A group of Dutch students put their degrees on hold to pursue their passion for sustainable architecture and turn their dreams into a reality in Detroit, USA.  When they first visited Detroit as architecture students, they thought they would be boldly confronted by utter decay in the wake of the bankruptcy of the city.  Instead, they found a community that actively wanted to revitalise their neighbourhood.  For Bob, Dominik and Ronen, these conditions are perfect for experimentation and have the potential to create a living laboratory for the future of cities and sustainable architecture.   

Through their initiative, The Motown Movement, they are connecting research, education and community by transforming a broken down house into a self-sufficient home.  An open source renovation method will be implemented and demonstrated in the house that they have purchased. The house will be retrofitted using low-tech, low budget methods that make it more sustainable and climate resilient.  The first floor of the house will operate as a community knowledge sharing space where residents can come and learn about these methods and how to apply them to their own house.  The upper floor of the house will be given to a family who recently lost their home.  These students have the vision that by developing methods for transforming a traditional American suburban house into a self-sufficient home, sustainable housing will be accessible for everyone.

“Our aim is to inspire homeowners. Together we can fight climate change, reinforce communities and save on energy consumption. By sharing our exemplary housing project we also push other people to act and follow through their ideas for change; turning an initiative into a movement.”

The Motown Movement is part of a not for profit organisation called The Future City Initiative.  You can hear from the founders of The Motown Movement this Wednesday, June 15 at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam at the climate adaptive public space program.

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