Evans offers a real-world example of the importance of accessibility: a homeowner who wants to attack blight in her neighborhood by mowing the lawns of unoccupied houses on her street needs a simple way to know whether properties are occupied or not. “Accessibility is the real open data. Just having it open isn’t important if people can’t utilize it.”
March 09, 2015
In Detroit, says Loveland Technologies CEO Jerry Paffendorf, “Underlying every other crisis in the city was an information crisis.”
February 12, 2015
But Detroit, especially downtown Detroit, is rebounding — and fast. For two centuries, the city’s motto has been “We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes.”
February 09, 2015
For years, we have asked: How much is it worth? How much can you get for it? These are the wrong questions. The standard by which every property decision in Detroit should be gauged is this: What impact will it have on the neighborhood?
December 01, 2014
"This application is going to revolutionize what the city is doing — making compiling and combating blight so much easier."
October 17, 2014
Beginning Monday, residents in Hamtramck and Highland Park may see surveyors canvasing the streets — smartphone in hand — to capture images and assess the conditions of 13,000 parcels in both cities.
October 17, 2014
The company’s programs and databases give Detroit “x-ray glasses” on its troubled properties, allowing authorities to start rebuilding and investors to find opportunities.
October 06, 2014
We want blexting to be part of what it means to be a citizen. You mow your lawn. You take out the trash. You blext properties in your neighborhood.
September 29, 2014
Impressed with Paffendorf's zeal, the city's Blight Task Force, established by President Barack Obama and funded by foundations and the state Housing Development Authority, hired his team to visit every property in the city.
August 22, 2014
Now, with the Motor City Mapping project’s Blexting app live, anyone can “blext” a property to keep the information on the city’s 378,723 properties updated, while also providing a tool for the DLBA and the Blight Removal Task Force in informing its decisions.
July 15, 2014
Several other cities, including Chicago and New Orleans, have shown some interest in the app based on how it's been used in Detroit, said Lauren Hood, community engagement manager for Detroit-based Loveland Technologies.
July 15, 2014
The lack of good information was standing in the way of rational decision-making. When problems could be mapped, Paffendorf believed, they came to seem less hopeless, more explainable, more fixable. Hence the idea behind Loveland.
July 11, 2014
"What we try to do is make a much more intuitive and responsive platform that presents that information clearly," said Alsup. "And isn't just a resource for looking at one data point in the context of one property, but really being able to see well, 'What's going on around that property? How is the neighborhood trending?'"
February 19, 2014
Crowdsourcing will come into play too: In late March, the maps will be made public, so that members of the community can make corrections and comments.
February 19, 2014
Lauren Hood works with Loveland Technologies, a company that developed a new way of mapping Detroit. They call it "blexting"
February 18, 2014
“If you know how to work a cellphone, you could do this,” said Tamera Smith, who described herself as a mother studying to be a medical assistant who does hair and nails on the side. She reached out an open car window to take a picture of a shuttered business, then rode on to the next place.
February 18, 2014
Few people on the committee had heard of Loveland, let alone that Paffendorf was a mastermind behind the campaign to manufacture and install a 10-foot-tall bronze statue of Robocop.
February 16, 2014
With its mobile app Blexting (that's blight + texting), the Detroit-based company is powering Motor City Mapping, the first attempt to catalog the condition of every piece of property in the city.
February 13, 2014
A new task force charged with revitalizing the city is spearheading an effort to electronically catalog each troubled property. The Motor City Mapping Project is on the cutting edge of technology and aims to give city planners a complete look at the task of eliminating blight in Detroit.
January 25, 2014
the compilation of data showcases the county's online tax payment portal, where the tax status of every property in the city is assembled into what is called a 'tax distress map'. the statistics visually demonstrate that half of detroit is not paying property taxes - where a quarter of the city is eligible for tax foreclosure seen with a revenue gap of $450 million.
