Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23

Thread: Article: Requiem For Detroit

  1. #1

    Article: Requiem For Detroit

    Name:  requiem for detroit.jpg
Views: 1289
Size:  118.2 KB

    I watched an interesting documentary recently, on the rise and fall of the city of Detroit, ‘The Motor City’. It outlined how this one-time super power grew through America’s love affair with the automobile, how the automotive industry spawned thousands of businesses within it that supplied that industry, and how the downfall of the US automotive industry has also brought about the downfall of Detroit.

    This was once one of the most powerful cities in the world. At its height, nearly 2,000,000 people lived there. Now, it’s a city in ruin. As the domestic automotive industry collapsed, so it took Detroit with it. Now just over 700,000 people live there. It’s a ghost town, with empty motorways, and empty buildings. The Packard facility was the largest building in the world at the time it was built. Now it’s the largest abandonment in North America.

    Crime in Detroit is now rife, as is unemployment. Officially, unemployment figures yo-yo at around 22 – 28%, but many consider the number to actually be around 40%. Detroit is now considered the most dangerous city in the US, and has been for some years. 70% of all murders in Detroit remain unsolved. Years of racial tension, segregation, and decades of misguided leadership have come to a head, and that which is left is the result.

    It’s a sad sight now, to see this once powerful city brought to its knees. Its former grand, imposing buildings, many of which were designed by celebrated architect Albert Kahn to proudly portray the might of Detroit, are crumbling ruins, coated in graffiti. Anything of value within them has been stripped out and sold off by looters. The once thriving communities are now rows of empty homes, as foreclosures have become increasingly common. The average house price in Detroit is now just US$6,000! But, it gets worse. With so many foreclosures, most empty houses have been stripped out by looters. These can be bought for as little as US$500. Yep, $500 gets you a three bedroom house. Of course, if nobody buys it for $500, the price continues to drop. Indeed, hundreds of houses have sold in Detroit for $1. In recent years, less than half of home owners have paid their property tax, further deepening the financial hole the city is in.

    The documentary described Detroit as being a ‘one trick pony’, structured on the naÔve belief that the US automotive industry would somehow thrive forever. Its problem stems from the fact the city was built around one industry, and only a tiny handful of major companies, into which everything else funnelled. Much like a business who relies completely on a single large contract from one client to survive, so the city of Detroit relied entirely on the US automotive industry remaining healthy forever.

    Name:  fisher body 21 now.jpg
Views: 1335
Size:  159.2 KB

    Detroit lost 25% of its residents in the last decade. That’s more than any other city in the US with a population over 100,000, other than New Orleans, which lost 29% of its residents following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Per-capita, income in Detroit is less than half the national average, and one-third live in poverty. This is truly a sad story.

    However, its not all bad. Many parts of Detroit are in good health. Its not all ruins and crime. Some historic buildings have survived and are still used today for various businesses. Some have even been restored to their former glory, such as the Ford Piquette Street plant, which is now a museum to celebrate the Ford Model T. The elegant Cadillac Hotel, which sat empty for many years, has also been returned to its former glory. The large Studebaker Piquette plant which was destroyed by fire in 2005, now has a centre for homeless war vets built where the old Studebaker factory once stood. As neighbourhoods are abandoned, houses crumble, and are eventually bulldozed, so mother nature has slowly began taking hold. And with it, wildlife has returned, some of which hasn’t been seen in this area for the best part of a century. And as this one trick pony continues its decent back into the earth, so it appears that horticulture may possibly be one of the industries that saves it. With land now being so cheap, and there being so much of it (figures suggest as much as 120 square kilometres), a whole horticulture industry has now sprung up where once there were towering factories churning out products feeding the automotive industry. Who could have possibly imagined this fifty years ago?

    There is a fascination with Detroit, its decline, and its abandoned buildings that once produced a large percentage of all the worlds motor vehicles. Eventually, there will be little evidence left of its industrial heritage, so the haunting images photographers and film crews are scrambling to capture now, while they still stand, will provide a small window for future generations as to the decline of this former super-power.

    Whether its current state is a sea-change, that points toward a new future for Detroit remains to be seen.

