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flar

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D o w n t o w n • D e t r o i t

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Midtown
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Eastern Market
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G r e e k t o w n


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Great photos Flar. The downtown seems well intact at least, not reduced to greenfields yet. The buildings seem all empty though, cuz there are hardly any people around. Hopefully they don't demolished and replaced with farmland or anything like that.
 
Nice tour flar, thanks. I like the skinny building,. old storefronts and, strangely, the picture of your lunch. :)
 
is it safe to say that detroit's downturn is what is preserving these buildings from being demolished?
 
is it safe to say that detroit's downturn is what is preserving these buildings from being demolished?

Not sure...
There are tons of empty lots downtown, many once the site of massive buildings. Detroit is a huge city and probably still has the largest collection of pre-war skyscrapers other than NY and Chicago. The number of huge old buildings in Detroit is impressive--this thread barely scratches the surface--but many of them are in ruins. At least one pre-war skyscraper, the Lafayette Bldg., was just demolished in the past year. Many of the buildings pictured here are abandoned. The City of Detroit demolishes thousands of buildings every year. I don't think they're safe, the recession has stalled the bit of momentum downtown Detroit had going in the early 2000s. At some point they decay beyond the point where restoration is feasible.
 
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Not sure...
There are tons of empty lots downtown, many once the site of massive buildings. Detroit is a huge city and probably still has the largest collection of pre-war skyscrapers other than NY and Chicago. The number of huge old buildings in Detroit is impressive--this thread barely scratches the surface--but many of them are in ruins. At least one pre-war skyscraper, the Lafayette Bldg., was just demolished in the past year. Many of the buildings pictured here are abandoned. The City of Detroit demolishes thousands of buildings every year. I don't think they're safe, the recession has stalled the bit of momentum downtown Detroit had going in the early 2000s. At some point they decay beyond the point where restoration is feasible.

i guess downturn can be both saviour and destroyer. if the city does too well, i grows from the centre, replacing old buildings with new, but if it does bad, those buildings are prevented from being torn down until the downturn goes long enough, in which case they have to be torn down due to safety reasons and being too far gone for restoration. for a while, detroit's decay saved quite a bit of buildings from progress but now it's gone too far and having the opposite effect. it's architectural preservation for all the wrong reasons,which in the end, isn't really preservation at all. it's more like waiting to die.

what detroit needs is a manufactured hype that the city will recover within a certain amount of years. this will lead to people buying up & rehabilitating buildings and moving in. a new mindset will do the city well.
 
Using an old theatre as a parking garage is not my idea of preservation.

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This is the old Detroit Theater (or Michigan Theater) in Detroit, MI which was built in 1926.
 
what detroit needs is a manufactured hype that the city will recover within a certain amount of years. this will lead to people buying up & rehabilitating buildings and moving in. a new mindset will do the city well.

The city will never regain the population and grandeur it once had. Detroit (the city) has lost around 1 million residents since the 50s. About 30% of residential lots in the city are vacant and a further 10% of existing houses are abandoned. You really have to see it to believe it, there is nothing comparable in the Canadian context. There are literally hundreds of blocks scattered throughout the city with only a handful of houses left. Some are completely cleared.

Where did the houses go?

Most were burned down. Several thousand buildings were burned in the riots of 1967. Devil's night is notorious for massive arson sprees. During the 1980s, around 800 houses were burned each year on Devil's night alone.

The city has also had a long standing program of demolishing vacant homes, which serve as havens for drug addicts and squatters. This is set to accelerate, with over 3000 homes slated for demolition in the next year.


What happened?

Detroit's suffering is due to a confluence of events.

The extensive freeway system built in the 50s and 60s destroyed neighbourhoods and cut them off from each other. But even worse, they paved the way for a massive exodus to the suburbs. This exacerbated white flight, which was further spurred by the riots of 67, busing and the election of Coleman Young as Mayor in the 70s. Mayor Young fanned the flames of racial tension between the white suburbs and black city. The end result is that by the 80s, many neighbourhoods in Detroit were nearly 100% black. The city has obviously suffered severe economic decline with the collapse of North American manufacturing and the decline of the American auto industry. The city became very poor and crime ridden, which is now what Detroit is most well known for. The bad reputation made Detroit even less desirable to businesses and residents. By the 90s, middle class blacks were fleeing the city if they could afford it, leaving the city even more impoverished. The huge losses to its tax base, coupled with rampant political corruption and incompetent municipal government, left the city's finances in shambles. They city simply cannot afford to maintain its infrastructure, leading to a downward spiral of inadequate municipal services that made the city even more undesirable. Further population losses resulted from changes to social assistance. In the past, welfare was focused on sustaining poor mothers in a limited lifestyle. By the 90s, the focus changed to moving people off welfare and into the workforce. Since there are no jobs in Detroit, many who were previously subsisting on welfare were forced to move, basically abandoning unsellable homes.

So Detroit's downward spiral is due to a complex mix of economic woes, racial tension and politics, unanticipated consequences of social programs, corruption, incompetence, deindustrialization and suburbanization.


But I must say, considering the mess Detroit is in, the downtown area is doing relatively okay.
 
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it truly is a shame. i still think it could be fixed but it would take alot of effort.
 
Flar: Neat Detroit pics throughout! This is a city that is fascinating to me because of what it has been thru...

Those aerial pics were from the Ren Center I presume? Any info on a public observatory there?

That sandwich looked good with the red sauce and onions...I am hungry posting this...

Can you number these pics if you get a chance - it makes commenting that much easier...

Happy New Year and may the neat photo tours continue! I certainly enjoy them...LI MIKE
 
Numbers added

Everytime you remind me to number the photos, I think, "what a great idea, I'm gonna do this on all my threads, on this site and others." And then I keep forgetting...
 
Great pics... the architecture of Detroit is the last reminder of the city's former grandeur. It is sad to think that a city/region with so much promise could fall so hard. In addition to the points that have already been made, Detroit's downfall was fueled by the red-lining lending policies of major financial institutions. The red-lining policies made it impossible for homeowners within the affected communities (black communities) to secure mortgages for home purchases and renovations. Without money and nowhere else to live, these black communities quickly became ghettoized and stereotypes were reinforced. Although the policy was abandoned long ago, the stereotypes still influence race relations in the region.
 
I used to visit Downtown Detroit in the mid-90s, and then went back 10 years later. There was a significant improvement, although there's still a long way to go. It's going to be slow, but there's hope. Comerica Park, and some new residential developments in the core were nice to see.

Man, what an impressive collection of grand buildings. Gotta love American pre-war architecture...
 

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