Tuesday, February 15, 2011

013: Single Barrel Detroit

Bringing life back into some of the iconic, abandoned buildings of Detroit, Single Barrel Detroit beautifully films local bands in historic settings around the city. 

re-posted from Detroit Lives!

"It’s no secret that Detroit is such an interesting conglomerate of energy– entrepreneurship, art, new media development and everything in between collide to create a doer landscape unlike any other place in America. Detroit is a playground for those hungry to build something. In no other American city do you get such a cocktail of opportunity and possibility like you do in Detroit. As a result, there are all kinds of exciting efforts that combine so many different pieces of the puzzle.

The ragtag band of talent that is Single Barrel Detroit are just one example of this kind of innovation. These folks combine the idea of exploration and discovering potential in Detroit through music. They film local bands with beautiful production quality in unique and inspiring locations as a way of showcasing not just the thriving local music scene, but as a window in to the fascinating nooks and crannies of Detroit. All in, it’s great film making and a dynamic addition to the plot line that tells the fascinating story of Detroit. Check out some of their work below, and visit their site for a lot more content (nearly 20 bands in total)."

Monday, February 14, 2011

012: Ruin Porn

Yesterday's post acts a precursor to an article recently posted in Guernica by John Patrick Leary of the University of Detroit Mercy, Detroitism. The full article can be found here, but a poignant excerpt follows:

 "Ruin photography, in particular, has been criticized for its “pornographic” sensationalism, and my bookseller friend won’t sell much of it for that reason. And others roll their eyes at all the positive attention heaped on the young, mostly white “creatives,” which glosses over the city’s deep structural problems and the diversity of ideas to help fix them. So much ruin photography and ruin film aestheticizes poverty without inquiring of its origins, dramatizes spaces but never seeks out the people that inhabit and transform them, and romanticizes isolated acts of resistance without acknowledging the massive political and social forces aligned against the real transformation, and not just stubborn survival, of the city. And to see oneself portrayed in this way, as a curiosity to be lamented or studied, is jarring for any Detroiter, who is of course also an American, with all the sense of self-confidence and native-born privilege that we’re taught to associate with the United States."

011: The Ruins of Detroit-pLog

Re-posted from DenverPost.com

Up and down Detroit’s streets, buildings stand abandoned and in ruin. French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre set out to document the decline of an American city. Their book The Ruins of Detroit“, a document of decaying buildings frozen in time, was published in December 2010.

From the photographers’ website:
Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.
The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires. This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time : being dismayed, or admire, making us wondering about the permanence of things.
Photography appeared to us as a modest way to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Announcement: Woodward Light Rail DEIS Public Hearings will be held on Saturday, February 12, 2011.

Woodward Light Rail DEIS Public Hearings will be held on Saturday, February 12, 2011.
Location - Main Public Library at 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI
Friend’s Auditorium – Lower Level

Times - 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (with a formal presentation at 11:30 a.m.)
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (with a formal presentation at 4:30 p.m.)
The public comment period starts January 28, 2011 and goes through March 14, 2011.  
To make comments, send an email to woodwardlightrail@detroitmi.gov.  
Written comments may be sent to: Ms. Tricia M. Harr, AICP; U.S. Department of Transportation; Federal Transit Administration Headquarters; 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE; East Building – E43-105; Washington, D.C., 20590.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

010: Views of Detroit- Exploring Film in Urban Planning

Reposted from Model D:

Danish students make film highlighting Detroit's underground vibes and "fantastic potential"


Three Danish students journeyed to our fair city last summer to make a documentary on Detroit's urban planning ideas and what they could do for our future. Don't get turned off by the academic mission -- the ambient soundtrack, glimpses inside hair salons and liquor stores and Public Pool, meditations on urban pheasants and the Michigan Central station, all add up to one arresting and thought-provoking short film from our friends at Roskilde University.

Copenhagenize.com writes:

They'll highlight a city that was home to the Big Three -- Ford, Chrysler and GM and that gave the world Motown and Techno. A city that lost half of its population in just 50 years and where this year alone 3000 houses will be torn down.

A city that has the fantastic potential to be the first large city in the world to produce all of its foodstuffs within the city limits. A city that is fighting economic meltdown and brutal budget cuts. A city with a blossoming underground and art scene.

Views of Detroit was presented Feb 3 in Copenhagen, and a segment that featured a slow, hypnotic ride on the People Mover (with music by Hamtramck-based sound artist Jennifer Paull) screened last week at Public Pool.

