Detroit Future City’s “The Buzz” Empowers Barbers and Mowers To Collaboratively Design Detroit’s Vacant Land

July 15, 2016

Detroit – The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office’s Knight Cities Challenge winning initiative “The Buzz” will put the collaborative work of barbers and mowers – institutions and leaders in Detroit’s neighborhoods – on display in a “mow and show” on Monday, July 18th. This initiative is a partnership that includes Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, the East Side Community Network, and the City of Detroit’s General Services Department.

The Buzz aims to lift up local talent, entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders through a collaborative effort to transform overgrown vacant lots in Detroit. In combining the artistry of barbery with the decorative craftsmanship of landscaping, this workshop will showcase how a multitude of voices, professions and skills can provide solutions to Detroit’s current land management strategies.

“Barber and mowers are the bedrock of Detroit neighborhoods,” said Anika Goss-Foster, Executive Director of the DFC Implementation Office. “As community leaders dedicated to using their trade to creatively alleviate blight by bringing barbers and mowers together to cut original lawn designs, we are providing an accessible platform for such leaders to have a stake in the future of their neighborhoods. We are honored that barbers and mowers have engaged with us in this innovative restoration project.”

In June, The Buzz held two initial meet-and-greet sessions in the Jefferson-Chalmers community on Detroit’s eastside and the Springwells Village community on Detroit’s southwest side.  More than 25 barbers and mowers came together to discuss how style trends, resource management, and land repurposement could produce viable, green neighborhoods for the community, and how to marry these concepts to create barber-inspired, mowing patterns.

The Greening of Detroit’s Workforce Development program trains Detroit residents in landscape technician skills, and is helping transform vacant lots into healthy, beautiful green spaces.  Hector Santiago, The Greening of Detroit’s Workforce Development Program Manager said, “This creative idea of bringing barbers and mowers together to discuss how popular hair style trends can be used with mowing patterns is another way to beautify some of the city’s lots.  The implementation of the designs will provide an interesting and appealing landscape in the neighborhoods.”

Since the workshop, barbers and mowers have paired off to design, test and cut creative mowing patterns. The results of their collaboration will be debuted in a “mow and show” Monday, July 18th in the Springwells Village community.

The Buzz is a 2015 winner of the Knight Cities Challenge, an initiative of the John S and James L. Knight Foundation, which seeks ideas to make cities more successful.

“The Buzz is a great example of bringing together unlikely collaborators to address real community issues,” said George Abbott, Knight Foundation project lead for the Knight Cities Challenge. “It is one way to leverage the insights of people who know their community best and to create more opportunities for authentic engagement in Detroit.”

For more information or to get involved with The Buzz, please email buzz@detroitfuturecity.com or call 313-259-4407. Connect with Detroit Future City on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #dfcBUZZ.

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