Posts tagged "Detroit"
The Atlantic Cities: 
"Why Detroit’s Collapse Was So Much Worse Than Other Hard-Hit Cities
Eric Jaffe. Jan 29, 2014
The best CityRead of this month may be the New Yorker profile of L. Brooks Patterson, kingpin of suburban Detroit (paywall). Patterson wears a number of hats — chief executive of Oakland County, sprawl lover, political loud mouth, unabashed Detroit basher — and is a controversial personality, to put it kindly. He has faced allegations of racism in the past, and reading Williams’s profile it’s not hard to see why:

When I asked him how Detroit might fix its financial problems, he said, “I made a prediction a long time ago, and it’s come to pass. I said, ‘What we’re gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn.’”

Whatever you think of Patterson as a person, he’s been a successful executive for Oakland County by fiscal standards. His current plan is to shift his suburban county from a manufacturing-based job center to a knowledge-based one. If he would cooperate with Detroit, there might be a good partnership here, because the city is trying to do the same thing. As Richard Florida has argued, the future of Detroit’s economic growth may hinge on “its creative and knowledge industries.”
Photo: Reuters

The Atlantic Cities: 

"Why Detroit’s Collapse Was So Much Worse Than Other Hard-Hit Cities

Eric Jaffe. Jan 29, 2014

The best CityRead of this month may be the New Yorker profile of L. Brooks Patterson, kingpin of suburban Detroit (paywall). Patterson wears a number of hats — chief executive of Oakland County, sprawl lover, political loud mouth, unabashed Detroit basher — and is a controversial personality, to put it kindly. He has faced allegations of racism in the past, and reading Williams’s profile it’s not hard to see why:

When I asked him how Detroit might fix its financial problems, he said, “I made a prediction a long time ago, and it’s come to pass. I said, ‘What we’re gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn.’”

Whatever you think of Patterson as a person, he’s been a successful executive for Oakland County by fiscal standards. His current plan is to shift his suburban county from a manufacturing-based job center to a knowledge-based one. If he would cooperate with Detroit, there might be a good partnership here, because the city is trying to do the same thing. As Richard Florida has argued, the future of Detroit’s economic growth may hinge on “its creative and knowledge industries.”

Photo: Reuters

The Atlantic Cities:
"Hunting Detroit’s Masterworks of Architecture Before They Go Extinct
JOHN METCALFE. Oct 11, 2013
Though Detroit has recently been looking like it was hit by a convoy of mile-wide firenados, there remain signs of architectural grandeur illustrating why it was once known as the Paris of the Midwest. Perhaps nowhere is this faded beauty more palpable than in the large-format photography of Philip Jarmain, a Vancouver native who’s spent three years shooting Detroit’s sublime edifices, sometimes just months before they were wiped out by bulldozers.
Jarmain may be from Canada, but he has century-old family ties to Detroit and extreme respect for the place. “At one point this was probably the most important city in the world in terms of innovation, craftsmanship, and manufacturing,” he says, adding that one of his childhood heroes was Henry Ford. “It was just such an incredible city in the early 1900s, and obviously things went horribly sideways at some point.”
When the 41-year-old advertising photographer started hearing disturbing rumblings in 2008, he decided to venture south to document the city’s Art Deco and Neo-Classical past before something horrible happened (well, even more horrible than the riots and urban decay). So he hooked up with local historian Sean Doerr of Buildings of Detroit fame, and set out to locate what he calls the “iconic Detroit architectural masterpieces” hidden in a crumbling labyrinth of 80,000 to 100,000 abandoned buildings.”
Photo: Eastown Theatre.  Phillip Jarmain

The Atlantic Cities:

"Hunting Detroit’s Masterworks of Architecture Before They Go Extinct

JOHN METCALFE. Oct 11, 2013

Though Detroit has recently been looking like it was hit by a convoy of mile-wide firenados, there remain signs of architectural grandeur illustrating why it was once known as the Paris of the Midwest. Perhaps nowhere is this faded beauty more palpable than in the large-format photography of Philip Jarmain, a Vancouver native who’s spent three years shooting Detroit’s sublime edifices, sometimes just months before they were wiped out by bulldozers.

