Tag Archives: Michigan

(1227) Detroit

Hard times in the 313 have been news for some time.  These recent features look in at the situation beyond a reviving downtown and asks if philanthropists could be doing more in suburban Detroit.
Suburban poverty on the rise, but is philanthropy following?
To track suburban poverty trends, look to the schools
Mary Kramer on WJR: poverty rising in suburbs
crainsdetroit.com (audio 5:43)
image: Mike Boening via Flickr/CC

(712) Metro Detroit man’s 34 kilometer daily walk to and from work

James Robertson walkWoe to the working person who loses his wheels.  Unless they’re as tough as James Robertson.  Ten years ago Robertson’s Honda died on him.  He took to walking to work.  But he kinda needs a car now.

This man walks 21 miles a day to get to work. Help James Robertson get a car
video 2:17

Help James Robertson Get a Car
Amazing: almost 30k raised on gofundme.com in the first seven hours!


(611) GM’s own back yard

14764989175_9d801a221d_zStill looking for that singular, killer-quality item of evidence of why it’s a good idea to integrate cycling into basically everything for business reasons alone?  A recent development from the Motor City picked up online relatively widely supports bikes and bike sharing in a rather powerful fashion.  General Motors is looking to put its tech staff on two wheels within its campus style suburban technical centre.  Amazing!

Why General Motors wants to put 19,000 tech employees on bicycles
LA Times

image: Internet Archive scanned book image via Flickr

(237) Christmas & a tree or two grows in Detroit

Best wishes to our readers, whoever and wherever you are may your God go with you this coming year.  We have the feeling 2013 will be a doozy.  Never has the world been so plain-ass crazy, and yet, never has it been more …interesting!  Use your heads and be careful, people.

In the spirit of the season we ordered the Research Department to come up with something positive, hopeful, optimistic.  This request found us considering Detroit once again.  The abandoned homes number into the many tens of thousands and the city’s decline from its heyday as a manufacturer of automobiles is one of the cliches of the age.  Comprehending the enormity of Detroit’s fall from prosperity seems to stymie the generation of new ideas.  It remains difficult to picture where Detroit will be in the future.

Tree farming is not the first thing that would come to mind when addressing a post-industrial landscape of abandoned homes and industries.  Take a look at the linkage below.  This very thing is up and running.  Abandoned subdivisions are levelled, cleared of brush and rows of holes for saplings are bored where there was once arson, wild dogs, crime, rubbish, abandoned cars and fear.  From what we have seen and read of this online Hantz Group’s initiative is a worthy one.  Detroit’s government can barely maintain its abandoned areas and needs healthy businesses and emloyment.  Tree farming also represents an aesthetic improvement.  Hantz’s intentions seem good, it’s hard to argue with someone looking to invest in something creative in Detroit.  The firm appears to want approval, to be understood to be doing something positive, something real.

Hantz Farms: Detroit’s Saving Grace YouTube 7:28

Detroit: Urban Farming @ Earthworks Community Garden YouTube 4:06

See also:
(224) Really unreal real estate in Detroit
(194) Detroit, MI
(22) Detroit

(224) Really unreal real estate in Detroit

Detroit has developed a difficult persona during its decades of decline.  Vehement statements about what has gone wrong abound.  Tantalizing hints of a creative mini renaissance of artists and others colonizing abandoned swathes of the fallen giant are also easy to find.  The truth of abandonment, the enormity of dysfunction in greater Detroit has been the subject of much enquiry by documentarians and photographers as well as academics and journalists.  What to make of Detroit in other places is a question, too.  What are the opportunities on the ground there?  Are there any?  Is Detroit is producing the new conditions that other places will soon encounter as typical or is it an extreme example of industrial decline?  The language in this piece is enjoyable, brainy and hopeful.  Even if you don’t agree that a few artsy people represent a renaissance for Detroit the condition of that city is worthy of detailed consideration.

The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit  designobserver.com

See also
(22) Detroit
(194) Detroit, MI

photo: via Wikimedia Commons

(194) Detroit, MI

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.

Detropia  Recent documentary with strong reviews
Requiem for Detroit  British documentary viewable online on Vimeo

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.

Data Driven Detroit

Image: public domain via Wikimedia Commons

(22) Detroit

Some effort is required to picture a hundred thousand houses, let alone that number  left abandoned.
Here’s 100 of them for starters.
Images and statistics of a decayed and dying Detroit have been widely circulated and have become almost a commonplace feature of the Internet.  The criticism of such imagery as mere ruin porn is justified …to a point.  Yet, how ironic that Detroit is the place that spawned the Model T automobile.  Mass produced for sale to the a mass industrial populace the Model T was the grand, uber-progenitor of the primary tool of participation in suburban living – the private automobile.
Squatters Are Taking Over Detroit’s 100,000 Vacant Homes