Detroit’s Fight Against Blight. At one level, a new report about blight in Detroit can be seen as a cartographic inventory of the abandoned homes, vacant lots and rundown industrial sites that have spread through the once-thriving Motor City like a metastasized cancer.
But there is another way to look at this important document: as the starting point for fresh conversation about what needs to be done to stabilize and revive Detroit and other declining cities around the country. The report, which is based on an ambitious building-by-building census conducted by paid surveyors and volunteers, shows that 78,506 buildings, or 30 percent of the city’s structures, are dilapidated or at risk of becoming so. An additional 114,000 parcels of land are empty.
At its peak in 1950, Detroit was home to 1.85 million people; it now has 700,000 residents. Drop Dead, Detroit! For the past twenty-one years, L.
Brooks Patterson has governed Oakland County, a large, affluent suburb of Detroit. Oakland County embodies fiscal success as much as Detroit does financial ruin, and Patterson, the county executive, tends to behave as though his chief job in life were to never let anyone forget it. One week in September, he gave me an extended tour of his empire, in a chauffeured minivan. Near the end of the first day, we headed toward Lake St. Motown Down. If you were to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, home to Diego Rivera’s magnificent murals depicting scenes at the Ford Motor Company in the early nineteen-thirties, and then take a stroll through the surrounding streets, you might be surprised at what you would find: coffee shops frequented by young hipsters; old warehouses being converted to lofts; bike racks; houses undergoing renovation; a new Whole Foods supermarket.
After decades of white flight, black flight, and urban decay, Detroit is being spoken of, in some circles, as “the new Portland,” or “the new Brooklyn.” This gentrification extends only to a relatively small area, but it is worth keeping in mind when reading about the city’s bankruptcy filing—by far the biggest municipal-bankruptcy case in U.S. history. Detroit, as everyone knows, has a lot of problems. Great swaths of the city have been left to crumble, or return to pasture. Detroit is broke—it can’t even afford batteries for its parking meters—and broken. Anatomy of Detroit’s Decline - Interactive Feature. Detroit's population loss slows; some suburbs see gains. Detroit continues to lose residents, but the population loss appears to be slowing, with about 1% moving out between 2013 and 2014, according to estimates released today by the U.S.
Census Bureau. In the tri-county area, the Oakland County suburbs of Lyon and Oakland townships and Sylvan Lake, as well as Macomb and Washington townships in Macomb County grew the fastest, according to the estimates. The census makes the estimates annually based on a review of birth and death records, as well as migration. Demographer Kurt Metzger said Detroit's population loss appears to be easing. "It continues to average about 1% loss per year," said Metzger, now mayor of Pleasant Ridge.
By the city's estimates, Detroit lost about 1,000 residents per month in 2013; that slowed to 500 in 2014, and the number is even lower in 2015. "We have seen a significant slowing of people leaving the neighborhoods, and it will continue to improve," Mayor Mike Duggan said. Read or Share this story: The Post-Post-Apocalyptic Detroit. Photo In downtown Detroit, at the headquarters of the online-mortgage company Quicken Loans, there stands another downtown Detroit in miniature.
The diorama, made of laser-cut acrylic and stretching out over 19 feet in length, is a riot of color and light: Every structure belonging to Quicken’s billionaire owner, Dan Gilbert, is topped in orange and illuminated from within, and Gilbert currently owns 60 of them, a lordly nine million square feet of real estate in all. He began picking up skyscrapers just three and a half years ago, one after another, paying as little as $8 a square foot. He bought five buildings surrounding Capitol Park, the seat of government when Michigan became a state in 1837. Can Detroit Return To Its Former Glory? The population of Detroit has dwindled, and now there aren't enough taxpayers to pick up the tab for essential city services.
Paul Sancya/AP hide caption toggle caption Paul Sancya/AP The population of Detroit has dwindled, and now there aren't enough taxpayers to pick up the tab for essential city services. Paul Sancya/AP The newly appointed emergency financial manager of Detroit begins the Herculean task Monday of turning the once bustling capital of the car business back from the brink of bankruptcy. Though Detroit still has its cultural centers, architectural gems, funky restaurants and packed sporting events downtown, the city has suffered an urban blight that has slowly eaten away at its neighborhoods. "Detroit has become a ghost town," says Russ Wilson, who has lived in Detroit for all of his 47 years.
Bankrupt Detroit's downtown renaissance creates trickle of hope.