An overview of Detroit’s community internet projects.
My neighborhood’s community wireless is centered around Spaulding Court and extends a few blocks to the west and north.
People United as One has a mesh network inside its apartment building to serve residents, as well as an aerial mast on the roof broadcasting a signal to the north for future expansion.
There are two neighborhoods in Hamtramck with community wireless networks; one on Holbrook and the other near Klinger and Campbell. Evan Major helps organize the Holbrook network. Here’s what he has to say:
Many neighbors know each other. Some don’t. But when I flip open my laptop at any given time, I see a half dozen password protected wireless networks within range of my house, most of which are linked to the neighborhood businesses- Kowalski Sausage Co, Café 1923, and Kelly’s Bar. At the Southwest corner of Hamtramck’s Central City neighborhood sits Bernard Street and its surrounds, a mostly residential pocket in the shadows of the Cookie Monster colored American Axle Manufacturing Facility, now an uninhabited reminder of our dwindling tax base. However, the density of our neighborhood and the activity of its anchoring businesses provide the perfect foundation for a successful mesh network. Houses are close, often times occupied by 2 or 3 families. It is a relatively young population with many people beginning and ending their journeys here. We are lifelong Hamtramckans (I would like to make the case to be called ‘Hamsters’) living in the same houses we were born in over the last 6 decades. We are recent immigrants from Bosnia and West Africa. We are local college students who found an affordable place in a good neighborhood. We are transplanted Detroiters who love the walkability and opportunities for connectedness of our adopted town. And it is this connectedness I believe we can build on to make us even stronger.
On Farnsworth between Elmwood and Moran, someone has set up a community wireless network to serve about ten residents.
The DDJC has a few member organizations in 48217 who are working with OTI to experiment with community wireless and local-intranet-based applications.