This week I have been working on an analysis of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and the Strategic Investment Initiative 2.0. We were to establish two different focal areas: 1.) an improvement to the existing framework and 2.) a new anchor that recommends revitalizing a new area in the plan. My first focus area was along Detroit Ave. near the junction of 5 major streets in the Detroit Shoreway area. This area is important because it marks the entry to the Gordon Arts District and an efficient design will help upgrade the image and appearance of the community and increase its value. Site A:
The new anchor in this neighborhood will incorporate a number of infrastructural elements: the river, the railway, the streets, and a bridge. I will focus on vacant properties and open space as a way to bring people and boost the economy near Lorain Ave. and W 85th street. This "new anchor" will be focused on developing a new anchor to the SII masterplan. Site B:
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.
This week we begin our study of economy by first analyzing the connections between the four systems we have studied thus far: Transportation, Open Spaces, Water, and Ecology, and their relationship with our final system: Economy.
Open spaces can be defined in a variety of ways. In the urban setting, open spaces are areas dedicated for parks, green spaces, and other open areas. These areas, commonly open to public access, can range from highly maintained environments to relatively natural landscapes. Water is a natural system that is often ignored and secondary to development and other infrastructure. Water, open space AND ecology are vital in natural environments. Ecology takes into account habitat and living organisms. In our case, we studied the use of vacancy and how we can implement ecology in vacant lands.
Transportation is an asset and liability. It connects the public to these systems and circulates through these systems, but because of transportation water and ecology are often secondhand and ignored. Culverts and engineered ditches are the results of development and planning and the natural environment is lost.
So how does this all connect with economy? Economy is the system that makes all of the other systems possible. It will determine if a design is possible or practical. Knowing how to deal with the economy efficiently will differentiate the good and bad designers. Of course, my opinion may change with further research. I am curious as to how this system will play out.
Brandon E. Young