If the Spirit moves you I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

Thursday Night To Mark Keane

Integral Urban Homes As Dorms of Experiential Learning

Students create wealth via learning projects turning wastes(foreclosed homes and grass lawns) into resources while growing neighborhoods and knowledge fields

  • Urban Ag & NutritionConsortium
  • UWM Arch/Urb Pl
  • Home GR/OWN
  • Food Council
  • Water Council
  • Interfaith

Hands On Problem Based
Racial and ecological healing
Wealth creating
Global local/town gown

Why not?


Friday Email To Tom McCollow

Hey Tim,

Dare I dream of a project experiment that proceeds in sequences over the years,
Starting with the vision of “honors students” transforming a foreclosed home into an integral urban dorm, getting course credits, and perhaps some equity stake in the process?

The integral urban home has a rich history that began in Berkley,
Elaborated upon in a “Mother Earth News” essay and a book back on the 1970s,
Framing homes as experiments in food production, energy conservation, and community building.

The Milwaukee Heart Haus experiment has added aquaponics, digital conferencing, and Airbnb,
And provided many lessons and a story that can help advance this proposed experiment.

In Mark Keane’s class last night I encouraged students to imagine getting course credit
And the support of engaged scholars across the Urban Ag and Nutrition Consortium,
And perhaps earning an equity stake in teaming up to transform a foreclosed home
As an alternative to dorm life or student apartments.

The experiment would unfold in phases, beginning with a brainstorming process
Connecting engaged professors, ecopreneurs, and interested students.

I can imagine Interfaith, the Water Council, and the Food Council looking in on this,
Perhaps participating. I can also imagine regional, national, and global collaborators
providing ideas, funding, as well as student interns to the mix.

The project has a place for all kinds of aspirations of 21st century educational theorists…
Multidisciplinary, hands on problem based, racial and ecological healing, wealth creating,
wastes to resources, global local/town gown collaborations.

The basic thesis is that there are students mature and competent to transform their living
space into some variant of the Berkeley Integral Urban Home or the Milwaukee Heart Haus.
And there are professors who would give them course credit for the effort. And there is an
emerging university consortium and city program that can guide and support this process.
Even if embedding it in the Home Gr/OWN galaxy is too daunting at the moment, I can
imagine finding people who own properties they would offer for use in such an experiment,
with trade offs similar to what I have done with Ben Koller and the Sweet Water Foundation.

What say?

Why not?


Carriere Response To Email to McCollow

Hey all,

I’ve always wanted to do a class titled “Foreclosure” that looked at the economic/political/social histories behind the recent foreclosure epidemic in American cities. My dream was to hold one class discussion per week in an actual foreclosed property, which would allow the students to really see how foreclosure looks and works (and it’s impact on the surrounding built environment). The class would then feature a project that sought to revive the property, transforming it into something of value for the surrounding community - so Godsil’s suggestions fit nicely with my vision. I already have students working with Ben at the Heart Haus and I’m sure they would love to take such a class. I’ve also worked with Mark Keane’s class, so we could draw in students from a number of institutions. I could even make this the focus of next academic year’s MSOE University Scholars Honors Program curriculum. That would give us a group of talented students for an entire academic year…..


Bonnie Halverson Response To Gidsil and Carriere emails

Great idea, Godsil and Mike. Love the idea of classrooms inside a foreclosed home or brownstone or abandoned lot. Happy to help brainstorm. Glad Mark Keane is looped in, I would have suggested him.


Joe Recchie Response from Ohio

Jim, this is a great idea. Since there are already interdisciplinary courses in sustainability putting it in practice in the repurposing and reusing our urban built environment would be great.
I know there are plenty of places in Milwaukee but really all through the Midwest there are communities that must be really envisioned. You may look at the Detroit future city’s plan, it’s online and is very extensive. They literally have a whole city to re-envision, and, as you know a lot of passionate community members currently engaged in that process.

You always make me think at a higher level.


Joe Recchie

Response to Recchie.

Imagine the honors students
And authentic, engaged professors,
Framing this as much for the

racial healing

Fields of possibilities



Martha Davis Kipcak

very cool idea. I like it. putting good smarts into good work.

Cheryl Sitzler

I’m in and there are a couple great lots for sale in Riverwest

Dave Boucher

Interestingly, 808 E Wright just popped up on the IR list for DCD… Similar scale to Euclid house.

I might even have an employee and UWM student as a candidate to, at the very least occupy such a residence - we were discussing such things before Thanksgiving. She presently volunteers at Express Yourself Milwaukee but will likely do the same closer to her present residence and put time in at Urban Ecology Ctr next yr.


