Thursday, March 4, 2010

Loveland on NPR's All Things Considered

[cross-posted from The Imagination Age -- written by Rita J. King]

Plymouth is the first full colony of inches in the Loveland project in Detroit. The yellow block of 1000 inches is my neighborhood, The Imagination Age. Loveland is being featured today on NPR's "All Things Considered." (Click here to listen to the archive)

What is Loveland?

It's an experiment in the micro-ownership of real estate, economic revitalization and cultural development.

It's an art project.

It's a statement about creating something new and unexpected.

Yes, it's about a guy selling a million square inches for a dollar each. With so many people out of work and seeking new ways to make money, create connections, excitement, fun and new ideas about the way communities work--that's a visionary way to get something going in an economy that promises to steamroll people who fail to freshen their skills, update perspectives and figure out new ways to pay bills.

Me, Jerry and our friend Tish Shute.

Sarah Hulett, the insightful journalist who interviewed me and Loveland founder Jerry Paffendorf, started off by saying that she wanted to understand the thinking behind the project.

I'm frequently asked why Jerry, who splits his time between the coasts, chose Detroit for this project. Why not? Why shouldn't a young, provocative artist move to Detroit and get something going? Is there some unwritten rule of etiquette that says we must avoid American cities in crisis? Detroit was once a city of the future, and that blueprint from the past is greatly appreciated by Jerry, who slept over at the Imagination Age Salon last night before catching a top-of-the-morning flight back to Detroit. We were up all night discussing plans for the future of Loveland and Detroit, ways we can explore Square, for example, to raise much-needed funds for local initiatives.

Sarah Hulett thoughtfully went back to interview the two little girls who live in the house next to Loveland, Celeste Moore (left, 11) and Ricki Collins, 9. In fact, their house is the only house left on the block. Ricki said she hopes the inchvestors will come and visit her. I am planning a visit soon.

Sarah Hulett asked me how Loveland might benefit the local population in Detroit. I don't know yet, but in order to find out I've opened up a block of 100 inches within the 1000 inch Imagination Age neighborhood in the Plymouth colony, a network that includes many notable residents already, including IBM Senior Research Fellow Grady Booch, WIRED writer Alexis Madrigal, filmmaker Josh Asen and educator Liz Dorland, to name a few. If you have an idea, even a tiny one, and imagination enough to envision how big you might make an inch, ping me on Twitter or leave a comment on this blog post.

I'm working hard to turn my inches into opportunities to connect people in Detroit with a larger community of innovators around the world, and I need your help, your ideas, your support and most of all, your imagination. Inches are tiny, but I hope you'll think big. Technology is a prism held up to the bright beam of the imagination.

[NPR: Inchvesting in Detroit: A Virtual Realty]

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