Agenda for the Working Group Meeting in Monterey

Innovative Reuse in the Post-Industrial City Working Group

Thursday, March 20

Session 24: 3:30-5:30, Ferrante I

Co-Facilitators: Devin Hunter and William Ippen

I. Introduction of the Working Group theme

II. Brief recap of each case study: each participant will introduce themselves and have 5-10 minutes to update or emphasize aspects of their case study

III. Common concerns and challenges: in an open discussion, we will arrive at a set of issues that recur in case studies

IV: Common opportunities and potential

V: Audience comments

VI. Towards a Working Group product: what do we want the ultimate output of this working group to be?

VII: Draft a rough timeline and schedule of responsibilities for ongoing work

VIII: Thanks and goodbye!

The West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail

Ann McCleary, Professor, University of West Georgia

This is one of seven case studies by members of “Innovative Re-Use in the Post-Industrial City,” a working group at the 2014 National Council on Public History annual conference. Read more about the working group here.

I was interested when I first saw this proposal in a discussion thread on-line because we are engaged in organizing an industrial heritage trail in the west Georgia region. Our area has long been engaged in the textile industry, beginning with the cotton industry in the nineteenth century. By the 1920s, hosiery mills have moved to our region, followed by the men’s clothing industry in the 1930s. Chenille production began in our northern areas in the early twentieth century, and this evolved into a carpet industry that blossomed after WWII. With NAFTA, these industries began to move off-shore or close, leaving behind vacant industrial buildings in many of our communities, as well as company towns. Towns and cities in our region are often tearing down these industrial manufacturing facilities, although a few are getting repurposed. About three years ago, we began to work with several residents of industrial families and heritage tourism experts to create the West Georgia Textile Heritage Tour to tell these stories and help preserve these historic structures that define the many large and small communities in our region. The trail is coming up upon its first-year anniversary, and we are learning more and more about the challenges of preserving this history. I will bring our experiences to the table in Monterey.

Roosevelt Row: Building Cultural Vibrancy in Downtown Phoenix

Michelle Bickert, MA Public History, Arizona State University

This is one of seven case studies by members of “Innovative Re-Use in the Post-Industrial City,” a working group at the 2014 National Council on Public History annual conference. Read more about the working group here.

 

The Gold Spot Marketing Center opened as a shopping center in 1925. It fell victim to sprawl and inner-city neglect in 1983. It now hosts a coffee shop, Pita Jungle, and paint studio. Michelle Bickert.

The Gold Spot Marketing Center opened as a shopping center in 1925. It fell victim to sprawl and inner-city neglect in 1983. It now hosts a coffee shop, Pita Jungle, and paint studio. Michelle Bickert.

Downtown Phoenix has struggled for decades to assert its value as a center for government, commerce, and culture amidst the ever-decentralizing forces of desert sprawl. The exponential postwar growth in the Valley of the Sun left the relatively young downtown ignored when its denizens ditched it for the suburbs in the 1950s. In the 1970s city leadership tried revitalizing by knocking down blighted neighborhoods to create high-rises and parking lots, resulting in impenetrable superblocks with few community anchors. Since the 1980s, the city has invested in historic neighborhoods, arts districts, stadiums, auditoriums, a convention center, and public transporation in an effort to bring people and business back to downtown. In recent years downtown Phoenix has turned its abandoned warehouses into art galleries, historic homes into swanky bars and restaurants, and a crime-ridden neighborhood into a destination arts community. Developing the city’s culture not only improves quality of life and directly stimulates the economy by bringing more people downtown and increasing tax revenue; it also helps Phoenix attract high-tech industries and workers. Typically panned by critics as an example of unsustainable sprawl, downtown Phoenix’s recent commitments to adaptive reuse, urban infill, and public transportation beg reevaluation as a new urban model. The Roosevelt Row arts district is a prime example of a revitalization project that can give Phoenix a clear cultural identity to help bolster the city’s competition in the knowledge economy. Continue reading

Tempe’s Downtown Redevelopment and the Hayden Flour Mill

Alyssa Gerzewski, Public History MA student, Arizona State University

This is one of seven case studies by members of “Innovative Re-Use in the Post-Industrial City,” a working group at the 2014 National Council on Public History annual conference. Read more about the working group here

Hayden Flour Mill. Alyssa Gerszewski.

Hayden Flour Mill. Alyssa Gerszewski.

This case study examines efforts to preserve and re-use the Hayden Flour Mill, a post-industrial site located at the corner of Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue in the heart of downtown Tempe, Arizona.  The case reveals many aspects of the Tempe’s growth and economic development over time, the City of Tempe’s redevelopment strategy, as well as its overall approach to historic preservation since the 1960s.  It raises issues of adaptive re-use in economic downturn, and the challenges of preserving a post-industrial site in an increasing dense redeveloped downtown.  To solve these issues, several steps must be taken by Tempe’s public and private actors.

