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Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Protecting Perception

In order to make downtown Detroit look cleaner to the middle class who will be attending the Super Bowl, the city government will be removing the lovely marquee of the vacant United Artists Theater, built in 1928. The city also plans to clean all of the attached office building's windows of the intriguing Mayan-style graffiti that an unknown artist painstakingly painted onto the many panes. The graffiti is far more interesting and pretty than blank glass, and also does more to make the long-vacant building seem lively. Open, empty windows will accentuate the abandonment.

I wonder what will become of the marquee. Hopefully it will not turn up in an unscrupulous Chicago salvage shop, as Detroit's architectural treasures often do. A more likely fate is the scrap yard.

What will the cleaning and marquee removal really accomplish? Random crime will be rampant on game day, and has nothing to do with the marquee and graffiti. Superficial actions like this will do nothing to protect people from muggings. Then again, in the name of major league sports, anything can be done so long as it makes suburban fans feel better.

2 comments:

Brian S. said...

I believe I've seen this building before - does the People Mover run right next to it?

Michael Allen said...

Yes, the People Mover is right by the building.