TAKE AN OLD HOUSE AND TEACH IT A NEW TRICK
You have heard it all before…..urban decay (also known as urban rot and urban blight) is the process whereby a part of a city, falls into disrepair. Is it because of deindustrialization and then depopulation? Urban blight has left abandoned buildings and homes to decay in the city landscape.
Since the 1970s and 1980s, urban decay has affected nearly every western city in North America and more recently with the foreclosure crisis that hit became more apparent. While in some cities this continues to be a problem and demolition seemed to be an answer, Collinwood sees it as an opportunity. With the recent streetscape improvements and home ownership program, Collinwood’s approach to many of these neglected properties might be considered a compromise between historic preservation and demolition. Adaptive reuse is when you not only think out of the box but maybe think about what you can put inside the box. In this case, take an old site or building for a purpose other than which it was built or designed for. Adaptive reuse is seen by many as a key factor and the foundation for economic growth and development in many of these forgotten neighborhoods.
The Lotus Project on East 156th Street takes the possibilities to another level. With an increased interest by artists in the area, finding properties has been a challenge in a growing Arts and Entertainment District. The other disadvantage for an artist or art related business would then be affordability. Northeast Shores Development Corporation recognized the potential as well as the opportunity. East 156th Street, South of Waterloo Road has experienced this blight. Most of the homes, because of their proximity to the highway have become rental properties or have been abandoned or foreclosed. Proximity to a highway may hurt or reduce interest in the residential investor but highway access and proximity to an entertainment district unveiled the possibility of re-purposing these homes. The Lotus Project gets its name in an adaptive reuse sort of way. Lotus is the water lily and East 156th is off of Waterloo Road. Several of the homes are now in the process of their own transformation. Satellite Gallery will be the first to open in this unique growing arts district. Is Cleveland the first to re-purpose homes? No, you may see an attorney’s office in downtown Media located in a home. The idea isn’t new but Collinwood isn’t Medina. Pittsburgh has a row of homes that have been re-purposed known as the Asylum houses. City ofAsylum/Pittsburgh creates a thriving community for writers, readers, and … COA/P rehabilitates houses on Pittsburgh’sNorthside for writers-in-residence. A visit to the east side of Detroit would introduce you to the Heidelberg Project. TheHeidelberg Project is an outdoor art project that was created in 1986 by artist Tyree Guyton and his grandfather Sam Mackey (“Grandpa Sam”) as an outdoor art environment in theMcDougall-Hunt neighborhood on the city’s east side, just north of the city’s historically African-American Black Bottomarea. The Heidelberg Project is in part a political protest, as Tyree Guyton’s childhood neighborhood began to deteriorate after the 1967 riots.