Riding around Detroit over the past couple of days with participants in Legacy City Design: Bruner Loeb Forum 2013 was, oddly enough, a rather hopeful experience. Yes, the view of block upon block of burned and abandoned residences in the Cody-Rouge and Brightmoor neighborhoods was shocking and sad. What kept it from being dispiriting were the signs of community capacity, creativity and determination and a larger perspective on the incremental successes of Legacy Cities nationwide in turning the tide of disintegration and disinvestment.
There was present an enormous talent bank of planners, designers, tactical urbanists, entrepreneurs, civic leaders, developers, funders and policy makers present, including Loebs and others representing 14 U.S. Legacy Cities. They were there to pool their knowledge in service of social justice. And, it is likely, all felt the imperative captured in a quote from the Talmud offered by Bob Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at SUNY Buffalo: "You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to abandon it."
Detroit Future City, a long-term planning roadmap developed by Detroit Works Project through extensive community engagement, formed a point of departure for consideration of the projects visited and presented. Dan Pitera (LF ‘05), director of Detroit Collaborative Design Center at University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture, had led the community engagement process to create DFC, and Toni Griffin (LF ‘99), now director of the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City at CCNY, headed the technical team.
The photos show a sampling of the day and a half Forum.
Next City blog, a new media partner for the Forum