Detroit is uniquely positioned to innovate the way we live together. Due to its well-documented population implosion, it is a blank slate of near-empty neighborhoods ringed by vacant industrial and commercial properties. Together, these assets can be used, along with social media, to build intentional neighborhoods centered around common interests, extended families, and economic justice. I am looking for a team to fund and implement this concept.
Why Detroit? And why do we need to change the way we live? One word: basements. Detroit has arguably the highest concentration of single-family houses built with full basements than any other American city. And the current administration continues to be committed to the demolition of dangerous properties within the neighborhoods. When the houses get torn down, the basement hole remains a problem, because the demand for filling in the hole can’t keep up with the supply of fill-in contractors. So after waiting for years to get an abandoned house torn down, neighbors of these properties get yet another dangerous eyesore. It solves little.
My solution? 3D printing, and a social media site that would allow people to build intentional communities around how Americans will live in the future.
Social media has had an interesting yet predictable life cycle. The anonymity that has spawned the hate and isolation we see now is nearing saturation. It is my hypothesis that humans need to live together and that we will begin to see a maturation of social media away from isolation and toward community. It is my hypothesis that people want to live together in peace. Detroit can be the new model for how that can happen all over the country, and the world.
Tear down blighted houses on a Detroit block. Put 3D printers in the basements and build the homes of the future: largely below-ground (energy efficient), utilizing new technology (solar, etc.), suitable for singles or small families and designed for an aging population. The existing neighbors remain. Social media communities form around common goals (the arts, sustainability, sports, gun-free; the list is endless) and these communities move in. The peripheral industrial buildings provide ancillary space to support the community: child care, elder care, medical co-ops, dance spaces, dining halls, libraries, recording studios, greenhouses.
Simultaneously, larger industrial and commercial spaces are repurposed for communal living. Imagine living in a converted school and having an Olympic-sized swimming pool to use whenever you want. Or a dance studio big enough to house an entire company. Or access to a state-of-the-art silkscreen press. All possible. All it takes is people tired of living in solitude and loneliness and aching for human contact.
For extended families looking to live communally, there is a large stock of enormous single-family houses, multi-family houses, apartment buildings or the abovementioned industrial/commercial buildings that can be converted for families wishing to live together. As the population ages, this type of living arrangement will become increasingly popular and can strengthen and empower families and neighborhoods.
The age of isolation is over. Come to Detroit.