Industrial urbanism. Erasing cities
published at REVISTA ARQUITECTURA COAM
image by Sean Hemmerle
Detroit´s singular character regards to its relationship with the industrial production idea, and more precisely with car production, fact that transformed the face of every modern city.
Assembly line production is reflected in the row upon row of single-family houses that turn Detroit in the first suburban city: Fordist efficiency materialized in spacial terms.
European urban models with more density were changed for flexibility, mobility and speed, turning the city into an international model for industrial urbanism.
Production segmentation caused by globalisation, added to several economic crisis aggravated industry descentralization and city abandonment to suburbia, that affects many places in RustBelt area, like Flint, Cleveland, Philadelphia ó Pittsburgh.
At present, one-third of Detroit city is completely derelict. Countless buildings have been already demolished. Thousands of still standing are vacant, walled up and closed off. The streets look desert, and many neighborhoods appearance is devastating, everywhere can be found images of abandonment and destruction.
Since 1950 the city has lost 50% of population
image by Alex McLean
Massive demolition strategies are proposed in many of this places.
Shaping the new voids offers an opportunity to rethink the city, concentrate abandoned and conserved areas, and turn back to landscape the city surface that dissolves
Reusing resources that are not useful anymore instead of throw them out is one of the main issues of contemporary planning: re- programming old military bases, derelict commercial centers or industrial areas
Designing and planning decadence means thinking the city in temporary terms. Kevin Lych suggest working with criteria that make possible turning back each new developement to its previous condition
In a global context of population and urban growth, shrinking cities look like incomprehensible. However, it is a situation that affects to an important percentage, mostly located in United States and Europe
High mobility of working and share capital is essential to american culture
East Germany Industrial cities , like Halle and Leipzig, and Great Britain main ones, like
Manchester and Liverpool, have found themselves obliged to transform their productive system, when heavy industriy has moved to better locations in global geography
Cultural and touristic strategies as economic resources have enable in some cases urban renewal and transition to the informational mode of production.
The need however , consists in identifing what kinds of urban innovation, what kinds of resulting city, will most effectively provide a physical and social environment able to atract activity and face the challenge of economic transformation