Motorless city of Detroit

Some abandoned areas are part of some highly populated cities. How can a metropolis have an empty "heart"? Probably one of the most striking examples is the city of Detroit, which houses a totally abandoned neighborhood and fallen industry.

"The Motor City" takes it's name from the central role it played in the automotive industry. When Henry Ford changed the assembly line system in the 20s, enabling mass production, cars were considerably cheaper, leading to a significant increase in sales. When all the wheels of economy spin, the city thrives. In Detroit this phenomenon took place very quickly. In the 50s, with about two million residents, Detroit became the third largest U.S. city.
The large number of employees and significant revenues that the city was making, soon led to affluent and high rise constructions that marked Detroit's skyline. Sophisticated architecture spoiled the cultural centers, theaters and offices. It was a flourishing town and it's buildings were reflecting the full power and wealth generated by the automotive industry.

However no miracle is forever, so the next decades, especially the '70s and '80s, the city started to become less successful. During this period, the American car industry went into recession. With that happening, Detroit city started collapsing too, as a side effect of hanging by a strong cord on the automotive industry.
In the glory period, the biggest car manufacturers Chrysler, Ford and General Motors produced 90% of all cars sold in the U.S. In 2005 the figure had dropped to 40%. As the city's power relied solely on car manufacturing, the situation deteriorated steadily after the threat of car manufacturers outside the continent started to knock at the gates of U.S.
But blame did not belong exclusively to the latter. Suburbanization was a second cause. As people moved out of the city, the money left with them at the same time. The same scheme was applied for car manufacturers. Factories prospered along side the trade industry. With land available, managers built factories and facilities in the suburbs too. A whole area of Detroit was abandoned, while the few buildings that still worked, choked trying not to let the mass closures affect them. Detroit seemed to be on the verge of collapse.
Building owners had no choice but to abandon their properties once realized that there was no one willing to rent or buy them. Years on end, office buildings, hotels, churches, theaters, homes, factories and shops were systematically abandoned, leading to total abandonment. Vandals broke the windows, painted messages on the walls and took architectural memories. Even the massive train depot looks like a forgotten shell still preserving something of the old grandeur.
Currently, efforts are being made to revitalize the area, but those who want to come here prefer to demolish old buildings and build other monuments of modern architecture in their place. The old palatial buildings will be demolished and replaced with huge parking lots or new glass and iron constructions.

More of Detroit:

Detroit City Winter Special

Detroit City Downfall

Detroit`s Urban Contrasts


  1. I heard it's getting back on it's feet. Don't know how true it is though.

  2. Thanks for the useful article.

  3. That Detroit has been allowed to get to such a stage is unbelieveable. Imagine living there...

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