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Report: New map reveals Detroit’s built character, opportunities for preservation

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Atlas of ReUrbanism

A new report and map has been released by the National Trust for Historic Preservation shows the areas in Detroit which have the highest density of older, smaller, mixed-use buildings. These buildings, according to the report, are “building blocks for an inclusive, diverse, economically vibrant city.” The map and fact sheet are part of an initiative called the Atlas of ReUrbanism, which serves as, “a tool for urban leaders and advocates to better understand and leverage the opportunities that exist in American cities.”

The National Trust for Historic Preservation was behind the designation of Jefferson Chalmers as a National Treasure, citing its concentration of early 20th century historic buildings.

The fact sheet for Detroit can be downloaded here, and reveals some interesting notes about the buildings. While Detroit has many more buildings than the 50-city average (379k compared to 204k), the amount listed on the Historic Register and/or locally designated is considerably less than the average.

Atlas of ReUrbanism Fact Sheet

The map reveals areas with the highest concentration of older, smaller buildings that add character to a city. While it’s good to have a mix of buildings throughout the city, it’s important to save and preserve the buildings we have.

Dark red = pre-1920, while lighter blue = 1945-67.

Atlas of ReUrbanism

Which areas have more of these character-rich buildings? We certainly see a lot in Southwest, between Michigan and Fort. We also see many east of 75, in Eastern Market, surrounding Van Dyke, and up Gratiot.

How can we use a map like this? The Atlas for ReUrbanism finds that areas with higher density of these older, smaller buildings also have a higher percentage of women & minority-owned businesses and affordable housing opportunities. While it’s good to have a mix of newer and older buildings, these maps can be used to target smaller redevelopment opportunities that help preserve our historic buildings.