What images do we see from the rest of the world?
We see natural disasters,
We see refugees,
and we see horrible diseases.
We see beautiful beaches,
cultural rites and stuff.
And then we’re supposed to make the connection in our head
and create a worldview out of this.
And how is that possible?
I mean, the world seems so strange.
And I don’t think it is.
I don’t think the world is that strange, actually.
I’ve got an idea.
So, imagine the world as a street,
where the poorest live on one end and the richest on the other,
and everyone in the world lives on this street.
You live there, I live there,
and the neighbors we have are the ones with the same income.
People that live in the same block as me,
they are from other countries, other cultures, other religions.
The street might look something like this.
And I was curious.
In Sweden where I live,
I’ve been meeting quite a lot of students.
And I wanted to know,
where would they think they belong on a street like this?
So we changed these houses into people.
This is the seven billion people that live in the world.
And just by living in Sweden, most likely you belong there,
which is the richest group.
But the students, when you ask them,
they think they are in the middle.
And how can you understand the world
when you see all these scary images from the world,
and you think you live in the middle, while you’re actually atop?
Not very easy.
So I sent out photographers
to 264 homes in 50 countries -- so far, still counting --
and in each home, the photographers take the same set of photos.
They take the bed,
and about 135 other things.
So we have 40,000 images or something at the moment,
and it looks something like this.
There is a scarcity of retail,
more specifically, fresh food retail,
resulting in a citywhere 70 percent of Detroiters
are obese and overweight,
and they struggle.
They struggle to accessnutritious food that they need,
that they need to stay healthy,
that they need to prevent prematureillness and diet-related diseases.
Far too many Detroiterslive closer to a fast food restaurant
or to a convenience store,or to a gas station
where they have to shop for food
than they do a full-service supermarket.
And this is not good newsabout the city of Detroit,
but this is the news
and the story
that Detroiters intend to change.
No, I’m going to take that back.
This is the storythat Detroiters are changing,
through urban agricultureand food entrepreneurship.
Here we see, it says on the top,
Families in the world by income,
and we have the street represented just beneath it, you can see.
And then we see some of the families we have visited.
We have the poorer to the left, the richer to the right,
and everybody else in between, as the concept says.
We can go down and see the different families we have been to so far.
Here, for instance, we have a family in Zimbabwe,
one in India, one in Russia, and one in Mexico, for instance.
So we can go around and look at the families this way.
But of course, we can choose if we want to see some certain countries
and compare them,
or regions, or if we want, to see other things.
So Detroit has this --open land, fertile soil,
proximity to water,
and a desperate demandfor healthy, fresh food.
All of this has createda people-powered grassroots movement
of people in Detroit
who are transforming this city
from what was the capitalof American industry
into an agrarian paradise.
So let’s go to the front doors
and see what they look like.
Go here, and this is the world by front doors, ordered by income.
And we can see the big difference
from India, Philippines, China, Ukraine, in these examples, for instance.
What if we go into the home?
We can look at beds.
This is what beds can look like.
Doesn’t look like the glossy magazines.
Doesn’t look like the scary images in the media.
So remember that the students in Sweden,
they thought they were in the middle of the world income.
So let’s go there.
We zoom in here by filtering the street to the middle,
and then I ask the students:
Is this what your bedroom looks like?
And they would actually not feel very at home.
So we go down and see, do they feel more at home here?
And they would say,
no, this is not what a Swedish typical bedroom looks like.
We go up here,
and suddenly, they feel sort of at home.
And we can see here in this image,
we see bedrooms in China, Netherlands,
South Korea, France and the United States, for instance.
So we can click here.
If we want to know more about the family, the home in which this bed stands,
we can just click it and go to the family,
and we can see all the images from that family.
We can go this way, too.
And of course, this is free for anyone to use.
So just go here, and please add more images, of course.
My personal favorite that everyone always tries to make me not show,
I’m going to show you now, and that’s toilets,
because you’re not really allowed to look at people’s toilets,
but now we can just do it, right?
So here (Laughter) we have a lot of toilets.
They look pretty much as we’re used to, right?
