Map: Detroit Building Heights


The Renaissance Center (RenCen) can be seen from just about anywhere in the city. Why is that?

It is easy to forget that Detroit as a big city is in reality a city and suburbs combined. The outer neighborhoods first functioned as suburban enclaves to retreat to after a day’s work in the inner city and increasingly suburban factories.

Of Detroit’s 419,882 buildings, the tallest is the RenCen stands at 73 stories.

With only 47 unique building heights including just 5 buildings reaching 40 stories or more, Detroit is a stout city. There are only 44 buildings in the 20 – 39 stories range. The vast majority of buildings in Detroit are below 2 stories tall (n=397,744).

The tallest buildings are located Downtown.



2 thoughts on “Map: Detroit Building Heights

  1. Great map! A slight amendment, though, to the caption: although Detroit’s outer neighborhoods are certainly more “suburban” in character, the commuting patterns have always been more complicated than many of us assume.

    In many cases, industrial facilities actually suburbanized more rapidly than did residential areas – at least working-class residential areas. Ford’s Highland Park plant was on the far outskirts of the city when constructed, as was his Rouge plant a few years later, and the Connor Creek industrial conglomeration. So even in the nineteen-teens, many Detroit workers were already catching streetcars not inward towards the center, but outward towards the job centers on the urban fringe. The 1929 Detroit subway proposal would essentially have built a crosstown line connecting the Rouge and Connor Creek areas to the workforce at the urban core.

    I’d love to see a map of plant openings and closings someday…

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