The Bootstrap Union

University of Oregon
Portland, Oregon
2009 - 2010

The “Motor City” is dead. Bankruptcies in General Motors and Chrysler sent the metropolitan area’s economy into a nosedive and the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 30%. Ford Motor Company managed to keep its doors cracked without government aid, but not before massive layoffs and asset fire sales. The situation is dire and unprecedented: no other American city has seen both economic highs and lows like Detroit. Once referred to as “The Paris of the West,” the city has fallen from its industrial age glory because of shortsighted business practices by the auto companies that inspire its moniker. Despite hard times, Detroit is alive. It just needs a new nickname.

In order for the metropolis to thrive in the 21st century, Detroit must transition from an industrial economy to a more relevant service-based economy. The mission of The Bootstrap Union is to inspire and reinvent the city under a new production model: creativity. It is imperative to attract young and creative people to take up residence in the city, so user-centric marketing principles have been applied to the vision, programming and physical design of The Bootstrap Union. This results in an environment reflective of the desires and aspirations of its tenants. Enroute to its success, The Bootstrap Union must function as more than a building, becoming a vehicle for the provision of the American Dream and symbol of Detroit’s return to the world stage.