Condon Crow House
Organized by: Marlena Hanlon
June 13, 2016
The Condon House is an anchor public and community space in a central, family-based neighborhood in Detroit. Once remodeled, the house will serve as a community kitchen, a workshop space, an art gallery, a maker place, an urban scholar residence, a permaculture demo site, a pocket park, and a community garden.
Crow House is a new non-profit (NPO) 501(c)(3) organization. Its mission is founded in the urban settlement house tradition and it is located in the Chadsey-Condon neighborhood on the west side of Detroit, MI. The specific mission at the Condon site is to provide place-based community education, focusing on sustainability and community organization.
The goals of the Condon Crow House for 2016 are to complete the federal NPO application, move forward with the renovation of the community house, and establish a permaculture demonstration and teaching site. These processes engage and embed community learning and education through service-learning workshops.
After the neighborhood house is habitable and the adjacent permaculture site designed with initial ground implementation (target date of 9/16) - both of which are community engaged projects - a robust perennial programming calendar will be developed in conjunction with the NPO advisory committee and community feedback. These programs will range from a weekly community dinner to support microlocal food security to a joint urban scholar with community activist-in-resident fellowship, which will continue to connect disparate stakeholders through place-based action. Many of these programs will focus on youth, but the full spectrum of programming includes all ages and residents from any area of Detroit.
In addition to funds raised here, we've raised $10,000 through Dow Sustainability seed grants.
1. To restore a historic home in the Detroit landscape. This stabilizes the neighborhood by removing blight, encouraging investment by neighbors (in a Geddes approach), providing tax revenue, and returning use value for a healthy community in Detroit.
2. To model community organization in its own development, and become a hub for community organizers. Participating by example, the Condon House revitalizes a small slice of community, offering proof of concept, demonstration of methods, and opportunities for local engagement.
3. To be a center of learning uncommon "green" skills. This property's rehab models how all Detroit homes can be retrofitted with green improvements which dramatically reduce housing costs through utilities. It also demonstrates how households can become more self-reliant by capturing rainwater or recycling water in productive ways that reduce sewer demand and lower water costs in a market which has a stressed water utility.
4. To serve as a community resource of healthy, organic, sustainable fruit and produce. Similar to the Sebastopol project (https://youtu.be/8YHLmByKpts), this site is capable of providing fresh produce for the larger neighborhood.
5. To function as an ecology learning center for all ages. While Detroit has embraced urban gardening, permaculture tactics have not yet taken a strong hold. Using vacant land for healthy production is better than leaving it abandoned - and using permaculture to RESTORE the soil, build local ecology, mitigate soil contamination, and teach all ages of residents how to use available resources for the best result possible is even better!
6. To provide a space which can foster self-actualization. The space provides workshops for how to eat well, how to parent in happiness, how to support women and men in their unique challenges, how to make things. Condon House helps neighbors achieve their individual potential.
7. To provide a meaningful residential sanctuary for urban scholars who are working on Detroit's most pressing needs in policy, development, social equity and urban vitality.
8. To contribute to an infrastructure solution. 28th Street is plagued with drainage problems which affect other properties and the sewer demand. By integrating water harvesting tactics, Condon House will resolve water flow problems on its block, contributing an immediate solution and modeling an approach which can be used in any neighborhood.
Check us out at crowhouseorg.wordpress.com.