Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Great idea alert!

This is a wonderful idea. Why isn't it happening in Detroit, too?

To be clear, we don't need to import artwork. Just look to Tyree Guyton and the Heidelberg Project -- we already have great works of art springing up across the city. But just like New Orleans, we need the give and take. Outsiders bring creativity and energy, and the city in turn acts as a canvas and catalyst, not only for art but also for change.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Assessing the music scene

Five Three Dial Tone has provoked some serious soul-searching among Detroit bands and groupies. Do local bands play the city too often? Are they promoting enough? Evidently some local fans and musicians are feeling frustrated.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Toward a creative city

Model D has a wrap-up of the best ideas from last week's Creative Cities conference. One of those is fostering the arts, and the Kresge Foundation is doing just that through its $8.8 million program that will provide fellowships to artists and operating support to arts organizations.

Also, this is fascinating (and kind of bizarre). Neil Greenberg has mapped out an entire ideal city, a doppelganger of sorts to Detroit, and he brings it to life with the help of a few other Detroit visionaries, including activist Grace Lee Boggs. I've met Neil, and he really does have a brilliant vision for transit in Metro Detroit.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Elsewhere on the web

As I've mentioned before, I'm currently abroad in Santiago, Chile, and I won't be back until December. With that in mind, I wanted to recommend two other blogs to read in the meantime.

  • First, The Incorrigible City, which is a lot like this blog except that it also has nice photos and a sense of humor -- both traits worth imitating.
  • Second, Detroit Blog, which remains the best blog about Detroit. His secret to success? He actually talks to people and the stories he uncovers are fascinating.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

So much for that skyscraper

The Cadillac Centre, announced with much fanfare in January, seems to have died a quiet death. The plug has also been pulled on the @Water Lofts, a luxury condo project announced in March 2006. The collapse of the housing market and the ensuing credit crunch are hitting Detroit, hard.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Public art manifesto

I should have linked to it two weeks ago, but the Metro Times has a must-read article calling for more real, radical public art in Detroit. Jenenne Whitfield, the executive director of the Heidelberg Project, has the best quote:

"Attracting cool to the city — that notion is so tired. I'm so sick of that class of people who need to be massaged to live here. We give far too much credit to those folks. This city has never understood who we are or what we have here. We need to wake up the neighborhoods, shake the city up," says Whitfield."

Friday, October 3, 2008

How the Rust Belt trumps NYC

New York Magazine has an article about why some are quitting New York City for Buffalo. The writing is insufferable -- pompous, meandering, NYC navel gazing -- but the article finally gets to a great point:

This, ironically, has always been the siren song of New York City: the chance to turn yourself into someone new, to live the life you’ve always imagined. But what a city like Buffalo offers is a very different promise of what could be. It offers the chance to live on the cheap and start a nonprofit organization, or rent an abandoned church for $1,000 a month, or finish your album without having to hold down two temp jobs at the same time, or simply have more space and a better view and enough money left over each month to buy yourself a painting once in awhile. A city like Buffalo reminds you that, beyond New York, there are still frontiers.
New York is not a frontier, but Buffalo is, and so is Detroit. In most respects the Rust Belt cities are no match for NYC, the consummate global city, but what they do have is cheap space, open land, fiercely loyal communities, and an unparalleled opportunity to build your dreams.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Housing market hits bottom

An abandoned home in Saginaw sells for $1.75 on eBay.