UrbanMI

Z World – Detroit Zombie Theme Park

Posted in DETROIT, ENTERTAINMENT by urbanmi on July 30, 2012

Mark Siwak is proposing a new event space in Detroit, using Indiegogo to help raise revenue.

Z World. Wiwak is proposing to establish a zombie theme park in a neglected part of Detroit.

His proposal:

Z World Detroit

There are formal proposals to essentially abandon some of Detroit’s neighborhoods.

That’s not a solution.  Collectively we must be more creative than that.

Here’s an idea that will turn the tables on blight.  Not only will this idea turn a blighted area into an asset, a portion of the ticket revenue will go to a fund to demolish abandoned buildings throughout the city.  Blight will fight blight!

Here’s an idea to start something fun and unique that will revitalize an area while creating some jobs for Detroiters.

His proposal takes the city as event space to a new level, but falls into the traps of thinking of the theme and amusement park as an existing typology instead of attempting to imagine an entirely new kind of space. His sketches utilize parking lots, hard fences, and strictly define the park, in doing so damaging the illusion.

Imagine, instead, the fences of this amusement park consisting of piled up cars, and building debris. A rough, meandering edge of the fall of man existing within the borders of the city, announcing the park but not creating a buffer of concrete and asphalt. This project could dissolve the line between public and private elements of the city, the transition between park and city would essentially be non-existent. It would not be necessary to erect large fences and acres of parking lots.

Within the park, it would not be clear whether or not you were in a theme park. The entrance would be barren, abandoned, with the military holding the line. The exploration should begin slowly and progressively, with initially minor, relatively innocuous encounters building up to large confrontations ever deeper into the park.

The logistics of such a park are fascinating.

  • How many employees would be necessary to run the park?
  • Would the cost of so many extra park employees (relatively) be comparable to the cost of owning and maintaining the typical amusment park ride.
  • How would concessions and souvenirs be sold?
    • Themed shacks and abandon homes hawking “supplies”
  • How would you create unique and replicable encounters for a constant stream of visitors.
    • Would entrance to the park be limited and timed.
  • How would you explore the park, could you turn back and retrace your steps or could you pause indefinitely and enjoy the site of staggering zombies, or would you be rushed along as in a haunted house.

The idea extends the concepts from the Zombie Run, and could benefit from a case study. Ultimately I think using a Dawn of the Dead type strategy to designing the park would be far more successful and far easier to implement than the Urban environment. Using a mall would control the encounters, and progression more easily and could take lessons from Haunted Houses for operations.

Unfortunately his proposal shows a misunderstanding of the issues of Detroit. He comments on the proposal of shrinking the city without understanding that the proposal is not about abandonment but about preserving what currently exists and using what limited resources there are in the city appropriately. Furthermore, if demolition is a strategy to be used over shrinking the city, how would it be used appropriately.

Demolition is not a strategy for Detroit. Demolition as a strategy, if extended into the future would also make the possibility of the park impossible. It leaves behind acres of abandoned land and often savable buildings are torn down, historic buildings are torn down in the spirit of “advancement.” Cities like Chicago, have experienced the regret of tearing down treasured buildings as a result of not valuing the assets they have.

It is however beneficial to demolish the hundreds of derelict homes, but in order to sensibly demolish these homes, it makes sense to utilize a strategy of shrinkage. Through utilizing a combined strategy in targeted areas it becomes possible to focus assets in needed areas and promote new neighborhoods, while removing blighted areas and preparing them for a time when Detroit can grow again.

Advertisements
Tagged with: , , ,

CITIES

Posted in URBANISM by urbanmi on July 30, 2012

We want to live in cities.

The era of suburbs being desirable is dying out. These blighted areas with few amenities, services, people have lost their luster. Most of us see them for what they are: costly, inconvenient, unhealthy, isolated.

Suburbs are an ideal. In reality they do not work. In reality we live in exurbs, areas completely disconnected from a core where every road is either a tributary or a river. Stores, work, friends, family, and schools are all far away. Roads replace sidewalks and cars replace people as the chosen for who this place should be made convenient for. We defer to the automobile. Many suburbs do not even bother constructing a sidewalk, announcing to all who foolishly say they wish to live there, that “you shall not walk. You will have no need for feet.”

Fortunately we are shifting back to the city, returning to urban centers as we realize the convenience, the cost, and the amenities. We are learning the environmental consequences of living on the fringes, and we are feeling the economic strains of the lifestyle.

This transition is being marked by many media organizations realizing and celebrating this return. The Atlantic conducts a series on cities. NPR is gathering content for the NPR Cities project.

These projects excite me, they are optimistic, and informative, and cull the content of the web into the relevant information that I am emotionally and personally invested. This is the avenue that local news organizations should be cultivating but are failing.

 

Tagged with: ,

MICH – THE GREAT BEER STATE

Posted in DETROIT, FOOD, GRAND RAPIDS by urbanmi on July 20, 2012

Michigan is an underrated and great brewing state. I believe Michigan is often overlooked as a great beer state since no single city dominates brewing. What Michigan provides is quality craft beer from top to bottom. Michigan breweries dominate stouts, no single concentration of breweries execute as many tremendous and varied stouts as Michigan.

The Michigan Brewers Guild  has great features and links to all the notable breweries. (Shout Outs to my Hometown Founders, Bell’s, Jolly PumpkinKuhnhen, Dark Horse)

While wasting time and following a chain of links I stumbled upon the 10 best cities for Beer Lovers and happily saw Grand Rapids (along with Kalamazoon) receive recognition for their beer. I often find Michigan is overlooked in these lists. Particularly since these lists are often traps to shovel paid advertisements down our collective consumer gullet. (If you recall the horrendous Newsweek list ranking Grand Rapids as one of the cities)  This list, however, was far better than GQs beer list in 2010 which ranked Chicago as one of the best beer cities by looking at numbers of bars and breweries alone without taking into account their quality. (No list of beer cities should be recognizing the Rock Bottom Brewery as a representative).

Do yourself a favor and attend either the Summer or Winterfests and look at Craftbeer.com recognizing piece on Michigan Brewing.

Now we just need more people to realize the overwhelming collection of fantastic brewing occurring here. Maybe I would be able to get more on the coasts.