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Thumbs Down for Detroit Works Project, Thumbs Up for Art

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A New York-based writer for Metropolis Magazine, Karrie Jacobs, took a jaunt through the midwest and stopped in Detroit last spring. So what did she think? She went with one of the tried and true war-zone lines ("It was like entering ancient Rome after the barbarians had come and gone,") but her real criticism was for our head honcho Mayor Dave Bing and his big ol' urban initiative.

The city’s leading renewal project—with the unintentionally ironic name Detroit Works—is essentially a triage program, intended to shrink the footprint of the city to a manageable size by jettisoning failed neighborhoods and focusing services on those neighborhoods that still have a heartbeat. Pretty much everything you read about Detroit Works carries the whiff of stale bureaucratese. Which is not to say Detroit was all bad. Jacobs gave a thumbs up to artists turning abandoned homes into art, such as Catie Newell (above) and Power House Productions, located in Banglatown/No Ham. Jacobs says the The Renaissance Center completely flummoxed her ("a cluster of tall glass tubes looming over largely empty city streets"] but our favorite line was for the People Mover which she calls, "a 2.9-mile theme-park ride in search of a theme and a park." Zing! Paragraph ten drops a mention for Brooklyn, NY (you know, old Detroit) and Slows before Jacobs gets back to the point, which gives residents the credit over Detroit Works project: "enthusiasm is exactly what’s missing from the government’s approach... Detroit needs to work—no argument—but maybe the mayor’s program would be more powerful if it could reposition itself as Detroit Dreams." Meh. Detroit Works Projects needs a lot more than a new name, but that one is not working it; no one would buy the tee shirt. We're thinking Detroit Hustles.

· One House At A Time [Metropolis]
· Advice From An Artist: A $500 House is a Process[Curbed Detroit]
· Banglatown to Vacant Houses: Ride it or Squash it [Curbed Detroit]