Art & Architecture Building (2nd Floor Commons)
2000 Bonisteel Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
This symposium frames discourses emerging from a relational study of four transatlantic urban regions that display acute asymmetries of concurrent growth and socioeconomic decline in the midst of larger economic restructuring: the Detroit Metropolitan Region, Ruhr Valley, the Innovation Region Rheinisches Revier, and the deindustrializing hinterland of the southern U.S. Eastern Seaboard. The successive cycles of urban transformation have created uneven landscapes consisting of fissures, empty gaps, and vacated spaces interspersed among and between developed zones of concentrated and thriving activities. The resulting leftover spaces are latent sites of contestation and uncertainty where rival actors compete for a semblance of control with their own visions of re-use, ranging from the spontaneous and temporary, to the deliberate and semi-permanent.
Studying these four urban regions across four different thematic sessions, the symposium participants will challenge the notion that all sites of abandonment suffer an identical fate. Examining these four regions as grounds for speculation and a platform for broader reflection across global geographies, participants will engage in discussions regarding the intricate relationship between the simultaneous, incremental erasure of the built environment, vis-a-vis ongoing urban projects that instigate, appropriate, and produce these weak urbanities, while projecting more sustainable futures.