By Lauren Hood
on April 1, 2015
You’ve likely already seen the staggering numbers when it comes to people facing foreclosure in Detroit. But here they are again: in 2015 around 62,000 Detroit properties were given tax foreclosure notices by Wayne County, including 37,000 occupied homes.
Each of those numbers represents a person with a story. It’s easy to ignore the human side if you don’t have to look into the faces of actual people being affected. We make a lot of assumptions about who those people might be.
After spending a week at COBO Hall for the Show Cause hearings and attending various foreclosure counseling meetings in different neighborhoods around the city, I can tell you first hand, that for every person who came though, there is a distinct, unique set of circumstances that put them at risk for foreclosure. Not one time did I ever encounter a person who had the money and CHOSE not to pay their property taxes. Most of the stories involved a loss of income associated with some sort of illness or injury that prohibited the individual from maintaining employment. That set of circumstances led to tough decisions where choosing between paying property taxes and necessities like electricity, phone bills, transportation cost, child care, etc. were a regular occurrence.
One might think, well “I’ll never be in that situation,” “I have a stable income”, “I have support systems in place”, “a lot that would have to go wrong before that could happen to me”. The attached stories help to dispel some of those misconceptions about what the face of foreclosure actually looks like. Sometimes it’s people we know. People that we would never expect to be facing these kinds of challenges...
The first is our friend Olayami Dabls--esteemed fine-artist, museum curator, and historian, who has lectured extensively on African Material Culture to international audiences for over 30 years. As a curator, Dabls is a founding member of the African American Sports Hall of Fame, housed in the Wayne county building. He was also Artist-in-Residence at the Museum of African American History (1973-1982) as well as at the Detroit Psychiatric Institute (1985-1989). Dabls has served as Executive Director for the Rosa Parks Arts Center (1982-1984) as well as produced and hosted a radio program on WNEC4 (1978-1981).
By Jerry Paffendorf
on March 31, 2015
Well, it finally happened. LOVELAND has gone Hollywood. Thanks to our friends at Detroit Lives! we have a snazzy tiny movie for our new site and The Great American Parcel Survey.
It involves Thomas Jefferson and time travel, of course. Check it out:
As background, the theme of the video and survey developed after reading "Measuring America: How the United States Was Shaped by the Greatest Land Sale in History" by Andro Linklater.
The book tells the surprisingly little-known story of the original US Public Land Survey which followed Thomas Jefferson's idea to grid the country into perfect square mile sections and six-by-six mile townships. These plots were then sold, further subdivided into parcels, developed, and incorporated into counties and states. They attracted immigrants, funded the young country, and literally set the stage for American democracy.
I found it so deeply fascinating that I bought a copy for everybody on the LOVELAND team, and highly recommend reading it.
A blurb from Publisher's Weekly:
"American democracy was less a product of revolutionary war and constitutional ferment than it was of a particular way of measuring land, argues British historian Linklater in his delightful new study. Private ownership of land was a new concept in England in the 17th century, one that was grounded (so to speak) in the developing science of surveying, in particular, Edmund Gunter's simple new surveying system of squares and grids. But the idea that land could "be owned as a house or a bed or a pig was owned" was central to the new United States. Thomas Jefferson and others contended that property belonged to those who could purchase it and labor upon it. Thus, when the land west of the Ohio River was purchased by the United States, a new wave of settlers headed there with the intention of owning their own patch of land. Before the land could be sold, however, it had to be measured in roughly equal plots, and the surveyors used Gunter's method of drawing the boundaries of land in square miles. Linklater's detailed chronicle of the physical development of early America demonstrates the ways that the desire to own private property grew out of the individualism of the frontier and shaped the peculiarly American notion that the individual's right to property is both a foundation and a guarantee of democracy."
As you explore the country with LOVELAND, you'll see evidence of the original square mile survey absolutely everywhere. If you live in America, you live in its echo, and its constraints literally shape your world.
We hope you find the notion of resurveying America to see what we've become as exciting as we do. Please try it out and let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook or Twitter.
• About the survey: makeloveland.com/survey/about
• Live survey results: makeloveland.com/survey/results
• Start surveying properties: makeloveland.com/survey
By Jerry Paffendorf
on March 30, 2015
Hi, all, and welcome to the brand-spanking-new LOVELAND Technologies website, and this spiffy new blog.
Members of the LOVELAND team are going to post interesting things here, and link to them from our Facebook and Twitter.
If you're brand new to what makeloveland.com is about, there are the 4 main ways to add and get value from the site:
Explore a world of parcel information: When you want to know anything about any property anywhere, try looking on makeloveland.com.
Survey properties by describing a picture of what's there: Help add information about any property by surveying it from your computer through The Great American Parcel Survey or in person with the LOVELAND app.
Help contribute missing parcels and information: It's a big country, and our team is assembling more and more of it, but we need your help to keep up!
Make your own maps and surveys for your own projects with Site Control: We want to make it affordable for you and your team to be become parcel mapping machines.
We've come a long way, but we're still at the beginning of a journey. Fortunately there's an old Chinese proverb that says a journey of a billion parcels begins with 25 million parcels. And we actually have that!
Thanks for checking us out, and get in touch at email@example.com with any questions, or ideas, or business you'd like to do.