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Articles by Wes Janz

Wes Janz is a professor of architecture at Ball State University, and the founder of onesmallproject.

Featured Article

Buick City parking lot, 2010.Photos: Wes Janz, except when notedCross-posted from Places [at] Design Observer, an online journal of architecture, landscape and urbanism, published in partnership with Design Observer.

“Distressed are big chunks of Detroit, Flint, Gary, Chicago, East St. Louis, and Cincinnati.” This is what I wrote after completing the weeklong Midwess Distress Tour with my Ball State colleague Olon Dotson and a dozen architecture students in October 2006. “Depressed. Dysfunctioned. Disoriented. Devolved. Dissed. Dissing. How many abandoned buildings should I photograph and take others to photograph before we get the picture? How many houses do you have to see being torn from a city’s fabric before the tearing of one life from another no longer registers? When should you stop, or start, caring?”

After “Midwess,” I saved an email that Glenn Johnson, a property manager at a local land bank who led our tour of Flint, wrote to one student: “I was born here. I would never leave here for good. All that it is and all that it isn’t,” Glenn wrote, “Flint, Michigan, will alway... Read more