To Revitalize Detroit, Bring on the Zombies.

Z World Detroit/Video screen capture

Huge swathes of Detroit are virtually abandoned; at least half the buildings in a shockingly large percentage of the city are empty. The scale of the urban blight has given rise to a variety of new ideas, including the creation of a lot of farmland, but the team behind Z World has a very different way to revitalize the Motor City: a 200 acre zombie theme park.

Z World Detroit/Video screen capture

The basic idea is to take a section of Detroit that the City is considering officially abandoning, and use it to recreate a world where visitors have to hide out, gather supplies, and avoid zombie attacks — or else join the ranks of the undead. It is a theme park that takes advantage of blight, rather than ignoring it or razing buildings that could be salvaged. Talk about an example of reuse: a vital component of resilient building.

Marc Siwak, the man behind the idea, admits it's ambitious, and that Z World is just a concept at the moment. But, he says, it could be "bold, spectacular, and potentially transformative for an entire neighborhood." It would create jobs and support businesses in the area. To make it happen, he has started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $145,000. That money would be used to find an appropriate site, develop a detailed design and refine the game play.

Perhaps it's a pipe dream, but the idea is valuable for its creative approach to urban redevelopment. Sivak also hopes to use money raised by Z World to demolish abandoned buildings throughout Detroit; I'd rather see it go to restoring them, where possible. And who knows: Maybe if it comes together, visitors could learn some important lessons about resilience from the faux zombie apocalypse.

Tags: Cities | Detroit

Best of TreeHugger