Domesticating Detroit: An Ethnography of Creativity in a Postindustrial Frontier
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CitationYezbick, Julia. 2016. Domesticating Detroit: An Ethnography of Creativity in a Postindustrial Frontier. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Abstract“Domesticating Detroit” is an ethnographic investigation into the intersecting worlds of art, creative industries, real estate, philanthropy and urban revitalization through the material lens of the single-family home. In March of 2015, Detroit faced a foreclosure crisis that threatened to add almost 70,000 homes to the annual tax foreclosure auction and evict nearly 100,000 people. While the city’s population continues to drop, the private sector is investing millions in Detroit’s artists and creative industries, valorizing creativity, innovation, and design as the hopeful saviors of the city and thus imbuing artists and creative entrepreneurs with the social responsibilities of ameliorating Detroit’s many ills. Throughout Detroit's history, single-family homes have been fought for and neglected, the object of real estate speculation and artistic appropriation, symbols of belonging, and means of racial discrimination. Today, the sheer quantity of vacant single-family homes, estimated at almost 30,000, makes them one of Detroit's most easily exploitable and malleable resources. Amid public discourse of Detroit’s long-awaited renaissance, they have become a renewed site of control and subversion, an ostensible indicator of the city’s health, and the philosophical, material, and political site in which urban transformations are envisioned, enacted, and engaged. This dissertation concludes that creative interventions on single-family homes help to establish normative concepts of “community" and urban citizenship, redefine public and private spaces, and make visible the rhetoric of top-down efforts that seek to define the 'right way' to revitalize Detroit's neighborhoods.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33493531
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