From April 15-17, 2015, The German Marshall Fund’s Urban and Regional Policy Program hosted a two-and-a-half day workshop entitled: Detroit Opportunity Sites: Transatlantic Workshop on Vacant Industrial Property Reuse. The first of three events that are part of the Detroit Opportunity Sites Initiative, the workshop was hosted in collaboration with Detroit Future City and with the generous support of the Kresge Foundation. The workshop also included the participation of dozens of Detroit stakeholders involved in the reuse of vacant industrial sites in the city.
In Detroit, vacant industrial land and buildings cover 6.1 square miles that are ripe for innovative programming ideas and reuse strategies. Detroit Opportunity Sites focuses on the challenges and opportunities of redeveloping these industrial properties through a select number of European and U.S. case studies.
Featured European and American case studies were divided into four reuse categories – energy, public assets, adaptive reuse, and economic development – and included:
- Landscape Park Duisburg (Duisburg, Germany) by Arne Lorz, Project Manager, Duisburg 2027, Office for Urban Development and Project Management, City of Duisburg, Germany
- Gas Works Park (Seattle, Washington, United States) by David Graves, Senior Planner, Seattle Parks and Recreation, City of Seattle
- Hammarby Sjöstad (Stockholm, Sweden) by Erik Freudenthal, Head of Communications, GlashusEtt – Stockholm Vattens Environmental Information Centre
- Holzmarkt, Kraftwerk, and Tresor (Berlin, Germany) by Dimitri Hegemann, Tresor Berlin GmbH & Kraftwerk Berlin GmbH and Mario Husten, Chairman, Holzmarkt Cooperative
- De Ceuvel (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) by Sanderine van Odijk, CFO, Metabolic and Project Manager, De Ceuvel
- IBA Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany) by Ulrich Hellweg, Managing Director, IBA Hamburg GmbH
- Manufakture (Lodz, Poland) by Sławomir Murawski, Director, Manufakture, Apys Management
- Lingotto (Torino, Italy) by Giovanni Comoglio, Architect and PhD Candidate, Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico Di Torino
The representative of each case study gave a background to their site and the most innovative aspects of its reuse, and focused on the potential relevancy of lessons learned to ongoing efforts in Detroit. The workshop also included several networking sessions for the invited case studies to meet key Detroit stakeholders, and site visits throughout Detroit to focus on strategic vacant industrial sites that could be reused to become assets for the residents of Detroit.
The case studies presented during the workshop illustrate that the process of redeveloping vacant industrial sites can engage the city’s residents and businesses, and that redeveloped sites can be engines of social and economic development for neighborhoods and the city as a whole. They also showed that the unique nature of many industrial sites lends itself to creative reuse opportunities that can leverage existing strengths and resources and usher in a wider process of cultural transformation.
This initiative will continue through a series of study tours this summer and fall and a final workshop in Detroit in late 2015. To see a full agenda from the workshop and presentations from the workshop, please click here.