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National urban planning and community building experts to speak at Wayne State University

"Joy: in the Midst of Transition" is the title of this Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum

June 13, 2013

Can joy and happiness be used as catalysts for urban revitalization? The 2013 Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum at Wayne State University will pair nationally renowned urban planning, creative and design experts with existing and emerging community leaders to explore this very idea.

This series of events takes place June 17-18. The forum is highlighted by a public lecture and panel discussion with four national experts, who will share their experiences using the principles of joy and beauty to enrich communities.

Speakers include artist, designer and urban planner Candy Chang; the Laundromat Project’s Executive Director Kemi Ilesanmi; and Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeff Franklin of the multidisciplinary design studio PlayLab.

Leading up to the lecture, the Office of PlayLab, Inc. will host a two-day workshop on June 17 and 18 for students and emerging Detroit leadership at Corktown’s Ponyride. Participants will identify local challenges, then imagine, develop and act on solutions that use joy as a founding principle. During the workshop, participants will be introduced to proven problem-solving and brainstorming methods, demonstrating how to advance a project from idea to action on an accelerated timeline.

The public lecture and panel discussion begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, in Wayne State’s Community Arts Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP at

Additional details and speaker bios are available at

The 2013 Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum is being presented by Wayne State University, with support from: Hudson-Webber Foundation, D:hive, Model D Media, DPTV and Ponyride.

About Richard C. Van Dusen: Richard C. Van Dusen had a lifetime concern for and commitment to urban communities, particularly metropolitan Detroit. His life was characterized by distinguished public service in national, state and local affairs. He served as undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives and chaired the Detroit Regional Chamber. Van Dusen served as a governor of Wayne State University. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he spent his professional legal career at the Detroit law firm of Dickinson, Wright PLLC. Van Dusen's life reflected his belief that the private sector as much as the public sector could provide leadership and implement initiatives to enhance the quality of urban life.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.