Journal Paper
Autopia's End

Autopia's End
The decline and fall of Detroit's historic manufacturing heritage

Since the 1980s, Detroit’s historic building stock of automotive manufacturing facilities has mostly disappeared. Demolition, redevelopment, and abandonment have left little to mark the city’s twentieth-century history as the world capital of the automobile industry. Planning and policy making have been complicit by publicly subsidizing destructive redevelopment and by failing to advocate for retention or preservation of significant structures and complexes. Even today, Detroit’s leadership calls for the demolition of one of the city’s last remaining historic auto factories. This article surveys the disappearance of Detroit’s auto factories and documents the histories of three of the largest complexes: the Chrysler-Chalmers Plant, cleared for a redeveloped factory; the Cadillac Plant, cleared for a failed economic development project; and the Packard Plant, slowly abandoned over sixty years. The article calls for a revised theory and practice of preservation that accommodates the weak markets, imperfect conditions, and informal uses that characterize abandoned industrial buildings in shrinking cities.

 

abstract

Title Autopia's End
Authors Brent D. Ryan, Daniel Campo
Type of Publication
Journal Paper
Journal
Journal of Planning History
Volume
12
Issue
2
DOI
10.1177/1538513212471166
Date of Publication
Feb 15, 2013
Publisher
Sage Journals
Location
http://jph.sagepub.com/content/12/2/95

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