Board Layout.

Q:   How should submission files be transferred?

A:   Submissions should be emailed as stated in the brief to Files may be submitted as attachments to an email or through a file transfer service such as dropbox or wetransfer.

Q:   How will I know my submission was received?

A:   All submissions will be acknowledged as received and complete via email by end of day Monday June 25th.  If you have do receive confirmation of your submission receipt, please email on June 26th to inquire directly.

Q:   In reference to language in the design brief of flexibility, temporality, and mobility of installation, which statement below best describes the intent of the design concepts?

1.    Able to be salvaged and re-used or re-purposed in storefronts other than the initial site.


2.    Able to serve as a design prototype for future storefront fit-outs, and adapted to a wide variety of storefront spaces, but not actually salvaged and reinstalled at a different site after initial installation.


A:   In short, the brief is intentionally ambiguous about this exact distinction. Based on practical experience, even when transport and re-use are part of the original intention, it is rarely done, especially successfully. While option 2 above may better describe the reality of execution, the intention of this program is to establish a method for replicable activation of vacant storefronts or even outdoor spaces, so a compelling concept accounting for re-use and transport would be considered for this advantage.

Q:   When will Sites be selected and announced?

A:   Finalists teams will be informed of all potential sites upon notification of advancement to Stage 2.  Sites will be announced publicly as soon as an agreement is reached between The City of Detroit and the property owner. 

Q:   When will finalist teams be notified that they have been selected to move to Stage 2?

A:   Finalist Teams selected by the jury will be contacted via email Friday June 29th to be notified of selection by the Jury and/or requirement to schedule a follow-up phone interview Monday and Tuesday July 2nd or 3rd.   Interviews, if required, will be used only to clarify the team’s ability to execute the project and are not intended to discuss the conceptual proposal.

Q:   Can you explain in detail how the programming of the space would work? Are we allowed to suggest specific programmatic uses of the storefronts?

A:   Please refer to the Competition Brief for programming intentions.  Programming will be developed in partnership with community partners, city-wide partners and informed by the ongoing design & planning activities specific to each neighborhood.  Suggestions for programmatic uses in line with the intent of the brief are welcome

Q:   Who would manage these programs?

A:   Programs will be managed by the City of Detroit Planning & Development Department in coordination with partners listed in the competition brief.

Q:   Is this to be a temporary space intervention or is the intent that it last for a number of years?

A:   The installation is temporary, intended to be installed in the identified site for 9-12 months.

Q:   Is the budget amount to be used in both outfitting the space and support of the spaces programs?

A:   No, ongoing programming and operating costs are included as a separate item in the Knight Cities Challenge Grant award, and do not need to be covered by the $40,000 Award Budget.

Q:   Are there any storefronts being considered along East Warren or East Mack ave?

A:   Yes

Q:   Do any of the storefront have available outdoor/green space?

A:   Yes, due to the history of vacancy and demolition on Detroit’s commercial corridors, many of the sites under consideration are adjacent and may have access to outdoor/green space. Teams are encourage to consider this typical condition of Detroit’s commercial corridors.

Q:   From page 8 of the Competition Brief: "The Jury will seek concepts that depart substantially from earlier solutions."  Is there a way for prospective designers to know what concepts have already been considered and rejected?

A:   This competition is in its inaugural year.  No concepts have been rejected.  The intent of the competition is to generate new ideas for activating vacant spaces and engaging with community.  Ideally applicant teams will be familiar with projects    completed and ongoing in Detroit and while, building upon and learning from the extensive creative capital of Detroit is encouraged, the competition seeks not to replicate past efforts.