Jazzing Up the (Post)Industrial City: Scripts for Sustainable Rehabilitation in Detroit and the Ruhr Area

Doctoral Researcher: Juliane Borosch, M.A.

Advisors: Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau and Prof. Dr. Michael Wala

Mentor: Prof. Michael Batty, University College London

Graphic of projects. Project Jazzing Up the Climate-Friendly City is highlighted.

The project Jazzing Up the (Post)Industrial City investigates landmarks of the former industrial city as anchor points for sustainable urban renewal in two paradigmatic (post)industrial areas, Detroit and the Ruhr, area to find out how they are loaded up with future potential for the long-lasting recovery of these cities and are, thus, revaluated. This, I argue, happens at the conjunction of the sustainable and creative urban development. I analyze and define the method/ practice of “jazzing up” as a vehicle for sustainable urban development.

Drawing on a background and toolkit from literary and cultural studies, due to its scope, transatlantic comparison, and urban topic the project is necessarily committed to an interdisciplinary approach. It works with literature and theories from a diverse number of disciplines ranging from literary studies to history, to architecture, to logistics, to urban studies. Jazzing Up the (Post)Industrial City, next to more traditional literary sources such as press articles or photography, uses pragmatic texts such as planning documents, marketing material, buildings themselves, or maps as source material for analysis.

This project included an internship and research period in Detroit, MI, to gain experience in a practical field relevant to this dissertation project. Due to significant COVID-19-related delays this venture took place from May 2021 to June 2022. During this time Juliane Borosch pursued both practical work with urban planning consultants Zachary and Associates as well as renewable energy company D2Solar and academic work. She was a visiting scholar in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, USA and a visiting resident scholar at the Humanities Center, also at Wayne State University. Several examples and case studies used in this PhD project, as well as insights into the processes involved in urban planning projects derive from the time spent in Detroit.

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