Michael Van Valkenburgh explains Landscape Urbanism in a short video to Popular Mechanics as part of Detroit 2025: After the Recession, a City Reimagined
DAVID WHITFORD at TIME magazine reports on the appointment of star urban planner named Toni Griffin who is soon set to start her new assignment of Detroit’s downsizing and urban makeover. However, I don’t think this will be a one week project filmed for a one hour special on TLC or HGTV.
According to the article Toni Griffin who is Adjunct Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard GSD Department of Urban Planning and Design will be working within the city planning department but her role and other consultants will be funded by the Kresge Foundation.
The project will draw worldwide attention as many cities in the USA and Europe are going through the same process of planning the renewal and revitalisation of former industrial power house cities that have reduced in population but not size.
The idea of returning Detroit to farm land is an interesting idea that was recently covered in New Geography(DETROIT: URBAN LABORATORY AND THE NEW AMERICAN FRONTIER, Nov. 4) and New York Times(Plowing Detroit Into Farmland blog post Nov. 9 based on New Geography article).
The New Geography article reviews the size and scale of Detroit in comparison to other cities and the extent of urban decay since the 1950′s and that Detroit could become farmland.
In my opinion, Detroit could become a city of urban agriculture; it has the land, water & infrastructure(roads, rail) and lots of deserted industrial space that could be converted to markets and storage/logistics. However it would require a either a grass roots movement which gets financial backing (after initial results) from investors or a federal incentive as the city of Detroit is shrinking and resources are already stretched.
Urban agriculture could supply the people of Detroit and other cities in region with food. Large areas of housing could be converted to open fields where the blocks are large or rows of green houses where the blocks are narrow. The agricultural areas could also grow crops for ethanol(although resource intensive) to supply raw materials for fuel(refined in Detroit) for the farm machinery and cars.
Urban agriculture combined with alternative energy such as wind and solar could convert Detroit from a city to a urban core with villages (see New Geography for diagram). The city could become self-sufficient and a possible testing ground for urban design that could be used for other North Americans cities going through the same changes in size and urban form.
New Orleans is currently a hot bed for Urban Design experiments for the South, which came about from a natural disaster maybe Detroit can come back as the hot bed of Urban Design for Northern climates.
Detroit has the opportunity and basic resources but does it have the will to change?
Time magazine has run the cover story Detroit: The Death — and Possible Life — of a Great City.
read the full article at TIME: Detroit: The Death — and Possible Life — of a Great City
Digital City reports
“A recent chapter in urban gardening starts in Detroit, Mich. with Hantz Farms whose plan is to be the world’s largest urban farm.The first part of the plan seeks to utilize vacant land and abandoned properties in Detroit’s lower east side, adding up to over 70 acres.”