The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit

Overview

What if Detroit has not only fallen apart, emptied out, disappeared and/or shrunk, but has also transformed, becoming a novel urban formation that offers potentials as well as challenges? In recent years, this proposition has sponsored a growing number of responses, from small-scale ephemeral interventions to longer-term place-based activism, all availing themselves of Detroit's vast repository of devalued, abandoned or vacant urban property. Posing these diverse responses as aspects of a condition rather than ...

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Overview

What if Detroit has not only fallen apart, emptied out, disappeared and/or shrunk, but has also transformed, becoming a novel urban formation that offers potentials as well as challenges? In recent years, this proposition has sponsored a growing number of responses, from small-scale ephemeral interventions to longer-term place-based activism, all availing themselves of Detroit's vast repository of devalued, abandoned or vacant urban property. Posing these diverse responses as aspects of a condition rather than solutions to a problem, The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit tells a new story of the city in a time of conjoined precarity and possibility-a story of urban decline yielding conditions favorable for urban experimentation, invention and, perhaps, change.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Logically enough, this “unreal estate guide” to the city of Detroit is produced by the Detroit Unreal Estate Agency, which describes itself as an organization that engages in “feral research” on new ways in which the much diminished city can be reimagined and repurposed. A place that has seen a tremendous drop in population and a collapse of municipal finance, Detroit is nevertheless a hotbed of odd little organizations exploring the intersection of art, architecture, farming, and social organization. Agency cofounder Herscher (architecture, Univ. of Michigan; Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict) argues that the decay of existing materials can fuel the birth of new structures of social organization and is an antidote to the prevalent narrative describing Detroit as a hellish wasteland bereft of a future. He lists 57 projects or groups ranging from one-man art installations of found detritus (Heidelburg Project) to mobile vegetable trucks (Peaches and Greens) that supply neighborhood liquor stores that are some Detroiters’ only local food source. Along with berry foraging groups (Friends of Gorgeous Berries) and art galleries (Power House, Alley Culture), there are also nostalgic throwbacks like beer gardens (Tashmoo Biergarten) and the Carwash Cafe, an outgrowth of a car storage lot.

Verdiating guide to the groups rethinking a postindustrial city.—David McClelland, Andover, NY
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472035212
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 943,456
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

The Detroit Unreal Estate Agency: A Preface 2

Unreal Estate: An Introduction 6

Unprofessional Practices

Ruin Harvest 24

Detroit Demolition Disneyland 26

FireBreak 30

Salvaged Landscape 34

Food Infill 38

Earthworks Urban Farm 40

D-Town Farm 44

Georgia Street Community Garden 48

Brightmoor Farmway 52

Peaches and Greens 56

Field of Our Dreams 60

Municipal Therapy 64

Motor City Blight Busters 66

Creening of Detroit 70

Hope District 74

Navin Field Grounds Crew 78

Detroit Mower Cang 82

Furtive Inhabitation 86

Detroit Blues 88

Hookie Monsters 92

Urban Yoga Lab 96

Seed Detroit 100

Unwarranted Techniques

Feral Research 106

Detroit Geographical Expedition 108

Pink Pony Express 112

Waste Curation 116

Tree of Heaven Woodshop 118

Architectural Salvage Warehouse 122

Friends of Gorgeous Berries 126

Public Secrecy 130

Hygienic Dress League 132

Secret Pizza Party 136

Trtl 140

Radical Hospitality 144

Boggs Center 146

Catherine Ferguson Academy 150

Block Clubbing 154

Unsanctioned Collectives

Temporary Communities 160

Dally in the Alley 162

Theatre Bizarre 166

Detroit Guerrilla Queer Bar 170

John's Carpet House 174

Tashmoo Biergarten 178

Do-lt-Yourself-Then-Together 182

UFO Factory 184

Yes Farm 188

Micropolitanism 192

Farnsworth Street 194

Fourth Street 198

Trumbullplex 202

Urban Toeholds 206

Center for Creative exchange 208

Filter Detroit 212

Ego Circus 216

Unsolicited Constructions

Accidental Architecture 222

Michigan Building Parking Garage 224

Peacemakers International 228

Blotting 232

Extreme Housework 236

Detroit Industrial Gallery 238

Full Scale Design Lab 242

Power House 246

Scavenged Space 250

Alley Culture 252

Crafikjam Alleys 256

The Lot 260

Submerge 264

Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit 268

Patrimony of the Unlost 272

Hamtramck Disneyland 274

Car Wash Café 278

African Bead Museum 282

Heidelberg Project 286

Glossary 290

References 296

Acknowledgments 305

Image Credits 307

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