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Environment & Climate Change
On this page you'll find all of our stories on the city of Detroit.Suggest a story here and follow our podcast here.

Pilot and architect looks at "Detroit by Air" and sees hope

Detroit from space. MacLean got a little closer than this.
NASA

It's called getting perspective - climbing up on the mountain and having a look around.

That's exactly what Alex MacLean does. As a pilot and a trained architect, MacLean goes up in the air to find out what's happening on the ground.

He's flown all around the United States, and recently his flight over Detroit was featured in the New York Times Sunday Review.

When you look at Detroit by Airyou can see the challenges the city faces - challenges we know well and read about all the time.

MacLean's photographs show stark differences between the "haves" in Bloomfield Hills, and the "have-nots" in the city - and the ruins of old homes and industrial plants.

MacLean has flown over and photographed Detroit before, and while he saw the massive problems the city faced in 1980 and 2004, he said his most recent flyover showed him something different:

From the air today, the decline appears to be slowing. The spaces once covered in rubble are cleared and mowed. Open green spaces, along with new community gardens and orchards, look almost bucolic against the downtown skyline. From my plane, I sense the potential for resurgence in these areas. I can see how neighborhoods could become more walkable and support mixed-use development, with new shops, public transit and nearby parks and schools.

MacLean thinks a rebound in Detroit is just a matter of time. He believes areas in Detroit will be comparable to "the once rundown sections of New York, Boston, Minneapolis and San Francisco" - areas that are now doing well.