Abandoned Detroit – The City of Neglect (Documentary)


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Abandoned Detroit: The City of Neglect (Documentary) The name itself may sound familiar to many people when they think of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit has always been heavily scrutinized and criticized in the media for all the problems the city has gone through over the years; from a booming 1920’s industrial icon, to a city that lost over one million people by the 1970’s, to when the city was financially bankrupt in the late 2000’s. When people think of urban decay and abandoned buildings, Detroit is usually right at the top of that list.

Abandoned Detroit: The City of Neglect is a documentary that is rare, unique, and never been done before. Sure, there have been many documentaries and movies about the City of Detroit, but none are more comprehensive and extensive as this project. This documentary follows the life of an urban explorer, named Detroit Unseen, who travels the country to explore, photograph, and document abandoned buildings. Detroit Unseen was the perfect candidate for this documentary because he has been urban exploring for 13 years and although he has travelled all over the country, he has been documenting the City of Detroit over that same time period. Many of the once iconic structures and buildings that he was able to photograph, have since been demolished, ruined, renovated, or restored. After watching this documentary, one thing becomes clear. Detroit was a city that was on the verge of extinction and is now making its way into the history books as a city that made a miraculous comeback. This is not just another project focused on the negative aspects of Detroit. Although many people feel that the abandoned buildings and urban decay are negative things, we look at them as beautiful, unique pieces of history, art, and architectural craftsmanship.

We will be showcasing the history of Detroit and how the city ended up with all the abandonment, as well as how we can save the buildings from being demolished or ruined, by repurposed, restoration, and renovation. We feel that we need to preserve our history and many of the majestic pre-depression era buildings are disappearing at an alarming rate. This documentary truly represents 13 years of entering and photographing these historic structures. Despite sometimes being saddened by a lost building or a loss of history and culture, documenting the changes is vital. Abandoned Detroit: The City of Neglect helps document these changes. We hope that in the coming years as city planners, investors, stakeholders, and speculators make way for progress, Detroit can hold on to its rich culture and iconic history.

Detroit is as iconic as America itself and its story is not just shining images of what is to come. With Detroit you take the good with the bad, recognize the good as it comes and preserve the good that has come before. Many that enter the City of Detroit can sense the urgency of change and the spirit of reinvention. We certainly understand this, and the photos represent what we have seen along the way. The Flag of Detroit contains the two Latin slogans “Speramus Meliora” and “Resurget Cineribus” meaning “We hope for better things” and “It will rise from the ashes.” The prophetic phrases originally created in reference to the great fire of 1805, ring true more now than ever. We take these slogans to heart everyday as we go out and explore our great city.


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