Tactical Urbanism: How can we activate more...

Tactical Urbanism: How can we activate more spaces in Detroit?

Claire Nelson
on Mar 26, 2012

In cities across the world, citizens are finding creative ways to activate public spaces with small, quick & cheap urban interventions to make neighborhoods more inviting and enjoyable for all. What are the best examples of this in Detroit? What are some new ways we can bring underutilized spaces to life?

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What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2014-04-17T15:27:01+00:00
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Recent Activity

Ben Schmitt
on Aug 31, 2012
"Tunde: I'm actually going to be working with you.  I look forward to talking.  I still care a..."
Tunde Wey
on Aug 31, 2012
"hey ben. Just read your story. It is pretty sad for many reasons. I feel terrible about what..."
Ben Schmitt
on Aug 30, 2012
"I spent 11 years in the city of Detroit and I have a lot of strong feelings, positive and..."
Kyle Christensen
on Jul 30, 2012
"Better Block x Detroit Design Festival   Hey all! My name is Kyle Christensen and I..."
Claire Nelson
on May 11, 2012
"Hi Thomas! Thanks for posting here! There are lots of organizations and initiatives that help..."
Thomas Stineman Jr.
on Apr 27, 2012
"Hello all, My name is Thomas Stineman. I am excited to see people making a difference in the..."
Matthew Naimi
on Apr 18, 2012
"Yes it is... Open to explore 24 hrs a day / 7 days a week... Events are posted on Facebook..."
Claire Nelson
on Apr 16, 2012
"Here's a good article today about "conventional planning" vs. "tactical urbanism" from Urban..."
Lisa Taylor
on Apr 13, 2012
"You may already know of these folks, but if not, you might find interesting ideas or resources at..."
Evan Alexander Ambrose
on Mar 31, 2012
"This is great. I have finally cleaned my bike up to get out there. We need to be present in the..."
Evan Alexander Ambrose
on Mar 31, 2012
"Matthew, is this open to the public?"
Claire Nelson
on Mar 28, 2012
"You're so right, Nick. Maintaining the spaces we have is just as important (maybe more?) than..."
Claire Nelson
on Mar 28, 2012
"I should also mention that the lead photo for this conversation is from The Alley Project (TAP)..."
Nick Piotrowski
on Mar 28, 2012
"Some of the most exciting efforts in my opinion include grass roots reclaimations of under..."
Delphia Simmons
on Mar 27, 2012
"I recently posted my feelings on Face Book after seeing an entire block in my neighborhood up for..."
Claire Nelson
on Mar 27, 2012
"In September 2011, for the first Detroit Design Festival, we hosted a competition called "Mind..."
Tunde Wey
on Mar 27, 2012
"How about we connect vacant and unused property with skill. Get artists, activists, entreprenuers..."
"Noah from The People of Detroit [http://thepeopleofdetroit.com]. The precipitous decline in..."
Matthew Naimi
on Mar 27, 2012
"Communicate. Coordinate. Cooperate. The smiles that you see at Recycle Here are the building..."
Amy Kaherl
on Mar 27, 2012
"We have seen many spaces being activated by citizens of Detroit through Detroit SOUP. There is a..."
Sarah Szurpicki
on Mar 27, 2012
"This is Sarah from Let's Save Michigan (we're running the It's About Place conest), and I want to..."

Claire Nelson

Claire Nelson - 2014-04-17T15:27:02+00:00 - "In cities across the world, citizens are finding creative ways to activate public spaces with..."

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Ben Schmitt
on Aug 30, 2012 - 9:51 am

I spent 11 years in the city of Detroit and I have a lot of strong feelings, positive and negative, about the city.   First, some of the greatest people I have ever met live there.  However, the actual geographical size of Detroit will continue to make is extremely difficult to combat the vacant structure problem.  The city is huge! Please check out the photos on www.motorcitymuckraker.com.  Here's a link to an article I wrote about leaving Detroit: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/the-next-page-broken-windows-in-the-motor-city-a-detroit-exit-journal-280081/

 

Responses(2)

Tunde Wey
on Aug 31, 2012

hey ben.

Just read your story. It is pretty sad for many reasons. I feel terrible about what happened to your house- angry that your kids couldn't feel safe, and dismayed that you had to leave Detroit and your profession. I "hope starting over at 40" is rewarding and exciting.

All the best to you sir!

 
Ben Schmitt
on Aug 31, 2012

Tunde: I'm actually going to be working with you.  I look forward to talking.  I still care a great deal about Detroit.

