Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall, 2017

**This is a forward looking entry, a 5 year vision of sorts. Entries looking back, delving into specific issues and recalling challenges faced will be rolling out over the next month or so.**

The air is crisp with anticipation.

In the court, tables and benches are crowded with neighbors and allies. They have come together at Spaulding Court from across Detroit and North Corktown to chart a collective course, to ratify or reject the planning that consumed the summer.

First up is a proposal to link several household greywater systems to a small water tower with a solar powered pump. After a brief presentation, it is overwhelmingly approved. Also approved are upgrades to a mulched path that leads from a cluster of homes to the main hub of the North Corktown Carshare. It will be paved with recycled highway concrete and lit with solar lights.

In all, eight proposals are approved and two are sent back to the drawing board. Work on some will begin Monday morning, others will wait on the shelf until funding can be arranged.

Next up is contract ratification. Approved are a number of multi-generational land leases, a land grant to an educational institution, the spinning-off of the North Corktown Carshare, and the transfer of the North building of Spaulding Court to the North Side Cooperative.

With the sun setting, the meeting finally breaks up and neighbors filter back to their homes. All around them, the inner harmony of the world is bursting forth; a sliver of a city where it's easy to be good to one another is growing.

By any measure, Detroit has had an astonishing five years. The local press gushes about new developments downtown, the "hotbed of young talent" and the booming auto industry. But travelers flock to Detroit to see Detroit's other success story.

The longtime community members, the radicals, the unionists and all the other malcontents haven't just watched from the sidelines. Through collaboration, careful stewardship and effective political mobilization, communities across Detroit--even the most marginalized--have seized control of their destinies.

The combination of new-found local control and long standing relationships has unleashed an explosion of positive creativity across the city. Small organizations have spread their knowledge and resources far from their incubating neighborhoods. The innovations built up in insulated bubbles through decades of isolation from the dominant economic system--in work, education, financing, collective decision making--have finally broken out into the greater community.

Together, these small groups have successfully resisted the forces of displacement and value extraction. They have directed infrastructure investments that have slashed the city's ecological footprint and set the stage for sustainable growth.

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