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Steven J. Urban

Petoskey 1913 Paper Art Map

Petoskey 1913 Paper Art Map

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Urban Grid paper art. 


Steve J. Urban’s paper art work illustrates development patterns in Detroit as well as other cities in Michigan.  He uses Sanborn Property maps as a template, and hand cuts construction paper to illustrate the building patterns in black and white. Keeping the contrast simple, a variety of rich patterns emerge from the paper. The variety of building sizes, building shapes and setbacks make for a complex mosaic of urban settlements.  

The timber and tourist industries along with their transportation systems fueled the development and shape of the City of Petoskey.  The extension of the rail system and construction of boat docks with their passenger terminals located on Little Traverse Bay brought in the summer tourists and provided a means of transporting lumber to the Midwest.  The train station, located on what is now Pennsylvania Park in the center of town, brought in the summer tourists.  The remaining foot print is a focal point for the park and the rest of the downtown area.

About the Artist:

During his career as an architect, Steve J. Urban was intrigued by the patterns of the “built environment” within a city.  Meaning the footprints of buildings such as houses, commercial and industrial buildings as well as roads and highways.  The development of any city was shaped by many natural and man-made factors and features.  Unfortunately, the majority of the older areas featured in his work are disappearing without a record of what was there, leaving citizens without a sense of history.  Steve’s artwork is an attempt to document this urban history.


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