As Detroit has finally began to crawl back from the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent bankruptcy, there still remains a strong lingering effect of those extremely tough times.
While the government bailed out big corporations like General Motors, communities and tax payers were and are still left saddled with enormous debts.
Throughout the crisis, as property values declined, residents were left with the burden of paying the yearly tax rate. Even though their homes were no longer worth what they were when they bought them, the tax rate was never adjusted.
One person, named Alex Alsup, has mapped the region that has been left abandoned. The Detroit tech worker further detailed to Maz Ali of Upworthy the cause for abandonment. "You had houses — tens of thousands of them — that were worth only $20,000 or so, yet owed $4,000 a year in taxes, for which very few city services were delivered (e.g. police, fire, roads, schools). Who would pay that?"
Although Detroit is now emerging from bankruptcy, as The New York Times explains, homicide rates soared during the tough financial times and people moved out. Due to a lack of city services to turn this around, Detroit lost nearly half of its population and is now down to only about 700,000 residents. Due to all of this, many once thriving communities are now left in desolation.
Alsup, using StreetViews time machine feature, put together a video to bring to light the chilling effects of what happened to Detroit. The video showcases the inequality and effect on one particular street called Hazelridge, where 16 of the 17 buildings on the block are tax foreclosed and have yet to sell at auctions.
This is Hazelridge in 2009.
This is the same street just five years later.
Even though Detroit is beginning to recover, it's important to remember why it got to this point in the first place. The video on the next page underscores the bottom line of what can happen when unsafe business practices are put into place.
In addition, part of Alsup's aim is to show that Detroit can be great again.
He told Upworthy, "There's a common sentiment that Detroit's looked the way it does for decades, but it's just not true."
It's not just Alsup that is taking a stand to show that Detroit can make a comeback. The new mayor, Mike Duggan, is also taking steps to show the world that Detroit is still as proud as ever.
As Duggan told the NYT, "We're going to start fresh tomorrow. And we're going to do the best we can to deliver the kind of services that the people in the city deserve." The story also points out that Detroit has cleared $7 billion in debt and now has a fresh $1.7 billion to commit to rebuilding the city.
Outside of politicians in office, politicians on the microphone like Big Sean, Eminem and Dej Loaf continue to wave the flag for their hometown as well. They all collaborated for the anthem "Detroit vs Everybody," which has over 22 million views. The song was continuously played on radio stations everywhere, bringing much needed attention to the devastation.
Hopefully, through new leadership, Detroit will return to being a great American city.
You can also check out Alsup's blog, GooBingDetroit to further see how the financial crisis affected other homes throughout the city.