Advertisement

URBAN DESIGN International

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 257–281 | Cite as

Paradigm lost: Industrial and post-industrial Detroit – An analysis of the street network and its social and economic dimensions from 1796 to the present

  • Sophia Psarra
  • Conrad Kickert
  • Amanda Pluviano
Original Article

Abstract

This article addresses spatial patterns of growth and decline in Detroit from 1776 to the present. It maps industrial distribution, and uses space syntax to analyse the relationship among the street network, industry, streetcar transportation, and retail activity in the city. Special emphasis is given to the first half of the twentieth century, when Detroit reaches its peak of industrial production, in comparison with the second half, when it looses its vitality with the instalment of motorways and suburbanisation. The findings show that in the 1920s industry, streetcar transportation and retail settled along global movement routes that linked the city core with the expanding urban system. Since the 1950s the street network has lost its capacity to integrate the social and economic activities in the city, which followed a new logic of production, consumption and distribution. The motorways and the industrial landscape, which remained unchanged once reaching its peak, disrupted the street patterns in the city. This analysis can illuminate the role the street network plays in how cities prosper and thrive or shrink and decline. It leads to the suggestion that planning policy and urban design should integrate spatial configuration in their attempts to develop sustainable futures.

Keywords

Detroit Street network industry spatial patterns of growth and decline shrinking cities 

