Wayne State students win second annual Cultural Center Design Summit

The second annual Student Design Summit-a joint initiative of the Michigan Engaging Community through the Classroom Initiative at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Midtown Detroit, Inc.-announced its winners this week.

The Student Design Summit is a complementary component of the Cultural Center Planning Initiative meant to engage high school, college and university students. The inaugural competition challenged students to re-design the Cultural District surrounding the Detroit Institute of Arts. 1st Place Project Midtown Connect

The second annual Student Design Summit invited students to explore the future of libraries and public universities and prepare specific ideas and design solutions for Cass Avenue, building connections between the main branch of the Detroit Public Library and Wayne State University. Submissions responded not only to the Summit prompt, but the constantly changing dynamic of urban living during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the need to move beyond a library or civic institution's physical setting and showcasing social media strategies and interactive outdoor programming.

Submissions were scored by a jury comprised of: Meghan Courtney, Outreach Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University; Jo Anne Mondowney, Executive Director, Detroit Public Library; Susan Mosey, Executive Director, Midtown Detroit, Inc.; Dan Rieden, Lead Landscape Architect, Planning and Development Department, City of Detroit; and Kiana Wenzell, Director of Culture & Community, Design Core Detroit.

"Student design competitions are important-especially during these uncertain times because they keep students challenged and encourage them to work on new ideas while growing their skills. It's important that we continue to develop opportunities to train the next generation of urban planners and designers to keep them engaged in the evolution of Detroit," said Sue Mosey, Executive Director of Midtown Detroit, Inc. who is leading the Cultural Center Planning Initiative.

The winning submissions are:

First Place: "Midtown Connect" by Raneem Daaboul, Talia Dowling, Keana Freeman, Mahdi Hamid, Brittany Little, Megan Meddaugh, Priscilla Lloyd, Rachel Tapling and Samantha Wood of Wayne State University.

Honorable Mention: "Midtown Screenspace" by Cameron Giniel, Abraham Rycus and Adrienne Royce from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Honorable Mention: "Knowledge/Flow" by Natalie Lyon and Adam Pruett of Wayne State University.

"My project partner and I are urban planners," said Natalie Lyon, who completed Wayne State's Masters of Urban Planning program in spring of 2020 and won an honorable mention for her project. "The chance to have an opportunity to create ideas for this part of Detroit is like a Capstone for our academic career!"

A third Student Design Summit focused on digital inclusion and web-based engagement is being planned for fall 2020.


The University of Michigan is an internationally renowned public university known for its research and education. They offer 260 degree programs through 19 schools and colleges to more than 44,000 students.

Wayne State University is a premier urban-serving public research institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students.

Midtown Detroit, Inc. is a nonprofit planning and development agency charged with revitalization of Detroit's Woodward Corridor, representing over 160 area stakeholders including Detroit's anchor educational, medical and cultural institutions.

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