Sunday, September 26, 2010

Urban Renewal and Designer Shoes

Palladium Boots, a company founded in 1920 to produce tires for the aviation industry. After demand fell drastically after WWII, they re-invented themselves as a shoe company by re-fashioning their rubber-and-canvas product into the strongest soles on the market.

Their evolution as a company appears to have piqued their interest in other "revivals," including cities like Detroit, and have created a 3-part video series on the city starring Johnny Knoxville.

"Once the fourth-largest metropolis in America—some have called it the Death of the American Dream. Today, the young people of the Motor City are making it their own DIY paradise where rules are second to passion and creativity. They are creating the new Detroit on their own terms, against real adversity. We put our boots on and went exploring."

Reactions to the films have been mostly positive. Nolan Finley, editorial page editor for the Detroit News, acklowledged that the city's young "creative underground" plays an important role, albeit not the only role, in the revitalization of the city.

"I'm still not sure they're the answer for renewing Detroit. But as downtown businessman Larry Mongo says in the documentary, "They're filling some of the gaps." Whatever plan emerges from Mayor Dave Bing's land-use hearings shouldn't choke off their energy and enthusiasm with red tape. What we've done for 40 years hasn't worked; we may as well give them their shot."From The Detroit News, September 26, 2010