Message Received Detroit. I love to keep track of what’s going on there, but the commercial is right, I don’t know Detroit. I haven’t been there since my 7th grade field trip to Greenfield Village, well, unless you count flying in and immediately jumping in a rental car and going to Ann Arbor thirteen years ago, which I don’t. This commercial gives me so many goosebumps it actually almost makes me want to buy a Chrysler, and ahhh, tell ‘em Lee Iaccoca sent me. At the very least, it made me put 8 Mile in my Netflix queue, put on some Eminem (hope the city comes back like he has), and oh, it also makes me want to pull out my Chapelle DVDs and watch the one where he raps “Jokes and jokes and jokes and spaghetti…8 MILE!”
P.S. Does anyone know if the murals they show during the beginning are by the same artist who did the murals in Cincinnati’s amazing Art Deco Union Terminal (some of which are now in the Cincinnati airport)?
Am I boring you with my current fascination with Detroit? I just think it’s going to be such an interesting city to follow, and I’ve been soaking in every article I come across about what people are doing to redesign it and help its recovery. The latest article I read was in The New York Times this week, and it chronicled what a community of artists are doing to help the city, including selling off square inches of property to help create a feeling of ownership, however small. When artists start to flock to an area, it’s always the first sign of improvement. There’s a sense of a new wave of Robert Smithson types with a penchant for industrial landscapes. Is the next step for Christo to wrap it all up in a bright color? Will Todd Selby* be heading there to photograph these artists at home? It’s going to be really fun to watch. Check out the article here.
*Speaking of The Times and Todd Selby, there was a great feature on him this week. Check it out here.
Image by Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times. There’s a great slideshow of ten of his photographs here. The caption for the image above reads “Ms. Michael bought her house, left, with green trim, for $10,000. Artists and activists have rescued this leafy block from blight.” In addition, Ms. Bridget Michael is hoping to turn her second floor into a long term visiting artists’ residence, and it’s currently occupied.
Wow, it really fell apart this week. Probably because I posted what should have been “Inspiration Monday” on Wednesday, clearly I had nothing to give you for “Organization Wednesday”, and then I thought Thursday was Friday, even though I had my Thursday Styles section (still unread) right in front of me for half of the day! The weekend cannot come quickly enough for me! Speaking of Thursday Styles, the Home section of The New York Times featured a great senior condo makeover by Dara Caponigro and her parents yesterday. Remember the “Ask Dara” column in Domino? Well, now she’s the E.I.C. of Veranda. I had been wondering why Veranda had become so chic lately! Check out the full article at nytimes.com.
Speaking of California, I loved getting a peek at Betsy Burnham’s kids’ rooms, especially the use of the Union Jack. I think the only way I might ever stop liking Union Jacks is if England decides to send over the red coats again!
Speaking of flags, Martha’s Vineyard was bedecked in red white and blue for the Fourth of July weekend. If you like the eclectic look of the Carpenter Gothic cottages I showed you on Wednesday, I have more photos. My friend Christina brought her real camera and got some shots that were much better quality, so I have uploaded them to houzz here.
The Detroit Conversation Continues – a thoughtful essay over at Design Observer. Read it here. I think Detroit is one of the most interesting cities in our country to follow and study right now, and this essay is so thorough and interesting, interweaving theories of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs and even Eminem.
We’ve seen misguided urban renewal projects ruin vibrant neighborhoods. We’ve seen highways and railroad tracks cut cities off from their waterfronts. We’ve seen insane tunnel projects try to stitch them back together. We’ve observed cities like Youngstown Ohio try to trim their city limits and downsize, we’ve seen cities like Charlottesville Virginia tinker around with the idea of changing to a town. The latest? Razing the city. Detroit is demolishing tens of thousands of buildings to revitalize itself. What’s tricky with Detroit is that the viable areas tend to be on the outskirts, and the planners want to blow out a lot of what’s in the middle. Don’t the residents burn it all down on Devil’s Night anyway? That was a wrong thing to say. Sorry. Maybe all they need it Clint Eastwood. Lately all of the Detroit images I have in my head come from Gran Torino and Hung.
This article in yesterday’s New York Times is really interesting. I wonder what efforts, if any, will be made to recycle and reuse the materials from the buidings they demolish? I wonder if this is the answer, and if it’s not, what is. I wonder at what point in declining populations and deteriorating neighborhoods we decide to just pull the plug and give up. Whatever the result, it will be a landmark precedent in urban planning forever.