The "Rust Belt," a region of north central United States, is well known as an area where once thriving industrial cities have declined in economic health and population. As a result, many of the region's cities have been subject to grand proposals that aim to fix these city's problems--but could such schemes also provide a way to intervene in other serious global issues? In a recent article, Metropolis Magazine’s Web Editor and former ArchDaily Managing Editor Vanessa Quirk argues that refugees could reinvigorate such cities, describing how refugees are “boosting American’s legacy cities,” but simultaneously “encountering resistance from residents.”
In one sense, the proposal is incredibly simple: “Syrians need homes; Detroit needs people.” However, as Quirk explains, there are of course plenty more layers to the situation. What, then, is the role of design when it comes to cutting through these layers, and could it be a way to “reframe the narrative around refugees,” providing a response to those who still harbor a fear of the “other”?
These questions begin to be answered through several case studies across Detroit, Buffalo and Cleveland, where design has already begun to contribute to the new lives of refugees and immigrants, in increasingly healthier, more vital neighbourhoods.
For the full story, read the entire piece over at Metropolis Magazine here.