Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Decay and Growth in Detroit

I wish that I had photos of urban farms and gardens in Detroit, but our visit took place in the dead of winter.

These homes are visible from the windows of my father-in-law's house in Grosse Point.

It's just jaw-droppingly beautiful in this neighborhood. The architecture is Arts and Crafts, full of the quirks and secrets and difficulties of old homes, and the snow-covered gardens are immaculate. Just a few houses away is Lake Saint Claire.

This, on the other hand, is a common sight just a few miles away in Detroit. More stunning old houses - but these have frequently been abandoned, stripped, and set ablaze on Devil's Night. In between the houses the spaces are even more telling: empty lots full of weeds, where other houses used to be.

There is a quirky ray of sunshine in this particular neighborhood, however. (Taxi anyone?)

Yes, this house is covered with stuffed animals. This is the Heidelberg Project. In a nutshell, artists have bought the wrecks of homes in order to turn them into giant, colorful art projects.

I have to apologise for the inadequacy of these photos to truly capture the whimsy of this place. We stopped by only briefly at the end of a long tour of the city.

Strange and wonderful. Frequently absurd.

Frequently? Make that "always". Yes, those are shopping carts perched high on that tree.

This is the art equivalent of compost. Here, the detritus of the previous city breaks down and fuels the growth of the next one.

It's like looking at a bed full of tropical flowers in the heart of winter. The colors are astounding.

I want this fellow for my garden.

Here is a garden in which someone is growing chairs, among other oddments.

I could have taken thousands of photos here.

More photos of Detroit will follow!

1 comment:

Simply Wren said...

I used to spend a lot of time in Detroit for work, and while I haven't seen this neighborhood, I do love how the city has started to revitalize itself. There's a real feeling of pride and enthusiasm, along with with pragmatism and atitude! Thank you for sharing these photos - I look forward to more.