It's hard not to like free anything. "Free" is a powerful concept, but have you ever come across a group of people giving cash to random strangers with no strings attached? Apart from a group of delighted South Los Angeles residents yesterday who were showered with bills from an SUV fleeing the scene of a bank robbery, we're guessing the idea of free money is fairly foreign.
What if the schedule of city-life had recess built into it, just like elementary school? A team of social innovators in Detroit is asking that question with their upcoming project Hopscotch Detroit, a social free-for-all that puts a schoolyard spin on community engagement—and even intends to break a world record, using nearly a ton of chalk, stencils, and city's sidewalks.
Hopscotch Detroit is a joint venture of social design startup Wedge Detroit and community-building initiative Imagine Detroit Together. Since June, the two organizations have conspired to bring a 4.2-mile-long urban hopscotch course to life. Equal parts ode to the classic childhood game and imaginative community event, Hopscotch Detroit's allure is its simplicity: temporarily transforming a street, or a city, into a unified, vibrant playground.
It's remarkable what some people can accomplish in a single weekend. While others spend those days catching up on lost sleep or exploring their city with friends, Texas-based nonprofit The Better Block uses that time to rally communities to rethink their neighborhoods. Since its inception in 2010, the project has built temporary dog parks, pop-up shops, urban forests, cafes, and bike lanes. They've left their mark in more than 35 cities including Philadelphia, Wichita, Cleveland, Houston, and Oklahoma City.
Could a solar-enhanced urban farm change the face of an entire neighborhood? For GOOD Maker’s Use Technology for GOOD challenge, we partnered with NTEN seeking ideas for a project that fuels social change through technology. The winning idea, Off Grid Solar System for an Urban Farm, was submitted by Detroit’s Green Economy Leadership Training (Solidarity). Their pilot project: installing a solar energy system at a well-loved, organic urban farm in the Highland Park area.
For those who’ve grown up constantly plugged into the power grid, it’s almost impossible to think of life without an endless supply of outlets, power cords, and technology. But for an estimated 1.5 billion people around the world, power—from cutting and burning firewood to lighting kerosene lamps, paraffin, and candles—doesn't come easy.