A few houses still stood within the skeleton of what had once been an industrial town. Everything that could move, had moved away; but some human beings had remained. The empty structures were vertical rubble; they had been eaten, not by time, but by men: boards torn out at random, missing patches of roofs, holes left in gutted cellars. It looked as if blind hands had seized whatever fitted the need of the moment, with no concept of remaining in existence the next morning. The inhabited houses were scattered at random among the ruins; the smoke of their chimneys was the only movement visible in town. — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957
With this description of the re-wilding of present day Detroit:
His little Cape Cod is an urban Appalachia of coon dogs and funny smells. The interior paint has the faded sepia tones of an old man’s teeth; the wallpaper is as flaky and dry as an old woman’s hand.
Beasley peers out his living room window. A sushi cooking show plays on the television. The neighborhood outside is a wreck of ruined houses and weedy lots…
“This city is going back to the wild,” he says. “That’s bad for people but that’s good for me. I can catch wild rabbit and pheasant and coon in my backyard.”
Detroit was once home to nearly 2 million people but has shrunk to a population of perhaps less than 900,000. It is estimated that a city the size of San Francisco could fit neatly within its empty lots. As nature abhors a vacuum, wildlife has moved in.
A beaver was spotted recently in the Detroit River. Wild fox skulk the 15th hole at the Palmer Park golf course. There is bald eagle, hawk and falcon that roam the city skies. Wild Turkeys roam the grasses. A coyote was snared two years ago roaming the Federal Court House downtown.
And throw in these photoessays from the ruins of the city’s once-thriving downtown for illustration – lots more links at BoingBoing. I disagree emphatically with the BoingBoing commenter who claims that this is the result of ‘hypercapitalism having its vampiric way’ – it was capitalism which built all of these now-ruined buildings and the now-decaying wastelands of Detroit. The ruination came in degrees as Detroit’s industrial giants were increasingly hamstrung by unions and Detroit’s government increasingly fell victim to corruption and identity politics – if there were any vampires preying on “The Twentieth-Century Motor City”, they were from the union hall and the city hall.