“Basketball Lot” In Birmingham, An Affluent Old Suburb Of Detroit

When was the last time you saw something intriguing in a suburb? Just when I thought “that was it” for anything new to write about suburbia, I saw the first “basketball lot” in suburb in my life in Birmingham!

I was simply speechless when I first encountered this half basketball lot occupying an individual lot. I did take a few classes in grad school about suburbia – Streetcar Suburb, Suburbia Utopia etc. But there was just no historic reference of any kind about “basketball lot”, “recreational lot” or anything like that. Suburb is supposed to be all about houses. You buy a lot or two, build a house or even a basketball court or pool in the back. People don’t usually buy the adjacent lot, tear down a house and basement, fill in the hole and put up a basketball court.

Some people may wonder why the city would let people do that. I guess when the people who wrote the covenant didn’t expect people to be building their own “park” on a separate lot. Just imagine what Birmingham would look like if everyone starts buying up their adjacent lot and putting up dog park, sauna, ice-skating rink and vegetable garden as a separate piece on each lot. This would totally transform, if not “ghettoize”, the landscape of Birmingham. This one “basketball lot” has just started a new page in the history of suburbia. That’s why I told the owner “this is awesome!”

suffield st, birmingham, oakland county, michigan


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