168 DETROIT ROL­LING FOR­WARD

Living - - English Text -

Mo­tor Ci­ty is rev­ving again, the 2013 ban­krupt­cy left in the du­st. Re­sto­red art de­co buil­dings, ex­pe­ri­men­tal re­stau­ran­ts, a re­di­sco­ve­red ri­ver­front and a new ge­ne­ra­tion of crea­ti­ves moul­ding their own di­stinc­ti­ve sty­le

LAND­SCA­PE AR­CHI­TEC­TU­RE It doe­sn’t want to look li­ke any other Ame­ri­can ci­ty. It has no de­si­re to be a se­cond New York or Chi­ca­go. Detroit has a clear­ly de­fi­ned DNA, and it’s proud of it. «The­re›s a deep sen­se of pri­de among­st De­troi­ters. Tho­se who ha­ve sur­vi­ved the re­ces­sions and ur­ban de­cay and ha­ve stayed are now loo­king to the fu­tu­re of the ci­ty wi­th op­ti­mi­sm», ex­plains Dou­glas Voigt, head of the Ur­ban De­si­gn and Plan­ning de­part­ment at the SOM ar­chi­tec­tu­re stu­dio and the man in char­ge of the am­bi­tious Detroit Ea­st Ri­ver­front re­no­va­tion pro­ject. «The ci­ty is still in tur­moil, but it is no lon­ger di­sin­te­gra­ting – the­re is a de­si­re to crea­te things, to esca­pe from the stig­ma of being a de­cay­ing me­tro­po­lis». You on­ly need to walk alon­gWood­ward Ave­nue, the ci­ty›s main street, or jump on the Detroit Peo­ple Mo­ver ele­va­ted tram, and look up at the buil­dings around you to re­li­ve bo­th the glo­ry and de­cli­ne of Mi­chi­gan’s ca­pi­tal. The re­mar­ka­ble 1940s, sym­bo­li­sed by the sump­tuous art de­co sky­scra­pers li­ke the Guar­dian Buil­ding and Fi­sher Buil­ding, when Mo­tor Ci­ty was one of the lar­ge­st and mo­st hi­ghly po­pu­la­ted me­tro­po­li­ses in the Uni­ted Sta­tes. The 1960s, whi­ch saw the con­struc­tion of the sty­li­sh OneWood­ward, a con­cre­te and steel buil­ding de­si­gned by Mi­no­ru Ya­ma­sa­ki, and the be­gin­ning of the ra­cial ten­sions that ca­me to a head in the bloo­dy re­volt of 1967. The 1970s and 1980s, mar­ked by the glo­bal ener­gy cri­sis and the de­cli­ne in the Ame­ri­can car in­du­stry, whi­ch led peo­ple to aban­don Detroit, and to it be­co­ming one of Ame­ri­ca’s mo­st vio­lent ci­ties. The mi­ra­ge of the 1990s, when the night­ma­re see­med to ha­ve pas­sed and the in­du­stry ca­me back to li­fe, re­flec­ted in the for­ty-th­ree sto­ries of One Detroit Cen­ter, the sky­scra­per de­si­gned by ar­chi­tec­ts Phi­lip John­son and John Bur­gee. And the re­lap­se of the 2000s, when glo­ba­li­sa­tion un­der­mi­ned the ba­sis of Mo­tor Ci­ty’s re­ju­ve­na­tion, out­com­pe­ted by Asian mar­ke­ts, and pre­ci­pi­ta­ting the col­lap­se of Ch­ry­sler and Ge­ne­ral Mo­tors in 2009. Af­flic­ted wi­th the mo­st se­rious pro­blems in Ame­ri­ca and wei­ghed do­wn by a $18 bil­lion pu­blic debt, in 2013 Detroit de­cla­red itself ban­krupt. It had rea­ched rock bot­tom, and over the cour­se of a year, by sel­ling off real esta­te and re­ne­go­tia­ting its deb­ts, it took so­me steps to­ward sal­va­tion, and ul­ti­ma­te­ly suc­cee­ded. Star­ting again is ne­ver ea­sy, but for four years pu­blic bo­dies, pro­per­ty

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