Preservation by Elimination: Commemorating Detroit One Demolition at a Time

As the capital of post-industrial world, Detroit has become well known for its vacancy and urban ruins. I consider how three significant demolitions—those of Detroit City Hall in 1961, J. L. Hudson’s building in 1998, and the Brewster-Douglass Projects in 2014—factored in local discourses concerning the city’s declining population, lost industry, and dilapidated architecture. I read the discursive demolition sites to study what might be found in the place of (architectural) absence, namely the absent presence of histories and social memories past that, in turn, are integral to city making.

- journal article in progress