In 2011, residents of Highland Park, Mich., a small city in Detroit, saw their streetlights turned off to unpaid debt. The city's unemployment rate was documented as 23% in 2014. But soon, the city will see an area of its blighted neighborhood transformed into Avalon Village, a brand new eco-village that will feature eco-friendly facilities like a greenhouse food system, a female-led marketplace, and a K-12 academic support center. The Hanley Wood Data Studio's Dian Zhang profiles the eco-village in this article for BUILDER sister site EcoBuilding Pulse.
The project is being led by resident Shamayim “Shu” Harris, who directed the installation of Highland Park’s first solar streetlights in 2014. Zhang writes:
In Harris' vision, vacant lots can turn into a greenhouse-to-café food system where people do community gardening and urban green space, and an abandoned gas station can turn into a farmers market and a café. Salvaged shipping containers can turn into a marketplace specializing in women-run businesses, and abandoned houses can turn into a K-12 after-school academic support center and community healing center. Harris' vision will be realized during the first phase of the project, estimated to be completed by late September 2016.
The four-phase project is expected to be finished in 2020, and will cost $4,000,000. The Avalon Village project is currently crowd-funding on Kickstarter, aiming to raise a total fund of $37,695 by June 23, 2016.