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June 12, 2003 at 5 PM

Urban Detroitus

I can’t believe I’ve never come across this site before. The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit is a web site with an astounding collection of photography that catalogues the decay and destruction of Motor City. Photo after photo shows the grand, sophisticated buildings that were constructed in Detroit until the 1970s, and the rapid, heartbreaking abandonment and destruction of them that has followed since.

Some of the photos are unbelievable, almost apocalyptic. Many are heart-breaking. Of course, the troubles of Detroit are infamous in the library of American urban decay, but this collection tells the story far more indelibly than any mere urban studies textbook or a few charts and graphs.

I, for one, had no idea that so much impressive architecture blossomed in Detroit. It makes an amateur urban photographer like me want to hop the next flight with my trusty Pentax. But then, I’ve always had a perverse attraction to the manner in which we let our past rot away when we’re finished with it, instead of preserving, maintaining and improving it for our children.

I snagged the link from the site of James Kunstler, perennial crank and urban critic. His Eyesore of the Month is entertaining, if not a bit cruel. Even more heartless is his rant on Atlanta, the city that students of urban life love to hate.

All in all, it’s enough to make you want to move to the country.

Comments

Clunky site; amazing photos. Thanks.

Beerzie Boy | Jun. 13, 2003 — 11 AM

Never been to Atlanta, and probably won’t (not after reading this), except perhaps to conduct some form of photojournalistic autopsy.

Thanks for the the link to Kunstler. Would that sprawl made more of us this angry.

Buzz | Jun. 16, 2003 — 2 PM

Previously: The Attaboy Portfolio

Subsequently: Attention K-Mart Shoppers: Track Five Is Now on Sale

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