References

  1. American Institute of Architects Center for Communities by Design. (2008) Leaner, greener Detroit, www.aia.org, accessed 14 December 2010.
  2. Bekkering, H. and Thomas, J.M. (eds.) (forthcoming) Detroit: WSU Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bucci, F. (2002) Albert Khan, Architect of Ford. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, L. (1996) From town center to shopping center: The reconfiguration of community marketplaces in postwar America. The American Historical Review 101 (4): 1050–1081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. De Holanda, F. (2000) Class footprints in the landscape. URBAN DESIGN International 5 (3–4): 189–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Detroit Works Project. (2012) Long term planning – Urban strategies for Detroit. Commissioned by the Mayor of Detroit in 2010, documentation accessible via www.detroitworksproject.com. accessed 5 January 2013.
  7. Doxiadis, C. (1966–1971) Emergence and Growth of an Urban Region: The Developing Urban Detroit Area, Analysis (1966): Vol 1, Future Alternatives (1967): Vol 2, A Concept for Future Development (1970): Vol. 3, Detroit, MI: Detroit Edison.Google Scholar
  8. Fishman, R. (1987) Bourgeois Utopias: the Rise and Fall of Suburbia. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  9. Fishman, R. (2014) Detroit: Linear city. In: H. Bekkering and J.M. Thomas (eds.) Mapping Detroit. Detroit: WSU Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fogelson, R.M. (2001) Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880–1950. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Frobom, A.H. (1998) Trolley cars and concentration – Reflections on the demolition of Hudson's. Michigan Transit Museum News Letter, Mt. Clemens.Google Scholar
  12. Galster, G. (2012) Driving Detroit – The Quest for Respect in the Motor City. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Garreau, J. (1991) Edge City: Life on the New Frontier. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  14. Graebner, L. (forthcoming) Mapping the urban landscape – Revealing the archipelago. In: H. Bekkering and J.M. Thomas (eds.) Mapping Detroit. Detroit: WSU Press.Google Scholar
  15. Griffiths, S. (2005) Historical space and the practice of ‘spatial history’: The spatio-functional transformation of Sheffield 1770–1850. In: A. van Nes (ed.) Proceedings of the Fifth International Space Syntax Symposium. Delft, South Holland: TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture, pp. 655–668.Google Scholar
  16. Griffiths, S. (2008) Historical Space and the Interpretation of Urban Transformation: The Spatiality of Social and Cultural Change in Sheffield c1770–1910. London: University College London, Unpublished PhD thesis.Google Scholar
  17. Griffiths, S. (2009) Persistence and change in the Spatio-temporal description of Sheffield Parish 1770–1910. In: D. Koch, L. Marcus and J. Steen (eds.) Proceedings of the Seventh International Space Syntax Symposium. Stockholm, Sweden: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, pp. 37.1–37.15.Google Scholar
  18. Griffiths, S. (2011) Temporality in Hillier and Hanson's theory of spatial description: Some implications for historical research for space syntax. The Journal of Space Syntax 2 (1): 73–96.Google Scholar
  19. Griffiths, S., Jones, C.E., Vaughan, L. and Haklay, M. (2010) The persistence of suburban centres in Greater London: Combining Conzenian and space syntax approaches. Urban Morphology 14 (2): 85–99.Google Scholar
  20. Hanson, J. (1989a) Order and structure in urban space: a morphological history of the City of London. UCL, London, Unpublished PhD Thesis.Google Scholar
  21. Hanson., J. (1989b) Order and structure in urban design: the plans for the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666. Ekistics 56 (334–335): 22–42.Google Scholar
  22. Hanson, J. (2000) Urban transformations: A history of design ideas. URBAN DESIGN International 5 (2): 97–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hardwick, M.J. (2004) Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  24. Harvey, D. (2010) The Enigma of Capital – And the Crises of Capitalism. London: Profile Books.Google Scholar
  25. Herron, J. (2012) The last pedestrians. In: Places Magazine. The Design Observer Group, http://places.designobserver.com/feature/albert-kahn-diego-rivera-edsel-ford-in-detroit/33018/, accessed 4 November 2012.
  26. Hillier, B. and Leaman, A. (1973) The man-environment paradigm and its paradoxes. In: Architectural Design, August, 507–511.Google Scholar
  27. Hillier, B. (1996) Space is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hillier, B. (1999) Centrality as a process: Accounting for attraction inequalities in deformed grids. URBAN DESIGN International 4 (3–4): 107–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hillier, B. (2009) Spatial sustainability in cities, organic patterns and sustainable forms. In: D. Koch, L. Marcus and J. Steen, (eds.) Proceedings of the 7th International Space Syntax Symposium. Stockholm, Sweden: Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), p. 1.Google Scholar
  30. Hillier, B. and Hanson, J. (1984) The Social Logic of Space. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire], UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hillier, B. and Iida, S. (2005) Network and psychological effects in urban movement. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3693: 475–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hillier, B. and Vaughan, L. (2007) The city as one thing. Progress in Planning 67 (3): 205–230, A special issues on space syntax research on space as an aspect of social segregation.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Interface Studio (2010) Industrial Parcel Survey, Detroit, MI.Google Scholar
