Modern Ruins | DocFilm | DW | 24.09.2013
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Modern Ruins

A five-part series about modern-day ruins – places that bear witness to the rise and fall of empires and industries, the legacy of ambition and utopian dreams, and the power of nature as it reclaims habitats once lost.

Empty factories and abandoned buildings are the decaying remnants that make up the modern-day ghost town. The crumbling monuments are at once reminders of a bygone age and a testament to modernity’s relentless drive for progress and change. In our five-part series “Modern Ruins”, we take a look at some of these relics of the past century, as they each bear witness to the upheavals of industrialization, colonialism, globalization and the drive to master and exploit the natural world. Our journey takes us to five different locales: Detroit in the USA, Fordlândia in Brazil, Kolmanskop in Namibia, the former Lohberg mine in Germany, and the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen.

Part 5/5 Detroit – New Hope for Motor City

22.10.2013 DW im Focus Moderne Ruinen 5 2

Motor City Detroit

Detroit is the Motor City, home to the big three automakers that made Motown a legend. In its heyday, Detroit was a symbol of the American Dream, its growth driven by a seemingly insatiable demand for automobiles. But auto production began to slow in the 1950s, and with it came Detroit’s decades-long decline. Over the last sixty years, the city’s population has fallen from two million to seven hundred thousand - half of them out of work. Hundreds of factories and houses lie empty and abandoned, and the city has become synonymous with urban blight. But there are also signs of a revival. Cheap rents have drawn a new wave of young artists and creative types. Vacant buildings are being converted into art spaces, and urban explorers from around the world are converging on the city to catch a glimpse of its post-industrial ruins. An urban farming movement has emerged, with organic gardens being planted on abandoned lots. There’s a new buzz, and today Motor City seems poised for a comeback.


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