Call it Cartography 2.0. With his company Loveland Technologies, the artist, futurist, and start-up vet Jerry Paffendorf is building interactive online maps ( and apps ( that inform users about who owns properties throughout Detroit. Making this information transparent, Paffendorf reasons, will spur the sale and repair of properties—a vital service in a city where more than a third of all residential parcels are vacant. It all began three years ago when Paffendorf, 30, bought a vacant lot in east Detroit for $500, divided it into 10,000 individual square-inch plots, and auctioned them off to approximately 600 "inchvestors." The buyers then formed an online community called Loveland, which served as a kind of think tank for land-use issues and policy. "We have the ambition of a Facebook," Paffendorf says. "We want to make a legacy impact by having the city adopt these concepts, then I want it packaged so other cities can gain from it too."

When it opened in 2006 in a former car showroom, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit signaled a radical approach to urban development: With its deliberately raw interiors and an exterior swathed in graffiti, MOCAD acknowledged, rather than obscured, the Motor City's rough history. It has since helped foster the growth of one of the country's most thriving arts communities, and its next chapter is set to begin in 2013, with a planned renovation that will complement larger development projects in the surrounding Sugar Hill Arts District.

Foreclosures have hit Detroit especially hard, but amid the gloom and doom of the real-estate crash, Phillip Cooley sowed the seeds of a creative boom. Last spring the 34-year-old civic activist, a former fashion model, purchased a 1930s industrial warehouse for $100,000 and turned it into an incubator for the city's most innovative entrepreneurs. He called it Pony Ride because, he says, "Who doesn't want to go on a pony ride?" To saddle up, tenants must have a socially conscious purpose and agree to teach their craft to the community. More than 40 have moved in, including a boat-maker, a dance studio, a film-production company, and a designer who builds furniture from the city's fallen trees. "I want some interesting collisions to happen here," says Cooley, an interesting collision unto himself. The Michigan native walked runways in Paris, Milan, and Tokyo before making his name in 2005 by opening Slows Bar-B-Q, a smoke joint in the city's Corktown neighborhood that serves as a platform for local community building. Nearby Pony Ride promotes the same values by offering absurdly cheap rent: "Ten cents per square foot," Cooley says, "and that's with utilities." 

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