guest post: architecture for change (pt 2)


Next up, Brandy writes about two of the speakers.

Architecture for Change Logo

Architecture for change – or at least the seeds of it.
Brandy H. M. Brooks
Director, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence

Although I’ve certainly heard of Teddy Cruz, this was the first time I’d ever heard him speak, and I can’t believe I missed out all this time. I’m fascinated by the kind of micro-grained urbanism that he’s exploring in his research and projects, and I think it’s a wonderful counter to our current love affair with assembling giant parcels for a single development entity in the name of “transformative development.” There’s nothing particularly transformative about keeping large parcels of land in the hands of large corporations; on the other hand, allowing individual actors and small groups to build interdependent small-scale economies on smaller parcels of land offers a radical new set of opportunities for community building and self-sufficiency. (Estudio Teddy Cruz)

Photo by Mark Danielson

Dan Pitera is in the vanguard of the cosmic campaign to convince me to move to Detroit , and I love it. I can’t say enough about how inspired I am by the Detroit Collaborative Design Center’s innovative approaches to neighborhood revitalization in the city; their recent work using arts as a catalyst for drawing attention and renewed identity to various areas of the city goes far beyond the typical “arts as an economic engine” kind of project. DCDC and its partners are using the history of disinvestment in land and buildings across the city as an opportunity to take bold, innovate steps toward a new kind of physical landscape – whether in a project that transforms a whole street into a public arts gallery, or a tiny house that encourages us to rethink how much space we really need to live well and comfortably. I was also challenged by the conversation about communities in Detroit that are becoming more self-sufficient in terms of providing their own local services and economy: do we end up empowering communities by allowing them to meet their needs on their own, or isolating them from participation in the wider economy and civic life? It’s not a question you can fully address in 90 minutes, but Dan wasn’t afraid to acknowledge the concern or admit that no one quite knows the answer.

Missed Brandy’s first post, check it out here