And they are in China, Netherlands, United States, Nepal and so forth,
And they look pretty similar, right?
But remember, we are in the top.
So what about checking all the toilets?
Now it looks a bit different, doesn’t it?
So this way we can visually browse through categories of imagery,
using photos as data.
But not everything works as a photo.
Sometimes it’s easier to understand what people do,
so we also do video snippets of everyday activities,
such as washing hands, doing laundry,
brushing teeth, and so on.
And I’m going to show you a short snippet of tooth-brushing,
and we’re going to start at the top.
These are dinnerswhere we bring folks onto the farm,
we give them plentyof time and opportunity
to meet and greet and talk to the grower,
and then they’re taken on a farm tour.
And then afterwards,they’re treated to a farm-to-table meal
prepared by a chef
who showcases all the produce on the farmright at the peak of its freshness.
We do that.
We bring people onto the farm,
we have folks sitting around a table,
because we want to changepeople’s relationship to food.
We want them to knowexactly where their food comes from
that is grown on that farmthat’s on the plate.
So we see people brushing their teeth.
Pretty interesting to see
the same type of plastic toothbrush is being used in all these places
in the same way, right?
Some are more serious than others --
They decided to takea block-by-block-by-block strategy.
So within the neighborhood of Brightmoor,
you’ll find a 21-block microneighborhoodcalled Brightmoor Farmway.
Now, what was a notorious,unsafe, underserved community
has transformed into a welcoming,beautiful, safe farmway,
lush with parks and gardensand farms and greenhouses.
This tight-knit communityalso came together recently,
and they purchased an abandoned building,
an abandoned buildingthat was in disrepair and in foreclosure.
And with the help of friendsand families and volunteers,
they were able to take downthe bulletproof glass,
they were able to clean up the grounds
and they transformed that buildinginto a community kitchen,
into a cafe, into a storefront.
Now the farmers and the food artisanswho live in Brightmoor,
they have a place where theycan make and sell their product.
And the people in the community
have some place where they can buyhealthy, fresh food.
can be used as a way to lift upthe business cooperative model.
The 1,500 farms and gardensI told you about earlier?
Keep Growing Detroitis a nonprofit organization
that had a lot to do with those farms.
They distributed last year70,000 packets of seeds
and a quarter of a million transplants,
and as a result of that last year,
550,000 pounds of produce
was grown in the city of Detroit.
but still, the toothbrush is there.
And then, coming down to this poorer end,
then we will see people start using sticks,
and they will sometimes use their finger to brush their teeth.
So this particular woman in Malawi,
when she brushes her teeth,
she scrapes some mud off from her wall
and she mixes it with water, and then she’s brushing.
Therefore, in the Dollar Street material,
we have tagged this image
not only as her wall, which it is,
but also as her toothpaste,
because that is also what she uses it for.
So we can say, in the poorer end of the street,
you will use a stick or your finger,
you come to the middle, you will start using a toothbrush,
and then you come up to the top,
and you will start using one each.
Pretty nice, not sharing a toothbrush with your grandma.
And you can also look at some countries.
Here, we have the income distribution within the US,
most people in the middle.
We have a family we visited in the richer end, the Howards.
We can see their home here.
And we also visited a family in the poorer end, down here.
And then what we can do now is we can do instant comparisons
of things in their homes.
Let’s look in their cutlery drawer.
So, observe the Hadleys:
they have all their cutlery in a green plastic box.
and they have a few different types and some of them are plastic,
while the Howards, they have this wooden drawer
with small wooden compartments in it
and a section for each type of cutlery.
We can add more families,
and we can see kitchen sinks,
or maybe living rooms.
Of course, we can do the same in other countries.
So we go to China, we pick three families.
we look at their houses,
we can look at their sofas,
we can look at their stoves.
And when you see these stoves,
I think it’s obvious that it’s a stupid thing
that usually, when we think about other countries,
we think they have a certain way of doing things.
But look at these stoves.
Very different, right,
because it depends on what income level you have,
how you’re going to cook your food.
But the cool thing is when we start comparing across countries.
So here we have China and the US.
See the big overlap between these two.
So we picked the two homes we have already seen in these countries,
the Wus and the Howards.
