Seven Systems

The Seven Systems envisions the urban landscape of Detroit as a site of critical engagement between architecture, social justice, and agency. The systemic migration of African American homeowners from the inner city of Detroit to its suburbs has left in its wake, some housing blocks unkempt, abandoned, and altogether left behind in this moment of Detroit’s revival. While community leaders, community development organizations and non-profits make for the city’s streets to maintain and care for the pockets of abandoned blocks, many African American homeowners remain at risk of losing their homes.

The Seven Systems idealizes a different form of land ownership that empowers residents to be stewards of their built environment. It seeks to accomplish this by integrating seven different forms of restorative interventions it sees as critical to the accessibility, visibility, and maintenance of healthy, innovative living spaces. The Seven Systems of intervention lies within Recycling, Energy, Sustainability, Ecosystem, Social Systems, Housing, and Institutional Systems.

Prioritizing access to innovation, this thesis argues that architectural design may best service the remaining homeowners through a collaborative process that reinforces existing resources while adding anew. Within this lens, the “restorative block” possesses an evolving system of maintenance, care, and stewardship that disrupts the rectangular parcels and ideas of an individual property.

The placement of an active community land trust on a conventional residential street can broaden the visibility of those remaining and their efforts to continue to live within their homes unthreatened by larger systems that seek to displace them. Seven Systems serves as imagery that celebrates the comradery, stewardship, and value of existing Detroit residents who refuse to be moved.
Faculty Advisor:
Gina Reichert