January 28, 2013
"If the data is in a closet, it's not going to change," said Alex Alsup, the chief product officer at Loveland Technologies, the company behind the website. Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski praised the project, saying it serves "as an excellent tool in the rebirth of this great city."
January 25, 2013
Starting Friday morning, users will find a new, more powerful WDWOT, with added features and information. And it's right on time -- this year's foreclosure map is absolutely terrifying.
January 24, 2013
An hour later, it was standing room only. The audience was composed of a diverse group of Detroiters, some of whom had been negatively affected by the auction, some of whom had purchased properties in the auction, and others who were simply curious.
December 04, 2012
Until properties from the recent auction are sorted out, Loveland Technologies will be focused on foreclosure prevention, staff member Alex Alsup said Wednesday night. A large part of that will be educating the some 43,000 residents at risk of losing their homes to tax foreclosure. Alsup said that in the past some homeowners have thought that they could buy their house back in the second round of the auction at less what they owe in taxes, "an extremely risky proposition."
November 29, 2012
Building on that, why not clearly show people where they are, what they are, let them talk about them, apply for them, consider best options, offer contracts to clean, build or deconstruct them? Then migrate the successes of that to dealing with the city's other 120,000 or whatever number of vacant lots and buildings. That's part of our focus with Why Don't We Own This? and we're ready to work with any level of government that can make it happen at scale.
November 27, 2012
Paffendorf toured 20 empty homes that are up for auction Monday, meeting maybe 15 neighbors. "None of them had any clue the auction was happening," Paffendorf wrote in an email.
October 23, 2012
"I've seen people being a lot more vocal about plans for properties, which is a really constructive conversation to have in the light of day, rather than a bunch of people feeling blindly around the auction and running into other peoples plans and interests," says Alex Alsup of LOVELAND.
October 23, 2012
With properties freshly left-over from the auction, there's a total logic for why they should be tracked and managed this way, serving as a sort of virtual land bank. Successes from the approach can then be applied to the tens and tens of thousands of other empty buildings and vacant lots not at this auction.
October 19, 2012
"We are trying to build a better Detroit through transparency," he said. "The city is just so bad at that. There is an uninformed people and an uninformed marketplace, which makes it somewhat impossible for a democracy and a market to function properly."
October 18, 2012
I recently met up with Jerry P. holding a roundtable discussion at a bar called PJ's Lagerhouse, where each night that week, they had posted up for hours and invited anyone interested in learning more, contributing opinions, or spreading the word. Keep in mind that they stand to make zero dollars from the sale of any of the homes.
October 11, 2012
"There's no easy resource to take you through the next steps of, 'Where do you go next, who do you get on the phone or ask if you want to buy it, or get permission if you want to build something somewhere.' So, a lot of the tools we build are designed to answer just that question, they're like x-ray glasses to see what's really going on in the city, in the physical space around you."
September 26, 2012
It is looking to create a bigger conversation about vacant, underutilized property next fall at the next Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction. Paffendorf equates it with a aggressive grassroots effort to find owners for every building. "LOVELAND has been talking very seriously about the possibility of doing a large crowd-funding effort for next fall's auction," Paffendorf says. "We're think of it as a no property left behind thing."
June 22, 2012
The idea has since been moved from inches to city scale with a full-blown virtual city map complete with advanced data about Detroit properties – including detailed information pertaining to auctions. It's a gamified way to look at property ownership and it has become, to Paffendorf's surprise, a quasi-government in itself.
June 19, 2012
For those who want to streamline the process, the Detroit-based tech startup Loveland Technologies is offering a free online service that provides information about the auction's properties at whydontweownthis.com, which features an easy-to-use interactive map and Google Street View images of properties.
June 19, 2012
Paffendorf says he looks forward to working with Yeoman's partner/manager James Feagin again. “He has a lot of interesting ideas for how to bring diverse groups into Detroit,” Paffendorf says. One idea is Peak Population Day, where organizers would try to lure 1.3 million people to the city for a massive block party along Woodward Avenue from the Riverfront to 8 Mile. That will require building some digital tools for organizing big groups, which Loveland is working on now.
