While in Detroit for the Improve Your Lot! event, Interboro decided to do some research for However Unspectacular: The New Suburbanism, an ongoing study of how Detroit’s vacant land gets used. As part of this research, we spent some time talking to people who we thought were using vacant land in interesting ways. This was a real highlight of the trip. One family we spoke to–the Anderahins–was especially accommodating. They invited us into their home, and shared stories about their house, their neighborhood, and their family history.
However Unspectacular: The New Suburbanism looks at what we call “blots.” A blot is the larger lot that results from a homeowner taking, borrowing, or buying one or more adjacent lots. The Anderanins have a really amazing blot. It is big–it is the product of five assembled lots–but it is also very clever. It was interesting to learn first hand from Mike Anderanin and his son Anthony Anderanin things that were previously knowable only through cadastral maps and property record searches. That is, it’s one thing to know that, say, in 1974 a M. Anderanin purchased a lot next to his house; it’s another thing entirely to know that Mike Anderanin purchased a lot next to his house so that his mother could have a rose garden. Thank you to the Anderanin family for adding a human element to our dry research!