Bringing the Neighbor Back to the 'Hood: A Creative Re-Appropriation of Vacant Land on Detroit's Eastside
Rock, Lauren E.
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The loss of place and devastation of a community is an all-too-common reality in many post-industrial cities like Detroit. The attempts of numerous top-down development projects have been largely unsuccessful in addressing the existing population or enlivening the vast amount of vacant property. These leftover, oftentimes abandoned spaces, what contemporary theorists refer to as the terrain vague, offer opportunities for the reclamation of the city by informal placemaking activities. This thesis will explore one proposal for the future of Detroit's terrain vague inspired by the city's urban pioneers and their acts of creative spatial re-appropriation, referred to in this thesis as spontaneous urbanism. Positing that the future of Detroit's neighborhoods lies in strengthening and connecting community members' hands-on placemaking efforts, this thesis envisions Detroit's Eastside as a living workshop that can serve as an incubator for a new grassroots economy. It will propose a design intervention at three scales: network, center, and node to envision an alternative future for the Eastside.
- Architecture