I wrapped up this semester by finishing up my final project on the Detroit Shoreway and what I believe to be my project theme called the symbolic economy. Beginning with "The Rise of the Creative Class" and identifying who exactly the creative class is, I wanted to address a community of creative people, most appropriately in the Gordon Arts District. I addressed the two topics of the existing fabric and a new anchor by proposing two different and unique systems: the symbolic monument and the symbolic infrastructure. My presentation boards are shown below.
This design was critized for its more radical approach to a symbolic culture that tried to address a creative class. My initial analysis lead me to believe that this would be a more ideal solution. However, I was expecting some criticism moreso because I decided to take a radical approach in order to try to address a radical initial to bring more culture and identity into the area. Of course, the design isn't perfect but it addresses many different elements that I believe contributed to a creative culture. It was a strong move towards the future of the Gordon Arts District and the Detroit Shoreway.
I chose to make a 3d model in sketchup rather than a physical model because it allowed me to render some streetside "worms-eye" views that showed how the environment would respond with people and my design. I felt like I produced enough valuable research and analysis given the timeframe I had for this project.
The jury review, overall, went well and I respect the criticism. I understand the points some of the jurors made. Unfortunately, I didnt have time to dive into the creative class research that may have been helpful for my argument but I still think I put up a good fight. The boards and presentation I believe turned out great.
I thought this semester provided me with a lot of valuable information in terms of urban design. Taking the landscape design approach is very important and I will make sure to do a thorough analysis of the site and conditions in future studio projects. I look forwards to my coming studios here at the CUDC and am glad I can finally say that this semester is coming to a close.
I chose to stick with the project area I have studied so far: The Detroit Shoreway because of the opportunities that I believe it offers for design and investment. Of course, the area has already received intense observation and renovations, but I believe these investments can be revised in some way. How exactly, I am not quite sure.
The next phase of mapping and analysis will be composed of the "in-between" spaces: the spaces in beween the districts of the Detroit Shoreway and being able to establish connections between them. I believe there are low cost solutions to implement this.
One of the discussions we had this week was whether or not rental properties are an asset or a liability to an area. I still strongly believe that owner occupied homes are a valuable asset to a community and denote stability. And with stability, comes a stronger and more defined community. However, I also think rental properties are import and should be implemented as well.
The conclusions we made I believe were very powerful and effectively established a foundation for further mapping in the future. Looking at the manufacturing district in greater detail, looking at these "in-between" spaces, and looking at the housing community are areas that could be further mapped.
The Detroit Shoreway (just west of Downtown Cleveland) was the area of study for our analysis of Economics this week. As part of NPI Strategic Investment Initiative (SII), the Detroit Shoreway has received much attention from the CUDC, CityArchitecture, the Northeast Ohio Urban Design Center, and the CCD. Our initial analysis looked at the SII and their design development process. We noted the emphasis placed on the establishments of districts, housing and character of the town.
We read the book "The Rise of the Creative Class." This book discusses a new type of social class called "the creative class" that is composed of approx. 30% of people; the people who rely on their creativity and ideas to work (architects, engineers, artists, etc.) We compared the creative class with the SII (shown above). Our mapping involved multiple systems (soil, hydrology, real estate, local restaurants, districts, and the list goes on....).
Focusing on real estate and investment, we derived a thesis statement from some of this initial mapping and from our site visit. The development of hougses for sale will increase the stability of the neighborhood, increase the value of the land, attract the creative class, and create an environment with character. Compare this statement with the implementation of rental units.
After mapping the real estate areas and establishing real estate zones, we conducted further mapping trying to determine relationships between some of the districts and zoning with these real estate zones. Is there any comparison.
We made some conclusions:
Battery Park creates a new owner occupied area, yet is isolated from the existing fabric.
Investments made to Gordon Arts district make it a destination for visitors to support the artistic endeavors of residents.
While it is true that the neighborhood provides housing options for a wide range of economic levels, these levels are divided into strict districts creating inequalities in the quality of life.
Industrial rehabilitation plays a minor role in the SII plan for the district, yet may play a key role in creating a thriving, healthy neighborhood with a strong creative culture.
Brandon E. Young