Tumblog Uses Google Street View to Show Detroit’s Decline Over the Years


Detroit. Once one of the greatest contributors to the United States GDP and home to 1.8 million people, the Motor City is down to just over 700,000 residents as of the 2010 census, with over $18.5 billion in municipal debt.

Brought down by a ‘perfect storm’ of unfortunate events — from the decline in domestic automotive production to an extremely corrupt hierarchy of politicians — Detroit’s decline is undeniable… and now thanks to Google Street View’s new time machine feature, it’s also on display for everyone to see.

As businesses, friends, and family cut their losses in The D to go elsewhere, they left behind everything from foreclosed homes to dilapidated factories.

Two decades into the serious decline of Detroit, much of the city has now become reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic movie’s B-Roll, and a Tumblog called GooBing Detroit has combed through Google Street View and Bing images to show the world just how quickly (and far) things went south.


Without funds for the city to keep up with even the most basic maintenance, it’s incredible to see how quickly mother nature took her turf back over.

Trees, bushes and weeds have overrun the yards and sidewalks that families once walked down, the abandoned structures often becoming a playground for arsonists and trespassers who have left a number of houses completely destroyed.


GooBing Detroit makes brilliant use of the camera and photography technology that many tend to look at as only a mapping program. By comparing year over year, we get a first-person view of how the world carries on whether or not we are there to tend to it.

To see it all for yourself, be sure to head over to the Tumblog and either give them a follow or bookmark the site. Hopefully, a couple of years down the line, the blog will have chronicled, not just the decline or Detroit, but its recovery as well.

(via Imaging Resource)

  • matt

    Sad for the city, but interesting to see.

  • RMJ

    oh noes ! three houses has been demolished ! that never happened anywhere else !

    ( yes, I know Detroit is dying but come on… you never before seen city changing ? old buildings gets demolished left and right in modern cities )

  • David Liang

    It’s about context. By your rationale there’s no difference between straight up assault or self defense, if you hit someone you hit them right? On a level that’s true but the full story is completely missed. The reasons why things happen and how the happen are far more important than acknowledging what is happening.
    To have Detroit’s story dismissed as common reconstruction is an outright lie. There is no reconstruction…it’s simply dying. And the reasons for it’s collapse are frightening.

  • Matias Gonua

    The best part is to witness the people defending the very system that opresses them.

    And these three examples are the poorest way to make a point.

  • David Vaughn

    I find this sort of thing both fascinating and poignant without getting political about it.I don’t really care about the commentary that these images are making because it’s a situation that isn’t new. It’s not like the statement “Detroit has fallen you guys,” is groundbreaking.

  • mthouston

    Your wrong David..Reconstruction is happening in Detroit. I see it everyday. It is going to be a long and painful process but things are changing.

  • Mary Vanhook Leonard

    I remember the good times we had visiting Detroit; I also remember that Dad had worked for the auto industry and got laid off every year. He went back to Detroit to pick up his last unemployment check and was mugged right in front of the bank with people just standing and watching. I hope that Detroit is coming back but I also hope they get rid of all the gutter rats!


    I think Detroit has been like the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. Just sitting idle and taking on water. I don’t know of the city will ever fully recover from its past glory but why does it need to. Being small and adaptable is a good thing.

    The city is changing and while most of the changes are in the core of the city around the stadiums and quicken loans offices they are helping make the city a better place.

  • Goldengirl Layla

    It should be a national priority to create an economy that supports the manufacturing industry even though in todays economy it is the lowest margin endeavor. We can not out source low wage jobs. We need low wage workers.
    Popular thinking today is to raise minimum wage to provide a minimal standard of living, yet we are in a global economy. The two are incompatible!
    Sorry “ruins porn” brings it out of me.

