Title

Ruin Tours: Performing and Consuming Decay in Detroit

Publication Date

7-4-2019

Document Type

Article

Abstract

In the face of economic, demographic, and infrastructural decline, Detroit, Michigan, has become a destination for those interested in viewing the city’s iconic ruins. Paradoxically, such tours represent a form of economic development that takes urban decay as its object. Using data collected through participant observation, interviews, and document analysis, this study examines how such tours operate in relation to broader practices of urban redevelopment. It argues that tours are not only a way of turning the city into a site of consumption, but also a more complicated response to failures of industrial capitalism in which tour operators suggest different political modes of responding to the city’s decline. This is demonstrated by tracing the development of ruin tour programs and examining three representative cases of ruin tours. Examining how local actors respond to urban decline in this way strengthens urban geographic understandings of the post-industrial city and its recapitalization..

Publication Title

Urban Geography

First Page

1

Last Page

19

DOI

10.1080/02723638.2019.1637194

Publisher Policy

pre print, post print (12 month embargo)

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