The much bally-hooed bailout of the Big 3 Automakers has brought attention of the parts of detroit that have been in the background. Its abandoned houses, and factories.
This was written in The Michigan Messenger:
Big Three bailout spotlight reveals Detroit’s decay
By Minehaha Forman 12/12/08 1:12 PM
Now that the Big Three car companies that made Detroit the “Motor City” are reduced to begging for federal life support, a national spotlight is on Detroit’s decaying infrastructure.
On Sunday, Bloomberg.com reported that “General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., and Chrysler LLC are fighting for their lives. Large stretches of Detroit are already dead.”
The article highlighted areas of Detroit that are brimming with natural growth, a mix of urban and rural living. City lots are being recycled back to farms and vacant lots without cultivation are becoming stretches of prairie.
Similar coverage of Detroit’s return to a rural habitat was posted in Michigan Messenger earlier this year.
Both highlighted Detroit’s >urban farming and natural overgrowth in urban decay.
Adding to the more recent national attention was Time.com, which recently published a photo essay, shot in March 2008, of Detroit’s gutted old factories and train station. The photos offer a glimpse of a haunting, abandoned block.
“On many occasions,” said photographer Sean Hemmerle, “I had the feeling I was working in a post-Apocalyptic environment.”
Everyone knows the automotive industry was born in Detroit. Now national news organizations are realizing that it is—and has been for some time—dying here.
Hemmerle said he came to Detroit to take photos of “derelict” buildings as part of a project exploring “how far America has fallen”. He didn’t have to look hard. Leave the immediate downtown area and you’ll see signs of industrial decay. Tall office buildings, factories and historical homes stand slashed and gaping black holes rimmed with sharp broken glass mark the windows. On my street, on the East side of the city close to Eastern Market that was once an industrial community thriving on auto plant employment, there are multiple abandoned buildings, full of rust and still water or ice.
When I first moved from the suburbs to the inner city, I looked at the ruins in shock. I couldn’t believe a First World industrial country could have vast parts of a major city looking that neglected. But after living in Detroit for more than a year, I have come to the point where I often overlook the broken glass, the gutted factories and the piles of ruin and charcoal where there were once houses and factories. Detroiters have been forced to accept the gruesome neglect of city infrastructure or move. Many consider moving out of Detroit as a sign of success.
While some argue that the auto industry will fail without a bailout, a look at Detroit’s corroding infrastructure will tell you the damage cannot be undone by a mere $14 billion.