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My name is Claire, and I love Rust Belt cities and underdog neighborhoods. You can reach me at clairelovesthecity {at} gmail {dot} com.

I live on the East Side of Detroit, near Hamtramck. I recently completed my BA in Urban Studies and Economics, after many years of working in libraries.

I spent my childhood in the City of St. Louis and my teen years in Chicagoland. I returned to St. Louis as an adult, and spent five years living in the socially rich, wonderfully diverse Old North St. Louis neighborhood.  There, I organized with neighbors to fight for the preservation of our community’s social and built fabric. If you’re from St. Louis, yes I am talking about Paul McKee’s aggressively destructive landbanking, displacement, and demolition project. When someone comes for your neighborhood and your block, it changes your life.

I moved to Detroit in 2009, drawn here in part because the Detroiters I met were talking frankly and openly about their city and its challenges. This is a place where people have the kind of conversations I want to have.

My projects since moving here include helping a friend launch her independent boutique; advocating for more equitable transit and alternatives to the expansion of I-94 as a part of the MOSES Transportation Task Force; serving as both a staff docent and a volunteer at the Heidelberg Project; and giving many, many tours of Detroit to visitors and locals alike.

My pre-Detroit projects include a organizing two monthly networking events, one for preservationists and architects, and the other for librarians; organizing two proms and one jazz funeral on board public transit with a friend; co-curating a 16mm film series; co-chairing the committee to stabilize the Mullanphy Emigrant Home; and a variety of other formal and informal architectural preservation advocacy projects. From 2006 to 2010, I maintained a photoblog about life on the North Side of St. Louis. You can find it here: Postcards from North St. Louis

Curious Feet began in 2007 as a project to walk every block in the City of St. Louis–hence the name. Though I did not ultimately decide to go through with the project in the most literal sense (65 square miles of city!), I nonetheless relied on walking and public transit as my only forms of transportation for many years. Curious Feet is about the kind of relationship you can build with your city if you get to know it slowly, from its sidewalks.

Making the Motor City my home has been a decidedly auto-centric experience. Still, I love this usually-inspiring, sometimes-heartbreaking, never-boring city. There is no place I’d rather be. 

Claire Nowak-Boyd / clairelovesthecity {at} gmail {dot} com

PLEASE NOTE: All opinions expressed on this blog are mine, and do not reflect my employers or volunteer affiliations.

Published on February 24, 2011 at 9:31 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Curious Feet:
    I just wanted to say your post about the Troy public library was excellent. If I had seen it earlier I would have shared it. You articulated all of my concerns so well. I’m happy to report that yesterday Troy was given a second chance, and we voted to keep the library. Thank you for caring. Thank you for writing the post.

  2. Curious Feet:

    I currently attend Northern Michigan University and was reading your article about the East Detroit Public Library and was concerned about the demolition. Has the demolition taken place or have they decided on a date? My concern is that the books in the building will be trashed along with the rest of the building upon demolition. If the demolition takes place I would like to take action and try to bring the books up to Northern Michigan University to be incorporated into our own library system where they will be used for research by college students and taken care of by the library. Please contact me back about this issue, thank you.

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