    A preview to the excellent BBC documentary Requiem For Detroit can be viewed here > >

  2. #2
    Here are some old and new photos I found on the www:

    Packard plant:

    Name:  packard.jpg
Views: 918
Size:  117.1 KB

    Name:  packhard now 2.jpg
Views: 940
Size:  113.3 KB

  3. #3
    Michigan Central Station:

    Name:  michigan central station.jpg
Views: 901
Size:  37.2 KB

    Name:  michigan central station now.jpg
Views: 888
Size:  156.2 KB

  4. #4

  5. #5

  6. #6
    One of the Fisher Body buildings. This is Fisher Body 21, originally designed by Albert Kahn:

    Name:  fisher body old1.jpg
Views: 1120
Size:  26.5 KB

    Name:  fisher body 21 now.jpg
Views: 852
Size:  159.2 KB

  7. #7
    Various Detroit pics:

    Name:  detroit 2.jpg
Views: 802
Size:  162.2 KB

    Name:  detroit 4.jpg
Views: 937
Size:  133.7 KB

    Name:  detroit 3.jpg
Views: 821
Size:  60.0 KB

    Name:  detroit 1.jpg
Views: 746
Size:  93.7 KB

  8. #8

  9. #9

  10. #10
    The Motor City during her glory days:

    Name:  FORD1915HIGHLANDPARKPLANTFULLGR.jpg
Views: 884
Size:  79.3 KB

    Name:  0_8d982_6924ac2b_orig.jpg
Views: 721
Size:  88.3 KB

    Name:  bustling-detroit-19102 copy.jpg
Views: 794
Size:  76.6 KB

    Name:  FisherBodyCraftsmansGuild1965_1500.jpg
Views: 734
Size:  144.0 KB

  11. #11

  12. #12
    I recall driving around detroit about 20 years ago. we were in a beat up 5 cylinder v6 ford , all the windows down, and to naive and doppy to know we were on the "wrong" side of town .






    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Holmes View Post
    Name:  requiem for detroit.jpg
Views: 1289
Size:  118.2 KB

    I watched an interesting documentary recently, on the rise and fall of the city of Detroit, ĎThe Motor Cityí. It outlined how this one-time super power grew through Americaís love affair with the automobile, how the automotive industry spawned thousands of businesses within it that supplied that industry, and how the downfall of the US automotive industry has also brought about the downfall of Detroit.

    This was once one of the most powerful cities in the world. At its height, nearly 2,000,000 people lived there. Now, itís a city in ruin. As the domestic automotive industry collapsed, so it took Detroit with it. Now just over 700,000 people live there. Itís a ghost town, with empty motorways, and empty buildings. The Packard facility was the largest building in the world at the time it was built. Now itís the largest abandonment in North America.

    Crime in Detroit is now rife, as is unemployment. Officially, unemployment figures yo-yo at around 22 Ė 28%, but many consider the number to actually be around 40%. Detroit is now considered the most dangerous city in the US, and has been for some years. 70% of all murders in Detroit remain unsolved. Years of racial tension, segregation, and decades of misguided leadership have come to a head, and that which is left is the result.

    Itís a sad sight now, to see this once powerful city brought to its knees. Its former grand, imposing buildings, many of which were designed by celebrated architect Albert Kahn to proudly portray the might of Detroit, are crumbling ruins, coated in graffiti. Anything of value within them has been stripped out and sold off by looters. The once thriving communities are now rows of empty homes, as foreclosures have become increasingly common. The average house price in Detroit is now just US$6,000! But, it gets worse. With so many foreclosures, most empty houses have been stripped out by looters. These can be bought for as little as US$500. Yep, $500 gets you a three bedroom house. Of course, if nobody buys it for $500, the price continues to drop. Indeed, hundreds of houses have sold in Detroit for $1. In recent years, less than half of home owners have paid their property tax, further deepening the financial hole the city is in.

    The documentary described Detroit as being a Ďone trick ponyí, structured on the naÔve belief that the US automotive industry would somehow thrive forever. Its problem stems from the fact the city was built around one industry, and only a tiny handful of major companies, into which everything else funnelled. Much like a business who relies completely on a single large contract from one client to survive, so the city of Detroit relied entirely on the US automotive industry remaining healthy forever.