May 23, 2012
Making this information transparent, Paffendorf reasons, will spur the sale and repair of properties—a vital service in a city where more than a third of all residential parcels are vacant.
April 01, 2012
LOVELAND Technologies is planning a project called Imagine Detroit Together, a technological and organizational infrastructure that allows Detroiters to link up with one another rapidly for large-scale demonstrations of unity.
March 27, 2012
The goal of the event is to kick off a 30 day drive that will generate 10,000 new volunteer hours for neighborhood-based not-for-profits. The event will introduce a new, web-based data site that will help volunteers match themselves with not-for-profits. This tool, developed by Loveland, will build on the platform developed for "Why Don't We Own This?" The site will be the region's largest, web-based collection of volunteer opportunities...
February 20, 2012
"You try things and some work, some don't, you retreat back into your shell a little bit, and then you try again," he says. "I try to just listen to people, go to neighborhood meetings. Social permission goes a long way. You'll get smacked if you don't make friends, don't put in some time to get people's stories."
December 01, 2011
His new venture, Loveland Technologies, is an experiment in using cyber-technology to tackle Detroit's huge housing and delinquent property problems... He recently launched an interactive web site mapping and profiling for potential buyers each of the roughly 13,000 houses in foreclosure that the city put up for sale in an eBay-style auction last month. Prices started at about $500.
November 21, 2011
It brings order to what used to be a phone book of confusing information, making it easily accessible to everyone — for free. It puts local residents on an even playing field with speculators so they can take charge of the problem properties in their neighborhood and turn them into assets.
November 08, 2011
Ever been at the Dollar Store and thought, what the hell, give me that WHOLE SHELF! Such is the mentality that might apply to this round of the Wayne County Tax Auction's High Roller List.
October 27, 2011
That interactivity helped one city resident sidestep a potential auction disaster. A visitor to the site saw Michael Lee's metal finishing business on the auction list and posted a message about it.
October 20, 2011
This is information everyone should have access to. If we try to charge people for it, we would just be repeating the same mistakes. That's not what we're about. There are people who are moving out of the city or missing out on opportunities because of the environmental conditions here.
October 18, 2011
What’s really great is that what was, for a very long time, a very murky and unclear process (as of last year when I participated) is getting much more visible and easier to circumnavigate– thanks to the good work of Team LOVELAND.
September 27, 2011
This year's tax foreclosure auction promises to be the biggest yet with a record number of properties and Wayne County extensively promoting it... Paffendorf and his two other co-founders at LOVELAND Technologies hope WhyDontWeOwnThis.com will enable locals to buy problem properties and turn them into assets, keeping them out of the hands of speculators and absentee landlords.
September 13, 2011
So thank goodness for LOVELAND Technologies and its founder Jerry Paffendorf who found this presentation of info wildly inadequate. "Someone needs to make this clear. Otherwise it's just a phone book."
September 13, 2011
Either one incredibly wealthy entity buys you or a whole bunch invest in the success of your project without the legal sense of ownership and controls. The latter option is all about spiritual equity. - Jerry Paffendorf
July 20, 2011
This new mapping system would create an individual profile for each apartment, allowing perspective tenants to find out the basic information about the unit and take a virtual tour of it. The system also would make it easier for tenants to communicate with management to solve problems and increase the quality of life.
July 19, 2011
In addition to talks with IMDB, Proulx said he's had discussions with the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records, who tell him his film should set a new mark for the number of producers.
May 18, 2011
They create crowdfunding and social mapping systems, and rely on their unique brand and culture to mix real and virtual, fun and serious, story and software.
April 28, 2011
“We want to do some more planting, gardening and landscaping; make it so it’s a visitable park,” Paffendorf said. “We want to get into building it out so that it feels good to go over and hang out at.”
