Packard Farms: Rekindling Industry from Derelict Landscapes
Between 1960 and 2000, Detroit experienced a 43% population drop. Of Detroit’s 138 square miles, 20 are reported to be vacant. Yet the city is more populous and more dense than Memphis, Denver, Portland, or Atlanta. How can Detroit’s abundant available land and buildings be transformed into an asset that serves the over 700,000 residents of the city? How does vacant landscape become productive, enabling Detroit to “right-size” without resident relocation and additional urban erasure? Built in 1903 by Albert Kahn for the Packard Automotive Company, the Packard Plant is a Detroit landmark. Kahn, “The Builder of Detroit,” revolutionized American industrial design with Packard #10. Now, the plant is famous for being one of the world’s largest ruins and the adjacent neighborhood nearly vacant. Packard Farms is an adaptive reuse project that utilizes vacancy at the ground level for bioremediation and fuel crops while using vertical farming techniques within the building. Packard Farms capitalizes on Michigan green energy initiaties and the growing urban farming movement to create a largely self-sustaining building and community.