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Escape to the City

What if on Sundays the streets of Detroit's CBD are turned into street markets, allowing the businesses of Detroit to setup temporary stalls in the street, and giving people a reason to leave the suburbs, use the city centre to meet each other, and support local businesses. Streets in the CBD would be made car-free on these days to encourage walking and cycling.

Photo of Charlotte Fliegner
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Detroit's urban sprawl is resulting in migration to the suburbs, and an empty city centre. This concept encourages people to use the city centre again, bringing life, people and functions back into the CBD whilst supporting local businesses. 

These pedestrian streets would occur on sundays - perhaps starting 2-4 times per year and if successful the frequency would increase, and give people an opportunity to inhabit the spaces not usually reserved for pedestrians - the CBD's main streets. The streets would be concentrated around transport stations, therefore encouraging people to use public transport to travel from the suburbs to the city.

The streets would turn into market stalls for the use of local businesses to set up temporary shopfronts (think local food, art, shops, music), giving residents the chance to support their local businesses, and offering them the ability to shop local all in one spot.

The programme would also bring vibrancy through diversity as it would bring Detroit locals together from all areas of this sprawling city to mix.

What resources (money, time, people, technology, etc) will your concept need to be successful?

This would need support from the city to close off streets and public money to support the infrastructure necessary to encourage businesses to take part (such as marquees for stallholders). It would also require money and people to setup the event (advertising, marketing, getting local businesses involved), and to run the event (security, hiring local entertainment). Importantly, it would require the city to close off the streets to cars and to police this.

What steps could you take to implement this idea today?

Approach local businesses to gauge if this is something they would be interested in participating in.

How can your idea be scaled so that it's implemented in cities around the world?

This idea can occur in sprawling car based cities such as LA, and is a way to take business from suburbs to the CBD's public space. It is an amalgamation of current initiatives occurring around the world such as Bogota's car free days, NYC's pedestrian streets & many street markets.


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It is indeed a good idea.....a good way to encourage people to avoid cars on somedays. At this moment i would like to comment only this, but sure would like to add more sometime.

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