TBD Magazine Article on the Rooftop Farm

Our rooftop farm was covered in September's edition of TBD Magazine, a local journal that covers the people and ideas that define modern Detroit. The article profiles the work of Sarah Schnell, the manager of the garden, and includes some great photos. Take a look! The Greenest Garden by E.M. Sommerville (TBD Magazine, September) … [Read more...]

Global Community Lunch conversations: Gracie Xavier and Abdul Muhit

Throughout September our community lunch presentations have centered on the global community within our walls. We've paired people up from disparate backgrounds each week to share their stories in conversations facilitated by our friend Keith Owens of the Michigan Chronicle. We feel lucky to have such a richness of backgrounds in our building. The first week we heard from Amany Killawi (from LaunchGood) and Michel Soucisse (from the El Moore). Amany's family comes from Syria and Michel's from Quebec, Canada. Amany shared with us the story of her family's planned move back to Syria in 2001, which was put on permanent hold because their departure date was 9/11, and the move was eventually abandoned. Michel shared about the surprisingly historic connections he's found between his … [Read more...]

Some new (old) library books

Last week Martha, one of the volunteers who works at the Green Garage's library, came in with 2 books she had acquired at an Ann Arbor book sale. The books are both titled History of Detroit and Michigan, and were written by Silas Farmer. Did I mention that the books were written in 1884? And that they are in great condition? Together, the volumes total over 1,200 pages, and can be separated into two categories. Volume 1 focuses on Detroit's history, including wonderful sketches of various buildings and residences, and Volume 2 deals with 'famous' people of Detroit, including full page portraits of these individuals (overwhelmingly white male, with the exception of one woman we spotted). The books are an irreplaceable treasure trove of historic detail, both in text and … [Read more...]

More Video Oral Histories — Tom and Peggy Brennan

In March I wrote a post about some video oral histories of the Green Garage prepared by Liz Riedman, a Green Garage volunteer and Anthropology Master's student. Those featured 3 of the founders, Don and Mitzi Carter and Helen Bradley. Today I'm adding two more, this time featuring Tom and me. Once again, these are brief, but provide a nice look at some of the thinking behind the design of the Green Garage.  … [Read more...]

Video Oral Histories of the Green Garage

Last month, Liz Riedman, an Anthropology Master's student at Wayne State University, interviewed three of the original founders of the Green Garage, Helen Bradley and Don and Mitzi Carter. The interviews were recorded and are below for you to listen to. The videos are brief, each not more than 5 minutes, but they do provide a sense of the original thought behind the Green Garage project, and give insight into several key design decisions that make the Green Garage what it is today. Hope you enjoy them! And thanks, Liz, for helping us embark on our oral history journey. … [Read more...]

“A Workspace With A Heart”

Every summer our businesses host a number of interns, adding another dynamic element to our work. Last month one of the interns for Fresh Corner Cafe, Will Stewart, wrote a piece about his experience in The Michigan Daily. He titled it A Workspace with a Heart: A Look at Detroit's Sustainability Leader. We think he did a beautiful job capturing the spirit of the Green Garage. Take a look! … [Read more...]

Why Immigration Makes Sense for Detroit’s Future

Steve Tobocman, above, of business-in-residence New Solutions Group, spoke to us last Friday about one of their initiatives, Global Detroit. Global Detroit focuses on how immigrants can help revitalize a region such as Detroit. Steve's first point addressed the need in Detroit, with a population cut in half between 1950 and now, and in 2013 the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. Our per capita income went from 17th in 1999 to 40th in 2009, and in the same time period Michigan families lost $63 billion as home prices plummeted. What about immigration, then, as an economic development strategy? Steve pointed to the following facts: 28% of U.S. small businesses started in 2011 were founded by immigrants. 70% of the most valuable brands in the world were started by U.S. … [Read more...]

Update on M-1 Rail

  This Friday we heard about the M-1 Rail from spokesperson Nicole Brown. The streetcar (not light rail, as some have thought) will run a looped route along Woodward from New Center in the north to Grand Circus Boulevard to the south. This area is the most densely populated in Detroit, and has the fastest rate of growth, so it was chosen as a first step in a new system of mass transit. Here are a few things we learned: The M-1 rail extends 3 miles along Woodward, with 19 stops (3 in the center of Woodward, 16 at curbside). Stops are designed to connect with existing modes of transportation, such as DDOT, SMART, Amtrak and the People Mover. The system is ADA-compliant. Wheelchairs, strollers, and bikes can access the streetcars. The streetcar will be operational by … [Read more...]

What’s next for Recycle Here! and recycling in Detroit

Recent news that the city of Detroit is moving forward with privatized curbside recycling has generated much enthusiasm in light of the fact that Detroit has been the largest US city without curbside recycling for decades. For many, though, the excitement has been tempered by the fact that a curbside program leaves the future of Recycle Here!, Detroit's one-of-a-kind community recycling center (and, until now, the city's primary official recycling program), somewhat in doubt. Matthew Naimi, Recycle Here!'s founder and director of operations and a longtime friend of the Green Garage, stopped by the GG during community lunch last Friday to give a brief history of Recycle Here! and outline the future of the center, which has become, over the years, much more than just a place to drop … [Read more...]

Green Garage Ecological Footprint

In the United States, we live a 5-earth lifestyle. This means that if everyone on the planet consumed the way we do, it would require 5 earths to sustain us. So when we set out to design our building, we wanted to develop a 1-earth model office space. We designed the Green Garage to be as energy efficient as possible and used repurposed materials in its construction. In addition, our community works on a daily basis to operate in the least wasteful manner possible. This week Tom gave us an update as to how we're doing in the areas of energy, water use, and waste. He took the data from our measurement pages on the website. In water usage, we currently use about 1/10th the water of a typical office building our size with similar population numbers. In February 2014, we used about 55 … [Read more...]

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