For a few years now, the Detroit Center for Design + Technology through Lawrence Technological University’s College of Architecture and Design has played host to visiting scholars from around the world. One of our retuning groups has been students from the Netherlands who use our space as their sustainability hub. The Motown Movement is a non-profit born out of the architecture studies at the Technological University of Delft in the Netherlands. Students from all areas of study have banded together to answer the question, “Why doesn’t everyone fight against climate change with the technologies already at hand?” Each year a new cohort enters the non profit. These Motown Movement students, although working with their university and Lawrence Technological University do not receive school credit. This is a project from the heart that allows them to travel to Detroit, embed themselves in our community and work VERY hard to make a positive change. Since arriving at the DCDT this past January, I see Ida, Chris, Casper, Joost, Joanna, Arjan and Owen hunkered down in front of their computers on a daily basis and they’ve taken over our fridge with healthy, organic meals that force me to rethink my shopping habits. (Damn them) Wanting to know more about this group and what drives them, I asked Casper, head of marketing to sit down with me for an interview.
The Motown Movement's current cohorts and their field of study;
AB: So Casper, tell me a bit about the Motown Movement and why you got involved.
C: Students in our Architecture department were the non profit founders and started this project in 2016 then continually passed it down to next year students after they graduated. The Motown Movement isn’t tied to university but we collaborate with professors. This is personal to us. For me, the sustainability part and the fact that I was always into entrepreneurship moved me to join this movement. The Motown Movement cohorts have been traveling back and forth to Detroit for about 3 years, coming in a couple of months a year. Every year there’s a new group. This current cohort leaves in July and in September another group of students will be chosen to spend a half a year in Netherlands and a few months in Detroit or another state. The Motown Movement has been with LTU for the past 2 years and we’re often in touch with Scott Shall, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the College. Actually he is one of our biggest supporters and has become a friend…
“It has been an absolute pleasure to partner with the Motown Movement over the last several years.
- Scott Shall, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University and Founding Director, International Design Clinic.
AB: Why did you chose Detroit for your first initiative?
C: Besides the unique opportunity to buy a $1,000 dollar house in Detroit, the spirit and climate were other incentives to settle in the city. The downfall of the Detroit stimulated an inexhaustible resilience under locals to rebuild the city THEY love. Inspired by the Motor City’s DIY spirit, we see great potential in implementing our modern but down to earth technologies in the current reconstruction of the lost glory. Secondly, the extreme Michigan winters and summers are a perfect place for us to test our sustainable techniques. If we can do it here, we can do it everywhere in the world!