Tag Archives: detroit

Moving to Detroit

2010_03_08detroithouseLast week I heard a pair of reports about Detroit on NPR and as usual it hit my soft spot for the Motor City. I spent Saturday morning checking in on Detroit sites (like the incredible parenting/photography/urban living blog Sweet Juniper) and reflecting on the crumbling nature of one of America’s great cities.

You always hear about the ridiculous real estate prices in Detroit (one NPR story mentioned a $500 house) so I decided to see how crazy it the market really is.

It’s crazy.

While I searched I found listing after listing for beautiful homes for well under $100,000. OK, the mansions were under $100,000, the homes for the rest of us were under $50,000. The home pictured above is a four-bedroom, 2-bath, 2,000-square-foot house built in 1931 on the east side (technically the Morningside neighborhood, but that means nothing to me). The price? $19,900.

That’s crazy.

I used the mortgage calculator just for kicks (would they even give you a 30-year mortgage for a $20,000 house?). Your mortgage would be $117 per month.

All of which makes me want to move to Detroit.

Continue reading Moving to Detroit

Soft Spot for Detroit

I used to live in Detroit and have a soft spot for the dying, industrial city. Which is kind of ironic, seeing as I’ve never lived there. I grew up in a far flung suburb, but whenever people ask where I grew up it’s just easier to say Detroit or the Detroit area. The truth is I lived about 45 minutes from downtown Detroit and could probably count how many times I’ve been to downtown Detroit on two hands (mostly Tiger games and Auto Shows). And I know exactly how many times I went downtown by myself: Once (a championship parade for the Detroit Red Wings). In my defense, I pretty much left the area at 18 and never came back. I’d be a little more adventurous nowadays.

But despite my lack of real connection to the city, I still have a soft spot for it. And so stories and pictures like these always tug at my heart:

It all reminds me of a few interesting stories out of Detroit from several years ago, including a project that paints abandoned buildings blaze orange and an urban farming initiative. Even in the midst of chaos and decline, there is always hope.

(many links via kottke.org)

Detroit: Urban Prairie

Of the 139 square miles that make up Detroit, one-third are covered in vacant lots and dilapidated buildings. In response, some residents are turning to farming. More than 40 community gardens and microfarms exist on 15 acres of what was once the Motor City.

The New York Times gives the full story (link via jordoncooper.com), and I’m amazed that the term urban farmer could ever be used seriously. What remains to be seen is if city officials will take note and encourage this eco-trend, or squash it for being too far removed from the norm.