 
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Kyle Christensen
on Jul 30, 2012 - 9:30 pm

Better Block x Detroit Design Festival

 

Hey all!

My name is Kyle Christensen and I represent the USGBC Detroit - Emerging Professionals Committee.  We are putting together Detroit's first Better Block project in the New Center neighborhood!  If anyone is interested in collaborating, we would love to hear from you.  Specifically, we are concerned with cleaning up the area and making it visually appealing/safe, organizing food/drink/entertainment, and featuring aspiring small businesses.  We are a very creative bunch, so no idea is out of the question!  Claire, I love the work you've done so far in the city and hope that this call for entries becomes an active dialogue for building better communities in the city!  Please post here if you'd like to get involved or contact me directly.

Better Block (www.betterblock.org)

USGBC Detroit (www.usgbcdetroit.org)

Detroit Design Festival (www.detroitdesignfestival.com)

 

Thanks everyone,

Kyle Christensen

kylechristensen3@gmail.com

 
Thomas Stineman Jr.
on Apr 27, 2012 - 11:02 am

Hello all,

My name is Thomas Stineman. I am excited to see people making a difference in the City of Detroit. I am someone who is moving into the city in September, but I currently work at Covenant House Academy Central on MLK Blvd. We don't offer much as for extra curriuclar activities or give students a chance to participate in the community. Students are often looking for work/volunteer hours to recieve credits. So I am looking for ideas in the area that my students can help out with. So I am offering bodies and help, and also a great opportunity for the youth to really be participate in changing the future.

Thank You all,

T. Stineman

 

Responses(1)

Claire Nelson
on May 11, 2012

Hi Thomas! Thanks for posting here! There are lots of organizations and initiatives that help maintain and improve public parks and spaces throughout the city. One close to you is Cass Park, you could try emailing the Cass Park folks here: cassparkdetroit@gmail.com. There is also Roosevelt Park in Corktown (rooseveltparkrevival@gmail.com) and Clark Park in SW Detroit (clarkparkdetroit@gmail.com). And there are great citywide organizations like The Greening of Detroit that need volunteers everywhere: http://greeningofdetroit.com/volunteer/.

For a general list of non-profit charitable and neighborhood organizations that need help, you might want to check out WDET's "Call to Action" at http://action.wdet.org.

Hope this helps!

 
Expand This Thread
Claire Nelson
on Apr 16, 2012 - 4:16 pm

Here's a good article today about "conventional planning" vs. "tactical urbanism" from Urban Times.

 

"The situation as it lies now, is that government/centralized/bureaucratic planning has stalled or at least slowed in its ability to reach new solutions...These are exciting times to be a planner, because it seems that we’ve awoken to the idea that it’s sometimes better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission..."

 
Lisa Taylor
on Apr 13, 2012 - 1:24 pm

You may already know of these folks, but if not, you might find interesting ideas or resources at the UK's Meanwhile Space Community Interest Company. Many of their projects lean a bit more toward community service than the arts, so might serve the needs Delphia's talking about particularly well, especially since they're designed to lead to permanent use of the building/s or site.

There are several temporary-space outfits in the UK, and there's beginning to be a real appetite for it. Urban Design Group's magazine just released a useful and inspiring issue on Temporary Urbanism this month too.

Good luck + will follow your progress!

LT / 5sensecity.com

 
Claire Nelson
on Mar 28, 2012 - 1:05 pm

I should also mention that the lead photo for this conversation is from The Alley Project (TAP) in Southwest Detroit -- one of my favorite spaces in Detroit. Erik Howard, you are amazing. (You can read more about Erik and his work here.)

 
Tap_people
Nick Piotrowski
on Mar 28, 2012 - 10:28 am

Some of the most exciting efforts in my opinion include grass roots reclaimations of under utilized spaces, Friends of Cass Park come to mind right away. Just by cleaning up and advocating for the maintenance of the space one can start the process towards a more developed form of activiation.

In addition I am very fond of groups that build community and identity through their spaces, TAP Gallery, Ponyride, The Green Garage, and OCD all come to mind in this respect.

 

 

Responses(1)

Claire Nelson
on Mar 28, 2012

You're so right, Nick. Maintaining the spaces we have is just as important (maybe more?) than creating new. I love Cass Park and am so appreciative to all the neighbors & friends who care for the space. It looked especially beautiful for the Marche du Nain Rouge this weekend! (Photo by Matthew Naimi.)

