Over the years, it’s been very hard to watch the decline of Detroit; once beautiful homes, now laying in ruin. The remaining residents of this once bustling metropolis are living in conditions so horrible, it’s hard to understand why they don’t move on, although I can hypothesize. For one thing, it’s easier to stick with momentum, even if it’s bad, than to muster up the energy to break away; energy you are using entirely on survival. For another, it’s immensely difficult to escape the downward spiral of poverty. You need money to move up which you don’t have because you’re poor. In fact, you need more money just to be where you were last year, which you can’t get because the local economy has tanked so further down you go. It doesn’t matter how hard you work. And during all of this, your home crumbles around you.
In Europe, there are many ruined towns and castles. With a considerably longer history, Europeans know that places come and go and that decline is a natural progression of life. We have ghost towns here as well but nothing to the scale of Detroit, which naturally has more impact because it used to be a modern city of industry.
The end doesn’t have to be devastating, however. Humans are very good at adapting. It just takes the right people. I was very pleased to read on The Atlantic Cities website, that a local Detroit business Hantz Farms is going to buy more than 140 acres of blighted area to turn the areas into an urban forest and farm. There’s hope that jobs will be created and by bringing some viability to the area, surrounding areas will start to turn around.