The Google Maps Street Views below look like typical small-town scenery, with a lot of open space and far from the hustle and bustle of urban America. But they’re not quite as rural as you’d think. Each of the intersections above are only a short bike ride from downtown Detroit. In fact, much of the old neighborhoods around downtown Detroit have simply disappeared, with no development to replace the bulldozed homes. New Detroit Mayor Dave Bing (yes, that Dave Bing), has a plan for fixing it:
Operating on a scale never before attempted in this country, the city would demolish houses in some of the most desolate sections of Detroit and move residents into stronger neighborhoods. Roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile city could go from urban to semi-rural.
Near downtown, fruit trees and vegetable farms would replace neighborhoods that are an eerie landscape of empty buildings and vacant lots. Suburban commuters heading into the city center might pass through what looks like the countryside to get there. Surviving neighborhoods in the birthplace of the auto industry would become pockets in expanses of green.
This would be like Queen Anne or Capitol Hill becoming completely abandoned and turned into farmland again. Hard to fathom, but this is what happened to what was once one of the wealthiest cities in the United States in the early half of the 20th century.