Transdisciplinary Urbanism Studio: swlab energy farm

networked infrastructures, research and practice

AJ’s Site Visit

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Site: Located in Tireman, Southwest of Detroit

Date: 09/21/2013, Saturday

Time: 10:00 AM – 01:00 PM

Purpose of the site visit: Provide a few findings and factual data for the initial analysis.

Route of visit: My visit process begins with outdoor facilities of Sampson-Webber Academy and Biddle Elementary School, such as, building envelope, landscape, playground, outdoor basketball court, and so on. Then, take the school site as the center and visit the surroundings.

SITE + NEIGHBORHOOD + PEOPLE

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Site:

I traveled through the neighborhood area (67 acres) which assumes Sampson-Webber Academy and Biddle Elementary School as the center (school area: 13 acres). Tireman Avenue serves as a dividing line between South of Tireman and North of that.

All the roads surrounding the site are two-way streets and each road has its corresponding sidewalk. DDOT Bus #27 and #47 work in the area. I couldn’t locate adequate safety signs in the surrounding of schools, such as “stop” signs and “school zone” signs. For a main traffic area and a school zone, it’s not safe enough for students who often walk to school.

There is great difference in the management of green area. I met a work team that was cleaning the campus landscape when I visited the site. I couldn’t find a lot of overgrown grass and plants in the residential area surrounding the schools.

The land use of the site includes institutional, commercial, and single-family residential. Most are single-family residences. The main commercial strip is along Tireman Avenue on south side of Tireman. There are a few vacant properties in the neighborhood, especially south of Tireman. I can find three or more abandoned houses in each block. In spite of this, there are over ten churches in the neighborhood!

Unfortunately, I noticed that there were not too many activities in the community. Churches can provide a lot help for this, but I think it is necessary to provide more public space and increase the community connection. However, the residents have a deep emotional connection and protective consciousness for the community and schools. During my visit, at least three people asked me, the stranger, ”Who are you?” or “Why do you stay here taking pictures?”.

In summary, our site on Tireman holds a lot of promise. The residents have very high enthusiasm for the revival of community and that gives [TU] Studio an opportunity to aid in facilitating that revival.

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