Detroit has been the most powerful experience in this research endeavor to date. In a city devastated by social, urban, and financial situations for the last half-century, the transformation of space can have incredible impact on its existence.
The folks at the green garage, Tom and Peggy Brennan, purchased an old model T warehouse in 2008 adjacebt to Motor City Brewery with a vision to transform the incredibly blighted Midtown into a green hub. The building is to serve as an incubator for small businesses focused on green practices and technologies through a communal style office. The alley behind the business just finished construction this month and is already established its presence as a harbinger of change to the neighborhood, and perceptually the whole Midtown area. This project really serves as a witness to the power of community members taking initiative and executing a good idea. This alley will transform, no doubt, the block and community in many ways in the years to come.
I was also able to visit the abandoned Central Train Station and Mies’ Lafayette Park near the downtown. The amount of ruins in the city is phenomenal and almost surreal. Plants have begun to take the buildings back into the earth due to half a century of neglect.
I would like to thank Tom and Peggy Brennan of the Green Garage, my friend and former classmate Jessica Hartwig, and The Motor City Brewery for a fantastic lesson in American urbanism. You can follow the Green Alley and Green Garage’s progress here