Detroit? Detroit!

Many people may remember Detroit for a backdrop for Robo Cop movies, broken and abandoned houses, troubled auto industry and bankrupt city. There are many reasons why this once-magnificent city received such negative reputation. This also has been giving College for Creative Studies (CCS) a hard time attracting students from outside of the region.

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One of the major reasons is a downfall of  automotive industry that happened about 10 years ago, which forced to close lots of factories and businesses across the city and the region. Many people had to leave the city when lost jobs. Ironically though, this downturn pushed the housing prices down and made it attractive to many people to consider coming or returning to the city. The auto industry is now at its best and hiring talents and work forces. This made Detroit a “comeback city” and some call it a rebirth, which is in French, Renaissance. There are signs of changes, pleasant changes.

In 2016, many were surprised to hear that UNESCO designated Detroit as City of Design, which is the first (and only so far) city of design in the US. A recent Department of Labor census found that the State of Michigan (mainly due to the industry in Detroit area) has more industrial designers than any US states. Michigan is a home for big three in automobiles -GM, Ford and Chrysler, big three in system furniture – Herman Miller, Haworth and Steelcase, largest appliance manufacturer – Whirlpool, one of the largest corporate design centers in the US – Newell, a new icon of American luxury lifestyle brand – Shinola and many more.

CCS recently added three new programs – MFA Color & Materials Design (the only color and materials design program in the US), MFA Interaction Design (Detroit already has tons of UX and UI designers) and BFA Fashion Accessories Design. These programs are already collecting strong attention from industry and attracting students across the world – China, India, Korea, Iran and more. CCS Transportation Design has always been one of top premier programs globally, Entertainment Arts program (Animation, Game Design and Digital Film) is the largest and very successful program at CCS. Student Exhibition (SEO) in May is one of the must-see events in Detroit and over 3,600 attended the opening in 2016. Still, regardless of these positive facts, it has been a discouraging understanding that the location of CCS – Detroit – has the negative impact to prospective students when they choose which school to attend.

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In our most recent survey, though, students – both current and prospective students – picked the location as the biggest draw to CCS (besides the quality of faculty, programs and ranking so on). This certainly a great news! There are signs of changes, pleasant changes, indeed!

©Sooshin Choi

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