Detroit, ancient Rome share past

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The exhibit, “Detroit and Rome: Building on the Past,” compares the two through archival photos, paintings and more.

Ancient Rome has much to teach 21st-century Detroit about coping with urban decay, says professor Melanie Grunow Sobocinski, who put together the exhibit with student researchers. "All great cities adapt to change by building on that past and our exhibition explores several ways that both Detroit and Rome have done exactly that. She points out both cities are on important waterways. And Detroit's street system, along with Campus Martius, and the architectural styles of many downtown buildings are based on Roman models.

"Both cities changed the world in substantial ways," and later, both had to cope with "a demographic roller coaster." If Rome can adapt, so can Detroit, Sobocinski says.

"Detroit and Rome" is on display through Dec. 2 at the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery in Madrigian Library on the U-M Dearborn campus.

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