Detroit. Most know the tale of woe and decline that has befallen the city that put the world on wheels. Population loss, employment decline, racism, and a high level of physical decay are everyday facts-on-the-ground. The internet is full of images captured by urban explorers of various kinds that demonstrate where things are. Abandoned structures, hotels, private homes and industrial facilities rot and rust with a kind of perplexing grandeur. Such places decay quietly until they are set upon by a kind of inverse working class of scavengers, looking first for copper and aluminium and then later for less valuable metals in larger amounts, undoing what’s left of entire swathes of the city. There’s plenty of graffitti and something very lonely about it all. This reversal- of-fortune dominates nearly all discussion of Detroit and now includes much of what was once suburban. Indeed, the suburban poverty in Detroit’s surroundings appear to have gotten worse than in the city itself.
Here are some resources for understanding Detroit.
Both of these documentaries give credit to Detroit’s once-thriving cultural life, especially its music.
This link is for a non-profit agency called Data Driven Detroit. It has a trove of valuable material on Detroit, census data analysis, written reports, maps. The more we look at D3 the more impressed we are! A model for just about any community.
Image: public domain via Wikimedia Commons