    Name:  fisher body 21 now.jpg
Views: 1335
Size:  159.2 KB

    Detroit lost 25% of its residents in the last decade. Thatís more than any other city in the US with a population over 100,000, other than New Orleans, which lost 29% of its residents following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Per-capita, income in Detroit is less than half the national average, and one-third live in poverty. This is truly a sad story.

    However, its not all bad. Many parts of Detroit are in good health. Its not all ruins and crime. Some historic buildings have survived and are still used today for various businesses. Some have even been restored to their former glory, such as the Ford Piquette Street plant, which is now a museum to celebrate the Ford Model T. The elegant Cadillac Hotel, which sat empty for many years, has also been returned to its former glory. The large Studebaker Piquette plant which was destroyed by fire in 2005, now has a centre for homeless war vets built where the old Studebaker factory once stood. As neighbourhoods are abandoned, houses crumble, and are eventually bulldozed, so mother nature has slowly began taking hold. And with it, wildlife has returned, some of which hasnít been seen in this area for the best part of a century. And as this one trick pony continues its decent back into the earth, so it appears that horticulture may possibly be one of the industries that saves it. With land now being so cheap, and there being so much of it (figures suggest as much as 120 square kilometres), a whole horticulture industry has now sprung up where once there were towering factories churning out products feeding the automotive industry. Who could have possibly imagined this fifty years ago?

    There is a fascination with Detroit, its decline, and its abandoned buildings that once produced a large percentage of all the worlds motor vehicles. Eventually, there will be little evidence left of its industrial heritage, so the haunting images photographers and film crews are scrambling to capture now, while they still stand, will provide a small window for future generations as to the decline of this former super-power.

    Whether its current state is a sea-change, that points toward a new future for Detroit remains to be seen.

    A preview to the excellent BBC documentary Requiem For Detroit can be viewed here > >
    Last edited by rogered; 04-05-2013 at 06:58 AM.

  13. #13
    Sobering images however, take a look at Seaview (Ford), Petone (Rootes/Chrysler), Trentham (GM), Porirua (Mitsubishi), Nelson (BL/Honda), Wanganui (Suzuki). Wiri (Nissan), Thames (Toyota) and Otahuhu (Volkswagen). Same deal but on a smaller scale.

  14. #14
    Semi-Pro Racer
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Christchurch
    Posts
    172
    Or try Christchurch.
    Roger

  15. #15
    Absolutely spellbound Steve. Loved reading and looking at the pictures. Would make a good trip on it's own to see it firsthand. Especially amazing are the interior shots of the big old eddifices...Brilliant stuff, thanks

  16. #16
    Now that could be Christchurch Roger, but I think the heading for this one is 'The collapse of the Detroit motor industry'

    Amazing stuff Steve, thanks.

    Scary in some ways to see all those empty buildings, good for the movies business to use for gangster movies etc.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  17. #17
    to think I worked there for a short time. did not feel comfortable in a lot of places even 40 years ago

  18. #18
    The demise of the US domestic car industry was no real surprise was it! Sad but true. The American ethos of the time seemed to be, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", whereas the Japanese concept of Kaisen resulted in "continuous and never-ending improvement" (ie: "even if it ain't broke, still improve it").

    Case in point was the Chevrolet small-block engine. This engine battled on for five decades with little change. Can you imagine the Japanese using an engine that was designed 50 years earlier.

  19. #19
    Semi-Pro Racer
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southland
    Posts
    644
    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    The demise of the US domestic car industry was no real surprise was it! Sad but true. The American ethos of the time seemed to be, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", whereas the Japanese concept of Kaisen resulted in "continuous and never-ending improvement" (ie: "even if it ain't broke, still improve it").

    Can you imagine the Japanese using an engine that was designed 50 years earlier.
    Ever noticed how similar an early OHV inline six chevy looks to the straight six Landcruisers, & the early pushrod Nissan/Datsun Bluebird could be a disguised BMC 4 cylinder...

  20. #20
    Jac Mac- did you know that Nissan bought the last 2 Austin Healeys.? To refine and turn into their 240

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •