Landscapers, barbers come together to give Detroit a trim

Heavyweight Dave, owner of Heavyweight Cuts Barbershop, is one of the participants in The Buzz and attended the ‘mow and show’ event on Monday. Photo: Detroit Future CityHeavyweight Dave, owner of Heavyweight Cuts Barbershop, is one of the participants in The Buzz and attended the ‘mow and show’ event on Monday.
Photo: Detroit Future City

What do barbers and landscapers have in common?

They both use their equipment to cut unruly growth back to a respectable length!

This unconventional pairing of professions is known as The Buzz, and it has been formed in an effort to manage Detroit’s vacant property issues.

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office developed the program, which won a Knight Cities Challenge grant in 2015. Of more than 7,000 applications, The Buzz was one of 32 organizations chosen to receive $84,055.

“This creative idea of bringing barbers and landscapers together to discuss how popular hairstyle trends can be used with mowing patterns is another way to beautify some of the city’s lots,” said Hector Santiago, The Greening of Detroit’s workforce development program manager. “The implementation of the designs will provide an interesting and appealing landscape in the neighborhoods.”

In June, a meet-and-greet information session was held, with more than 25 barbers and landscapers gathering to brainstorm on style trends and land management.

A “mow and show” was held in the Springwells Village community earlier this week, with barbers and landscapers paired off to test their designs and cutting patterns.

“The Buzz is a great example of bringing together unlikely collaborators to address real community issues,” said George Abbott, Knight Foundation project lead for the Knight Cities Challenge. “It is one way to leverage the insights of people who know their community best and to create more opportunities for authentic engagement in Detroit.”

According the Detroit News, the Detroit Land Bank holds about 67,000 vacant lots. Approximately 200 structures are demolished each week, resulting in even more empty parcels of land in need of maintenance.

In August, the DFC Implementation Office will present a gallery of photos, videos and biographies of the participants and their work.

“Barbers and mowers are the bedrock of Detroit neighborhoods,” said Anika Goss-Foster, executive director of the DFC Implementation Office. “As community leaders dedicated to using their trade to creatively alleviate blight by bringing barbers and mowers together to cut original lawn designs, we are providing an accessible platform for such leaders to have a stake in the future of their neighborhoods. We are honored that barbers and mowers have engaged with us in this innovative restoration project.”

The Buzz is also partnered with Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, the East Side Community Network, and the city of Detroit’s General Services Department.

Here is a video about The Buzz:


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