While climate change is a universal phenomena, not everybody can attain the sometimes pricey home amenities to curb their carbon footprint. To curb this problem, three Dutch architecture students developed a nonprofit program following Detroit's resilient spirit to rebuild itself by coming up with sustainable housing methods. Dubbed the Motown Movement, the hands-on educational program connects researchers, educators, and communities in a renovated home on Ford Street in Detroit to share low budget and do-it-yourself methods for money saving, sufficient techniques.

“The goal of the Motown Movement is to transform an existing structure into a sustainable one,” cofounder Bob Hendrikx says.

Ford Street Before Renovation
Motown Movement Ford Street Before Renovation

Hendrikx, along with his two partners, Dominik Lukkes and Ronen Dan, took a year off from their architecture courses at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands to transform a decrepit multifamily site into a community home serving as a showcase for their vision. The ground floor will be used for demonstrations and training, the second floor will represent the team’s model home, and the basement will spur local entrepreneurship and engagement through housing a microbusiness.

When the transformation is complete, the house will be outfitted with PV solar panels, cellulouse insulation, a green roof, rainwater collection, and a heat pump. Outside, the model structure will be completed with an urban farm and windmill. All the information to assemble and maintain the technological systems can be found in the community home. “With all information provided, users can follow step-by-step instructions to upgrade their homes and reduce their bills,” the team said in the press release.

Ford Street After Renovation
Motown Movement Ford Street After Renovation

The Motown Movement plans to target low income, highly polluted communities that haven’t been introduced to environmentally friendly housing. “For many people, worrying about climate change is a luxury”, Hendrikx says. Sustainable housing technologies that cut carbon emissions are either too expensive or unknown to low income residents. “We want to educate people and lower their energy bills.”

Co founders: Bob Hendrikx, Dominik Lukkes, and Ronen Dan
Motown Movement Co founders: Bob Hendrikx, Dominik Lukkes, and Ronen Dan

Since the Motown Movement is a non profit, the team is raising all the funds through crowdfunding in order to renovate the Ford St. community home. So far, the team has raised about $30,000 of their $230,000 goal. In the future, the team plans to build more homes in cities across the U.S., in collaboration with EcoDistricts—an urban development firm dedicated to building sustainable communities. The organization is also working with the Dutch Picture Industry to create a 10-episode documentary series of the project.