Jarmain may be from Canada, but he has century-old family ties to Detroit and extreme respect for the place. “At one point this was probably the most important city in the world in terms of innovation, craftsmanship, and manufacturing,” he says, adding that one of his childhood heroes was Henry Ford. “It was just such an incredible city in the early 1900s, and obviously things went horribly sideways at some point.”

When the 41-year-old advertising photographer started hearing disturbing rumblings in 2008, he decided to venture south to document the city’s Art Deco and Neo-Classical past before something horrible happened (well, even more horrible than the riots and urban decay). So he hooked up with local historian Sean Doerr of Buildings of Detroit fame, and set out to locate what he calls the “iconic Detroit architectural masterpieces” hidden in a crumbling labyrinth of 80,000 to 100,000 abandoned buildings.”

Photo: Eastown Theatre.  Phillip Jarmain

The Atlantic Cities:
“Where 60 Million People in the U.S. Don’t Speak English at Home
Emily Badger. Aug 6, 2013
Since 1890, the Census Bureau has been asking people what language they speak in their private homes, a nod to the fact that the U.S. has long been a linguistic melting pot (despite the many local efforts to stamp English as an “official” language of some kind). As the country’s demographics have been changing, the share of Americans who don’t speak English at home has been rising: In 2000, these households made up 17.9 percent of the population. By 2007, it was 19.7 percent. As of the latest data, from the 2011 American Community Survey, the share is now 20.8 percent – fully one-fifth of all people living in the U.S.
That’s about 60.6 million people, all of whom the Census Bureau has just plotted on a useful map of where America’s many languages are spoken (bring your patience if you click over to the tool itself; it’s a little fluky). The map shows not just the ubiquity of Spanish-language households, but also the geography of historic immigrant communities from all over the world that lend some cities their distinctive, international culture.”
Image: US Census Bureau

The Atlantic Cities:

Where 60 Million People in the U.S. Don’t Speak English at Home

Emily Badger. Aug 6, 2013

Since 1890, the Census Bureau has been asking people what language they speak in their private homes, a nod to the fact that the U.S. has long been a linguistic melting pot (despite the many local efforts to stamp English as an “official” language of some kind). As the country’s demographics have been changing, the share of Americans who don’t speak English at home has been rising: In 2000, these households made up 17.9 percent of the population. By 2007, it was 19.7 percent. As of the latest data, from the 2011 American Community Survey, the share is now 20.8 percent – fully one-fifth of all people living in the U.S.

That’s about 60.6 million people, all of whom the Census Bureau has just plotted on a useful map of where America’s many languages are spoken (bring your patience if you click over to the tool itself; it’s a little fluky). The map shows not just the ubiquity of Spanish-language households, but also the geography of historic immigrant communities from all over the world that lend some cities their distinctive, international culture.”

Image: US Census Bureau

The Atlantic Cities:
How to Fund Transit Without Raising Fares or Cutting Service
Eric Jaffe. July 18, 2013
When Mark Aesch became head of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, back in 2004, the metro area’s bus system was in terrible shape. The agency carried a $4.5 million deficit and on-time performance was stuck at 76 percent. Officials wanted to approach the problem the way so many other city agencies were handling similar situations at the time: with a fare hike. Aesch said no.
"There was no way in my judgment we could ask the customer to pay more for an underperforming experience," he recalls.
Not only did Aesch keep his pledge not to raise fares, but in 2008 he actually lowered them. By the time he left the position, at the end of 2011, Aesch and his creative approach had transformed Rochester’s bus system into a total winner. Buses drove fewer miles, carried more passengers, and boasted a 91 percent on-time record. The agency accumulated a $35.5 million surplus while decreasing its reliance on taxpayer funding by more than a third.”
Photo: Shutterstock

The Atlantic Cities:

How to Fund Transit Without Raising Fares or Cutting Service

Eric Jaffe. July 18, 2013

When Mark Aesch became head of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, back in 2004, the metro area’s bus system was in terrible shape. The agency carried a $4.5 million deficit and on-time performance was stuck at 76 percent. Officials wanted to approach the problem the way so many other city agencies were handling similar situations at the time: with a fare hike. Aesch said no.

