Thursday, January 15, 2015

Greener Urban Spaces

There's a wonderful initiative to cover the Autobahn in Hamburg Germany. It's called the "Hamburger Deckel". 3.5km of roadway is going to be covered, turning it into green space and reducing noise in the neighborhoods. There's a great review of the project in English at Streets Without Cars.

If It Was In Detroit...

Inside the tunnel - a concern of handling air pollution from emissions and fresh air circulation. Our freeways are a major contributor to air pollution, especially during rush hour when each curve in the freeway brings traffic to a stop and go nightmare. There would be a fortunate consequence that a tunnel could gather emissions to be managed better. Air circulation into these spaces is required and is likely built into the Deckel's plans.

Outside the tunnel - one benefit is the mitigation of air pollution through creating green spaces to offset carbon emissions with fresh air.

Another benefit in removal of divides in the city caused by the impassable chasms of freeways intertwined around the city. Bringing neighborhoods together through common green space would improve access for those living in the area. 

Public Spaces

Since these areas would be built upon public land these should be put into a community land trust with representatives from the neighborhoods enabled to control the destiny of the property created. It could serve as community market, education spaces, and gardening initiatives. Keep the spaces in the public, that will be needed as the freeway beneath will need to remain in service to the public.

Detroit does have a lot of vacant land... bringing all the chunks together makes it more appealing and usable. Back in 1960s the Black Bottom neighborhood running up Hastings Street was demolished to construct the Chrysler Freeway the people were told something good would be coming in return. This is from the Detroit Historical website:
In the early 1960s, the City of Detroit conducted an Urban Renewal program to combat what it called "Urban Blight." The program razed the entire Black Bottom district and replaced it with the Chrysler Freeway and Lafayette Park, a mixed-income development designed by Mies van der Rohe as a model neighborhood combining residential townhouses, apartments and high-rises with commercial areas. Many of the residents relocated to large public housing projects such as the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects Homes and Jeffries Homes. 

Doing this with an eye toward restorative justice in our communities - bridging the gaps of a century of road divide - would bring Detroit together.

No comments:

Post a Comment