I went to Detroit last month and found myself in neighborhoods that looked like they had been attacked by enemy forces, had lost their battle and had now surrendered and in most part been abandoned. The house above looks good compared to what I’m talking about.
I didn’t just find myself in Detroit, I went on purpose to help bring books to public school kids who need them and to meet with an amazing neighborhood activist (more about that to come) who is using his creative greenius to create an alternative reality in the heart of one of the worst-of-the-worst places in Motown even in better times then these – and that was before bankruptcy was forced upon the city and its people.
And now Detroit has hit bottom and many are ready to give up on both the city and its people.
But not this Creative Greenius who says – like how it happened or not, Detroit offers a clean slate.
Detroit is an unprecedented opportunity to use the tremendous assets already in place to reimagine and reinvent its post-industrial future and address the great challenge of the 21st century – no, it’s not dealing with deficits or pension obligations, it’s adapting to climate change and building a sustainable society that can survive.
So obviously this isn’t a job for any known political figure or member of the existing power structure – none of them will ever be confused with the best and the brightest and they’re the Clyde Crash Cups who screwed the pooch to begin with.
No this is a job for the company I’ve long been a stockholder of – Google.
Google is smart enough to not only see the opportunity and have the wherewithal to seize it, they also know what to do with it.
Google sees what the Greenius groks – that Detroit may be bankrupt but it still has tremendous resources and infrastructure already in place. Sure those assets were designed and built for a 20th century heavy industry society but they lend themselves to 21st century repurposing by those who can’t help but think beyond the box.
Detroit is on a navigable river that borders the USA’s largest trading partner. Detroit has public transportation, an effective freeway system, rail lines, a modern airport, and uniquely for the USA – land and buildings available for pennies on the dollar.
The Greenius says Google should build a Reimagine Detroit campus, and staff it with some of their greatest creative minds and talents from their own great pool of employees all around the world. Recruit and invite others from the greater pool outside the Googleverse too.
Move them to Detroit and have them become the new Beta City’s Pioneers. The campus and their housing will cost peanuts and you can negotiate a tremendous tax break investment deal with the emergency managers of the city. After all, you’re going to do what no company has ever done on a scope like this before as Google takes the most advanced, most effective and creative solutions and strategies for Reimaning Detroit and then quickly puts them in place in what will become the largest, most dynamic and comprehensive laboratory and model for transforming cities around the country.
Detroit is just the first of many cities that need to be reimagined, reinvented and rebuilt in order to be reborn and reenergized.
Google is uniquely positioned to reinvent a city from the ground up using their expertise and exisiting interests in:
- Climate change adaptation and Sustainability
- Citizen/community engagement
Needless to say Google is the perfect candidate to take this on not just based on their financial and intellectual resources but just as importantly Google’s vision and drive to get great things done in the reality based world.
And I’m writing this and putting it out there because I’d like to help. I’d even be willing to leave my current great job with CBS EcoMedia and relocate from my comfortable Southern California lifestyle to be a small part of the team.
Now is the moment.
i have already seen the future of Detroit and the hope for its reboot and its a guy named Mitch Cope, a fellow creative greenius who lives, works and creates in the Hamtramck neighborhood.
But that’s just one of more than half a dozen projects Mitch and his team are immersed in over
There’s the Jar House – so called because of the cool and unique jars found in the basement.
Once the victim of a string of arsons and vandalism Mitch and the Power House Production team utilize the Jar house as an office/library/residence house and after it’s remodel is complete they plan to offer it as a library and office of sorts that will include information and history about the neighborhood and it’s inhabitants, the changes taking place, as well as space for visiting writers and thinkers. It’s called the Jar House because of the very cool and unique collection of glass jars that were left in the house from the original owners over 80 years ago. Mitch and company have already got a lot of the remodel done and is now looking for the funding to super insulate the house and add a solar PV system on the roof.
The Squash House holds a regulation squash court inside and out in the backyard is a large and productive squash vegetable garden. It also sports a happy, uplifting paint job.
The off-the-grid house is being remodeled into a theatre for live performances. The green metal roofed house has been outfitted with PV solar for electricity, passive solar for heating and cooling, a wind turbine to generate additional electricity, a full battery back up system to store the renewable energy for night use and tremendous use of insulation and energy conservation. It serves as a model for all the other homes in the neighborhood as well as a new destination location for culture.
The former corner store seen below was long boarded up, foreboding and dark. It’s now been remodeled and resurrected into a combination zen garden/community meeting and performance space:
Walking around and spending time there it became obvious that the original neighbors now strongly feel that they were saved from the fear and anxiety of the previous zeitgiest of the area which was filled with gangs, drugs and violence.
This is new neighborhood, still evolving, is incredibly diverse – a mix of young and old, working class families and cutting edge artists. There’s an energy and vibe to it that cannot be denied. Nor will it’s future.
And this didn’t happen because Mitch had a long history acquiring, fixing up and flipping real estate. Mitch is an artist. He taught himself how to navigate the process of acquiring foreclosed homes in the neighborhood for little money. He’s taught himself about energy efficiency, solar and wind power, battery back up systems, insulation, construction and inspiring generations of people to work together.
One great example of the new, creative approach being taken by Mitch and his team are the home security measures – besides the most important – having homes occupied by people who care about them and are fixing them up – there’s the innovative and effective stained glass-looking acrylic shutters they invented and built:
Another is the WWI inspired razzle dazzle window guards that fill a broken window space on abandoned homes, sharp point ends facing out like some sort of scary window thorns.
Imagine thousands of Mitch’s both local and imported as part of a Goggle-led effort and you’ll understand why I see a better way for Detroit and why I’ve put this latest Creative Greenius idea out here for review, discussion and action.
Google dudes, you have my gmail address.