  34. Jacobs, J. (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  35. Jackson, K.T. (1985) Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of America. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Karimi, K. (2000) Urban conservation and spatial transformation:. Preserving the fragments or maintaining the ‘spatial spirit’. URBAN DESIGN International 5 (3–4): 221–231.Google Scholar
  37. Kelbaugh, S.D., Strickland, R. and Dueweke, E. (2007) 5D: Adding 3 Dimensions to Downtown Detroit (Detroit Design Workshop 2007). Ann Arbor, MI: A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, The University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  38. Longstreth, R.W. (1997) City Center to Regional Mall: Architecture, the Automobile, and Retailing in Los Angeles, 1920–1950. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  39. Lefebvre, H. (1974) The Production of Space. English translation 1992. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  40. Medeiros, V. and de Holanda, F. (2005) Urbis Brasiliae: Investigating topological and geometrical features in Brazilian cities. In: A. van Nes (ed.) Proceedings 5th International Space Syntax Symposium. Delft, South Holland: TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture, pp. 331–339.Google Scholar
  41. Medeiros, V. and de Holanda, F. (2007) Structure and size: Brazilian cities in an urban configurational world scenario. In: A. Sema Kubat (ed.) Proceedings of the Sixth International Space Syntax Symposium. Istanbul, Turkey: Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, pp. 029.01–029.12.Google Scholar
  42. Medieros, V., de Holanda, F. and Barros, A.P. (2009) The myth of the intention: The Portuguese urban heritage overseas. In: D. Koch, L. Marcus and J. Steen (eds.) Proceedings of the Seventh International Space Syntax Symposium. Stockholm, Sweden: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, pp. 74.1–74.12.Google Scholar
  43. Medeiros, V., Holanda, F. and Trigueiro, E. (2003) From compact colonial villages to sparse metropolis. In: J. Hanson (ed.) Proceedings of the Fourth International Space Syntax Symposium, UCL. London: University College London, pp. 12.1–12.16.Google Scholar
  44. Moudon, A.V. (1997) Urban morphology as an emerging interdisciplinary field. Urban Morphology 1: 3–10.Google Scholar
  45. Moudon, A.V. (2000) Proof of goodness, a substantive basis for New Urbanism? Places 13 (2): 38–43.Google Scholar
  46. Okrent, D. (2009) Detroit: The death – and possible life – of a great city. TIME, 24 September www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1925796,00.html.
  47. Perdikogianni, I. (2003) Heraklion and Chania: A study of the evolution of their spatial and functional patterns. In: J. Hanson (ed.) Proceedings of the Fourth International Space Syntax Symposium. London: University College London, pp. 19.1–19.20.Google Scholar
  48. Pinho, P. and Oliveira, V. (2009) Combining different methodological approachesto analyze the oporto metropolitan area, In: Koch D, Marcus, L. and Steen J. (eds.) Proceedings of the Seventh International Space Syntax Symposium. Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, pp. 88.1–88.13.Google Scholar
  49. Plunz, R. (1996) Detroit is everywhere. Architecture 85 (4), ProQuest, 55–61.Google Scholar
  50. Pluviano, A. (2012) Mirrors of change in the post industrial city: A comparative study of two cities: Turin and Detroit, 1920–2010. MSc thesis, University College London.Google Scholar
  51. Pluviano, A. and Psarra, S. (2012) Turin and Detroit: the role of the road network in the evolution of the industrial and post-industrial city. Paper presented at International Seminar on Urban Form, Delft University of Technology.Google Scholar
  52. Poremba, D.L. (2003) Detroit: A Motor City History. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing.Google Scholar
  53. Psarra, S. and Kickert, C. (2012) Detroit: the fall of the public realm: The street network and its social and economic dimensions from 1796 to the present. In: M. Greene, J. Reyes and A. Castro, (eds.) Proceedings: Eighth International Space Syntax Symposium. Santiago de Chile: PUC.Google Scholar
  54. Ryan, B.D. (2008) ‘The restructuring of Detroit: City block form change in a shrinking city’ 1900–2000. URBAN DESIGN International 13 (3): 156–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Smets, M. (1996) Detroit als wegwerpstad. Beeld van een company town/Detroit – A disposable city. Picture of a company town. Archis 3: 66–80.Google Scholar
  56. Sugrue, T.J. (1996) The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Trigueiro, E.B.F. and Medeiros, V. (2007) The Bridge, the market, a centrality forever lost and some hope. In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Space Syntax Symposium. Istanbul, Turkey: Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, pp. 036.01–036.12.Google Scholar
  58. Turner, A. (2001) Angular analysis. In: Proceedings of the Third International SpaceSyntax Symposium. Atlanta, Georgia: Georgia Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  59. Vaughan, L., Clark, D.L.C., Sahbaz, O. and Haklay, M. (2005) Space and exclusion: Does urban morphology play a part in social deprivation? AREA 37 (4): 402–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vaughan, L. and Penn, A. (2006) Jewish immigrant settlement patterns in Manchester and Leeds 1881. Urban Studies 43 (3): 653–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wall, A. (2006) Victor Gruen: From Urban Shop to New City. Barcelona, Spain: Actar.Google Scholar
  62. Zhu, J. (2004) Chinese Spatial Strategies: Imperial Beijing, 1420–1911. London: Routledge Curzon.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophia Psarra
    • 1
  • Conrad Kickert
    • 2
    • 3
  • Amanda Pluviano
    • 4
  1. 1.The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College London (UCL)LondonUK
  2. 2.Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Delft University of TechnologyJulianalaanDelft
  4. 4.Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations