Learning from Detroit

24 Mar

by Nick Junge-

As we have discussed in class each week, sites in St. Louis are constantly under attack to be torn down and replaced with newer buildings. I always try to connect this with other cities where this is currently happening as well. Detroit, Michigan, is currently one of the more controversial places when it comes to public history. Both St. Louis and Detroit have faced or are currently facing deindustrialization. Both locations are losing traditional factory-style jobs that created the cities as they are. The factories that were used can be considered historic sites, but people do not have the same views. While factories and businesses are leaving, so are people.  The suburbs of cities contain more money and more housing.

The sites of public history are often located in parts of cities where there is high crime rate and property values are low. Our class talked about this topic at the Urban Studio Café and how this has a negative effect on historic sites. Both in St. Louis and in Detroit, contractors are trying to buy up cheap property and develop it. As this problem is occurring in more than one place, organizations can have an advantage in preparing to save a site by learning other organizations’ techniques and what they do in their areas.  Do you believe that since this is happening in more than one place we can learn more about saving these sites?  In what ways do you feel these two locations are related?


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