Tag Archives: Organization

The Hanging Gardens of Detroit

25 Aug

Abandon buildings are a byproduct of the rough times that have hindered Detroit. But there are some dedicated Detroiters that can see beyond the fire-tarnished brick, dissolving porches, and broken windows. They see potential. Potential for renewal and beauty. I want to share the amazing work that some groups are doing to rehab Detroit’s abandoned buildings. One of those projects is the Hanging Gardens Project. Put on by Team Detroit, The Greening of Detroit, and UCCA, the Hanging Gardens is a project that touches on the beautification of Detroit, urban gardening, and the restoration of Detroit architecture.

Ryan Schirmang came up with the idea for a vertical garden to hang in the windows of the remains of the Forest Arms building in the Cass Corridor. In 2008, a fire destroyed the interior of Forest Arms, took the life of one resident, and took the home away from 100 others. Ryan and the 75 volunteers from Team Detroit saw this beautiful abandoned building as a canvas to project their hopes for Detroit.”Project” was a word that Ryan used while discussing this project with me and I think it’s a great concept that helps support the artistic efforts of so many people in the city. It’s about more than just making Detroit look nice, its about the hope they have of inspiring real action. In an email, Ryan explained to me some of their motivations for building the Hanging Gardens:

“Public art is the way that a city lays down its identity. From that respect, Detroit has such a rich past- it got rich off cars and built that into its city fabric. Add to that the history of sports here, Motown and R&B before it, the birth of techno after it- and you’ve got a strong potent mixture of broth to work with. At the same time, while you walk around downtown, under the shadow of those ornate old buildings that still stand- there’s the space made by what’s been torn down. That space extends out to 8 mile. And it can be filled up with whatever you want it to be. That’s why the artists are having such a field day – it’s the rich past and wide-open future.

I think the Hanging Gardens is a way to say- you know what- Detroit’s the place for urban farming. And not in the sense that we’re all going to be farmers, but in the way that says the people who’ve started growing food are getting the ball rolling and they’re not going to stop. It’s contagious.”

The hanging garden was “planted” in May of this year and will be decorating the face of Forest Arms during its reconstruction.


One Loveland

18 Aug

To rent or buy? The eternal question. Micro real estate project LOVELAND makes that decision easy. For $1 we can all invest in Detroit.

Although it’s taken me a little while to decipher the quirky goals and cartoonish enthusiasm of the project, I believe the goal is for a group of “inchvestors” to buy up a small piece of property in Detroit which is then developed into a art space for people to enjoy. The first plot of land has already been completely bought up (Congrats!) and is “in development” as they construct the Monumental Kittie structure to be seen from the Corktown pedestrian overpass.

They are now taking donations for their second plot of land, which is still looking for a home. I believe this plot is going to be turned into a park space. A portion of their donations also go towards other local organizations that are working to transform Detroit’s drooping corners into livable, sustainable places for people to enjoy.

I’m so intrigued by their project and the way its portrayed yet still shaky on the details of the products. It seems that the logical way to understand it is to get involved myself. So as Detroit Happens finds it’s place in the cyberworld, it will also be finding a place in Detroit as well as I donate my $1 to LOVELAND and see where my inch takes me.