 
Nain-instagram2
Expand This Thread
Delphia Simmons
on Mar 27, 2012 - 10:12 pm

I recently posted my feelings on Face Book after seeing an entire block in my neighborhood up for sale by a Real-estate Company. First came anger, and then came the hope that someone would seize the opportunity to do something innovative with that space.  A few innovators have reached out to get the information and location. The fact that there are those in our city who can see this through the eyes of innovation and opportunity; who want to build something meaningful that can benefit the community is nothing short of divine. 

If there were no obstacles what would you do with a city block?

 

 
Claire Nelson
on Mar 27, 2012 - 9:28 pm

In September 2011, for the first Detroit Design Festival, we hosted a competition called "Mind the Gap" to invite public ideas for "in-between" spaces. Some submissions were real places, others imagined. The real ones -- including Tashmoo Biergarten, Lincoln Street Art Park, The Alley Project (TAP), Woodward Windows -- were all great examples of how creativity & sweat equity (sometimes moreso than $$$) can go a long way to fill the "missing teeth" in our urban fabric. Some highlights here

 
Wearealldesigners
The People of Detroit Photodocumentary
on Mar 27, 2012 - 6:01 pm

Noah from The People of Detroit [http://thepeopleofdetroit.com]. The precipitous decline in Detroit's population has led to wide swatches of under-used roadway. These swatches are de facto bike lanes. As a bicylicist in the city, I'd like to see more Detroiters utilize these wonderfully wide and flat patches of asphault. As someone who has spent time in larger, more densely populated cities where bikes are in much closer contact with heavy traffic, I regard Detroit's less-heavily traveled roads as a rare, untapped resource. 

 

Responses(1)

Evan Alexander Ambrose
on Mar 31, 2012

This is great. I have finally cleaned my bike up to get out there. We need to be present in the community so that cars know we are there as well.

 
Expand This Thread
Matthew Naimi
on Mar 27, 2012 - 5:55 pm

Communicate. Coordinate. Cooperate. The smiles that you see at Recycle Here are the building blocks of a community... Building community is much easier when you can engage with people through conversation. Projects that inspire and last are projects that bring diverse people together around a common goal. I am excited for the summer at the Lincoln Street Art Park / Ghetto Louvre... This unique neighborhood collaboration will make you ask somebody about something, and that is all it takes...

 
Artpark

Responses(2)

Evan Alexander Ambrose
on Mar 31, 2012

Matthew, is this open to the public?

 
Matthew Naimi
on Apr 18, 2012

Yes it is... Open to explore 24 hrs a day / 7 days a week... Events are posted on Facebook (Lincoln Street Art Park)... 

 
Expand This Thread
Amy Kaherl
on Mar 27, 2012 - 4:28 pm

We have seen many spaces being activated by citizens of Detroit through Detroit SOUP. There is a playground revamped by those in the Woodbridge community on Avery between Merrick and Putnam. Folks in Highland Park took a vacant lot that was used for dumping and took the materials and made them into what they have now called "Bridge to the Garbage King". We have seen spaces being activated for uses of performaces, plays, and bands. Many community gardens are also being curated on tested soil or raised beds to grow healthy fruits and vegetables for the neighborhood. There are so many wonderful possabilities!

 
Tiredragon
Claire Nelson
on Mar 26, 2012 - 2:16 pm

Our friends at Michigan Municipal League are organizing a contest called "It's About Place," inviting residents to submit ideas for underutilized spaces in our communities. Do you have an idea for Detroit? Check out the information online at http://letssavemichigan.com/.

 

Responses(2)

Sarah Szurpicki
on Mar 27, 2012

This is Sarah from Let's Save Michigan (we're running the It's About Place conest), and I want to share a bit more info.  We're looking for creative submissions that activate community spaces, and we're planning to fund multiple projects around the state (and are expecting some great entries from Detroit, naturally!).  A letter of intent is due APRIL 6, with the actual submission due May 4.  So get your letter in ASAP.  All the details (including the application and how to submit your intent letter) are at: http://letssavemichigan.com/placemaking-contest/.

You can also check out today's Model D story on the contest: http://modeldmedia.com/features/placemakingaward312.aspx.

 
Tunde Wey
on Mar 27, 2012

How about we connect vacant and unused property with skill. Get artists, activists, entreprenuers and everyone interested in producing into spaces that are unoccupied. This is one way to activate commercial space.

The same strategy could be used to activate residential space, but this time have the proposed tenants work as they live in the space, and also provide them credits towards ownership.

 

 

the video in this comment is an example of activating commercial/ residential space. its not an innovative idea, but it is especially necessary to explore in detroit given the number of vacant properties we have

 
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