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Bagnoli Steel Mill@Naples, Italy: History, Meaning and the Role of Art

Don Fels, Independent Artist and Scholar

This is one of seven case studies by members of “Innovative Re-Use in the Post-Industrial City,” a working group at the 2014 National Council on Public History annual conference. Read more about the working group here

The steel mill at Bagnoli on the Gulf of Naples was for a century, until its demise in the mid-1990s, Italy’s largest. The Italsider mill had been updated with new blast furnace technology when the Italian government, caving to environmental pressure (and the attendant costs) legislated by the European Union, closed it. The new blast furnace and much of the operational equipment was sold off piece meal. The Bagnoli blast furnace operates now in India, other steel-making operations in Korea and China also incorporate parts of the decommissioned mill.

Steel Mill at Bagnoli

Steel Mill at Bagnoli

Naples is the densest city in Europe. Though it sits incredibly handsomely on the Bay of Naples, there is precious little green or public space for its population. With the closing of the plant, Bagnoli, already accessible by public transportation and located very close to the Naples city center, suddenly represented over 2000 acres of waterfront open space to Neapolitan city planners. In record time and with substantial promised E.U., Italian governmental and private funding, the steel mill site was cleared (with some pieces of ‘industrial archaeology’ left in-situ). A couple of decades later, the recovery of the site is mired in scandal, delays, cost overruns and endless discussion. Money seems to have mostly sunk out of sight, and with it high hopes for a state of the art recreational facility.

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Innovative Reuse and the Wright Company: Where Do We Go?

Edward Roach, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

Library of Congress

Wright Company Factory, 1911. Library of Congress.

This is one of seven case studies by members of “Innovative Re-Use in the Post-Industrial City,” a working group at the 2014 National Council on Public History annual conference. Read more about the working group here

Two former factory buildings built by the Wright Company that are within the boundary of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park are excellent subjects to consider when discussing sustainability, innovative reuse, and non-charismatic structures.  Congress expanded the national park’s boundary in 2009 to include the home of the 1909-1915 Wright Company, Orville and Wilbur Wright’s not-very-successful attempt to build and sell airplanes commercially. The buildings, built in 1910 and 1911, are presently empty and surrounded by the remnants of Delphi auto parts factory that developed around them over the twentieth century. Most of the Delphi plant is being razed, and developers are preparing the site for a new future. Within the larger factory site is a twenty-acre portion that is within the national park’s authorized boundary but is not yet owned by the NPS or one of its partners. However, the NPS, the city of Dayton, and site redevelopers all wish to see the Wright Company factory buildings (and perhaps three later, architecturally-similar buildings built by General Motors) preserved, rehabilitated, and opened for public visitation. Only the 1910 and 1911 structures, buildings 1 and 2, are connected to the history of the Wright Company. The future of buildings 3-5, built in the late 1920s by General Motors, is less clear. Their exterior architecture is similar in style to buildings 1 and 2, and they could perhaps be sympathetically rehabilitated and used by community partners (perhaps the aviation program of the local community college). Or, since they are not a part of the Wright Company’s history, and since rehabilitation is often difficult to fund, they could be removed. Whatever their fate, it will need to comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and with the NPS’s 2006 Management Policies.

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Development and an Empty Mid-Century Modernist Hospital

Cuneo Hospital Building, Chicago (2013)

Cuneo Hospital Building, Chicago (Hunter)

This is one of seven case studies by members of “Innovative Re-Use in the Post-Industrial City,” a working group at the 2014 National Council on Public History annual conference. Read more about the working group here

When the topic of re-use and preservation of post-industrial urban buildings arises, we most often think of abandoned factories, warehouses, and transportation infrastructure. But “post-industrial” relates to a broader theme of the city in the age of de-industrialization: an era typified by employment and population loss, economic decentralization, and the under-funding of urban public institutions. Population loss has had a particular impact on the built environment of cities formerly defined by the industrialized economy.

I am interested in the fates of buildings that once proved integral to the lives of those who lived in densely populated areas. The re-use and preservation–specifically–of spaces that once housed hospitals, schools, and funeral homes, presents a series of vexing issues. Throw in the fact that many of these buildings were built during the burst of postwar construction, and preservationists face an additional challenge–overcoming the perception of Mid-Century Modernism as ‘ugly,’ ‘soulless,’ or ‘cold.’ Sometimes abandoned hospitals, schools, and funeral homes occupy spaces long-coveted by developers. Other times they languish in neighborhoods completely devastated by de-industrialization, left to the ignominious fate of surrounding empty lots and unmarketable housing.

This case study looks at the efforts to preserve and re-use the Cuneo Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a Mid-Century Modernist marvel that sits on a premium corner in an area ripe for economic re-development. Although not the headline-grabber of the unsuccessful fight to save Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital a few miles to the south, the effort to stave off Cuneo’s demise has involved preservationists, sustainable re-use innovators, and advocates for affordable housing. Unfortunately, Cuneo’s fate is dire. The subsidized plans for luxury apartments to replace the empty hospital have proven impervious to Cuneo defenders; the local alderman sides with the developers, and the Chicago Landmarks Commission denied landmark status for the building. Even an innovative plan for community-focused re-use that preserved Cuneo’s architectural integrity with an eye towards environmental sustainability failed on the launching pad. For those invested in sustainable historic preservation and re-use in the post-industrial city, Cuneo’s plight is both informative and sobering.

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