Connecting the dots to urban revitalization with the Heidelberg Project

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Che, D 2007, 'Connecting the dots to urban revitalization with the Heidelberg Project', Material Culture, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 3-49.


Art can reflect distinct places and cultures and can serve as a catalyst for economic and social change. To examine the intersection between geography and art, this article utilizes a case study of Detroit's internationally known Heidelberg Project, which incorporates cast-off, abandoned objects to highlight problems such as blight, abandonment, homelessness, drugs, racism, and child abuse. Through his open-air art and community project, urban environmental artist Tyree Guyton has urged rethinking, action, and working towards change by participants and visitors alike at different geographic scales: on Heidelberg Street, the city of Detroit, and the world community. Given that children are the future of their communities, Heidelberg-derived youth environmental art projects are particularly crucial as they help young people understand and realize their potential.

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