All over the Mid-West, people are revisioning swaths of urban abandonment as utopian artists’ colonies and eco-friendly communities.
An host of media organizations have written about an effort to attract artists to the rock-bottom real estate prices in Detroit. NPR reports on a young couple, Mitch and Gina Cope, that have revitalized a former Polish deli on Detroit’s north side. Now, the couple is reaching out to other artists to fill the nearby vacant houses that start at $100. They manage a group called Project 99, which is experimenting with abandoned buildings, hoping to develop a prototype for an affordable, sustainable home for under $99,000. The project has been featured in The New York Times, on Anderson Cooper 360 and on 20/20.
The Detroit News also reports that Chicago couple Jon Brumit and Sarah Wagner moved to the city recently to purchase a $100 home, joining dozens of bargain-seekers from around the world.
Here in Cleveland, The St. Clair-Superior neighborhood on the city’s near east side is slowly being resettled by artists, as is the near west side neighborhood called the Detroit Shoreway. The latter is home to two experimental theaters and an “eco-village,” which combines green building practices with a walkable neighborhood and close proximity to public transportation. Check out this Plain Dealer article about an artist who picked up a home here for $5,000. (On a personal note, I am thinking about buying a house there. See: It appeals to poor students too!)
In addition, Milwaukee’s 3rd Ward, now a bustling shopping and night life district, was pioneered by artists from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
Who am I leaving out?