The Debut of Open Streets Detroit: PHOTO ESSAY

This Sunday saw the much anticipated Detroit debut of the popular city event series known as Open Streets. Taking a page from similar events like Portland’s Sunday Parkways or LA’s CicLAvia, Open Streets has pushed more metropolises return street use from automobiles back to human beings. The idea is hardly radical considering the ways in which urban… Continue reading The Debut of Open Streets Detroit: PHOTO ESSAY

In Defense of Detroit’s Slow Roll

Imagine the absurdity of somebody saying, “Detroit can’t handle 6,000 Tigers fans flooding downtown with their cars anymore, this has to be put to a stop!” You’d be laughed out of town. But say the same thing about people on bicycles and somehow many nod approval. That’s essentially the hack job Model D shat upon the… Continue reading In Defense of Detroit’s Slow Roll

The Muskegon Streetcar Riot of 1919

Americans like to riot, for better or worse. Better when there’s a just cause, worse when it’s over sports, or pumpkins. With mass media though, a single burning gas station can be looped for hours, giving the impression of mass chaos, as was the case in Baltimore, when in fact that uprising was timid in… Continue reading The Muskegon Streetcar Riot of 1919

Public Space Is Fundamental to Democracy, No Wonder It’s Under Attack

A true public space is overtly political in that it is a democratized space. That is, there is no regular programming which dictates the goings on within such a space. Instead, the day to day happenings are largely decided by those who use the place. City government or other municipalities can manage or maintain public space,… Continue reading Public Space Is Fundamental to Democracy, No Wonder It’s Under Attack

Detroit’s Arson Crisis: ‘We Don’t Need No Water, Let the Motherfucker Burn’

In Flint, you can’t drink the water. In Detroit, you can’t turn on the water. Thousands of Detroiters have had their tap water cut by the city for late bills in what the United Nations considers a humanitarian crime. At the same time as water won’t flow from the tap, hundreds – if not thousands – of the city’s fire… Continue reading Detroit’s Arson Crisis: ‘We Don’t Need No Water, Let the Motherfucker Burn’

Street Name Sexism is the New Confederate Statue

New Orleans made national news last week when its city council voted 6-1 to remove four statues honoring Confederate president Jefferson Davis, General P.G.T. Beauregard, the Battle of Liberty Place, and even General Robert E. Lee whose likeness sits atop a massive column at the center of a plaza that shares his name. While the decision would be a no-brainer… Continue reading Street Name Sexism is the New Confederate Statue

The Grit and Soul of Detroit Street Art

They say Detroit is the Wild West of graffiti. Or at least they used to. Suffering decades of economic blight, stocked with a hundred thousand vacant buildings, and a police force with bigger problems on their hands, Detroit has become known worldwide as a street artist’s paradise. As the city depopulated, more walls became available for murals, tags, wheat pasting, stuffed animals,… Continue reading The Grit and Soul of Detroit Street Art

What’s Missing In the Urban Density Debate

The discussions and debates around building more walkable and bikeable cities invariably come back to issues of urban density. There are many competing theories as to how many people can or should live in compact, efficient living quarters. Just about everyone who studies cities agrees decentralized rings of suburbs are a waste of time, energy, and… Continue reading What’s Missing In the Urban Density Debate

Cedar Blocks and Devil Strips: Cycling the Streets of 1898

While perusing the tubes of the internet, I stumbled across a map labeled City of Detroit for Bicyclists, Showing Pavements. It was dated 1898. Visible were color-coded streets of the inner city, what today is known as Downtown, Midtown, Corktown, Eastern Market, and New Center. It’s widely known Detroit was the birth place of paved… Continue reading Cedar Blocks and Devil Strips: Cycling the Streets of 1898

Gentrification, By Any Other Name, Is Still Segregation

It was bound to happen. Rather than address pervasive hurdles to global problems, those whose stock dividends depend on maintaining status quo instead splurge on public relation firms to decorate shit cakes with unicorn frosting. We already have ‘forestry stewardship’, ‘clean coal’, ‘sustainable seafood’, ‘green cars’, ‘humane slaughter’, and every liberal capitalist’s favorite: ‘smart growth’. Joining these wholly dishonest marketing clichés is… Continue reading Gentrification, By Any Other Name, Is Still Segregation