Dan Pitera is a political and social activist masquerading as an architect. He is presently the Executive Director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture. He views the design profession as an essential force in establishing human relationships and engagement.
The DCDC is dedicated to fostering university and community partnerships that create inspired and sustainable neighborhoods and spaces for all people. Mr. Pitera holds the position that the sustainability and regeneration of any neighborhood lies in the hands of its residents. Currently, Dan is co-leading the Civic Engagement process for the Detroit Works Long Term Planning initiated by Mayor Bing in 2010.
The Detroit Collaborative Design Center
What a teaching hospital is to a medical school, we are to a school of architecture…Our work is more than just architecture. It’s more than just urban design. It’s really all the things that relate to the built environment.
Don’t Just Fix It, Redesign It
With regard to the infrastructure, there has been, for years, wonderful work that’s been happening at the community, at the infrastructural level, utilizing the vacant land. Now, yes, the existing infrastructure requires work.
Digital engagement works, but it only works with a certain core group of people who have that technology access. Community meetings work, but they work with a certain group of people. It’s not about developing a tactic that is one-size-fits-all; it’s about developing tactics that connect.
Citizens Need to Stay Engaged, or They Won’t Like the Results
The problem is that talking isn’t connected with the engineers or the designers or the other folks that are doing the work, and that’s where we feel our job lies.