29 March 2009

Power House Detroit


I recently reconnected (via Facebook) with an old friend who I met in OTR 15 years ago. Perhaps, growing from what she learned in OTR, Gina and her husband Mitch, have been taking action in vacated buildings in Detroit:
...So what did $1,900 buy? The run-down bungalow had already been stripped of its appliances and wiring by the city’s voracious scrappers. But for Mitch that only added to its appeal, because he now had the opportunity to renovate it with solar heating, solar electricity and low-cost, high-efficiency appliances.

Buying that first house had a snowball effect. Almost immediately, Mitch and Gina bought two adjacent lots for even less and, with the help of friends and local youngsters, dug in a garden. Then they bought the house next door for $500, reselling it to a pair of local artists for a $50 profit. When they heard about the $100 place down the street, they called their friends Jon and Sarah.

Admittedly, the $100 home needed some work, a hole patched, some windows replaced. But Mitch plans to connect their home to his mini-green grid and a neighborhood is slowly coming together... - NY Times
They have been getting LOTS of media attention lately. See here, here and here. Their website is here. Don't miss their recent post about the inquiries from people interested in following their footsteps.

UPDATE: Here is a link to a good video about the $100 house


VisuaLingual said...

Interesting. Evidently, they know a friend of mine, whose work they carry in their retail space, and who is also rehabbing a Detroit house with his wife.

dave said...

Lets hear it for the big D, who would ever think the city might be the model of alternative energy innovation! Excellent story Mike!

Mark Miller said...

At first I thought they installed a random assemblage of aluminum siding to get that look. Now I see they purposely painted the clapboard that way. Not my taste, but interesting.

I especially like the neighbor who's "packing." Very urban-redneck; I could definitely get along with these people.

CityKin said...

hard times = innovation, creativity.

Yes there is hope in Detroit.