What's the opposite of a land grab?
20,000 properties (you read that right) were recently entered into the world's largest property auction -- roughly 5 percent of all the land within the Detroit city limits.
8,000 of those properties in the 2012 Wayne County Land Auction still weren't purchased. And no doubt more properties will end up on the foreclosure rolls next year.
Here's another question -- how does a city bring so much fallow land back to life?
Join us Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Cafe Con Leche’s pop-up cafe in Lafayette Park for an Urban Innovation Exchange forum led by Jerry Paffendorf, the mastermind behind Why Don’t We Own This? and LOVELAND Technologies.
He'll update the crowd on what challenges and opportunities Detroit faces after the last land auction -- and then we'll split up into forums and smaller discussion groups. Should neighborhoods collectively buy land? How do nonprofits get into the game? What if you'd like to buy that empty lot next door, the one with the lawn you've mowed since you've moved in? Can open land be an opportunity, a resource, instead of an insurmountable problem?
We know you have ideas, and opinions and questions. Let's hear them. After all, less than a year remains until the next land auction begins.
Cafe Con Leche del Este is located at 1561 Lafayette Blvd. in Detroit. The event is free & open to the public, but space is limited. Please register in advance here.
Kimo Fredericksen wanted to create a space for "fitness without the attitude." As <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/kimofrederiksenvid.aspx" target="_hplink">owner of True Body Fitness</a> in Corktown, he has also worked with the Ruth Ellis Center.
Rishi Jaitly headed up the Knight Foundation grant-making operations for nearly two years in Detroit and also co-founded Kiva Detroit. Currently, he heads up <a href="http://www.xconomy.com/author/rjaitly/">Twitter's market development efforts India</a>. He's also worked as Google's head of government affairs and public-private partnerships for South Asia. He speaks here on his involvement with Kiva Detroit and the Knight Foundation at the Revitalization & Business Initiative's Detroit Shift conference at the University of Michigan's School of Business.
"Social entrepreneur" Andy Didorosi is the founder of the Paper Street small business incubator based in Ferndale, Mich. and the Detroit Bus Company.
Peggy and Tom Brennan <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/peggybrennanvideo.aspx">run the Green Garage</a>, which is a incubator for green businesses in Midtown housed in a historic building that they converted into a net-zero energy building. "It's also a community of people dedicated to more sustainable way of living," said Peggy Brennan.
Motor City Blight Busters' John George <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/johngeorgevideo.aspx">takes the attitude</a>, "get off your ass and do something." His nonprofit has "boarded up, secured, demolished, rebuilt, repainted or otherwise positively impacted some 1,500 houses in the city with 120,000 volunteers logging almost 700,000 hours."
Steve And Dorota Coy
Urban artists Steve and Dorota Coy <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/videosteveanddorotacoy.aspx">make up Hygienic Dress League</a>. "We know literally painting on a building isn't like saving the homeless," Steve Coy says. "We're aware of that, but we also think there's a very important role of what it does do. I love the idea of ... broadening people's cultural experience."
Chandra Moore-Banks works to make sure kids <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/chandramoorevideo.aspx">don't get left out of placemaking</a> with CoG Studio.
Scott Alan Davis
"It's very hard to reverse 50 years-plus of disinvestment," said Scott Alan Davis, "So how do we get an equitable on-ramp for people in every in community to get on the prosperity highway." Davis <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/vanguardcdcvideo.aspx">works with the Vanguard CDC on education, community and economic development</a> in the North End neighborhood of Detroit.
Soh Suzuki <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/soh-suzuki-video.aspx">runs the Detroit Asian Youth (DAY) Project</a>, building a sense of community and identity for Asian-American youth.
Dave Mancini is the owner of Supino's Pizzeria in Detroit. He talks here about his relationship with Jerry Belanger, owner of the Park Bar, and cooperation between Detroit business owners.
Steve Nawara is working to disrupt the music industry model <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/steve-nawara-video.aspx">with Beehive Recording Studio</a>, which records Detroit bands for free and gives the music away for free. "It's using what we have here right now to make the best possible product we can," Nawara said. "That's what it all boils down to, using what's around you rather than going, oh we can't do this ... we can't do anything until we have these outside resources -- no, we have all the resources right here."
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-m-blackhawk-phd/">Terry Blackhawk </a>founded the InsideOut Literary Arts Project in 1995. The program <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/terry-blackhawk-video.aspx">brings writers to schools to work with students</a>, improving skills and helping them find a voice. "Our young people are up against so many difficult life circumstances." Blackhawk said. "So what's important about this is they have the ability to address these issues. They have a chance to be inventive, to be imaginative, to create, to think critically, and when you give them the tools of language, then they can go in whatever direction they want."
Charlie Cavell <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/charlie-cavell-video.aspx">founded the nonprofit Pay It Forward Initiative</a> to "employ, educate and empower young adults in Detroit."
With the Detroit Mural Factory, Halima Cassells works with the community to <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/halima-cassells-video.aspx">bring art to empty spaces</a>.
A former felon, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yusef-bunchy-shakur/">Yusef Shakur</a> sees his daily work as a debt he continues to pay back to his community <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/yusef-shakur-video.aspx">with several project revolving around his shop the Urban Network</a>. "A bookstore, that's the most radical sh*t you can do in the 21st century, open a bookstore in certain areas," he said. "So why would I open up a bookstore? Because I know my people need it, I know my community needs it."
Jessica Williams <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/jessica-williams-video.aspx">runs the Young Adults of Heidelberg project</a>. "It allows young adults to know that there is this place that's outside of a typical institution that would allow them to just be radical," she said. She helps students make their art ideas, from painting a mural to throwing an event, come to life.
Delphia Simmons <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/delphia-simmons-video.aspx">founded Thrive</a>, a street newspaper sold by homeless individuals. It works to address a need she saw, to address immediate financial concerns of an underserved population with self-employment opportunities. "I think the thing that kind of prevents some people from kind of stepping out and doing things is thinking they need a lot of financing, but if you get 10 people that believe in what you're doing, and those 10 people each get 10 people, and thats how you grow a movement, or a tribe around what you're doing," she explained.
Bobby Smith started En Garde!, where he runs fencing programs for Detroit youth. "The genesis was really to give the opportunity that was given to me back to some inner city kid," Smith said. "It grew from there .... It wasn't just a sport anymore. It was wow, I can engage kids, i can get them physically healthy, and I can make them smarter because fencing is called physical chess for a reason." I call fencing a Detroit sits down with Philip Lauri and Steven Oliver of DETROIT LIVES! to talk about the merits of social enterprise, and how his youth fencing programs are challenging the way education, particularly physical education, is delivered in schools.
Amy Kaherl <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/amy-kaherl-video.aspx">started Detroit SOUP</a>, bringing people together once a month for soup, conversation, and supporting local innovation. It's $5 for the event and dinner, where groups and individuals talk about projects they're working on and fundraising for; afterwards, everyone votes for their favorite, and money from the entrance fee goes to the winner.
Jordi Corbonnel <a href="http://www.uixdetroit.com/videos/jordi-carbonell-video.aspx">owns Cafe Con Leche</a>, a coffee shop serving the community in Southwest Detroit. Corbonnel recently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/cafe-con-leche-detroit-jordi-carbonell_n_2119055.html">opened a pop-up outpost of the coffee shop</a> in Lafayette Park.