Wednesday, March 18, 2009

That Light at the End of the Tunnel is Gaining Strength

This from Boing Boing-Yeah!! Let the artists run things- the time has come!

Artists buying cheap houses in Detroit
Posted: 17 Mar 2009 11:41 PM PDT

A small colony of artists is cropping up in Detroit, taking advantage of the bottomed-out property prices, buying houses for as little as $100:
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.

Now, three homes and a garden may not sound like much, but others have been quick to see the potential. A group of architects and city planners in Amsterdam started a project called the “Detroit Unreal Estate Agency” and, with Mitch’s help, found a property around the corner. The director of a Dutch museum, Van Abbemuseum, has called it “a new way of shaping the urban environment.” He’s particularly intrigued by the luxury of artists having little to no housing costs. Like the unemployed Chinese factory workers flowing en masse back to their villages, artists in today’s economy need somewhere to flee.


Lynnette Labelle said...

Guess I should move to Detroit. Just kidding!

Lynnette Labelle

Helen Ginger said...

Sounds like a good move for the artists, the community and the town's livelihood and recovery.


Anonymous said...

This is fantastic. I wish it would happen in Sydney, I would love to live in an artistic community instead of in the midst of corporate drone central. An uplifting story!

Lauri said...

I thought is was such an uplifting story.

Lynette thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Sounds like a great opportunity. The fixing up takes money, but can be done slowly. I like the fact that they made a garden area. I know of another town area that did that and 4 brownstone city houses semi surround the green. If you have to live in a large city, this would be the way to go.

Given the state of the real Estate Market State Side, there are opportunities like that in various large inner city areas to buy places at a greatly reduced amount. I haven't heard of prices quite this low though. I guess it would be a matter of looking for them.

Good story, Lauri.