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Old 02-17-2014, 03:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
When the freeways were built, people were able to move farther out than than they would have without the freeway, but it made little difference to the depopulation of the city; the downtown area had stopped growing as early as the Great Depression and there's much evidence of parking lots that have existed and have grown in number since then. The fact of the matter is that Detroit had a weak downtown and there wasn't much appeal for people to live near it.
Wait - you're saying the downtown not growing DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION is evidence of general migration pattern out of downtown?

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL


Here's the 20th Century by decade - population of Detroit:

1900 - 285K
1910 - 465K
1920 - 993K
1930 - 1.5MM
1940 - 1.6MM
1950 - 1.9MM (peak)

Then they started to build the expressways to hell -

1960 - 1.6MM
1970 - 1.5MM
1980 - 1.3MM
1990 - 1.0MM
2000 - 950K
2101 - 713K
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Probably most of the 1920s growth was West of Livernois, North of McNichols and East of Conner. Unfortunately data is not available at the census tract level for years before 1940 so it's hard to say what was going on in the core.

Population of area inside Grand Boulevard

1940: 402,050
1950: 401,305
1970: 181,141
1980: 110,795
1990: 80,737
2000: 71,550
2010: 60,693

No data available for 1960 for some reason (at least not on socialexplorer). But yeah, things were stable in the 1940s, then went downhill real fast until 1980 after which the rate of population decline started to decrease, probably as a result of the decline spreading outwards to more distant neighbourhoods.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
There was. Quoting Wikipedia (History of Detroit), "1930 - Detroit's electric streetcar systems peaks in size with 30 lines stretching over 534 miles."

And then: "1956 - Electric streetcar service discontinued on Detroits last line along Woodward Avenue."

Also, have you ever read about this? Seems kind of relevant to the issue.
The problem was they were weak on rapid transit and commuter rail and over built the highway system. Street cars are more like buses not going to beat a car. Running in the street can be handy to get out of an crowed area to the train's own right of way but if the train has no right of way of it's own or no technology to "create" one by adjusting the traffic lights, not very useful.

In the 50ies the CTA closed the street cars and got rid of many El stations(and a couple of lines) but that rationlization allowed the EL to go faster than a bus(or street car). With rapid transit it becomes possible for the EL trip to beat or match the Car trip if there is enough traffic on the expressway a street car can't do that if it has to deal with traffic on the street for the whole trip.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Michigan
4,571 posts, read 7,032,489 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
Wait - you're saying the downtown not growing DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION is evidence of general migration pattern out of downtown?

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL


Here's the 20th Century by decade - population of Detroit:

1900 - 285K
1910 - 465K
1920 - 993K
1930 - 1.5MM
1940 - 1.6MM
1950 - 1.9MM (peak)

Then they started to build the expressways to hell -

1960 - 1.6MM
1970 - 1.5MM
1980 - 1.3MM
1990 - 1.0MM
2000 - 950K
2101 - 713K
Yes, after the great depression, decay increased within downtown's core. You do realize Detroit is 140 square miles, right? It's not impossible for the downtown area to decline while the rest of the city grows in population.

From 1930 to 1940, the population of a 3 mile radius around downtown decreased by 25%. Detroit wasn't completely developed and filled to its city limits until 1950, which as you well pointed out is when the population peaked and they started to build freeways. So yes, there was a steady migration outwards that only accelerated with the development of freeways, but the freeways did not cause that migration.
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
Yes, after the great depression, decay increased within downtown's core. You do realize Detroit is 140 square miles, right? It's not impossible for the downtown area to decline while the rest of the city grows in population.

From 1930 to 1940, the population of a 3 mile radius around downtown decreased by 25%. Detroit wasn't completely developed and filled to its city limits until 1950, which as you well pointed out is when the population peaked and they started to build freeways. So yes, there was a steady migration outwards that only accelerated with the development of freeways, but the freeways did not cause that migration.
3 miles from downtown essentially corresponds to Grand Boulevard. Do you have a source for that? It seems surprising that this area would have lost so much population during the Depression, the stabilized, then lost again. I kind of would have expected population to increase during the 1930s since the ability to build new housing would have been limitted, leading people to crowd into existing housing.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:11 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,987 posts, read 41,947,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
3 miles from downtown essentially corresponds to Grand Boulevard. Do you have a source for that? It seems surprising that this area would have lost so much population during the Depression, the stabilized, then lost again. I kind of would have expected population to increase during the 1930s since the ability to build new housing would have been limitted, leading people to crowd into existing housing.
The city barely grew overall in the 30s, by 1%. Growth in the 40s was much higher, 13%. If the center city always grew less than the city overall, it makes sense the 30s would have a negative population (though agree 25% loss sounds very high), and the 40s a stable population.

Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
When the freeways were built, people were able to move farther out than than they would have without the freeway, but it made little difference to the depopulation of the city; the downtown area had stopped growing as early as the Great Depression and there's much evidence of parking lots that have existed and have grown in number since then. The fact of the matter is that Detroit had a weak downtown and there wasn't much appeal for people to live near it.
However, the fact Detroit had the nation's second largest department store (after NYC's Macy's) suggests a rather strong downtown at one point. Maybe it declined quickly, but at some point it was rather important. One fact is the population decline is strongest right by downtown, and started there first, expanding outward. I'm not sure if too many large American cities had a pattern similar: most had a wedge or zone of greatest decline, not rings of decline expanding outward. Pittsburgh's decline was scattered rather than concentrated, Philly's decline was concentrated in certain section while the downtown became more desirable, both Chicago and Boston had the strongest neighborhood decline in certain directions or wedges though Boston didn't decay as much, St. Louis' decline was mainly in the north half, New York City had the most decay in an intermediate ring while again much of the center improved in desirability, not sure about DC or Cleveland.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
3 miles from downtown essentially corresponds to Grand Boulevard. Do you have a source for that? It seems surprising that this area would have lost so much population during the Depression, the stabilized, then lost again. I kind of would have expected population to increase during the 1930s since the ability to build new housing would have been limitted, leading people to crowd into existing housing.
It's not really a great source, but it was a little factoid mentioned in this video done by the Detroit Streetcar Railway company in 1935. It was a factor in why Detroit shifted from streetcar to buses apparently. They also mention that the city size was 80 square miles before it's final size of 140 square miles in 1930. Based on some historical maps and aerial photos, I think much of the 60 extra square miles were rural.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
However, the fact Detroit had the nation's second largest department store (after NYC's Macy's) suggests a rather strong downtown at one point. Maybe it declined quickly, but at some point it was rather important. One fact is the population decline is strongest right by downtown, and started there first, expanding outward. I'm not sure if too many large American cities had a pattern similar: most had a wedge or zone of greatest decline, not rings of decline expanding outward. Pittsburgh's decline was scattered rather than concentrated, Philly's decline was concentrated in certain section while the downtown became more desirable, both Chicago and Boston had the strongest neighborhood decline in certain directions or wedges though Boston didn't decay as much, St. Louis' decline was mainly in the north half, New York City had the most decay in an intermediate ring while again much of the center improved in desirability, not sure about DC or Cleveland.
Compared to other cites, much more of Detroit's inner-city neighborhoods were occupied by working class residents. The historic mansion districts are pretty small and there's not much area I would consider attractive for middle class residents until you get out of the 3 to 5 mile ring outside of downtown.

This was actually a huge factor in the freeway planning of the city.

http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/6790/43294.jpg
http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/6790/43295.jpg
http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/6790/43296.jpg
http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/6790/43297.jpg

Overlay the proposed freeways... Compared to most cities, it's pretty close to what was actually built out. Plus as you can notice, the inner-city is pretty clustered with industrial land use, which I'm curious to find out if it is a lot more then what might be typical of a rust belt city.

http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/6790/43247.jpg
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:40 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,823,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Pittsburgh's decline was scattered rather than concentrated, Philly's decline was concentrated in certain section while the downtown became more desirable, both Chicago and Boston had the strongest neighborhood decline in certain directions or wedges though Boston didn't decay as much, St. Louis' decline was mainly in the north half, New York City had the most decay in an intermediate ring while again much of the center improved in desirability, not sure about DC or Cleveland.
DC's Southeast was the worst, but the whole city was pretty bad.

Philly's decline was general, but there were oases which held out against it, including the universities and the traditional central neighborhoods, mostly east of Broad.

NYCs decay was pretty general too; in Manhattan the Upper East Side and the east side of midtown held, but the west side went to pieces, and the Lower East was a war zone. The nearer parts of the outer boroughs were worse, but only relatively. And Jersey City and Hoboken and Newark.... *shudder*.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Well at least in terms of population loss, I'm not sure any city had something as bad as losing 85% of 400,000 people in the central portion of the city. More typical seems like it woud be around 70% for the next worst hit cities (I looked at Cleveland and St Louis), which is a whole hell of a lot, but it still leaves twice as much as for Detroit.

PS for all the focus the Hill District gets in Pittsburgh, the inner North Side looks like it lost even more.

Last edited by memph; 02-17-2014 at 08:25 PM..
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:03 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,987 posts, read 41,947,535 times
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What I meant was that Detroit's decay was downtown-centric: the worst decay was immediately outside of downtown and gets progressively less worse from there. St. Louis does not display that pattern, neither does Philadelphia, where most of the city decline but the worst spots were not right next to Center City, but centered in several distinct clusters. Manhattan suffered plenty of decay, but the worst of NYC's decay was centered in a ring (Harlem, South Bronx, much of North Brooklyn) and usually got better further away from there.
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