by Louis Bach, Communications
Data Driven Detroit, in conjunction with the Old Schools, New Uses conference, has released a new interactive tool to provide users with information about Detroit Public School buildings and properties that are featured for sale. The tool provides prospective re-developers with contextual information about neighborhood amenities and characteristics, reducing the need for additional research.
This tool supports the adaptive reuse of vacant buildings, a flexible neighborhood revitalization strategy. John Gallagher at the Detroit Free Press explains the importance of reusing former schools:
It’s not new that DPS is selling off vacant school buildings. What differed about the DPS presentation today was the collaboration with multiple other groups working to reinvent the city, including the Detroit Works program, the Michigan Association of Planning and others.
Karla Henderson, Mayor Dave Bing’s group executive for planning and facilities, told today’s gathering that repurposing empty school buildings represents a key part of revitalizing Detroit neighborhoods.
“We are so open and flexible at this time in thinking outside the box,” she said, citing the recent example of the nonprofit group Southwest Solutions adapting a former police precinct on West Vernor near I-75 as a community arts center as the type of adaptive reuse the city is willing to entertain…
Andrea Brown, executive director of the Michigan Planning Association, said old school buildings represent key assets in many urban neighborhoods. The buildings tend to be well-built, feature notable architecture, have long served as community anchors and often come with considerable acreage that could serve many purposes.