4. Grixdale Farms
% of unoccupied buildings: 36.9%
# of unoccupied buildings: 1,839
Across from the Palmer Park Golf Course is one of Detroit’s most ravaged neighborhoods and a hotbed of prostitution. Some streets such as Robinwood and Goldengate are more than 80% abandoned and often are targets of arson. But in the middle of the neighborhood are two architecturally significant streets lined with double-wide lots – Grixdale Avenue and Hilldale Avenue, which are faring better than the rest of the neighborhood but are still losing occupants.
% of unoccupied buildings: 37.8%
# of unoccupied buildings: 2,614
With large brick homes and two-family flats, this area was booming in the 1920s with a growing Jewish population. But the area eventually gave way to rampant crime, poverty and abandonment. Some blocks are lined with garbage, burned-out brick homes and overgrown lots.
2. NW Goldberg
% of unoccupied buildings: 41.2%
# of unoccupied buildings: 1,439
More than a century old, this west-side neighborhood has an abundance of abandoned, wood-frame houses. To the west is a largely vacant stretch of West Grand River and to the north is a blighted span of West Grand Boulevard. Both streets used to be bustling with activity. The area is just south of the origin of the 1967 riot.
1. Westwood Park
% of unoccupied buildings: 41.7%
# of unoccupied buildings: 146
Westwood Park sits between struggling Brightmoor and the middle-class enclave of Grandmont-Rosedale. The small working-class neighborhood of 402 houses and buildings came to life in the late 1930s. But a decades-long exodus that began in the 1960s hasn’t let up, partly because the housing stock is weak and unappealing.
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Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.