Thursday, August 19, 2010

Detroit & the Urban Prairie

One of the mysteries of the mysterious and haunting Detroit is the wide open grassy spaces in between giant apartment buildings and Victorian era homes.

White flight began to occur in Detroit in the mid-1960's, after the 1967 Twelfth Street riots and in the midst of increased competition for jobs in the auto industry. In the early 1960's, urban Detroit's population was 1.8 million and is now less than half that. I am interested to see what the 2010 Census counts.

These urban prairies in Detroit began to develop in the 1970's as population in the city continued to decline.  Heroin and crack usage began to infiltrate the city as gangster culture began to develop and often using abandoned structures as locations for selling and using.  The city began to demolish empty and unowned structures (derelict structures & properties often revert to city ownership) creating vast spaces of land recovered partially by the prairie grasses common to the mid-west.  Most of the grass lands you see in the above videos are within the city limits, in areas that were clearly well populated with people and commerce at some point.


Bianca @ South Bay Rants n Raves said...

Thanks for the history lesson of Detroit. I had no idea! How sad such a nice place went thru such change...

Food, she thought. said...


Detroit is a juxtaposition of things that are wonderful about modern cities and a future for modern cities that is frightening. Please stay tuned. There are quite a few more Detroit posts in the tank waiting to be blogged!