Detroit: Anybody Home?

Anybody Home?

The only thing booming in Detroit these days is the number of houses being abandoned. With a population of 1,086,220, the city has lost 800,000 people since the 1950s, and is scarred by 12,000 or more empty buildings. Every year about 2,000 additional structures are abandoned to rats, crack dealers, vagrants and vandals. In July three angry residents of Grayfield Street in northwest Detroit, fed up with the eyesores on their block, took matters into their own hands. With sledgehammers and axes they hacked down two abandoned, vermin-infested buildings.

City officials, who have been managing to tear down only about 250...

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