April 21, 2011
Detroit can be futuristic again, according to artist Jerry Paffendorf. Not simply by building a RoboCop statue, but by recreating itself in innovative ways.
February 17, 2011
In Detroit, entrepreneurs rave that if you want to get something done, people will help you do it. Local business owners are often happy when another business opens on the same street-instead of taking away their business, it increases it by making their neighborhoods safer and nicer.
February 10, 2011
Some "inchvestors" have been letting Loveland unfold before hatching development plans, but others have been ignited by the pace set by the project's directors. Loveland recently applied for support from the Knight Foundation to support development.
December 20, 2010
The Inches are a powerful metaphor for units of measurement in a shrinking city. The project is a collaborative hybrid-reality experiment, with the idea being that the crisis faced by Detroit is so massive that an inch is a simple platform on which to build, the same way a seed can become a tree.
November 22, 2010
At 5:07 p.m. Saturday, the Coys will publicly unveil their newest — and most ambitious — project, a large $13,000 neon sign mounted on the Roosevelt Hotel on 14th off Michigan Avenue in Corktown. Called "No Vacancy," it plays off the emptiness of the defunct hotel and features pigeons, which are often seen in their work to represent their ubiquity in urban settings.
November 14, 2010
The point of Loveland is to start somewhere, together, to connect with people, amplify the awesome and see where it goes. And so far, as the mayor of Loveland, I find the inchventure tremendous, for all its ostensible tiny-ness.
November 10, 2010
The first project that Loveland helped to fund was "Monumental Kitty". This was part of the Corktown Pedestrian Overpass Improvement Project connecting Corktown with downtown via a safe, lit and vibrant overpass.
November 04, 2010
People involved in the type of social entrepreneur projects DeBruyn and Paffendorf are working on find plenty of opportunity to work together in the real world too. And the scene in Detroit is open, DeBruyn said. Anyone with an idea shouldn't be too timid to speak up or think only cool, hipsters are welcome.
November 03, 2010
Another fantastic project from Detroit: Catie Newell's Salvaged Landscape takes wood reclamation one step further, transforming burnt lumber from an arsoned house into a new spatial volume and material landscape. Supported by Detroit nonprofit The Imagination Station...
November 02, 2010
This way of thinking small can have a big impact. It's different, adds value to the community and to individuals and makes you sit back and think about the possibilities. Just think about micro funding a novel all the way up to a project to bring clean water to Africa.
November 01, 2010
Whether it amounts to a huge revival of investment real estate in Detroit or an interesting art project is a moot point. Our focus is on the Loveland Project as another step in showing the world the creative talents in Detroit and the ability of Detroiters to reinvent (dare we say, ‘cultivate’?) what’s around them.
October 21, 2010
Boston-based filmmaker Erik Proulx is working to tell a story of rebirth and reinvestment in Detroit, and to complete the project he's asking individuals to fund the project. Frame-by-frame.
October 20, 2010
“We started realizing that if we could get the real-life data, we could use the same social map system we have [for Plymouth and Hello World] and apply it to the whole city,” Paffendorf says. “You could mouse over every parcel and see who owns it; if it’s the city, if it’s private, if it’s vacant, if it’s for sale, then you could click on it and comment on it. Block by block, people in the city could have a conversation about the things they want to see.”
October 14, 2010
In June a group including Mr. Paffendorf of Loveland spent $1,000 for two abandoned houses across from the vacant Michigan Central Station, a symbol of Detroit’s decline, and, along with the Packard plant, a must-stop on any hardscrabble tour. They renamed the buildings — shells filled with debris and a few squatters — Imagination Station and hope to transform them into an artists’ enclave and green space.
August 04, 2010
The Imagination Station is exploding from the ashes of a firebombed flophouse standing — barely — in the shadow of Detroit's abandoned, antique train station. Painted colors splash from a second story window, and people congregate on the lawn to plan the future.
