Regarding The Sick Fixation On Detroit Blight Porn

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The GooBing Detroit Tumblr chronicles the state of the crumbling metropolis. By using Google Maps images captured in 2009 and more recent pictures captured by Bing Maps in 2012, this Tumblr offers a unique view of the decay. Some areas have went from depressed to devastated in just three years. Click through and check out some of the images. Blight porn gets pageviews. But this Tumblr offers a limited, highly-curated view of Detroit.

The site doesn’t show the rebirth of Detroit, currently budding in several areas. There are pockets of life in Detroit. Good luck finding housing downtown; there isn’t any. Midtown is a great place to eat, work and go to school (they just got a Whole Foods!). Drive through Indian Village. It’s wonderful.

Areas are blossoming. Startups, businesses and makers are returning to the city. Despite not having a singular focus yet, Detroit-area startups are trying, and will soon be thriving given the low operational costs of being here coupled with access to amazing engineering talent and the seemingly brighter future for the city.

The city might never return to its industrial ways, but Detroit is not dead — just ask any of the tens of thousands of attendees of Detroit’s Movement Electronic Music Festival last weekend (pictured above). Or the thousands expected for the Detroit Grand Prix. Or any of the other countless events, festivals and happenings in and around the Motor City.

Still, Detroit’s blight is a major concern. At Techweek Detroit, I interviewed Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert who is leading the fight to tear down tens of thousands of empty buildings in Detroit. As he asked me and the crowd rhetorically during the interview, how can you expect businesses and families to embrace neighborhoods filled with dilapidated buildings. You can’t. Tear down and start anew.

Large swaths of the huge municipality remain empty. Residents have simply left for the more prosperous suburbs of metro Detroit.

Detroit was once the richest city in America. The heart of American industry and pride, Detroit was the best we had to offer. That was 50 years ago. Now the city is bankrupt and empty. Most of the sprawling 142 square-mile city is a shell of its former self and as Google Street View and Bing Maps now show, parts of the city are getting worse.

In spite of this, some parts of the city are strong and getting stronger, and neighborhoods are growing. Let’s celebrate those instead of gawking at its decline like rubbernecking motorists.

Featured Image: Douglas Wojciechowski