There are many haunting images in this gargantuan photography book by Julia Reyes Taubman, but the one that devastates my dad is a picture of two disintegrating steam Bob-Lo boats docked next to a US Steel plant in west Detroit. For nearly 100 years, the boats carried generations of Detroiters to Bob-Lo Island amusement park … Continue reading Book Review: Detroit: 138 Square Miles
So many of the people I met in my college years have gone onto do really interesting things in the environmental field. As a fellow "humanities" environmentalist (we were the ones painting and writing nature while the scientists that made up the bulk of our environmental institute were pulling critters from rivers and looking through … Continue reading Q&A with Landscape Architecture Graduate Lacey Doucet
As we approach Halloween, I'm reminded that there are few things spookier than a dead mall. My family's got one in their town. I have memories of that place bustling with colors and activity when I was a kid - the shop with ridiculously large decorated cookies on display, PacSun with its racks of sunglasses so incongruous with … Continue reading Repairing Downtowns with Kennedy Lawson Smith
My mom gets lost every time she drives to my sister’s house in Sterling Heights, MI. We were running late driving there yesterday, stuck in construction traffic on Mound Rd, driving around my sister’s neighborhood trying to figure out where her street was (my parents, lifelong residents of the Detroit Metro region, haven’t considered buying a … Continue reading Where Art Thou, Sterling Heights?
Beautiful abandoned buildings can break your heart. Often carefully crafted in a more sturdy age, they serve as reminders of our failure to reach collective dreams. But it’s not necessary to abandon buildings if they can be creatively reworked into new economic and cultural environments. Two of my favorite examples are in Baltimore and Detroit: … Continue reading Giving Old Buildings New Life
I just returned from the International Studies Conference in New Orleans last weekend. While there, M. and I took a tour of the city and the still very noticeable effects of Katrina. Amidst all the empty lots and vacant homes of the Lower 9th Ward, all these little funky, colorful houses are popping up: homes … Continue reading Nouveau Ninth