July 27, 2010
Detroit has real problems and in addition to all the necessary ground work it needs new online and mobile solutions for connecting and empowering people and communities, increasing transparency, fundraising, mapping, planning, globally showcasing the great local work of the less internet-savvy, making it fun to participate in reinvention, and so on down the line.
July 16, 2010
July 14, 2010
We went through appropriate city channels to try and purchase a specific lot for that but have been temporarily held up by who-knows-what city decision-making process, so the physical land for Hello World has yet to fully manifest. But that’s OK! It’s all part of the inchventure, and we promise to secure the land that people inchvest in as soon as we can.
July 14, 2010
Jerry Paffendorf, who spearheads a project to sell square-inch plots of land in the city, is building on the project's healthy Internet buzz to throw a bash Saturday at the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue and the adjacent Café D'Mongo's Speakeasy.
July 07, 2010
Half of everyone’s inchvestment in season 2 will go to the seven projects, including the Motor City Blight Busters and The Pedestrian Overpass Improvement Project. “We’re raising 1500 dollars to help do a sculpture called monumental kitty, which is going to be on the overpass by old Tiger Stadium. We keep working on the system trying to come up with fun ways to get people participating in the city...
June 28, 2010
At SF Beta last week, I had the chance to meet the folks behind Loveland, one of the coolest and most unique groups to ever pass through our doors — and that’s saying a lot.
May 25, 2010
I would like to see Detroit get put back on the network. I find that idea very cool, and hopefully inspiring to other people, to think outside the box and begin a process of putting it back online, showing people things in the city. Inviting them to have an ownership stake in the city, however modest, still has a psychological impact.
March 24, 2010
Then there's Loveland, Jerry Paffendorf's "wild social network of people, literally built out of the dirt." Paffendorf bought a vacant lot for $500 and sold it, an inch at a time for $1 per inch, to almost 600 "inchvestors" around the world. It's called Plymouth.
March 07, 2010
Today at Institute for the Future, Jerry Paffendorf is telling us about Loveland, his art/game/activism project to sell real land in Detroit, Michigan inch-by-inch, for $1/inch.
March 05, 2010
Paffendorf says Detroit is a place of opportunity and creativity. He shares an optimism about the city and his project with Ricki Collins. She's 9 years old and lives next door to the empty lot Paffendorf bought. Hers is the only house left on the block.
"I want people to remember this place. Remember it. And I want people to come over so we can get to know each other, learn new things about each other," Ricki says.
March 04, 2010
I'm working hard to turn my inches into opportunities to connect people in Detroit with a larger community of innovators around the world, and I need your help, your ideas, your support and most of all, your imagination. Inches are tiny, but I hope you'll think big.
March 04, 2010
No property taxes. In some ways I look at loveland as a BS buffer - I own the property in the catalog of the city, I pay the taxes and give the inchvestors a clean-burning ownership experience. They have a piece of the world that's theirs, they can visit... all the fun things about having land, without the minuses of having to mow your lawn.
February 13, 2010
One of the innovations here I think is that just as easily as you could buy a bag of virtual fertilizer at Farmville on Facebook, you could have an actual property, even if it is Loveland terms of ownership. That is a way you could make a whole bunch of ownership and redevelopment pretty seamless. We’ve got to find ways to make land ownership more simple, cheap, fun, and social. And then highly creative.
January 29, 2010
I told him I plan to put a tomato plant on my square inch. The stem itself would take up about that much space, and if any adjoining landowners or passers-by want to help themselves to a tomato, that'd be fine with me.
January 29, 2010
I'm always motivated to work on and open up new spaces, where there's not just one particular application, but with this model you can run a number of different activities through it. Just taking land and parceling it out in such a way, even land so small, inspires ideas in everything from games and reenactments to urban farming to murals to solar power...
January 06, 2010
The metaphor of city as canvas works especially well for Detroit, a city seeking a new identity. This relatively ‘open’ landscape, coupled with inexpensive living and even cheaper real estate, make Detroit an ideal setting for these roots rebuilding efforts.
December 31, 2009