We Love You, Detroit

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Detroiters love their city. To them, it is a place filled with beauty. They don’t see it for the “ugliness” that everyone else seems to notice.

A warning to all visitors: don’t let the blighted E-zone scare you away, there’s much to love about this desolate and abandoned place. Detroit is no worse than any other city in America; it’s just much more abandoned and as a result it is slowly being reclaimed by nature. During most hours of the day, there are very few people outside. It’s quiet and peaceful and there’s no one around to bother you if you wish to take a long walk through the urban prairie and admire decaying pieces of the city’s history.

Some city blocks only have one or two homes left standing on them and residents can enjoy having the entire block to themselves – much different from cities like Chicago where even the most shuttered neighborhoods are crowded with people. Motown’s got that urban country feel to it and if you spend enough time there you’ll learn to love it.

Many people have taken ownership of neighboring abandoned properties and have taken it upon themselves to maintain them. People take great pride in painting abandoned houses and cutting the grass in vacant lots. Some have even been turned into community gardens or parks. Everyone seems to want to pitch in to make their neighborhood a better place to live.

Detroiters have gotten past the “blame game”. They don’t care who made the mess and they don’t leave it there for someone else to clean up. They’ve come to realize that the only way to make things better is for them to do something about the problems in their neighborhoods. People gladly volunteer their time to clean up abandoned properties. They don’t expect anyone to give them kudos for it and they aren’t getting paid to do the work, they just do it because they know it needs to be done (and they don’t want to have to look at it every time they go outside).

People walk around their neighborhoods in their spare time looking for locations in need of their efforts. I personally witnessed a man doing the landscaping of every abandoned property in a 3 block radius in the neighborhood of Islandview. He cut his own grass as well as the grass in every yard in the area just because he had the spare time and was determined to make his street “easier on the eye”.

When a home is boarded up in a historic neighborhood, people who live next door take it upon themselves to paint the boards the same color as the house or in a color that compliments the color of the rest of the structure. Others help wash off graffiti, paint murals or plant trees.

Detroiters are very optimistic about the future of their city. They believe that by doing these things they will be able to improve the conditions present in their neighborhoods. They have faith that they will be able to inspire change and promote a better quality of living.

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