Standing in their bedroom,
pretty hard to tell which one is China and which one is the US, right?
Both have brown leather sofas,
and they have similar play structures.
Most likely both are made in China,
so, I mean, that’s not very strange --
but that is similar.
Detroit Vegan Soulis providing Detroiters the opportunity
to eat more plant-based meals
and they’ve received an overwhelmingresponse from Detroiters.
Detroiters are hungryfor culturally appropriate,
fresh, delicious food.
That’s why we built a nonprofitorganization called FoodLab Detroit,
to help small neighborhoodburgeoning food entrepreneurs
start and scale healthy food businesses.
FoodLab providesthese entrepreneurs incubation,
hands-on education, workshops,
technical assistance,access to industry experts
so that they can grow and scale.
They’re very small businesses,
but last year, they had a combined revenue
of over 7.5 million dollars,
and they provided 252 jobs.
We can of course go down to the other end of the street,
So let’s compare two homes in China and Nigeria.
Looking at the family photos,
they do not look like they have a lot in common, do they?
But start seeing their ceiling.
They have a plastic shield and grass.
They have the same kind of sofa,
they store their grain in similar ways,
they’re going to have fish for dinner,
and they’re boiling their water in identical ways.
So if we would visit any of these homes,
there’s a huge risk that we would say we know anything
about the specific way you do things in China or Nigeria,
while, looking at this, it’s quite obvious --
this is how you do things on this income level.
That is what you can see when you go through the imagery in Dollar Street.
So going back to the figures,
the seven billion people of the world,
now we’re going to do a quick recap.
We’re going to look at comparisons of things in the poorest group:
And observe, in all these comparisons,
their homes are chosen
so they are in completely different places of the world.
But what we see is pretty identical.
So the poorest billion cooking
would look somewhat the same in these two places;
you might not have shoes;
eating, if you don’t have a spoon;
storing salt would be similar whether you’re in Asia or in Africa;
and going to the toilet would be pretty much the same experience
whether you’re in Nigeria or Nepal.
In the middle, we have a huge group of five billion,
but here we can see you will have electric light, most likely;
you will no longer sleep on the floor;
you will store your salt in a container;
you will have more than one spoon;
you will have more than one pen;
the ceiling is no longer leaking that much;
you will have shoes;
you might have a phone,
and produce waste.
Coming to our group up here,
similar shoes, Jordan, US.
We have sofas, fruits, hairbrushes,
toilet paper in Tanzania, Palestine,
hard to distinguish
if we would sit in US, Palestine or Tanzania from this one.
wardrobes, lamps, black dogs, floors, soap,
laundry, clocks, computers,
phones, and so on, right?
And yes, I know, these stories are small,
these stories areneighborhood-based stories,
but these stories are powerful.
They’re powerful because I’m showing youhow we’re creating a new society
left vacant in the places and the spacesthat was disintegration from the old.
They’re powerful storiesbecause they’re stories about love,
the love that Detroiters havefor one another,
the love that we have for our community,the love that we have for Mother Earth,
but more importantly,these stories are stories
on how devastation, despair, decay
never ever get the last wordin the city of Detroit.
When hundreds of thousandsof people left Detroit,
and they left us for dead,those who stayed had hope.
They held on to hope.
They never gave up.
They always kept fighting.
And listen, I know,
transforming a big city like Detroitto one that is prosperous,
one that’s functional, one that’s healthy,
one that’s inclusive,one that provides opportunities for all,
I know it’s tough,
I know it’s challenging, I know it’s hard.
But I just believe
that if we start strengtheningthe social fabric of our communities,
and if we kickstart economic opportunitiesin our most vulnerable neighborhoods,
it all starts with healthy, accessible,
delicious, culturally appropriate food.
So we have a lot of similarities all over the world,
and the images we see in the media,
they show us the world is a very, very strange place.
But when we look at the Dollar Street images,
they do not look like that.
So using Dollar Street,
we can use photos as data,
and country stereotypes --
they simply fall apart.
So the person staring back at us from the other side of the world
actually looks quite a lot like you.
And that implies both a call to action
and a reason for hope.