Brightmoor, Detroit

Last week I started working full-time in Brightmoor, the neighborhood that is now the focus of my project. It has taken me a while to find the LOCATION of my project. I spent September traveling all over Detroit and surrounding countryside. It was a good adventure but I began to feel road-weary and ready to find a thread to hold on to and stay with.

I first visited Brightmoor with Jens and Felix in early September. We met Riet and her crew of kids in their market garden as they were harvesting for market.  We had a really lovely morning with the kids taking lots of nice portraits in our impromptu portrait studio on the side of a neighbor’s house.  In the afternoon Riet took us on a tour of the neighborhood telling us countless stories of the changes that have taken place in the area since they started cleaning it up and started working the land again.

Brightmoor is a predominantly residential area located on Detroit’s northwest side. The area has been labeled “Blightmoor” in years past for its substantial decay and poverty and it’s ever decreasing population size. I will be working in the 10X10 block with the borders of Telegraph (west) Fenkell (north) Lahser (east) Eaton (south). This is the focus-area of Neighbors Building Brightmoor, an organization spear-headed by Riet and her family.

In this area there over a dozen community gardens, market gardens, house gardens, parks, meadows (empty clean lots), community house and a newly initiated “alternative path-system” through the neighborhood.

Riet and I are working on the path plans and Riet is organizing a few work days in the weeks to come to lay down newspaper and woodchips to further the already started path-system.  More on the path-system soon.

My project is to make a multi-layered map of the 10X10 block area making short audio/visual documentaries at each site of ACTIVITY with the people who live and work there. The map will serve as both a document and guide to what is HERE in 2010, as well as being a platform for people to add ideas and future dreams for how the neighborhood will look like in the future.

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