Tuesday, December 16, 2014

When a city center becomes an island

The Daily Mail has some fascinating photographs of Detroit from the air, showing how the once mighty metropolis has become islands of city living surrounded by urban decay and slowly returning countryside.  This photograph in particular caught my eye (click it for a larger view).

Isn't that amazing?  The heavily-built-up, once-bustling central business district of Detroit surrounded by what looks like steadily encroaching farmland!  What's more, I'm sure Detroit isn't the only 'Rust Belt' city that's decaying in this way - just the furthest down the path.  What other cities are following the same trend?

There are many more images at the link.  Recommended reading . . . thought-provoking, too.



Jess said...

Smaller versions of this phenomenon are scattered all over the United States. Economies change, people move away, and the result is empty buildings.

I think it's hard for people to envision such a thing at a large scale, but it proves a healthy economy is dynamic and there's no guarantee any one commerce center will remain forever.

Murphy's Law said...

My old hometown and workplace. And it's worse now than when I left to escape the downward slide.

Funny how the article doesn't mention that Detroit suffered from 1-party rule for over 50 years, and many of those Democrats were incompetent, even funtionally illerate in some cases, and blatantly corrupt. And Detroiters elected and re-elected every one of them, so this is really on them, not the poor taxpayers forced to bail them out.

The article likes to draw the distinction between Detroit and it's well-to-do suburbs, calling it the divide between the haves and the have nots. I tend to call it the divide between the work and the work nots, or the stay in school and obey the law types and the...Detroiters.

When I lived there, city residency for city employees was still required. As a result, there were only two good neighborhoods, one on the east side and one on the west side, where the majority of the police officers, firefighters and teachers lived. When residency was abolished (right after I left...DOH!) those neighborhoods emptied out overnight as well. why live where you get taxed extra, have no city services, pay higher insurance rates for your home and cars and can't put your kids in the public schools?

Pity. It truly was a beautiful city once, with stunning archetecture and a model police department that was emulated nationwide. Then along came the Democrats, and Mayor Coleman Young in particular. RIP Detroit.

born01930 said...

It is actually starting to look nice. Not that I want to live there, but those green spaces make it look more inviting.

Rolf said...

The Greening of Mother Earth! Is there nothing the Democrats can't do with one-party rule?

Anonymous said...

The same thing happened to Youngstown, OH. It lost it's industrial base and then half it's population. The city fathers quietly began rolling up the sidewalks and paring the infrastructure, turning themselves into a much smaller town in a more-or-less orderly fashion. Search: The incredible shrinking city

Anonymous said...

I see a great deal of potentially useful land...except I bet the EPA would have a fit if you tried to stick a shovel in the ground. There might be something down there that might kill you! (sarcasm)
I bet that any attempt to revitalize Detroit in any form runs right into the regulatory mindset that killed it.

Jamie NZ said...

Best I can do on such a short time frame



Call your mates!!!

SJ said...

I live in one of the suburbs of Detroit.

The slide has been going on for a long time. But there's been a noticeable acceleration in people moving out of Detroit in the past decade or so.

And there's been a number of neighborhoods in Detroit which see increasing numbers of empty lots, and decreasing numbers of livable houses.

And Detroit does levy a higher property-tax rate than any suburb does. Detroit also has an income tax; none of the suburban communities do.

People from Detroit complain that there are no major shopping centers left inside City borders. Yet the cost-of-doing-business is higher inside Detroit.

And criminal behavior (of the kind that costs businesses money, and discourage customers from coming) is much higher inside Detroit than in the suburbs. Even when the suburban business place is only 1 mile from City limits.