Three Taubman College faculty members have been awarded an Engage Detroit Workshops grant by the Office of the Vice Provost of Engaged Learning. Cyrus Peñarroyo, assistant professor of architecture; De Peter Yi, lecturer; and Laura Peterson, lecturer, helm the Detroit Reuse Collective project, one of six projects across the University of Michigan to receive funding to strengthen the university’s partnerships with Detroit. Overall, the grants have awarded more than $80,000 to interdisciplinary projects for the 2022-23 academic year. Yi, Peterson, and Peñarroyo are working with community partners in Detroit including the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center/Council, Peace Tree Parks, Recycle Here!, and Adaptive Construction.
Building on a year of conversations with residents working through the Detroit Land Bank Authority, the project studies the relationship between material re-use and housing; the work will culminate in a workshop in Detroit in January 2023. The audience of the workshop includes individuals and collectives involved in the rebuilding happening across the many small lots in Detroit’s neighborhoods where there are currently more residents going through the compliance process of renovating structures than the total number that have completed compliance in the Land Bank’s history. The workshop is conceived as an updated form of a traditional barn-raising, combining celebratory gathering with knowledge sharing through physical and digital making.
Valeria Bertacco, vice provost for engaged learning at U-M, said that the grantees “represent the rich and diverse ways in which U-M faculty and staff are working alongside communities in Detroit.”