March 1, 2016

Detroit USA -- A winner of the 2015 Knight Cities Challenge, the Urban Consulate will launch April 2016 in three great American cities: Detroit, Philadelphia & New Orleans.

The Urban Consulate is a new network of parlors for city dwellers & travelers seeking cross-city exchange. Like "an embassy for cities," The Consulate seeks to connect urban-curious people across cities, and to foster the import & export of the best ideas shaping urban life in the 21st century.


In Detroit, The Consulate will open its first physical space at 4470 Second Avenue in Midtown's Cass Corridor neighborhood, on the first floor of a historic house once occupied by the legendary Zoot's Coffeehouse, between the Green Garage and The Bronx Bar. Starting April 1, the Detroit Consulate will debut with a launch week of programs, including:

  • Opening Party, with live jazz & champagne toast to cities (April 1, 7-10pm)
  • Open House, hosted by Claire Nelson & Wayne Ramocan (April 2, 12-5pm)
  • Urbanism Book Club, hosted by Chad Rochkind of Human Scale Studio (April 4, 6-8pm)
  • Sister City, hosted by Nicole de Beaufort of Detroit Women's Leadership Network (April 5, 5-7pm)
  • Blackness in America, hosted by Tunde Wey of LAGOS (April 6, 6-8pm)
  • Baldwin Hour, hosted by Devita Davison of FoodLab Detroit (April 7, 6-8pm)
  • Tea Den, hosted by Joseph Wesley Tea (Fridays, 3-5pm)
  • Press Parlor, hosted by Matthew Lewis of Model D (Wednesdays, 12-4pm)
  • Listening Station, curated by Detroit Sound Conservancy
  • Design Board, curated by Artifact Maker Society


In Philadelphia, The Consulate will kick-off with City Lobby, a series of pop-up parlors for urban exchange. The launch party will take place on Friday, April 1, 5-8pm, followed by monthly gatherings on First Thursdays, 5-7pm, in the lobby of Le Meridien Hotel at 1421 Arch Street in Center City, Philadelphia. In the spirit of the Algonquin Round Table, City Lobby invites urban-minded locals & travelers to gather and exchange the best ideas for cities. On May 5, The Consulate will welcome two visiting envoys: arts advocate & urban innovator Joan Vorderbruggen of Minneapolis and Consulate founder Claire Nelson of Detroit & New Orleans. City Lobby is hosted by Michelle Freeman & Jermaine Jenkins of Witty Gritty. For future times & locations, follow @UrbanConsulate #CityLobbyPHL or visit


In New Orleans, The Consulate will host its first cross-city exchange on Thursday, May 12, 6-8pm at Zeitgeist Center at 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in New Orleans' Central City neighborhood. This event will feature a screening of The Consulate's debut video series, "Change & The City," followed by dialogue between civic leaders from Detroit & New Orleans. The Consulate will welcome two visiting envoys from Detroit: Lauren Hood of Live6 Detroit and Chad Rochkind of Human Scale Studio. The event is free & open to all. For more info, follow @UrbanConsulate #CityLobbyNOLA or visit

* * * * *

Consulate founder Claire Nelson is a passionate advocate for cities, having lived & worked in some of the best (Detroit, New Orleans, New York, Washington D.C., Paris). For over a decade, she has launched & led several Detroit projects to promote quality of place and civic engagement. Claire is joined by a multi-city team of advisors & envoys, all eager to connect urban innovators with their "twins" in other cities and to help good ideas travel between places.

Urban Consulate is a pilot project made possible thanks to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Consulate is actively seeking the right partners to expand its programs in Detroit, Philadelphia, New Orleans and other great American cities.

For additional information, visit:

For additional inquiries or interviews, contact:


The City is Everything