Detroit houses being eaten by nature

The Sweet Juniper blog has a gallery of abandoned Detroit houses that are being overcome by the foliage around them, trees and shrubs and plants growing around, on and in them.

Feral Houses (via Neatorama)

Update: Crap, this is a duplicate. Ah, c'est la vie. Enjoy it again, for the first time.


  1. I wonder if this could ever happen to Los Angeles?

    After the crazy, oppressive heat and blood-red sun today, I think L.A.’s future distopia is going to be more of a desert or moonscape. It’s not as likely to succumb to industrial collapse, unless Hollywood goes out of business (fat f*ing chance of that ever happening).

    Maybe it will be more like Escape From L.A.. Yeah! That will rock!

  2. Lots of houses like this in New Orleans too. Never torn down after Katrina- they often house colonies of rats. GROSS.

  3. Said it before and I’ll say it again, Rennie Sparks is a prophetess. (Check out Peace in The Valley from the album Twilight if you don’t believe me.)

    I’d have added to the ‘Previously’ list the story about the guy who has a wee business hunting racoons in downtown Detroit and selling the pelts and meat.

  4. Please track down and watch a movie called “Detroit: A City to Yourself”, by Nicole MacDonald. It’s full of this imagery, and talks about the 1805 fire and rebuilding, and the post-industrial devastation that’s ravaged the city since.

    Most poignantly, it talks about Hurricane Katrina, which focused attention on rebuilding another city with this level of devastation, and how without a single catastrophic event to blame for it, Detroit’s decay has gone unsympathetically ignored.

    The movie wraps up by observing this, how abandoned buildings and spaces are being reclaimed by nature. About the pop fiction which explores the concept of a post-human world, and how it already exists now. And about how, if you’re a pheasant, that’s not such a bad thing.

  5. I’d bet that the weight would eventually crush the #2 house and make it completely unlivable in the end, but I’ll be damned if that isn’t just the best facade I’ve ever seen. Looks like a great insulator!

  6. Thoughts, in order:

    1) Beautiful.
    2) I’d love to explore those.
    3) What a huge waste.
    4) Sad, that these people’s homes can end like this. Sad for the people, sad for the homes.
    5) Poetic, in a kind of high school photography class way.
    6) It would be cool to have packs of feral dogs around, I think.

  7. Andy Nonymous:

    Thanks for linking to my portfolio site; but I also run the blog that Cory linked to today, so both of them are technically mine.

  8. @#8 It’s only “beautiful and extremely uplifting” if it’s not where you live. Here, it’s a sign of the blight afflicting our city. Often these houses are crime scenes, drug houses or dens for the packs of feral dogs that prowl the neighborhoods. We have entire derelict neighborhoods where only one or two houses may be occupied in a 5-block radius.

    This is a city that has outlived its population, and funding is desperately needed to raze these vacant neighborhoods to eliminate sanctuaries for crime drugs and violence, turn them into parks and green spaces, and give our overextended police force less territory to cover.

    It’s time to give a large portion of the Motor City back to Mother Nature.

  9. Sometimes I wish this would happen all over the world, wiping out traces of humanity. Not that I want to die or that I want anyone else to die, but imagine the Eden that would exist without us.

  10. @ryan: It seems insane to even consider destroying useable housing (the stuff pictured may not be useable, but there is plenty which still is) before a serious attempt has been made to make it available to the droves of homeless or housing-insecure people throughout the region and even the country.

    The one silver lining to the collapse of the economy is that a surplus of housing has made housing more affordable for poor people. Now you want to roll that back too? Hey, maybe if we demolish enough houses, we can get our property values back up…we’ll be back in the heady days of the boom!

    If the razing of almost an entire city doesn’t demonstrate the profound perversity of capitalism, i don’t know what will.

  11. These houses may be cheap to buy, but not to make livable, I bet. They are very picturesque, though, romantic, a life & death struggle.

    I can imagine reclaiming derelict shopping malls as public space. Especially in LA, where we really need it.

  12. @Zikzak
    It’s easy to take that stance if you don’t have one (or more) of these houses in your neighborhood.

    Suggesting that these houses be given to homeless or poor is noble- but ludicrous. Do you know anyone who is willing to gift their personal property to a stranger? Maybe you are willing to start a new gov. program to get this idea started. Also, these homes are in neighborhoods that sometimes look a lot like this. No grocery stores, no public schools. If the poor person who just received his/her home didn’t have a car, they couldn’t get to work. And how would they repair a home that is so terribly damaged?

    While we wait for you to cut the red tape, convince thousands to give up freely give their personal property and educate/round up qualified-to-own-homes homeless, I will sit here and watch the house across the street become infested with rats. A home for drug dealers and prostitutes. Become ground zero for the rest of my neighborhood experiencing a boom in crime.

    What we need to be doing is repurposing the urban landscape to better fit the needs of those who remain. If we can build proper, cheaper, more environmentally friendly housing, then maybe those who are having housing problems can more easily afford it.

  13. Glad this was re-posted: I missed it the first time, and never would have had a chance to see these gorgous/haunting images.

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