Conversation on Sustainable Local Economy

Monday, November 30th, 2009. 6:30 pm. Boggs Center, 3061 Field Street. Detroit, MI 48214.

Join us for a conversation on community building, creating new kinds of work and transforming ourselves through a “green” lens. Speaking on behalf of a diverse range of projects, initiatives, and ideas will be Tom and Peggy Brennan, Sandra Simmons, and Mitch Cope and Gina Reicart. (Folks from WARM, EMEAC, and Avalon Breads will be on hand as well).

The Brennans are the couple responsible for the Green Garage in Midtown, Detroit. “The Green Garage is actually 3 things: a building located in the Midtown area of Detroit, a business enterprise, and a community of people dedicated to Detroit’s sustainable future.”

Mama Sandra and Baba Charles Simmons are the founders of The Hush House, which, “offers leadership training, programs for homeless and low income families, space for community meetings and operates a community black world history museum.” Additionally, the Simmons, an architecture student, and their volunteers are developing plans to expand the Hush House, build a greenhouse, and further develop sustainable and responsible work with and for their neighbors.

Gina Reicart and Mitch Cope bought a house down the street from their home in Detroit for $1,900. It’s now refereed to as the Power House, which serves two primary goals:

  1. To develop a model home. The house, as an architectural experiment, will work as a prototype example or model home for what is possible in the current atmosphere of cheap housing in the city. What does it take to create a truly affordable, secure, sustainable house for under $99,000?
  2. The house is a social art project. Because it is a house in transition, we will use the transformation to create a platform for communication between members of the community. Every act that is made with the house is readily apparent to the neighbors and, even without asking, many neighbors give us materials, ask to take materials, offer to help, ask for help, and also help protect the house from thieves. The dialogue has already begun with just the few small moves already made. The Power House intends to be a stimulator and not an end in itself as a singular art object. The Power House is a broadcaster of potential ideas and a place to plug those ideas into. The Power House will be used as an interactive site, by us and by our neighbors. The Power House will become a symbol for creativity, new beginnings and social interaction within the neighborhood.

What can we learn from these projects about developing meaningful work, sustainably?

What are ways in which alternative energies can not only power our homes and businesses, but also bring neighborhoods and communities together?

How do we deepen our commitment to create a sustainable local economy in Detroit?


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