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Culturestructure Award 2014

Scott Francisco — June 09, 2014

Pilot Projects is pleased to present our second annual Culturestructure Award to the World Policy Institute’s Emergent Cities Project. In its initial focus, Emergent Cities looks at Motor City, with the goal of building a more resilient Detroit through entrepreneurship, community partnerships and regional immigration. The project will repurpose existing industrial, commercial and residential infrastructure using green building priciples to create a supportive space for local, regional and international entrepreneurs. A legal help desk, community resource hub and series of micro grants will work with the physical space to boost economic and social resilience. Sustainability emphasis will be placed on the cultural and community dimensions of building retrofits. This means lower tech, higher 'touch,' with local skills and knowledge seen as the backbone of neighborhood resilience.

Pilot Projects has been partnering with World Policy Institute and the Emergent Cities team over the last six months to co-create the conceptual foundations of the project. We will continue to develop the project over the coming year through urban strategy consultation and the design of related buildings and urban infrastructure.

About the Culturestructure Award
Culturestructure is an annual award given by Pilot Projects Design Collective to an organization who is pursuing the design and development of innovative infrastructure that supports a beneficial cultural objective. This year's award is a $50,000 package of Pilot Projects consulting and technical development services including problem definition, design, visualization, prototyping and professional collaboration. Packages are tailored to organizational needs and project goals as expressed in the application process. While this is an international award, preference will be given to applicants who are able to collaborate in person with Pilot Projects several times during the duration of the award timeline. Travel expenses are typically not covered. Please contact us for application details.

More about the Emergent Cities Project
The Emergent Cities Project, housed at the World Policy Institute, will develop a framework to improve policy responses to the global surge of urban informal systems, in order to increase cities’ capacity to provide essential services, enhance the resilience of city institutions and communities, promote social cohesion, and encourage innovation and job creation. We will identify best practices that can double as policy levers, and facilitate multidisciplinary engagement by government officials, NGOs, experts, and thought leaders with the aim of testing and adopting these recommendations.

The Emergent City Project pilots new ways to activate and build resilience in the economically troubled and shrinking cities of the global Rust Belt by applying lessons from emergent developing world megacities characterized by high rates of migration and informality. In collaboration with NYC-based architecture firm Pilot Projects Design Collective, “Motor City” draws on the informal practices of microenterprise, re-purposed and mixed-use spaces, and community building found in the slums of Lagos and Nairobi and the copycat pirate enclaves of Shenzhen to design a pilot for a micromanufacturing “incubator” in an underpopulated neighborhood of Detroit. Through innovative policy strategies such as regional visa and accreditation schemes, and planned suspension of zoning regulations, the incubator will enable the migration of entrepreneurial individuals who can creatively activate frozen space; engage the underutilized skill sets of local residents and arriving homesteaders; navigate regulatory requirements on behalf of makers; embed local manufacturing activities into global supply chains and consumption networks; and integrate new arrivals with existing communities through shared social, cultural, and economic space. Emergent Cities, with its initial focus on Motor City, is ultimately a resilience project that proposes to strengthen a whole community through an innovative and holistic model of community and economic development.

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