Entrepreneur Mark Siwak has a plan, and it’s called Z World Detroit. Z World is a live-action zombie theme park that is located right on the abandoned streets of Detroit, Michigan.
While the city government hasn’t been able to do much about the declining neighborhoods, Siwak thinks that these desolate areas could be put too good use as a zombie theme park where customers pay to be chased by zombies (professional actors) and have the opportunity to hide out in Detroit’s abandoned factories and homes. Says Siwak:
“Imagine that you’re living through the zombie apocalypse. You and your group are looking for sanctuary in an abandoned urban landscape. You are out of ammo so you are relying on your smarts to survive. As you start to adjust to your new surroundings, your relative calm is broken by a pack of zombies. People panic and start to run. Some in your group aren’t fast enough and fall to the zombies. Soon they will also be zombies. Where do you go? … Will you make it through the night?”
David Bing, the current mayor of Detroit, has one proposal out there that would move people from certain areas into other areas of a higher-concentrated population, essentually abandoning some neighborhoods. Siwak sees the desolate hoods as assets and thinks they can be used to bring activity and business back again. Other critics say that his zombie theme park idea is just exploitative.
More about Z World Detroit at the fundraiser site Indigogo, where Siwak has already raised over $5,000 (as of July 6, 2012). However, the goal right now is $145,000 to help get the project off the ground.
Z World Layout
Here’s some of the plan for Z World Detroit:
About 200 acres set aside, with houses, warehouses, factories, and open spaces
The area has a walled perimeter
Participants gather in the staging area first. They then are free to explore and get a feel for the lay of the land
At some point, a small group of “zombies” is released. If a zombie gets you, you become a zombie yourself and must now join the horde.
The game lasts all night
We think that Z World is an interesting idea, but we are curious how much the project will really cost, given the legal hurdles that must be overcome (settling ownership claims on 200 acres worth of properties, and making sure all the abandoned buildings and streets don’t become real deathtraps for thrill-seekers. Imagine running from zombies only to get cut up on glass shards or fall to your death in an abandoned elevator shaft.)
As one person joked, Detroit is bad enough now that you could run for your life and not have to pay somebody for it. Still, it’s nice to see some out-of-the-box thinking on how to revitalize Motor City.