Saturday, September 25, 2010

Soup and Support

I was supposed to be meeting my couchsurfing host Leeann at an event called Soup. If you're not familiar with should be. Anyway, I was invited to this event via facebook, and when I checked the event page I saw a link to another event during the day...Spruce up Spaulding. ...What is Spaulding?

This is Spaulding.

Glass bottles are broken in the planters, trash is sticking to overgrown weeds, and the building has been abused, set aflame, and subsequently forgotten. To many, Spaulding Court is an abandoned piece of junk. To the people working at Spruce Up Spaulding, the building is a treasure! You may not be able to see in the picture, but given the potential for future community interactions within this specially designed space, I tend to agree with the latter group. The building is essentially designed to smush people together, a design that I think can often be helpful in engaging people within a community since it forces increased levels of communication and tolerance for others. As I volunteered in cleaning up the planters and work on some plumbing, I pictured a future with food growing in the planters, implementation of smart retrofit techniques, etc. That's the beauty of Detroit nowadays...anything is possible. Learned how to use aquatherm, a material that surpasses pex in performance! Hoping it becomes more readily available in plumbing supply stores in the US...expands and therefore does not burst if/when water freezes in pipes, has straight runs like copper which are easier to install than the curved, bendable pex, melts together to form a tighter seal than pex, etc.

I went to Soup after volunteering at Spaulding Court, and loved the idea. Every Thursday this group gets together, makes soup, and charges $5 for dinner. The awesome part about it is that the money paid to get soup goes toward funding a community project. There are 2 people in attendance who have 3 minutes to pitch their idea and why they need start-up funding. The others in attendance vote on which group deserves to receive funding, and then the money is given to the winner! Sure, it's only a couple hundred dollars, but think of all the free publicity as well! Even if you don't win you still get the undivided attention of all the people in the room for 3 whole minutes, to speak about and sell your project.

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