Near the border of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park, MASH Detroit opened this summer to bridge the gap between communities, neighbors, and cultures. Five months later, it’s served as a place for retail pop-ups, co-working, parties, election phone banking, non-profit meetings, and so much more. Curbed visited MASH Detroit and chatted with Marlowe Stoudamire about the potential for these spaces in Detroit.
Stoudamire visited Brussels, Belgium a few years ago and saw a space called The Egg, where people of all walks of life meet under one roof. He knew he wanted to bring an idea like this in some shape or form back to Detroit, close to the neighborhood where he grew up.
MASH Detroit is located on Mack Avenue, near the corner of Alter Road. It takes up much of the first floor of a recently finished building, except no one was using the first floor space for three years. Stoudamire activated the space with hopes of bringing the market in and learning what is needed here.
He uses the term "organic social collisions" to describe what he’s seen so far. Artists have set up work there. Small retailers pop-up. Meetings occur. And when this happens, community members feed off each other and connect with each other to expand and learn. This is what a space like this can accomplish.
"People deserve a chance to be in the game," says Stoudamire, reflecting on the growth of downtown and how recovery needs to be inclusive in the city. He understands the wealth of talent that’s here, and he’s hoping that this investment in the community can attract others and build equity in the neighborhoods.
It’s an adaptive space that’s available for community members. A larger retail pop-up is also activated on the second Saturday of every month.
Retailer Bohomodern (above) is currently located in MASH Detroit.
There’s been a lot of talk about 20-minute neighborhoods in Detroit, and Stoudamire believes spaces like this are integral for these kinds of neighborhoods to work. "All 20 minute neighborhoods need a hub," he says. They need a space where people can interact, exchange ideas, spend money, and learn.
In terms of the space, the furniture and "rooms" are set up to be flexible and modular, or adaptable for the use that’s needed. Stoudamire says people are often surprised when they walk in and see the color and the quality in the design. He encourages community members to dream of how to make it their own.
Will MASH Detroit, as it is today, be here in six months? A year? Two years? It might change or move depending on what the neighborhood needs. But what Stoudamire hopes is that it’s replicable and adaptable in other neighborhoods around Detroit and that this kind of space isn’t just for Midtown or Downtown.