Detroit City Study is an academic co-working space in Detroit, renovating the social and spatial relations of urban research. Motivated by a breakdown in the value and infrastructure of education across universities and cities, Detroit City Study argues that in order to rethink education we must re-place it. Borrowing from the model of co-working, Detroit City Study opens up the practices of academic research through shared and open workspace, built around the needs of academic work and urban education. The space will operate as a collaborative workplace for place-based research with a direct pipeline toward public pedagogy, engaging urban researchers, students and community members in the first city-wide co-learning space.
Detroit City Study rethinks the role of knowledge by reimagining where learning happens, and therefore, where it is directed. In an era when academic space itself is threatened by virtual learning spaces and distance-learning, and its value evacuated from the educational blight of cities like Detroit, this project argues for the physical space of learning as that which brings people and their ideas together, and works to build up the infrastructure of education through a strategic re-placing of learning in the city.
Opening Up Academia
While academics typically work in a solitary fashion, separated from colleagues in their own disciplines as well as those from other disciplines, these work practices are also cut off from the public, and tend to produce knowledge that is not translatable to other audiences. This hinders the wider utility of and interest in academic knowledge. Detroit City Study works to open up academic research practices in order to produce knowledge that is more relevant to the public.
Closing the Gaps: Detroit, Community, University
Detroit City Study will work to fill several gaps in our current academic and communal infrastructure: 1) the need for a collaborative, academic workspace in Detroit 2) the need for stronger community engagement within the academy. This project looks to respond to these problems together, by engaging academic and community education together, through a physical space in which knowledge can be cultivated more collaboratively.
The Academic Economy
The co-working space will also work to create stronger visibility for academic work, particularly, for the nascent research of graduate students. In doing so, the space responds to another pressing concern facing contemporary graduate students: where and how will we work? With the academic job market shrinking rapidly, we face the need to cultivate our own career pathways while still in school. We often struggle to answer the question: what will we do with this knowledge, once we finish making it? This project aims to explore how collaboration can lead to more sustainable work for nascent academics, by shifting the culture around learning and infusing it with multiples types of value.