We Almost Lost Detroit

Urban regeneration in Detroit by Edwin Gardner.

“The formulas for urban renewal have left their scars on the city of Detroit. The remnants of the various attempts to restore the inner city’s real estate market are perhaps even bigger eyesores then the ruins from the industrial heydays.” (…) “If only we could look into the future to know what would be the right recipe for Detroit… And if only we knew what was right for the Detroiters.”

“At the moment low housing prices attract a lot of creative pioneers, but also attract developers and local family enterprises. Newcomers not only buy the cheap Detroit homes to live in but also for speculation, investment and experimentation.”(…)
“Can community development, a creative class, or greening – the formulas of our time – bring a more inclusive form of gentrification to Detroit?.” (…) ”Our ambition is to highlight these forces, which are currently shaping Detroit neighborhoods”.

We have sketched a series of future scenarios for a housing block just North of Hamtramck, an area in which old and newcomers live side by side. Also an area in which we, in collaboration with neighbors, intend to set up a cooperative. Ideally, the scenarios function both as a warning as well as guide to how to respond to future development in order to avoid saying after Gil Scott Heron: ‘We almost lost Detroit’.

Some of the areas in which the cooperative work would be:

“We made an inventory of private plots (…). Many plots have become dysfunctional elements for the community. In the wake of foreclosure, they have been vacated and have added to the anonymous pile of real estate property of (international) banks or city institutions. In reality, and in the absence of their owners, these places can be considered collective space. (…) We would like to help transform this collective abuse into community use. The spatial strategy would encompass reforestation, public parks, neighborhood watch, garbage collection, artistic interventions, community functions and urban farming areas. On a social level, this plan intends to empower community members to create local economic independence, especially with regards to the real estate market.” (…)


(via edwingardner.nl)

(Published in Volume).