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Street View imagery catalogs Detroit's decay

How America's biggest bankruptee fell into disrepair

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Beleaguered by financial trouble and high crime rates, Detroit slumps under the weight of its problems. The GooBing Detroit Tumblr offers a poignant glimpse of how the once-thriving city has been affected by its multibillion-dollar debts. Created by a developer named Alex Alsup, the site uses historic images from Google Street View and Bing Maps to depict the changes that have occurred in Detroit in recent years.

Most of the entries are depressing. Alsup's first post shows a house in the Brightmoor neighborhood. In 2009, it looked unremarkable but well-kept. Four years later, the building had turned into a derelict husk, fenced in by trash and dirt paths. Other photos chronicle similar examples of urban blight. A sequence of pictures taken over four years documents how a garage eventually became run-down and half-obscured by a mountain of garbage. Alsup occasionally provides grim details about the neighborhoods as well. For example, he writes that a crippling $22.5 million in unpaid taxes and penalties are owed over 4,500 properties in a section of Northeast Detroit.

Not all of the transformations have been negative, however. An area in East Side displayed signs of redevelopment between 2009 and 2012, with burnt-down ruins and gutted houses transforming into a more pastoral scene. Still, it remains clear that large sections of Detroit have plunged into disrepair, forgotten and neglected by its dwindling population.

We've collated some of Alsup's comparative images below. For more, head to his site.

GooBing Detroit images


Hazelridge Street