Part of the City of Detroit's economic rescue plan involves essentially withdrawing from nearly one-quarter of the city's land area and letting it become wild. Cut off your nose to spite your face. For those living in Detroit, this must be a stunning reality that not only has the city been in sharp decline since the 1960s, it is completely evacuating large sections of once elegant neighborhoods just to remain financially solvent. Once among the richest of American cities, it now seems more like an internationally famous ghost town. Our version of Somalia, if you will.
A note for the Detroit Chamber of Commerce: "ugly tourism" is all the rage right now in Europe. Like "slum tours" through the favelas of Rio de Janeiro or "grief tourism" to the killing fields of Cambodia and Auschwitz, Detroit needs to take advantage of its clear monopoly on decay and the powerful story of its riches-to-rags downfall. Might I suggest a marketing slogan to tempt the more thrill-seeking among us? "Zombieland Detroit: And You Thought it Was Just a Movie"
This series from the Guardian has excellent photos of the interiors of some of Detroit's most tragically derelict buildings. The incredible thing about many of these shots is that so many of the buildings appear to have been abandoned so suddenly and without planning, with knicknacks and personal belonging still left untouched decades later. In many ways it's eerily reminiscent of post-Katrina, except this disaster was entirely man-made. All photographs by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.
|East Methodist Church|
|Dentist's station, Broderick Tower|
|Light court - Farwell Building|
|Michigan Central Station|
|Michigan Theater - now a parking lot?|
|Former police station, Highland Park|
|Waiting Hall, Michigan Central Station|
|Livingstone House, designed in French Renaissance style in 1893, demolished after this picture was taken.|