Detroitisit Hosts Second Annual Sustainable Urban Design Summit Oct 13, 2022


On October 13, Detroitisit, the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Chicago, and Dutch Design Week will bring together architects, urban planners and design experts for the second annual Sustainable Urban Design Summit focused on design sharing technology and new innovations designed to transform our cities into sustainable urban centres.

As one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the Netherlands is a global leader in sustainable urban design – focusing on product reuse, minimizing the waste of energy and resources, building climate-neutral buildings, adopting smart transportation practices, and more. Detroit is a city in transition where development looms large, and where equitable investment and community building take center stage.

“We can learn so much from each other,” said John Jourden, design director at Gensler Detroit.

The Dutch design process is inclusive for a wide variety of incomes and this is how developments are structured there. It’s so relevant to Detroit – layering sustainability thinking during the design process – and we can glean a lot of information from the Dutch to inform our design and development practices.

Moderator Antoine Bryant, Detroit’s director of planning, echoes this saying: “The


the interconnectivity between the two municipalities is so interesting, and I intend to focus on this as I facilitate conversations about integrating sustainability into urban design. »

Conversely, the Dutch and others around the world can learn from Detroit. Detroit seems to focus on goal-oriented development projects with collaborations and developments incorporating significant infrastructure. For many, Detroit has extraordinary diversity and a mix of assets such as the Riverfront and Eastern Market.

The Summit is a full day of programming offering multi-level conversation and provocative panels to develop and imagine the best solutions around sustainable urbanism, circular economy, climate and city, energy efficiency , social justice, etc.

A general theme that will be woven throughout the panels and discussions will be: How thinking for sustainable urban design can and will foster the development of a city.



This topic will be dissected during the 2:05 p.m. panel with Archi-tectonics Founding Partner and Chair of Dept of Architecture Univ of Pennsylvania Winka Dubbeldam, MVVA Principal, Nate Trevethan, John Jourden, Design Director, Gensler Detroit, moderated by Antoine Bryant, Director of Detroit city planning.

Participants can expect to contemplate this concept through the lens of the following concepts and topics:

  • What will urban spaces look like as they come to life and designers, developers and engineers play with the rules to break them?
  • How can we connect fragmented urban design concepts and help find the right design position for cities and places to be climate leaders themselves?
  • What methods should be applied to solve the challenges of climate change in the construction of resilient buildings and spaces?
  • What is sustainability and how do we challenge ourselves to achieve it?
  • How do you address challenges like creating equitable societies through sustainable urban design in high-footprint cities like Detroit?

Considerations for the built environment and new era urban planning also involve considering the repurposing of existing buildings versus the construction of new developments.

Said Jourden, “As we consider how to leverage existing assets such as adaptation and



repurposing old and underutilized buildings and infrastructure instead of tearing them down and starting over, these things have such a broad impact on sustainability in so many ways. Repositioning assets and leveraging what we already have is a deep thing.

To experience the panel virtually and attend the panel in person at the Madison Building at 2:05 p.m. on October 13, register here.

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