"There was no way in my judgment we could ask the customer to pay more for an underperforming experience," he recalls.

Not only did Aesch keep his pledge not to raise fares, but in 2008 he actually lowered them. By the time he left the position, at the end of 2011, Aesch and his creative approach had transformed Rochester’s bus system into a total winner. Buses drove fewer miles, carried more passengers, and boasted a 91 percent on-time record. The agency accumulated a $35.5 million surplus while decreasing its reliance on taxpayer funding by more than a third.”

Photo: Shutterstock

The Atlantic Cities:
Could Detroit Become America’s Design Capital?
Steven Heller. June 7, 2013
Last month I received my first-ever academic degree, an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. I had never heard of the school before it got in touch with me, and my sole knowledge of Detroit was the popular perception of it as a metropolis of modern ruins. But when I visited, I was blown away by this surprisingly little known but inspiring incubator of art and design - the rare collegiate creative enclave that engages with, reflects, and embodies the city it’s in.
That city is, of course, a poster child for urban blight and urban flight. But it’s also the storied home of American manufacturing and industrial innovation, and with the help of CCS, it could well become the design capital of the United States again.
The college began in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts “to encourage good and beautiful work as applied to useful service.” That notion of “useful service” soon expanded to include fine arts and what was called the “industrial arts” - the craft that would help power Detroit’s auto industry, which in turn over the years has helped power the college’s endowment and board of directors.”
Photo: Courtesy of the College for Creative Studies

The Atlantic Cities:

Could Detroit Become America’s Design Capital?

Steven Heller. June 7, 2013

Last month I received my first-ever academic degree, an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. I had never heard of the school before it got in touch with me, and my sole knowledge of Detroit was the popular perception of it as a metropolis of modern ruins. But when I visited, I was blown away by this surprisingly little known but inspiring incubator of art and design - the rare collegiate creative enclave that engages with, reflects, and embodies the city it’s in.

That city is, of course, a poster child for urban blight and urban flight. But it’s also the storied home of American manufacturing and industrial innovation, and with the help of CCS, it could well become the design capital of the United States again.

The college began in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts “to encourage good and beautiful work as applied to useful service.” That notion of “useful service” soon expanded to include fine arts and what was called the “industrial arts” - the craft that would help power Detroit’s auto industry, which in turn over the years has helped power the college’s endowment and board of directors.”

Photo: Courtesy of the College for Creative Studies

Fast Company: 
"Restarting Neighborhoods By Reactivating Abandoned Buildings
Impossible Living lets you tell the world about abandoned buildings in your neighborhood and crowdsource possible solutions or capital to get things humming again.
Ben Schiller. 
From Detroit to recession-hit Spain, the world is full of abandoned buildings: factories left by companies that went somewhere else, suburban subdivisions from the boom years, crumbling farms and churches in remote places. Italy has an estimated 2 million such properties; Spain, another 3.5 million; America, many more.
Andrea Sesta, who lives in Milan, has been trying to find alternative uses for some of them. His web site, Impossible Living, allows anyone to map unused real estate, and act as champions for their renewal (even if they don’t own them). If there’s a building standing empty near you, you can add an address, put up some photos and videos, and then call on the web to help develop new ideas. “It’s a communication tool between the activator and the community,” he says.”
Photo: Impossible Living

Fast Company: 

"Restarting Neighborhoods By Reactivating Abandoned Buildings

Impossible Living lets you tell the world about abandoned buildings in your neighborhood and crowdsource possible solutions or capital to get things humming again.

Ben Schiller. 

From Detroit to recession-hit Spain, the world is full of abandoned buildings: factories left by companies that went somewhere else, suburban subdivisions from the boom years, crumbling farms and churches in remote places. Italy has an estimated 2 million such properties; Spain, another 3.5 million; America, many more.

Andrea Sesta, who lives in Milan, has been trying to find alternative uses for some of them. His web site, Impossible Living, allows anyone to map unused real estate, and act as champions for their renewal (even if they don’t own them). If there’s a building standing empty near you, you can add an address, put up some photos and videos, and then call on the web to help develop new ideas. “It’s a communication tool between the activator and the community,” he says.”

