The Ford Road

A cross-section of Detroit’s rise and fall and rise in photographs

After the historic fire of Detroit in 1805, judge Augustus B. Woodward designed a new cityplan based on cities like Paris and later Washington DC, with avenues radiating from the centre. Michigan Avenue became one of the ‘spokes’ and was continued by Ford Road.¬† This Ford Road is a tribute to the founding father of the automotive industry in Detroit: William Ford, the father of Henry Ford.

As a tribute to this endavour, and being interested if it would be possible to ‘sample’ ¬†this city in decline, I took a slice out of it in photographs. I made a cross section of Detroit on Thursday the 22th of June 2013, just by my rented yellow bicycle cycling from the Renaissance hotspot, what’s in a name, westwards alongside the Michigan Avenue and the Ford Road. Looking left and looking right. Up to almost Ann Arbor. I used the bicycle partly as a metaphor for the declined automotive industry of Detroit, but mostly as a modality as tranquil enough to be able to observe the city thoroughly.

The city shows itself like time rings on a cut tree. In fact all considerable stadia of a city, flourish-decline-consolidate-develop, can be found alongside this slice of approximately 25 miles. Time meets place, and vice versa. It tells also about people who left parts of the city, and locked themselves in in cars and fancy houses at the outskirts. Yes, where are the people now in this once vibrant city?

Detroit USA/Rotterdam Holland, 2013/2015

Marcel Koeleman

[Book ‘The Ford Road’ published in 2015]