Lecture: Why there is no Detroit in Canada – Jason Hackworth – Despite significant structural similarities, Canadian and American Rust Belt cities have very different levels of land abandonment. Though the Canadian Rust Belt has experienced significant deindustrialization, suburbanization, wealth disparities and localist politics, no city has faced abandonment of the magnitude found in Detroit. To launch our Fall lecture series, Jason Hackworth, Professor of Planning and Geography at the University of Toronto will discuss the uneven geography of extreme land abandonment in the North American Rust Belt, considering why such a vast difference in land abandonment exists between the Canadian and American contexts. His argument centers on the role of race, but in a way that challenges Canadian exceptionalist narratives about the ostensible lack of racial discrimination in that country. Instead, Hackworth argues that toxic racial discrimination took place (and continues to take place) on both sides of the border, but the American form has very directly contributed to land abandonment, while the Canadian form has emphasized exclusion from the country altogether.
September 21, 2018 4:15PM
Rackham East Conference Room, 4th Floor // Rackham Building
Lecture: Cultivating Cultural Origins and the Changing Responsibility of
the Urban Planning Profession – Jessica Brooke Williams – As Urban Planners work to revitalize cities, a common practice is to imbue a place with a distinct cultural identity to be embraced and performed by the community. These efforts often burden area residents with cultural displacement or at the very least exist without a clear cultural foundation. This burden can cause or exacerbate longstanding socio-economic challenges and imbalances in urban redevelopment. At this event, Jessica Brooke Williams – an urban planner, evaluator and scholar of American and African diasporic history and art and author featured in, Why Detroit Matters: Decline, Renewal and Hope in a Divided City – discusses her ongoing research into how the city’s official planning documents have historically ignored the arts and culture of Detroit’s resident-majority African-American populations, and argues that planning efforts that are infused with art and creative utilitarian practices can act as a catalyst for community revitalization by reconnecting the resident majority to experiences that inspire a stronger sense of self, others, and the land around them.
RESCHEDULED: November 16, 2018 4:15PM
1110 Weill Hall, Betty Ford Classroom // Ford School
Panel Event: Post-Crisis Housing Markets and Housing Insecurity -The foreclosure crisis continues to reverberate over a decade on. The massive upheaval in neighborhoods and housing markets entrenched a speculative class of real estate investors using a variety of tools to exploit low income communities and extract profit. Join us for the first Detroit School event hosted at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where a panel of academics, activists, and journalists working on issues of housing insecurity in Detroit and other low income markets will discuss what they are seeing on the ground, forms of mobilization and resistance that have been effective, and trends and approaches in the near and long term. Panelist will include ACORN Founder Wade Rathke who is currently running the multi-city Homesaver Campaign organizing contract buyers; Detroit journalist Allie Gross; Detroit journalist Christine MacDonald; and Dr. Eric Seymour, from the Brown Population Studies and Training Center. The event will be moderated by Joshua Akers from Urban Praxis Workshop at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
November 29, 2018 6:00 PM
University of Michigan – Dearborn
Rm 1030 // College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Building (CB on map)
4901 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128
Lecture: Why Detroit Matters: Detroit’s Relevance to International Scholars – Brian Doucet –Detroit has attracted global attention because of dramatic images of its ruins and abandonment. For several years while working in Rotterdam, Brian Doucet – Associate Professor, School of Planning at the University of Waterloo, Ontario – took students from the Netherlands to Detroit to better understand not only what happened to the city, but also how the lessons from its long decline and uneven contemporary revival are relevant to international audiences trying to better understand wider process of urban change. These trips led to the publication of Why Detroit Matters: Decline, renewal and hope in a divided city, which portrays Detroit as an extreme, but by no means unique city. In this talk, Professor Doucet will discuss why Detroit is relevant for international scholars and students by addressing the challenges and opportunities of being an outsider when visiting, and researching Detroit.
December 6, 2018 4:15 PM
Boulevard Room, Pierpont Commons // North Campus, University of Michigan
Friday, March 29 – Progress and Preservation: the temporality of a demolition hearing in Detroit – James Macmillen – A month into an ethnographic study of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department from October 2014 to summer 2015, a senior city planner told Macmillen that the city didn’t have a strong planning legacy. So if a developer brings in a bucketload of cash and says, “I want to buy a building and knock it down,” planners might need to find a way to make it happen. Six months later, that exact situation presented itself when a developer requested permission to demolish an old hotel at the northern edge of Detroit’s downtown, spurring opposition from the city’s historic preservation community. In this talk, Macmillen traces how the debate between developers, planners, appointed officials and historic preservationists on the hotel’s fate evolved based on his embedded ethnographic fieldwork from within the Planning and Development Department. Using the framework of the anthropology of time, Macmillen recounts how participants employed temporal rhetoric in their claims and counterclaims, engaging with Detroit’s troubled past, offering alternative visions for the city’s future, and setting a collision course between developer’s call for urban progress and preservationists’ appeals to memory and heritage.
Friday, March 29th 4:15 pm
Room 2104 // Art and Architecture Building, Taubman College // University of Michigan, North Campus