Tag Archives: Post-Industrial


Anti-History. The discourse surrounding the Michigan Central Depot (MCD) is epic. Everyone has an opinion, and many opinions are charged with personal history, political dogma, or impulsive judgment.  This post does not attempt to chronicle the saga and thereby continue the allegations.  Rather, this post proposes to erase the associated drama and begin anew with the existing structure and current conditions.  Can we move beyond the MCD’s existing identity and all associated issues that continue to plague the MCD?  What could truly be done with this massive structure?   What is possible?

Momentum. Over the years, numerous proposals have floated through the Detroit ether: Homeland Security Offices, Business Center, Detroit Police Department Headquarters, Hotel/Casino.  None of these proposals have landed, none have gained momentum.  On a community level, the Greater Corktown Development Corporation and eighteen Earhart Middle School students developed MCD programming ideas through multiple design charrettes.   These creative programming solutions were summarized in powerpoint and then formally presented to the Detroit City Council.    A small band of renegades (Phillip Cooley, uRbanDetail, Tad Heidgerken, and others) have designed a Roosevelt Park Masterplan and slowly implemented the initial phases. Their landscape urbanism strategies have encouraged the MCD owner to clean up the structure’s forecourt and plant perennials along the front façade.  Mainstream recognition includes multiple music videos (Kid Rock, Eminem), wedding party photos, documentaries, and movies (Transformers, The Island, 8 Mile, 4 Brothers) using the MCD as a backdrop and/or stage.  This combination of community, renegade, and mainstream momentum results in a uniquely creative discourse, and perhaps a new found urbanism, Detroit-style. Continue reading

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PROJECT.  The Detroit Wildlife Refuge project has been published in the April edition of TOPOS magazine.

CONCEPT. Landscape Urbanism advocates a purposeful discourse between ecological systems, human activities, and the post-industrial landscape, ultimately manifesting in the deliberate celebration of the urban void. This celebration glorifies the interstitial, so that the void is inevitably romanticized by, and is necessary to, the burgeoning Landscape Urbanism profession. Reliance on the void introduces a basic set of dilemmas: In order to focus on the space between buildings, there must be buildings; planning creative programming between infrastructural systems requires existing infrastructure; implementing a proposed hybrid ecology between urban eco-systems and human eco-systems requires human eco-systems. All of these very specific examples result in a single common statement: In order to have an urban void, there first needs to be an urban, or rather a recognizable urban density. Continue reading

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The Eco-Industrial Cruise Line – Hybrid Sustainability.  Just as urban design cannot be thought of simply as architecture on a larger scale, sustainable urbanism is not merely a collection of ‘green’ buildings, spaces, and infrastructure upgrades.  The transformation of America’s former industrial capitals from beleaguered shrinking cities into thriving urban centers depends not only on an agglomeration of high tech interventions – such as solar and wind farms, green roofs, electric cars, etc – but on a radical paradigm shift in the nature of land use, density, transportation and the role of our industrial heritage on future policy.

This blog post outlines such a paradigm shift, narrating the proposed evolution of Detroit’s post-industrial region through the introduction of Eco-Industrial Tourism via an Eco-Industrial Cruise Line. Continue reading

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SWEET JUNIPER! — EVENT 02 “Challenging Detroit: (Re)generating Urbanism”

lecturesHAA is dedicated to creating a broader creative discourse through open and collaborative dialogue. The program includes lectures and discussions throughout the year that will consider important contemporary design issues associated with the urban environment.

The initial program for 2009 will be “Challenging Detroit: (Re)generating Urbanism.” This program will provide an important platform for consideration of innovative, multidisciplinary strategies designed to help the city not only create reinvestment and redevelopment, but also begin to regenerate the social, economic and environmental attributes that define it. Now, more than ever, we need to come together to understand how we can effectively participate in the thoughtful, creative regeneration of Detroit.

While it is relatively unconventional for a professional design firm such as Hamilton Anderson Associates to create and coordinate a lecture program such as this, we feel that by leveraging our resources and interests in design, we may more fully establish a fertile exchange of ideas that helps to bridge the gap between the creative community and the community at-large.

The public is encouraged to attend these free events. Please return to rogueHAA for future dates and topics.

EVENT 02: Sweet-Juniper! : Jim Griffioen, Writer and Photographer

Jim Griffioen is a former corporate litigator turned writer, photographer, and stay-at-home dad. Every day thousands of people from around the world visit his website (sweetjuniper.com) to read his thoughts on parenthood, contemporary culture, and the state of his adopted home of Detroit. Griffi oen’s photography has been featured in Harper’s, Vice, Landscape Architecture, New York, and CS Interiors among other publications. He has appeared on American Public Media’s The Story with Dick Gordon, CBC’s national arts and culture Program Q, as well as in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker.com.

August 18
6pm Johanson Charles Gallery
1345 Division
Eastern Market

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