009: "Detroit: By Design" Symposia and Exhibition

Any one looking for a design competition should check out the AIA Detroit's "Detroit: By Design" Exhibition  and call for proposals. The registration deadline is February 14, 2011. And there are three categories in which to participate Transportation, Urban Centers, and Urban Agriculture. 

Hope fully more details about the exhibit will be out soon. Check the AIA Detroit website for future detail. The proposals are outlined below. 


Detroit: By Design”
March - June, 2011
(supported by AIA National, Washington, DC)

Call for Proposal (for Exhibits)
The American Institute of Architects Detroit’s Urban Priorities Committee (AIA-UPC) would like to invite students, faculty, and professionals to submit design projects focusing on three themes - transportation, urban centers and urban agriculture - to address Detroit’s current situation and efforts.
Urban Priorities Committee (UPC):
The goal of The UPC of the American Institute of Architects Detroit chapter is to bring awareness to the design community and to promote its involvement in the planning and design of our city and region.  We have a role in the design of our communities.  We offer our participation and expertise in assisting our city in the historic process of re-shaping the City to achieve a sustainable community design. The proposed 2011 event is to help achieve this common goal, which we hope would assist the City in its historic efforts.
Overview of 2011 Event:
The UPC is organizing a four month long exhibit and symposium about Sustainable Community Design.  We are planning to have three events in Spring 2011, each event with a specific topic; Transportation, Urban Centers, and Urban Agriculture.  The symposium will have a common thread with the hosting of a panel discussion for each event.  While each of the three events will have a specific focus, all three will address one common theme: sustainable community design. Each event will be accompanied by an exhibit of design work focused on the topic.

Purpose of 2011 Event:
The purpose of the 2011 event is intended to supplement the efforts of the Kresge Foundation and Detroit Mayor’s task force initiative of the Detroit Works Project by providing the public an exciting and engaging opportunity to learn, discuss, explore, and challenge the professional world of design and planning.
Requesting Proposals for Exhibit:
We are seeking design or planning projects by students, faculty, or professionals that address the role of transportation, urban centers or urban agriculture in addressing Detroit’s shrinkage and in re-organizing the City. We invite design or planning proposals that draw attention to the four month long symposia planned in Spring 2011; promote the importance of design when planning transportation, urban centers and urban agriculture in a leaner and greener Detroit; educate the design profession and the public about the importance of civic engagement in re-shaping Detroit; and raise awareness of issues that matter to a broad range of stakeholders who may be affected by the City’s new strategic framework planning. While we prefer projects that are based in Detroit, other site locations are welcome, as long as the proposals describe clearly how they can be applied or beneficial to Detroit. A project that addresses all three themes (transportation, urban centers, and urban agriculture) together is also welcome.

Registration Deadline: February 14, 2011
If you are interested in submitting your proposal, please download the registration form (click here), fill it out and send the completed form to   UPC@aiadetroit.com 

Submission Requirements and Deadline:
  • Required items & submission location: TBA at www.aiadetroit.com
  • Deadline: Transportation (March 21, 2011); Urban Centers (April 25, 2011); Urban Agriculture (May 30, 2011)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

007: The Myth about Groceries in Detroit

Below I have reposted a piece written by 
Jim Griffioen (who writes the blog Sweet Juniper!) for another blog by Aaron M. Renn (Urbanophile). The article discusses where Detroiters find fresh produce and other foodstuffs in the city. As suburbanites, we often believe that "grocery store" means a chain store (in Michigan this means Meijer, Kroger, or Wal-Mart and increasingly Whole Foods and Trader Joe's) and we forget about the small and independently owned stores that still populate Detroit. National press has focused on the lack of these chain stores and has often confused the "lack of groceries" for the "inability of residents to afford their groceries" which is a much larger and more complicated problem. The heart of the argument as described by Griffioen is described below; the full article can be found here.

The myth of a city without supermarkets is hard to kill, even faced with [overwhelming evidence that Detroit has them]. Ultimately, the myth perseveres because the mainstream media and its audience are steeped in a suburban mentality where the only grocery stores that really seem to count are those large, big-box chain stores thatare the only option in so many communities these days, largely because they have put locally-owned and independent stores like the ones you find in Detroit out of business. It is true that the big chain stores have forsaken or ignored Detroit, for any number of understandable (and sometimes despicable) reasons. But in their absence, a diverse system of food options has risen to take their place, and the tired old narrative that Detroit has nowhere to shop for groceries needs to be replaced by a more complex truth: with a diversity of options ranging from the dismal to the sublime, Detroit may be one of the most interesting places in America to shop for food

Both Sweet Juniper! and Urbanophile have been added to the blog list in the side bar.