  • Carlini Fotograf

    I live in Detroit! I hate this crap… its so one sided.. They don’t show any of the progress in the city at all. Like Belle Isle that has now been taken over by the state and has the oldest Public Aquarium in North America….. or down Woodward were all the renovated beautiful Victorian homes are, and The Detroit Opera House, Fox Theater, and Co America park are.. They also dont mention that the city is in the process of tearing down all the abandoned homes in the back neighborhoods..Yes the city has had major problems with corrupt local government, and being in Bankruptcy. But it still has some beautiful Architecture.. and has had progress… NO Detroit is not dying! Infact Im going downtown tomorrow to do some shooting… I love Detroit..

  • Carlini Fotograf

    By the way Gannon…. Where do you get your information from? Two Decades of Decline?? In the last 2 decades the city made a lot of progress from where it was in the 1980s! I suggest you come visit here before you write a story about it.. You need to get your facts straight! Yes the city has had a lot of problems! But your story along with these photos are very one sided! I suggest you visit here before you write about my city again!

  • Don Tusk

    Show us the good side of Detroit !

  • Mojo

    I think it’s fascinating because this is a microcosm of where we are headed as a nation thanks to corrupt government, high taxes, and a nearly unlimited influx of unskilled labor while the high paid jobs move to where there is a friendlier business climate. To say that Detroit is recovering would be as one current president I know that always claims our economy is “recovering”, which really means we’ve replaced well paying full time jobs with lesser paying part time jobs. But hey! The number of people working has recovered! (yet it hasn’t kept up with inflation, so his numbers are misleading).

    My prediction: We’ll have google street view blogs detailing the decline of more than just Detroit before too long…

  • Mojo

    That’s like asking someone to show the good side of the Korean DMZ.

  • Mojo

    I agree. Unfortunately, our borders are open, and we have unskilled labor coming out our wazzoo…Australia and a few other nations have raised their minimum wages significantly and successfully, but they don’t have the same problem with foreign nationals pouring over their borders.

  • mthouston

    Do you live in Detroit? Have you ever been to Detroit?

  • Mojo

    I completely agree with your statement about the context of the fight, whether that makes it an assault or self defense. Yet even our media will take gun stories where people are defending themselves against an attacker and twist it to fit their “gun violence” narrative. Maybe if more of the law abiding citizens were armed, there’d be less crime, like in other areas where gun laws are relaxed?

  • Mojo

    Unfortunately, people mostly vote in a way that feels good to them, instead of actually looking at unskewed facts and informing themselves well. That’s how we got a freshman senator elected as president twice, who now has racked up more scandals and controversy than the last several presidents going back to Nixon.

  • Mojo

    Yep. A few times. And I always feel like I need a Kevlar vest.

  • mthouston
  • mthouston

    So basically you know nothing about Detroit……

  • Mojo

    It’s admirable that you love your hometown. Truly it is. But like those mothers who defend their sons after they’ve committed a heinous act on someone by claiming, “My Son is a good boy and would never do this!”, I think you in turn see your hometown in a very biased light, where any outsider looking at the situation will see things a bit differently. Have yourself a wonderful day, and keep yourself well armed.

  • Carlini Fotograf

    Your an Idiot…..

  • mthouston

    Mojo, I live here, I work in Detroit everyday. I see the degradation, I never said Detroit was perfect..But I not will dwell on the downside of Detroit. We have lazy media and Ruin Porn junkies to do that for us..

  • Carlini Fotograf

    Mojo you have no idea what you are talking about! .. Detroit has crime just like New York City, Chicago, LA, Orlando, Miami, Washington DC…All city’s I’ve been to and done photo shoots in many times… Detroit is no worse for crime.. DC our nation’s capitol was number in murder crimes for years! I suggest you go walk around the South Side of Chicago, Compton…Echo Park or number of other places in LA, Oakland Calif, Pine Hills in Orlando and then come visit Detroit and tell where the crime is worse.

  • mthouston

    Unclear why it needs to recover


    I have always laughed at the term ruin porn junkies. Maybe some of us have traveled far and wide to many cities and captured those images. Detroit just happens to have a large amount to make a very productive week of shooting. To some like me…it’s the beauty of the decay that’s attractive. I’m just not into flowers.