Photo: Impossible Living

The New York Times:
“A Private Boom Amid Detroit’s Public Blight
DETROIT — Private industry is blooming here, even as the city’s finances have descended into wreckage.
In late 2011, Rachel Lutz opened a clothing shop, the Peacock Room, which proved so successful that she opened another one, Emerald, last fall. Shel Kimen, who had worked in advertising in New York, is negotiating to build a boutique hotel and community space. Big companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield have moved thousands of workers into downtown Detroit in recent years. A Whole Foods grocery, this city’s first, is scheduled to open in June.
On Friday, just as Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, was deeming an outside, emergency manager a necessity to save Detroit’s municipal finances, the once-teetering Big Three automakers were reporting growing sales.
“It’s almost a tale of two cities here,” said Ms. Lutz, who is 32. “I tripled my projections in my first year.”
Around the country, as businesses have recovered, the public sector has in many cases struggled and shrunk. Detroit may be the most extreme example of a city’s dual fates, public and private, diverging.
At times, the widening divide has been awkward, even tense. As private investors contemplated opening coffee bean roasters, urban gardening suppliers and fish farms, Detroit firefighters complained about shortages of equipment, suitable boots and even a dearth of toilet paper.”
Photo: J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

The New York Times:

A Private Boom Amid Detroit’s Public Blight

DETROIT — Private industry is blooming here, even as the city’s finances have descended into wreckage.

In late 2011, Rachel Lutz opened a clothing shop, the Peacock Room, which proved so successful that she opened another one, Emerald, last fall. Shel Kimen, who had worked in advertising in New York, is negotiating to build a boutique hotel and community space. Big companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield have moved thousands of workers into downtown Detroit in recent years. A Whole Foods grocery, this city’s first, is scheduled to open in June.

On Friday, just as Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, was deeming an outside, emergency manager a necessity to save Detroit’s municipal finances, the once-teetering Big Three automakers were reporting growing sales.

“It’s almost a tale of two cities here,” said Ms. Lutz, who is 32. “I tripled my projections in my first year.”

Around the country, as businesses have recovered, the public sector has in many cases struggled and shrunk. Detroit may be the most extreme example of a city’s dual fates, public and private, diverging.

At times, the widening divide has been awkward, even tense. As private investors contemplated opening coffee bean roasters, urban gardening suppliers and fish farms, Detroit firefighters complained about shortages of equipment, suitable boots and even a dearth of toilet paper.”

Photo: J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

The Detroit News:
Long-term Detroit neighborhood stabilization plan to be unveiled
BY LEONARD N. FLEMING. Jan 9, 2013


Detroit — A long-term plan for Detroit’s future to be unveiled today envisions stable, revitalized neighborhoods in which vacant land is put to creative use and residents have incentives to move to more populated areas.
The process, which began in earnest in 2010 as the Detroit Works project, will be detailed at a news conference held by Mayor Dave Bing and a host of urban planning firms from as far away as London that took part in figuring out how to bring Detroit back.
The Detroit Strategic Framework, as organizers have dubbed it, came together after scores of public sessions with thousands of residents and consultants from around the country.
The plan involves everything from creatively reusing large swaths of empty land and expanded public transportation to supporting local businesses and finding ways to help foster economic growth.
The revitalization of Detroit will go on despite the city’s serious financial problems because county, state and federal and business assistance will help make changing the city a priority, members of the steering team involved in the project said Tuesday.
"This cannot live in city government alone," said Dan Pitera, executive director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center. He served as director of civic engagement for the project."
Graphic:  The Detroit Works Project Long-Term Planning Team

The Detroit News:

Long-term Detroit neighborhood stabilization plan to be unveiled

BY LEONARD N. FLEMING. Jan 9, 2013


Detroit — A long-term plan for Detroit’s future to be unveiled today envisions stable, revitalized neighborhoods in which vacant land is put to creative use and residents have incentives to move to more populated areas.

The process, which began in earnest in 2010 as the Detroit Works project, will be detailed at a news conference held by Mayor Dave Bing and a host of urban planning firms from as far away as London that took part in figuring out how to bring Detroit back.

