Grandeur Lost: The Modern Ruins of Abandoned Detroit | WebUrbanist

Detroit is arguably one of the most fascinating modern cities in the world. This is thanks to the city’s unique balance between its former identity as a manufacturing mecca and its current state of sectional abandonment  and iterative renewal. It is neither deserted nor wholly occupied, but exists in tension between destruction, creation and everyday living, with beautiful stories on all of these fronts. French photographers Yves Marchand  and Romain Meffre saw the abandoned parts of this compelling urban landscape as no less fascinating than the ruins of ancient civilizations and set out to document it in their 2010 book The Ruins of Detroit.

Despite the empty neighborhoods, abandoned buildings and crumbling structures – or perhaps because of them – Detroit still possesses a kind of indomitable magic. The city exists in a state of flux, balancing somewhere between its former glory, its current semi-abandoned status, and pockets of fresh new life and creative directions springing up from the ashes.

The city, so rich with history both industrial and individual, was once the fourth largest in the United States. It housed some of the country’s brightest engineers and most promising entrepreneurs. The city grew and its residents continued to expand their living areas into planned suburbs.

But the automobile industry which had such a large part of the city’s early days also proved to play a part in its undoing. White middle-class residents used those automobiles to move out of the inner city and into their new suburbs. Segregation increased steadily until the violent race riot in 1967.

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