After billionaire landlord Dan Gilbert commissioned a mural, less-legal works in Fairey's style began showing up around the city. Detroit's case against the artist brings gentrification's ironies into focus.
Detroit has moved to prosecute Shepard Fairey, the street artist behind "the much-imitated 'Hope' poster that came to symbolize Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, and the 'Obey' series that features the enigmatic face of the wrestler Andre the Giant."
Invited to the city by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, Fairey "may not have been willing to color entirely within the lines. When he came to Detroit to do the job, several other works in his signature style showed up wheat-pasted around town [...] Now the city is prosecuting the artist on felony charges of malicious destruction of property, claiming that he caused as much as $30,000 in damage."
Fairey's arrest evokes a certain irony. Gentrifying developers "want neighborhoods to be 'colorful' and 'edgy,' with exciting 'street culture' that draws younger consumers to spend dollars in cafes and bars and boutiques—and ultimately to settle down in pricy loft-style apartments, fattening the tax rolls."
But a disconnect remains between "municipal dreams of a city where artists drive economic growth in an orderly, controlled way, and the reality of how artists see the world—or how they want to be seen." Is street art okay in a city like Detroit? Does graffiti attract the "wrong" people—or the right ones? These questions remain unanswered.
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
Hawai’i Transportation Projects Receive Federal Grants
State officials say they need around $15 billion to mitigate the impacts of rising seas.
Feds Announce Over $3 Billion in Homelessness Assistance Funding
The Continuum of Care grants are directed to programs that provide supportive services and boost housing stability.
AI’s Growing Threat to Climate Justice
Emerging technologies like AI have great promise for climate innovation, but also a hidden environmental footprint could lead to disproportionate harm to low-income and marginalized communities.
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Harvard GSD Executive Education
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.