The Detroit Strategic Framework, as organizers have dubbed it, came together after scores of public sessions with thousands of residents and consultants from around the country.

The plan involves everything from creatively reusing large swaths of empty land and expanded public transportation to supporting local businesses and finding ways to help foster economic growth.

The revitalization of Detroit will go on despite the city’s serious financial problems because county, state and federal and business assistance will help make changing the city a priority, members of the steering team involved in the project said Tuesday.

"This cannot live in city government alone," said Dan Pitera, executive director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center. He served as director of civic engagement for the project."

Graphic:  The Detroit Works Project Long-Term Planning Team

Design Observer:
The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit
 ANDREW HERSCHER Nov 17, 2012
Unreal Estate: An Introduction unreal, adjective. 1. not corresponding to acknowledged facts or criteria; 2. being or seeming fanciful or imaginary; 3. lacking material form or substance; 4. contrived by art rather than nature; 5. Slang: so remarkable as to elicit disbelief. Detroit: a city seemingly so deep in decline that, to some, it is scarcely recognizable as a city at all. And so, to most observers, and more than a few residents, what’s there in Detroit is what’s no longer there. Theirs is a city characterized by loss: of population, property values, jobs, infrastructure, investment, security, urbanity itself. What results is vacancy, absence, emptiness, catastrophe and ruin. These are conditions of the “shrinking city,” a city that by now seems so apparent in Detroit as to prompt not verification but measurement, not questions but responses, not doubts but solutions. [1] Built into the framing of Detroit as a shrinking city, though, are a host of problematic assumptions about what a city is and should be. On the basis of these assumptions, changeis understood as loss, difference is understood as decline, and the unprecedented is understood as the undesirable. These understandings presume the city as a site of development and progress, a site defined by the capitalist economy that drives and profits from urban growth. The contraction of such a site, therefore, provokes corrective urbanisms that are designed to fix, solve or improve a city in decline. What corrective responses to shrinkage reciprocally preempt, however, are the possibilities and potentials that decline brings — the ways in which the shrinking city is also anincredible city, saturated with urban opportunities that are precluded or even unthinkable in cities that function according to plan. Taking advantage of these opportunities requires us to consider the shrinking city not so much as a problem to solve but rather as a prompt to new understandings of the city’s spatial and cultural possibilities.”
Photos: Andrew Herscher

Design Observer:

The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit

 ANDREW HERSCHER Nov 17, 2012

Unreal Estate: An Introduction 
unreal, adjective. 1. not corresponding to acknowledged facts or criteria; 2. being or seeming fanciful or imaginary; 3. lacking material form or substance; 4. contrived by art rather than nature; 5. Slang: so remarkable as to elicit disbelief. 

Detroit: a city seemingly so deep in decline that, to some, it is scarcely recognizable as a city at all. 

And so, to most observers, and more than a few residents, what’s there in Detroit is what’s no longer there. Theirs is a city characterized by loss: of population, property values, jobs, infrastructure, investment, security, urbanity itself. What results is vacancy, absence, emptiness, catastrophe and ruin. These are conditions of the “shrinking city,” a city that by now seems so apparent in Detroit as to prompt not verification but measurement, not questions but responses, not doubts but solutions. [1] 

Built into the framing of Detroit as a shrinking city, though, are a host of problematic assumptions about what a city is and should be. On the basis of these assumptions, changeis understood as lossdifference is understood as decline, and the unprecedented is understood as the undesirable. These understandings presume the city as a site of development and progress, a site defined by the capitalist economy that drives and profits from urban growth. The contraction of such a site, therefore, provokes corrective urbanisms that are designed to fix, solve or improve a city in decline. 

What corrective responses to shrinkage reciprocally preempt, however, are the possibilities and potentials that decline brings — the ways in which the shrinking city is also anincredible city, saturated with urban opportunities that are precluded or even unthinkable in cities that function according to plan. Taking advantage of these opportunities requires us to consider the shrinking city not so much as a problem to solve but rather as a prompt to new understandings of the city’s spatial and cultural possibilities.”

