The City Institute (TCI) evolved to meet the needs of organizations and cities eager to understand Detroit’s journeys and work together to create innovative solutions.  

In 2006, Jeanette Pierce founded a grassroots nonprofit that used tours and experiences to take people beyond the headlines and educate them about Detroit’s history, culture and community. Today that organization has evolved into the Detroit Experience Factory which creates eye-opening experiences and innovative resources that connect locals and visitors to Detroit’s people, places and projects. Over 115,000 people have taken a tour in the last 13 years to learn about Detroit’s assets, small businesses, historic neighborhoods, city planning and development policies and innovative solutions to the challenges the city faces.

The City Institute concept was incubated in DXF beginning in 2017 as organizations and cities sought customized intensive engagements to learn, innovate and problem solve. Early clients included Harvard Loeb Institute, State of Oregon, City of Akron, City of Portland, City of San Jose, City of Graz, Salesforce Leadership, Nike, Challenge Detroit Fellows, Detroit Revitalization Fellows, and Davidson Foundation. Jeanette worked with these organizations to build solutions and experiences that leveraged their knowledge and relationships and created a set of services that was outside the core public and private tours delivered by DXF.

As an affiliate of DXF, The City Institute shares lessons learned to inspire individuals, organizations and cities to innovate for a better future for all. TCI meets this need through learning journeys, city experience consulting, speaking engagements, and workshops.

Learning Journeys

  • In-depth experiences that focus on Detroit as a classroom including site visits, panel discussions, and case studies

City Experience Program

  • Consulting with other cities to help them craft interactive experiences that connect locals and newcomers to what makes each city unique

Keynotes and Workshops

  • Presentations to share Detroit’s story at events and conferences around the world.


City Institute shares lessons learned from Detroit to inspire individuals, organizations and cities to innovate for a better future.


Cities will be better places for all because they connected and shared lessons learned with each other.



Open to and connecting diverse people, neighborhoods, and ideas


Enjoyable, thought-provoking, and fun for all involved: CI team, clients, and community


Working with and bringing together a variety of stakeholders


Enthusiastic about cities, the work we do, and the knowledge we share


Focused on accurate information, functional experience design, and personalized attention