March 31, 2010: Interview with Philip Lauri of Detroit Lives!

Hosts: Sheena Cameron and Paul Chislett

Hear the full program here:68-The_Shake_Up-20100331-1200-t1270033201

Learn more about Detroit Lives! here.

Earlier Media Release

“DETROIT LIVES! // the exhibit” to Showcase Local Creatives

Exhibit tells a story behind Detroit’s forward rumbles.

Ever bought an inch of land in Detroit? Well, hundreds of people from around the country already have, according to DETROIT LIVES! founder Philip Lauri. Lauri is organizing an exhibition that will include information about the sale of hundreds of inches of Detroit land along with works by Detroit artists, musicians, a farmer, and a New York Times writer among others. “DETROIT LIVES! // the exhibit” opens January 14 at 6pm at the Ladybug Gallery in Southwest Detroit’s historic Hubbard Farms neighborhood.

“Detroit is a colossal force to be reckoned with in terms of the kind of talent and creative juice coming from the city. The idea is to capture a piece of that with the exhibit through the works of those on the ground making it happen,” says Lauri.

The exhibition will serve as the official screening for the DETROIT LIVES! short film “The Farmer and the Philosopher”– a story of Detroit’s forward progress told through the prism of two totally different figures: Toby Barlow (NY Times, Creative Director a tTeam Detroit) and Mark Covington (Chairman, Georgia Street Community Collective). The film is a collaborative project between Lauri and videographer Andrea Adelman.

Additionally, photographer Vanessa Miller (Detroit) presents her photo essay “Making it Happen” with stripped down, expressive portraits of the young people currently revolutionizing the way Detroit works.

Jerry Paffendorf (Detroit), the mind behind “Loveland,” will also take part in the exhibition. Paffendorf came from San Francisco last year to start a micro-real estate project that has had hundreds of people “move” to Detroit from all corners of the globe through the purchase of $1 inches of land. The end result is a futuristic take on land re-use and revitalization with creative collaboration amongst owners.

Alan Scheurman (Detroit), the Detroit musician who contributed music to the film “The Farmer and the Philosopher” will also perform songs from his recent album “Old Patterns” as part of the exhibit.

“The exhibit is meant to build awareness for a lot of the ridiculously cool creative endeavors around town. We are alive and well here in Detroit. It’s not just about surviving. In many ways, we are thriving. It’s an incredibly exciting and vibrant place to be right now.”

Lauri started DETROIT LIVES! last February with goals to spread a positive message about Detroit through traditional and social media, public art and an apparel line. As part of the exhibition, the group will showcase work they have done throughout Detroit and offer attendees the opportunity to screen print a piece for themselves to take home.

Detroit Lives! // the exhibit opens Thursday, January 14 at 6pm with a reception to meet the artists and take part in the interactive components of the exhibit at the Ladybug Gallery. Scheurman will perform music from the soundtrack of the film one hour prior to the screening. “The Farmer and the Philosopher” will screen at 8pm followed by a Q+A with Barlow and Covington. Admission is free and complimentary beverages will be provided.


In the interview with Philip Lauri we talked a lot about the transition to a post-industrial society. For a look at how this is evolving internationally Sheena and I discussed an article in the New Internationalist about transition towns

What is a Transition Initiative?

Here’s how it all appears to be evolving…

It all starts off when a small collection of motivated individuals within a community come together with a shared concern: how can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of Peak Oil, Climate Change, and increasingly, economic stagnation? They recognise several crucial points:

  • to a certain degree, we all experience a life disconnected from our living environment, disconnected from our communities and disconnected from our landbase
  • that our energy-profligate ways of living have depleted our resource base to critical levels
  • that we used immense amounts of creativity, ingenuity and adaptability on the way up the energy upslope, and that there’s no reason for us not to do the same on the downslope
  • that we have to act now, rather than wait for the government or “someone else”
  • if we collectively plan and act early enough there’s every likelihood that we can create a way of living that’s significantly more connected, more vibrant and more in touch with our environment than the oil-addicted treadmill that we find ourselves on today.

They begin by forming an initiating group and then adopt the Transition Model with the intention of engaging a significant proportion of the people in their community to kick off a Transition Initiative that is asking this BIG question:

“for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?”

They then engage on a collaborative, comprehensive and creative process of:

  • awareness raising around peak oil, climate change and the need to undertake a community lead process to rebuild resilience and reduce carbon
  • connecting with existing groups, including local government, in the community
  • forming groups to look at all the key areas of life (food, energy, transport, health, heart & soul, economics & livelihoods, etc)
  • kicking off practical projects aimed at building people’s understanding of resilience and carbon issues and community engagement
  • engage in a community-wide visioning process to identify the future we want for ourselves rather than waiting for someone else to create a future that we won’t like
  • eventually launch a community defined, community implemented “Energy Descent Action Plan” over a 15 to 20 year timescale

This results in a co-ordinated initiative across all these areas of life that strives both to rebuild the resilience we’ve lost as a result of cheap oil and also to reduce the community’s carbon emissions drastically.

OPIRG Calendar

Every Wednesday 12:30 – 1:00 pm


Wyandotte Ave. W. at the University of Windsor
(across from the entrance to Ambassador Bridge)

All women and children welcome

Every Saturday 11am to 12 Noon


11:00 AM to 12:00 Noon
Market Square
(On Ottawa Street, near the enterance for Market Square.)

for more information visit

Every Sunday @ 3:30 p.m.


Every Sunday at Rose Bowl lanes on Dougall.

For more information email

Wednesday, April 7 @ 6 p.m.

Because boys will be girls…and girls will be boys

Out on Campus & OPIRG-Windsor Present


252 Dillon Hall, U. of W. Campus

everyone welcome

“In biology, nature abhors a category”

for more information call or email Out On Campus 253-3000 ext. 4093 or OPIRG 253-3000 ext 3872

Monday, April 19 at 7pm


Meets third Monday of the month at 7pm at United Way building, Giles E at McDougall

For more information contact “James McAllister”

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