Detroit: $500 Home On The Ruins Of Fordism

  • Five people from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning transformed an abandoned house in Detroit into their own design lab. The students bought a 500 dollar house to rethink the concept of the one-family house and sub-urbanism while re-designing it.


    The ruins of capitalism that Detroit is transforming into has a mysterious attraction on urbanists, architects and designers. The Motor City, that once was the smoking headquarter of American Fordism, is bleeding to death. The population has decreased from 1.85 million residents in 1950 to 951,270 in 2000. Which is ironically a consequence of the car itself, as being explained in this brilliant infographic about the car and suburban development of Detroit. The current state of Detroit  –  a shrinking mega-city in one of the richest countries in the world – is completely new and therefore definitely interesting.

    Before we wrote about Detroit as the new Berlin. A place where new creative ideas are able to rise because of the thrilling vacancy level and therefore low real estate prices. Detroit has 33,529 vacant houses, which is incredibly said but at the same time a gold mine to architects with entrepreneurial ambitions.


    Designers, architects and urbanists consider Detroit to be a place to work on, with charity as a flanking argument, but inspiration and expression as the real driving force. Interesting here is the new role of the designer as a risk-taking participant in urbanism. The new generation of urbanists does not wait for the government to ask them to redesign the trees in a monotonous neighborhood, but instead tries to give expression to a self-formulated assignment, where-ever that is possible in the world. Detroit seems to be the right platform to create a new designer colony, a bottom-up constructed city expressing the new economy on the left-overs of the old one.


    The new concept of Detroit might become ‘investing in creativity’. As soon as enough footloose workers and creative people from all over the world buy a house here and turn it into a magnificent new place, the city will flourish again. And the property value of the initial participants will rise. Click here and here for some business opportunities.