03_2021 The Sequel of Jane
 01_2021 Gradient Papers
 12_2020 Recasting Gandhian Legacy
 12_2020 Modular unCommons
 12_2020 Duct Armour
 12_2020 Pleated
 08_2020 Brilliant Detroit
 04_2020 In[di]visible
 04_2020 andACTION
 04_2020 those familiar
 02_2020 Transported
 12_2019 Reimagining Seagram
 12_2019 Kinesthetic Theater
 06_2019 Untitled
 04_2019 Bike Stop
 04_2018 Sketching Paris
 04_2017 Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
 04_2017 Now What?!
 12_2016 PA/Vilion



Detroit, MI

Team Members: Liyah Mariam George, Charlene Hobbs,
Daham Marapane, Emily Ebersol, Maksim Drapey, Mitch Deans,
Mollie Karasch, Serena Brewer, Talia Moretti, Torri Smith

Community Partners: Brilliant Detroit, Emma Laut

Public Design Corps is a Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning program offering University of Michigan students the opportunity to engage in socially-driven design, the initiative is conceived of through a series of parallel and related aspirations.

Designing for social good, in collaboration with organizations, and with pressing community needs in mind can be a difficult endeavor without proper training and tools. Consequently, Taubman Public Design Corps has partnered with the University of Michigan’s Edward Ginsberg Center. Student contributors participate in Ginsberg Center workshops to establish a foundational understanding of community engagement and co-design methods. Students also receive support from mentors with experience in inclusive, community-centered design. In addition to professional practice, training, and fieldwork, qualifying students have the option to log credit hours toward architectural licensure.“

Our team was paired with Brilliant Detroit, a non-profit organization dedicated to early childhood education in and around the Detroit area. Our team was tasked in creating a unique delivery model in early childhood development by using underutilized housing stock to create early child and family centers in neighborhoods.  Today in each location, neighbors come together for fellowship, activities and learning to assure school readiness and provide needed support for families.

Our work with Brilliant was folded into two main objectives:
  1. Design analysis and interventions of Brilliant’s currently owned housing stock.
  2. Understanding the effectiveness of current virtual learning programs produced by Brilliant Detroit through a series of intentional interviews.

For more details on the project visit the Design Corps website︎︎︎


The Virtual Programming Team conducted a series of intentional interviews with participant Brilliant Detroit families and staff members which were designed to understand the current virtual learning programs by Brilliant Detroit and their effectiveness. This study was aimed to improve the development of innovative and engaging digital learning platforms for families.

The team interviewed four Brilliant Detroit employees and two site specific managers. Successful programs with maximum student engagement as well as management issues like communication, scheduling, access etc. were identified.

The Virtual Programming group interviewed six participant families and children and through the process learned how families have responded to digital learning. It was identified that participants miss socializing with other families outside of scheduled programming. The team was posed with a question of how to create a sense of community in the virtual platform.

Furthermore, the team was able to learn specific elements of what families love, where challenges stand and where there is room for improvement for the virtual environment at Brilliant Detroit. Their findings are outlined below.