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Rosén, Rebecka, 2014. A lot of grassroots : possibilities for vacant land in the shrinking city Detroit . Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management (from 130101)



Shrinking cities are to be found all over the world with various reasons for shrinkage, all somewhat connected to globalization. Through a literature review of current research and connected to contemporary landscape architecture theory the phenomenon has been studied. This thesis presents why, where and how cities are shrinking. The focus is on the processes of deindustrialization and suburbanization operating in the United States of America.
Detroit is one of the most well known examples of a shrinking city, once the fastest growing city, now the fastest shrinking. It is used as a lens to understand the difficulties and potential of a shrinking city focusing on one of the effects: vacant land. A three months field study was conducted to explore and find an alternative approach to planning for shrinking cities and to find opportunities for the vacant land.

The grassroots movement has a strong base in Detroit. Vacant lots are transformed from bottom-up to urban farms, playgrounds, orchards, tree nurseries, pocket parks, art installations and more. This thesis seeks to demonstrate a possible positive transformation of a shrinking city by listening to these processes that are already happening.
The thesis have highlighted common considerations for stabilizing a shrinking city and make it livable for the remaining inhabitants, such as (a) leave the concept of growth, (b) see potential in the vacant land, (c) use both long-term planning and short-term action to guide the urban transformation, (d) recognize and identify what is already happening by using local knowledge, (e) both top-down and bottom-up efforts are necessary in the reorganizing process.
The thesis concludes with presenting a model of how landscape architects can support grassroots initiatives and mediate between them and the city officials.

Main title:A lot of grassroots
Subtitle:possibilities for vacant land in the shrinking city Detroit
Authors:Rosén, Rebecka
Supervisor:Dahl, Caroline
Examiner:Qviström, Mattias and Nord, Jenny
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2014
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LARKA Landscape Architecture - Master's Programme, Alnarp (admitted before July 1, 2007) 300 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management (from 130101)
Keywords:Detroit, shrinking city, grassroots, landscape urbanism, vacant land, urban transformation, bottom-up perspective
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Landscape architecture
Deposited On:14 Apr 2014 09:56
Metadata Last Modified:14 Apr 2014 09:56

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