Following up on the recent post regarding the apparent financial and social decline of the US, I’ve come across a report that the city of Detroit is so deep in dept and finding it so hard to raise money that it is planning to downsize vital public services, such as the police and fire departments. As harsh a measure as that sounds, one that is potentially frightening to the local population, it is only a symptom of the larger decay of one of the big American cities, home to the local car industries (or what’s left of them) and legendary home of Motown.

Looking at the larger picture, the city (with several others on their way to follow) is actually downsizing not only in budget and manpower but also in size – neighborhoods are actually being deserted┬á and left to nature. A Time report on this can be seen here.

A quick search on the topic brought me to this blog, the author of which is a Detroit resident who goes around the city armed with his DSLR and archives, among many other things, the widespread urban decay. The photos he takes are really depressing – a lot of boarded up houses, abandoned churches and schools, city blocks which used to be teeming with people and are now completely abandoned (except for wildlife, that is).

The pictures really best tell the tale (have a look at additional posts on this blog – there are a lot of really haunting pictures, especially the ones of schools):

Such a phenomena was truly unbelievable to me, coming from a country where the population is quite crowded and real estate prices booming, and living in Western Europe where while land is available, some areas (notably the Netherlands) are very crowded. In hindsight, though, urban degeneration is possible and ultimately likely when financials are taken into account – and that’s a clear sign that the American system is not well.