Eight years ago, its mayor governed from a jail cell. Three years ago, the city filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history at $18-20 billion. And last month, Detroit became the first American city to be named a UNESCO City of Design. Talk about a turnaround for Motown.
Although Motor City is more often associated with dilapidation than design, UNESCO recognized Detroit’s design legacy and its continued commitment to promote cultural and creative industries.
“Design continues to play a significant role in our economy, and it was important that our application reflect our city’s contributions to the global design community, both historically and today,” Detroit Creative Corridor (DC3) interim executive director Ellie Schneider told Architectural Digest.
Detroit’s fostered a rich historic and present-day relationship with design, starting with the likes of Eames, Knoll and Rapson to the architects behind the Guardian Building and Parisian Campus Martius Park.
Though Detroit’s collapse has been well-documented, as of late, the city’s been praised for its recent cultural renaissance as companies like Shinola and Ace Hotel and an assortment of restaurants and galleries transform the city into the epicenter it once was.
With the nomination, Detroit joins such cities as Helsinki, Budapest and Singapore as cities of design.
Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.