Detroit’s North End

The Common Space narrative plays itself out in various formats and mediums. I think of a theoretical point for which the visual arts intersect with music and architecture. Common Space began as my design thesis project and at some point I was given the opportunity to see it play out in real-time and off the printed page. What was once a theory I could see applied. Recently I’ve looked back to Detroit where I grew up going to clubs and helping to create unique experiences within a music community. This video summarizes a trip back in which I took a look at Detroit’s North End, currently a place of interest where I would love to some day host an ONTOPO in one of it’s variant forms.

On this trip home in 2014 I met with Carlton Gholz of the Detroit Sound Conservancy who introduced me to O.N.E. Mile. They and other groups have been working to preserve the history of Detroit’s North End by engaging the local community with music events, community gardens, artist non-profit projects, spaces and more. I dropped in and spoke to a few folks and asked around why music isn’t best kept as an MP3 or Cassette tape.

The North End was originally part of Hamtramck Township, but was annexed by the City of Detroit in 1891. Along with the rest of Detroit, it experienced a cultural and economic boom in the 1920s and 1930s, due to the success of the automotive industry, and the district continued to experience growth. Many Motown musicians came from the North End, including Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, the Four Tops and Aretha Franklin.