Detroit’s “dead” proposal

It’s October! The leaves are falling, awareness – breast cancer month – is booming and the dentists are preparing for post-Halloween cavity appointments. It’s also another month where Justin Verlander continues to strikeout his opponents just like his team’s city, Detroit, is replicating on the economic scale.

Riddled by crime, vacancies and a lackluster effort from politics to revive this once iconic American metro, the city of Detroit is striking out at every bat. However, as many times as Detroit strikes out, there always seems to be a new initiative trying to bring Detroit back from the dead…in some cases more literally than others.

Enter Z World Detroit, the latest and possibly most ambitious scheme to bring “life” back to the Motor City. The concept, developed by entrepreneur Mark Siwak, sort of sounds like the end result from a Harold and Kumar brainstorming session. Take a 200-acre plot of Detroit’s abandoned warehouses and neighborhoods. Now turn it into an apocalyptic amusement park, where visitors stay overnight to fight the dead – or turn into one. Mark Siwak explains Z World Detroit and what it means for Detroit in the video below.

I’m a huge zombie apocalypse fan so to have an idea presented of this magnitude surely excites me. But what does it mean for Detroit? With soaring budget deficits and population on the decline, Detroit has become a laboratory for testing out creative solutions for cities, like urban farming and pedestrian-friendly greenway trails, but a Zombie haven? Mayor Dave Bing’s long-touted campaign promise was the implementation of the Detroit Works Project which could ultimately relocate residents from blighted districts to more populated areas in an attempt to centralize city services would certainly increase abandoned spaces. Spread across 140 square miles, Detroit proper is so large that the entire cities of San Francisco and Boston, plus the borough of Manhattan, can fit inside its borders, so space isn’t an issue. The city already has one famed abandoned neighbourhood – the Heidelberg project – surely a second or third one is able to rise from the dead.

I think Z World Detroit is an innovative way to providing activity in an otherwise doomed neighbourhood. If artists from around the world are willing to go see the Heidelberg project, surely zombie fanatics across the world will want to spend a night in Detroit. Siwak has already assured that while his zombie project is great it’s the benefits behind the project – the potential to inject “life” into a forgotten neighbourhood and city – that make this effort worth pursuing.

So are zombies the answer to helping Detroit reach first base? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Halloween!