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A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning pres.

Symposium: Emerging Urbanisms in De-Industrializing Urban Regions

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This symposium frames discourses emerging from a relational study of four transatlantic urban regions that display acute asymmetries of concurrent growth and socio-economic decline in the midst of larger economic restructuring: the Detroit Metropolitan Region; the Ruhr Valley; the Innovation Region “Rheinisches Revier” (Aachen-Cologne); and the deindustrializing hinterland of the southern U.S. Eastern Seaboard. The successive cycles of urban transformation have created uneven, landscapes which consist of fissures, empty gaps and vacated spaces interspersed amongst and between developed zones of concentrated and thriving activities. The resulting leftover spaces are latent sites of contestation and uncertainty where rival actors compete for a semblance of control with their own visions of re-use ranging from spontaneous and temporary to deliberate and semi-permanent.

Organized around four different thematic sessions, symposium participants will challenge the notion that all sites of abandonment suffer an identical fate. Examining these four regions as grounds for speculation and a platform for broader reflection engaging other global geographies, participants will engage in discussions regarding the intricate relationship between the simultaneous, incremental erasure of the built environment vis-a-vis ongoing urban projects that instigate, appropriate, produce and reproduce these weak urbanities while projecting more sustainable futures.

This event is co-sponsored by the Seminar Series program at the Urban Studies Foundation (USF) and the University of Michigan Taubman College, and is part of an interinstitutional initiative between the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, and RWTH Aachen University.
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