The Detroit Works Project has received the economic boost it needed to put its Detroit Future City plan into action. Detroit Free Press reported that the Troy-based, Kresge Foundation will give $150 million over the next five years to help accomplish the objectives outlined in the 347-page plan, which focuses on creating economic growth and building infrastructure in Detroit. A technical team led by Toni Griffin, a New York-based urban planner, crafted an extensive list of recommendations such as blue and green infrastructures, job creation, and management of vacant land.
[ The AN editorial team is on hand forÂ Zoning the City conference, now in progress at the McGraw-Hill Conference Center in Manhattan. We'll be live blogging and tweeting @archpaper with hashtag #zoningthecity throughout the day, so check back and follow us on twitter for updates! ]
In a wrap-up conversation moderated by Kayden, a panel brought together Thom Mayne, A.M. Stern, and Mary Ann Tighe to investigate a few non-planning factors, though of course it rounded back to planning within moments. The exchange was peppered with A.M. Stern wit, Mayne theory, and Tighe pragmatism.
Remarking on the more than 4 billion square feet of undeveloped FAR in New York City, Stern remarked, â€œThatâ€™s a lot of development–even for Related!â€
Tighe said that zoning remained necessary, at the very least, for developersâ€™ peace of mind. â€œI think we need some boundaries,â€ she said. â€œThings that will allow capital an amount of comfort that itâ€™ll need to move foreword.â€ Tighe, who heads up New Yorkâ€™s real estate board, provide an audience full of zoning wonks and architects an investors voice, â€œWhat we keep forgetting after the vision is that the money has to come, the as-of-right things are needed.â€
Stern replied no spoon full of sugar was needed to let this medicine go down. â€œArchitects complain, they always complain,â€ he said â€œBut they do their best work with difficult clients, financial constraints.â€
Mayne broke through the realm of brick and mortar. â€œNew York is inseparable from its intellectual capital, thatâ€™s itâ€™s certainty and predictability.â€
Matthew Carmona of University College London played to a re-caffeinated crowd, using humor to diffuse Â a very complex approval process for zoning Londonâ€™s 32 different boroughs. With each borough weighing in with their own distinct processes and opinions, plus the mayor putting his two pence in, and even the secretary of state having a say, its amazing London plans as well as it does. The process looks more nightmarish than a West Village community board debating a university expansion. One intriguing aspect was the specificity of the Views Management Framework, which include river views, linear views, townscape views, and panoramas. But it was left to Loeb Fellow Peter Park, paraphrasing Goldberger, to best describe Londonâ€™s beautiful mess. â€œSome of the greatest places in the world were built before zoning,â€ he said. â€œThereâ€™s an element of serendipity.â€
In an effort to contain costs and regain some control of the Motor City’s destiny, this month Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will announce the details of a plan to clear largely abandoned sections of the city and reinvigorate more stable neighborhoods. Signaling the importance of this controlled shrinkage plan, Time is reporting that Detroit has hired Newark’s urban planning director Toni Griffin to lead the effort. Griffin is one of the best known planners in the country, and she’s been working to reestablish planning principles and guide renewal in New Jersey’s largest city. A graduate of the Harvard GSD, prior to her time in Newark, she worked for SOM Chicago and for Washington D.C.’s planning department. In Detroit, Griffin’s salary, as well as those of some of her staff, will be underwritten by the Kresge Foundation. Her job will no doubt be a difficult one. Residents have previously fought neighbhorhood clearance and scuttled earlier shrinkage plans.