OLAIA CHIVITE AMIGO
After decades of constant “humming” and contamination, the once mighty industrial riverfront factories of the Detroit-Rouge region are beginning to close their doors or reduce their operations. The private companies that remain active are facing immense public pressure to remediate the areas they have polluted for so long.
Their responses to this pressure are often vague; outlining hands-off “renaturalization strategies”, or referencing ecologically-driven movements such as the Green New Deal and aiding in the fight against climate change. But these corporate plans are almost always set to begin in some distant, unfathomable future. They fail to address what is left behind today; resilient communities that are affected by severe pollution, economic imbalance and environmental injustice. Our studio will be looking at River-Rouge’s outcast and largely inaccessible Belanger Park. The triangular park is clearly defined and constrained by three competing boundaries: a steel manufacturing plant, a soon-to-close coal power plant, and the Detroit River. Taking cues from these three adjoining environments -- steel, power, and water -- we will use a recreational program as a guide to explore proposals informed by material, energetic, or ecological infrastructures. Our goal is to develop projects that exaggerate the park’s relationship to its surroundings, as either a place floating beyond its context or as a place deeply embedded within it.
In response to a site where an industrial history has taken so much away from the Detroit River and its many aquatic inhabitants, Re:Spawn responds to a site in flux; facilitating the remediation of an area damaged profusely by the commercial dredging of the Detroit River, and providing a hub for River Rouge residents to interface with and learn about an ecosystem we too often take for granted.