139,000 (and counting)

May 25, 2014

Marie Apts. building, entryway and masthead view, in its abandoned state.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As a follow-up to the previous post, this is the Marie Apartments building and it is but one of those estimated 80,000 abandoned structures within Detroit.

Marie Apts. building, front view, in its abandoned state.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

In the few hours we were working outside of the church next door, two separate  contractors stopped at the building to complete an assessment.

Marie Apts. building, alley view, in its abandoned state.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The one I talked with briefly works for a company doing demolition of abandoned buildings.  He indicated that last summer the company for whom he works demoed something in the neighborhood of 200 buildings.  This report from NPR discusses the difference between demolition and “deconstruction”, a process in which wood from the abandoned houses is salvaged and recycled.  The second process takes more time and is more expensive-both of which appear to be at odds with the needs of the city.  It is interesting how the losses of so many becomes work opportunities for others.

Detroit is not alone in blight.  This 2011 article reported that New Orleans had (at the time) an “…estimated 43,000 abandoned buildings-the worst such statistic of any U.S. city other than Detroit.”  While the Detroit story discussed the material aspect of blight, this story focuses on these left-behind buildings serving as a resource for those experiencing homelessness.

Finally, Baltimore has an estimated 16,000 abandoned buildings, according to this report.  This story focuses on one activist’s attempts to hold the owners of the buildings accountable for the condition of their structures.

Detroit, New Orleans, and Baltimore have all experienced significant declines in population.  The vacants, which is the term used in Baltimore for the abandoned buildings, are the legacy.

The articles linked above cover 3 different cities from 3 different sides of one big problem.

Take care.

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One Response to “139,000 (and counting)”


  1. Thoughtful and insightful as usual. Thank you so much for the post. I always wonder at the irony of having so many abandoned houses and so many homeless people in the street…maybe they should be given the houses, again, that’s a shallow thought as houses require money to run!


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