Photos: Andrew Herscher

"Better Block: Bottom-Up Urban Reboot In a Single Weekend
Julie Ma. August 23, 2012
It’s remarkable what some people can accomplish in a single weekend. While others spend those days catching up on lost sleep or exploring their city with friends, Texas-based nonprofit The Better Block uses that time to rally communities to rethink their neighborhoods. Since itsinception in 2010, the project has built temporary dog parks, pop-up shops, urban forests, cafes, and bike lanes. They’ve left their mark in more than 35 cities including Philadelphia, Wichita, Cleveland, Houston, and Oklahoma City.
The organization’s next stop: Detroit, where the city’s first-ever Better Block project will take place from September 22 to 23 as part of theDetroit Design Festival. Headed by volunteers from the US Green Building Council and Wayne State University, the project aims to reshape a location with plenty of vacant commercial space—New Center.
Better Block will fill the vacant lots with work from local artists and artisans, food and drinks, and art exhibits via collaborations with local galleries and art organizations. There will also be pop-up retail shops, music performances, outdoor games, yoga instruction, urban farming demonstrations, and general lounging. The project aims for zero net waste, a temporary bus route to access the site, plus bike lanes and crosswalks painted around the block for the occasion. 
Better Block wants to jumpstart local policy shifts. “We want to change the planning process in the United States,” says organizer Andrew Howard. “It can be frustrating when things are taking too long, and our idea is that we don’t have to wait for the perfect city. It starts from the bottom up.”
The Better Block gives neighborhoods a temporary community-focused facelift, and can give struggling areas a glimpse into their futures. The organization provides training to community members interested in revitalizing their blocks by increasing multi-modal transportation and fostering economic development. Post-project, the communities work with The Better Block to see what was successful and take the steps necessary to turn these temporary solutions into permanent fixtures. In some cities, weekend pop-up shops have even turned into lasting storefronts. “
Via: GOOD Magazine
Photo: Better Blocks

"Better Block: Bottom-Up Urban Reboot In a Single Weekend

Julie Ma. August 23, 2012

It’s remarkable what some people can accomplish in a single weekend. While others spend those days catching up on lost sleep or exploring their city with friends, Texas-based nonprofit The Better Block uses that time to rally communities to rethink their neighborhoods. Since itsinception in 2010, the project has built temporary dog parks, pop-up shops, urban forests, cafes, and bike lanes. They’ve left their mark in more than 35 cities including Philadelphia, Wichita, Cleveland, Houston, and Oklahoma City.

The organization’s next stop: Detroit, where the city’s first-ever Better Block project will take place from September 22 to 23 as part of theDetroit Design Festival. Headed by volunteers from the US Green Building Council and Wayne State University, the project aims to reshape a location with plenty of vacant commercial space—New Center.

Better Block will fill the vacant lots with work from local artists and artisans, food and drinks, and art exhibits via collaborations with local galleries and art organizations. There will also be pop-up retail shops, music performances, outdoor games, yoga instruction, urban farming demonstrations, and general lounging. The project aims for zero net waste, a temporary bus route to access the site, plus bike lanes and crosswalks painted around the block for the occasion. 

Better Block wants to jumpstart local policy shifts. “We want to change the planning process in the United States,” says organizer Andrew Howard. “It can be frustrating when things are taking too long, and our idea is that we don’t have to wait for the perfect city. It starts from the bottom up.”

The Better Block gives neighborhoods a temporary community-focused facelift, and can give struggling areas a glimpse into their futures. The organization provides training to community members interested in revitalizing their blocks by increasing multi-modal transportation and fostering economic development. Post-project, the communities work with The Better Block to see what was successful and take the steps necessary to turn these temporary solutions into permanent fixtures. In some cities, weekend pop-up shops have even turned into lasting storefronts. “

Via: GOOD Magazine

Photo: Better Blocks

Architectural + Urban Research

Mass Urban is a multidisciplinary design-research initiative concerned with contemporary cities and urbanism. Mass Urban was co-founded in April 2011 by David Lee and Cliff Lau.

Website: http://www.massurban.com/
FB: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mass-Urban/129166763835571

twitter.com/mass_urban

view archive



Ask me anything

Submit