Joe Cavato Response From St Louis

Hey Chris and JIm:

Mmmmmm. Our always creative and imaginative friend Godsil throwing out an intriguing idea.

I know that foreclosure issues are still impacting communities in the St. Louis area, especially in North County. E.G, in Spanish Lake , where a newly formed CDC is developing housing strategies.
Is this worth exploring with appropriate departmental personnel at SLU?

Chris From St Louis

Thanks, Joe. We’ve actually started an intentional community this year in the Ville, next to St Matthew’s parish. The Billiken Teachers in south city is another newly formed community. I know there is energy around providing some credfor these sorts of experiences and our Center for Service and Community Engagement is collaborating with faculty on it. Lots of potential! Thanks for passing along
▶ Show quoted text

Fr. Christopher Collins, SJ
Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity
Saint Louis University
One North Grand
St. Louis, MO 63103
314.977.7065 (w)

Friday Facebook Post One. People’s Foreclosed Home Coop

How about a People’s Foreclosed Homes Co-op! Why not imagine mature honors students getting course credits and entire academic programs around concept of transforming foreclosed homes into “integral urban homes,” co created by students winning course credit, minimally, and equity stakes, optimally, partnering with honors “community life long learners,” winning course credits, minimally, equity stakes, optimally. Wastes to resources! There grows the neighborhood! Do it!

Pat Cronin. LOVE it!

Reply. I could have been somebody and had more authentic security with an MA in old home transfigurations like Ben Ben G. Koller and Jesse Blom and Miguel Castro Jr. and teams doing it (!) at the Heart Haus.

Rosy Ricks. I think this is an idea I can support, and am applying for a fellowship soon. Can I borrow the idea?

Reply. It’s time! Do it! Our brilliant and authentically engaged professors would love to be freed from a publish or perish metric and advance vision of classes and dissertations in REAL LIFE, transfiguring wasted homes into innovation centers that heal the people, heal the planet, cultivate STEAM, artisansal, and expressive art skills.

Evelyn Ang. I would love to be involved with this!

Reply. Bonnie Halvorsen and I are thinking of reaching out to Milwaukee’s Olympian Mentschen to combine feast celebrations and brainstorms each season, to compliment our email and facebook brainstorms. Networking facebook circles.

Post Two. Would love to see Lane Hall teams harvest and advance the power of this concept and marry it to the Light Brigade Network.

Facebook resourced circles for Foreclosure Transformation Dorms that integrate mental and manual labor, ego and eco, art and science, sacred and secular!

Ohio’s Joe Recchie and Detroit’s Paul Draus might be up for making this a Great Lakes Heartland 20 year collaboration experiment that

makes our city food and beauty deserts bloom!


Caroline Carter. YES, YES, YES, did I say Yes? We need to develop a foreclosed home co-op in MPLS - keep me posted.

Reply. Here’s a good summary of the Berkeley Integral Urban Home of the 1970s.


Ben G. Koller, Jesse Blom, and the SWF versions at Milwaukee’s Heart Haus and Pratt’s Chicago Think Do House are digitally, aquaponics, and airbnb enhanced.

Marilyn Weiland. Big houses with big yards are available in my neighborhood: Concordia. My yard, for example, has strawberries, raspberries, chokeberries (aronia), cherry tree , veg. garden and a small forest for firewood.

Ambition: Send This To the 30 People Who Liked The Post Individually

I am so happy the vision of a foreclosed home coop harvesting student/faculty brilliance and foreclosed pre-WWII home’s “good bones” is “alluring” to you! Unless you tell me “No!,” I would like to tag you in facebook conversations about this, until you or others tell me a better way to convene the most effective facebook conversations about this. And I am going to invite you to what I hope will be feast and celebration gatherings each season over the next 10 years to see what we can do. What say? :)

I hope we could weave in groups like Habitat For Humanity, Interfaith, the Urban Ag and Nutrition Consortium, faith communities including Islamic, First Nation, Buddhist, Wikan, and sustainability groups, with students and the engaged professors in a Facebook open source conversational weave, with seasonal feast celebrations to give flesh to the visions and strategies that grow in the “noosphere.”




Facebook upload with profile picture featuring Mother Clara.

With Mother Clara Atwater, who has been birthing the First Street Renaissance just south of Center(check it out!), for 30+ years, sitting on her front porch giving Love to all who pass by and sheltering and inspiring scores of youngs. She and her grandson Touissant may join in efforts to recruit students and professors into an all city alliance to transform foreclosed homes into Integral Urban Dorms and Coops. I wonder if the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, the Interfaith Youth Corps, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which provides grants to city-based interfaith groups to create large-scale volunteering campaigns, might join in? http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/us/14patel.html?_r=1

Last edited by Godsil.   Page last modified on December 07, 2015

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