Tagged: Detroit

Move along, Nova Scotia, nothing to see here

Our friend the curmudgeon has been quiet for a while, but the spectre of Detroit’s decayed grandeur propelled him to the keyboard:

Move along, Nova Scotians. There’s nothing for you to see in the grotesque collapse of the city of Detroit. Keep your focus on rural development.

Don’t worry about Halifax. It’s wealthy beyond imagination. There’s nothing wrong with its downtown that arresting a few panhandlers won’t fix. Avoid tall buildings; spread out instead. Never mind that only seven of 16 HRM electoral districts are genuinely urban. You can count on the other nine councillors to keep the urban centre healthy and attractive to outsiders from around the world.

It’s far better to resist the global migration to cities, with their greater opportunity and environmental sustainability. Every effort should be made to help country folk maintain their invaluable lifestyles. God forbid their children should leave home to seek their fortunes, knowing they’ll be welcomed back only if they can be judged as failures.

For the genteel squire, let not the scourge of renewable energy destroy their sight-lines, and nay, let not the gypsum for their summer houses come from local mines. Let them fertilize their hobby fields of elephant garlic with wholesome raw animal feces. May they stand firm against the loathsome tide of treated excrement from city dwellers.

Oh, and beware come-from-aways trying to turn derelict buildings into businesses. They know nothing about local ways.

Ahem.

Address your comments to comment[at]contrarian.ca.

 

Detroit in photographs (and a real estate listing)

Michigan Central Station

Michigan Central Station

At the end of the XIXth Century, mankind was about to fulfill an old dream. The idea of a fast and autonomous means of displacement was slowly becoming a reality for engineers all over the world. Thanks to its ideal location on the Great Lakes Basin, the city of Detroit was about to generate its own industrial revolution. Visionary engineers and entrepreneurs flocked to its borders….

For the first time of history, affluence was within the reach of the mass of people. Monumental skyscapers and fancy neighborhoods put the city’s wealth on display. Detroit became the dazzling beacon of the American Dream. Thousands of migrants came to find a job. By the 50’s, its population rose to almost 2 million people. Detroit became the 4th largest city in the United States.

As you no doubt know, Detroit attempted to file for bankruptcy this week. In their book, The Ruins of Detroit, two Parisian photographers, Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, catalogued the depths of destitution to which Detroit has fallen from these heady heights. Find a slide show here.

william livingston house

William Livingston House

Fisher Body Plant 21

Fisher Body Plant #21

Lee Plaza Hotel Ballroom

Ballroom, Lee Plaza Hotel

United Artists Theatre

United Artists Theatre

The last photo is not from Marchand and Meffre. It’s a screenshot from a real estate listing discovered by New York Times statistician Nate Silver: A 2,500-square-foot home in Detroit on sale for $1.

Detroit House for sale