BlackLAN member and Trott Visiting Professor Matt Williams addresses land vacancy in Detroit and the need for urban design approaches:
Over the past hundred years, social structures in the United States and specifically in the Midwest have shifted. Industrial decline often brought employment fragmentation, population loss, and transformation in the physical environment through severe disinvestment, abandonment, and eventual demolition of obsolete buildings.
The terrain of these once-vibrant industrial centers has become overwhelmingly dominated by vacant land and structures. This shifting in society has disproportionately affected those most in need. The question remains how, despite extreme financial constraint, can Midwest cities respond to vacancy? No one solution fits all, even though the basic conditions of post-industrial cities may appear universal, they vary according to specific physical, social, and cultural conditions.