‘Motown Movement’ back on track

Following fire-raising there has been a three-month delay in the student-run renovation project in Detroit. The new team was cordially welcomed: “So you’re really doing this!”

The fire was a set-back. (Photo: Motown Movement)

The first team started the project two years ago, full of enthusiasm and, perhaps, naivety. Streetwise neighbours commented afterwards that “They’ve hit the brick wall called Detroit.” Their renovation project was appreciated by everyone they met. Energy renovation plus a family home and a community centre all in one, surrounded by a community garden. How neighbourhood-friendly can you get?

But then, someone started a fire in the basement, ruining the ground floor beams. No one knows who did it.

Since the incident, CCTV cameras have been installed, the double-glazed windows have been covered up by timber panels to protect them from stone-throwing, and the PV panels have not been mounted on the roof for fear of theft. One could say that naivety has been replaced by maturity. And a bit of character, because despite the incident, a new team of students has stood up to continue the project.

The students have now started crowdfunding

TU Delta met with Casper van Alfen and Joos Tielken, both students at Industrial Design and Engineering, two of the seven members of the third Motown Movement team, as the student initiative calls itself. They’re currently preparing to pick up the project after a three-month hiatus. “A homeless family will settle in in July,” the students say confidently.

The first thing to be done is to replace a number of burnt floor beams, after which inner walls on the ground floor may be rebuilt. This repair of fire-damage will cost an extra EUR 8,000, for which the students have now started another crowdfunding.

  • To get things going they have organised a ‘funky get-down’ full of funky Motown music in Café Steck (Delft) on Tuesday, 13 November. Before the music, there’ll be three pub lectures by sustainable start-ups. The eco-friendly event will start at 20:00.


Keep laughing. Chris van Egmond, Owen Elverding and Casper van Alfen on location (Photo: Motown Movement)

Read also:

From Delft to Detroit

Home improvement Detroit style


Science editor Jos Wassink

Do you have a question or comment about this article?

Comments are closed.