Appropriating the Past: Urban Exploration and Loft Living in Deindustrialized Detroit

By Jennifer Ross.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 14, 2016 $US5.00

Joseph Schumpeter’s notion of creative destruction permeates discussion of plant closures, capitalist landscapes, and urban crises. Yet what of destructive creation? Through ruins photography and luxury loft apartments, urban exploration and downtown revitalization are radically altering the landscape, memory, and market base of Detroit, colonizing the city’s industrial past and separating the emotion of history from its lived experiences. These markets strip buildings of their history and workers of their voices, focusing instead on sublime awe, aesthetic qualities, and middle-and upper-class residence and entertainment. This appropriation positions the city between a dual past of industrial might and abject decay, and an uncertain future promising profound changes how we conceive of an authentic Detroit.

Keywords: Spaces, De-urban, Economic Development

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.35-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 14, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.410MB)).

Jennifer Ross

Ph.D. Candidate, American Studies, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA