Map: Detroit Parks Public Input 2015


The recent, “2017 Parks and Recreation Improvement Plan” included a great deal of community engagement to garner feedback and input from residents.

Public input was measured on a one-to-three scale based on the dot map exercise from public meetings. Residents were asked to prioritize up to three parks in their city council district. If a park received no dots, it was scored with a “0”, 1 dot with a “1”, 2 dots with a “2”, and 3 or more dots with a “3”. These rankings were then converted to a 1-5 scale.

Map: Key Scenes from Detroit’s Underground

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The Detroit News has a recent interactive map with writing by Louis Aguilar that chronicles 13 important sites of Detroit’s underground art, music, and culture scene.

For decades, the increasingly upscale area now called “greater downtown” was a haven for a thriving underground art and cultural scene. Ground-breaking artists and others took advantage of cheap rents to produce a raw, creative environment.

Map: The Shifting Cost of Coworking in Detroit 2014 to 2017


Since 2014, I’ve been following the coworking trend in Detroit. I’ve used space for team work at An Office in Detroit that has seen a change in ownership, but is still going strong. In the last 3 year, there have been 8 coworking spaces that have closed and 13 new spaces opened, including the arrival of WeWork in two Downtown locations and the expansion of Bamboo Detroit into a second space. It is safe to say that the majority of the action is located Downtown within the 48226 zip code.


The most interesting coworking shift has been change in the monthly price of a drop-in desk or “hot desk.” Out of the 13 spaces that have been operating since 2014, 6 increased their prices, 2 dropped prices, and 5 kept prices the same (first map). In 2014 the average cost of a coworking desk was around $110, but in 2017 the average is $130 since many of the new spaces have entered the coworking market at the top end with a “hot desk” starting at more than $200/month.

There has also been a rise of parent and woman supportive business spaces, namely Detroit Mama Hub operating out of Ponyride, Femology located Downtown, and the Detroit Parent Collective near Marygrove College. There have been many coworking additions Downtown (7 of the 13 new coworking spaces), but thankfully a number of new options beyond the Central Business District. Southwest is still conspicuously absent of a formal coworking space. Maybe I’m just missing it?

Map of the City of Detroit, entered according to an Act of Congress 1835


This map of Detroit available in the Library of Congress collections and appears to specifically call out the subdivisions of the Military Reserve (land), Brush Farm, John R. Williams holdings, and those of a Peter Berthlet.

It is unclear what Act of Congress necessitated the creation of this map by the District Surveyor, John Farmer. Amy Elliott Bragg has a nice write-up on The Night Train blog about the Farmer family. Son of John Farmer, Silas Farmer (“Detroit’s earliest map publisher”) was only 4 years old at the time his father created this map.

I found a small triangle of land called “Miami Square” at the northern intersection of Gratiot and Randolph and wondered if it was still called that today. The City recently tested out a pedestrian plaza in that area. It appears to still exist as a park, although completely paved over and no signs or markers except for a large abstract sculpture.

Event: The Other Detroit

WHEN: Thursday, January 11th @ 6:00PM

WHERE: Art & Architecture Auditorium

WHAT: Event Link

In his speech The Other America, Martin Luther King Jr. laments that “every city in our country has this kind of dualism, this schizophrenia, split at so many parts, and so every city ends up being two cities rather than one.” In some ways, the trajectory of contemporary development in Detroit is indeed creating this tale of two cities to which King alluded. Detroit’s transformative downtown revitalization has brought an influx of economic activity which has generated much excitement about the city’s future. Yet, Detroit’s “comeback” has largely been confined  to 7.2 miles square miles surrounding the downtown Woodward corridor.

This raises the question of whether “The Other Detroit,” the remaining 131 square miles comprising the city’s largely black neighborhoods, will begin to share in the benefits of Detroit’s growth. In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, this panel will discuss the implications of disparate development patterns in Detroit, exploring structural and community-based strategies for redirecting investment in favor of the city’s most disadvantaged, longstanding residents.

Sonya Mays, President and CEO of Develop Detroit
Kim Sherobbi, Community Practitioner, James & Grace Lee Boggs Center
Sarida Scott Montgomery: Executive Director of Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD)
Monique Becker, Development Associate, The Platform

Event: Intersections: The City Through Cartography


Intersections: The City Through Cartography is an exhibit of contemporary maps by Detroiters from DETROITography, a project conceived and curated by Alex Hill and Detroit Atlas Collaborative, a project conceived and curated by Lyz Luidens.

The exhibition turns the DCDT Gallery into an interactive space where members of the community are welcome to contribute to the ongoing projects by creating their own map of the city.

In addition to the exhibition, a series of workshops will be hosted by AIA Michigan featuring Alex Hill and Lyz Luidens to further engage the community and to grow these living collections.

Map: Shell Sightseeing Guide to Detroit

This inset map is included in the 1958 Shell Map of Metropolitan Detroit. The sightseeing map includes 6 tour routes: Greenfield Village, Grosse Pointe, River Rouge Park, Royal Oak, and [City] Airport.

Most interesting is the number of auto manufacturing facilities that are no longer in operation, including: De Soto, Cadillac Motor Car Division, and Plymouth Division. The tours to the East include a note that tours can be scheduled at the now demolished U.S. Rubber Company and Livernois Avenue is listed as “Used Car Row.” Briggs Stadium is on the map and University of Detroit is listed as a “new campus.”

Map: Driving Detroit 2007 – 2017

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Journalist Bill McGraw and photographer Romain Blanquart created a seminal project of Detroit journalism in 2007 when they drove nearly every street of the city to document conditions, interviews, using an online map and video to tell stories.

Over the past 4 months they’ve returned to many of the same spots to explore what has changed in the past 10 years. They have put together an interactive StoryMapJS with photos and updates. The long form article is also here.

Open Call for Detroit Map Submissions



Maps are more than data and geography, they are also significant visual tools for sharing information and represent the person making the map.

Did you just finish up a semester project? Was there a mapping component? Did you pull together some interesting data on Detroit?

DETROITography invites you to submit your Detroit mapping project to be featured on the site!


  • Must be a map of Detroit or Detroit within the regional geography
  • Must include at least a paragraph of text that explains or contextualizes the map project.
  • The map may be created using any software or may be hand drawn.
  • Be creative. Maps can be used to describe virtually any subject or topic.
  • All data used to create the map must be cited properly and verifiable.
  • The map may not be the product of commercial work and cannot be currently for sale in any way.
  • The map cannot infringe upon any individual personal rights or copyrighted materials in any way.


The submitter will retain the rights to his or her maps; however, by submitting your work to DETROITography, you agree to the following terms: You grant DETROITography a royalty-free, perpetual license to publicly display the map in any media now existing or later developed, for purposes including, but not limited to, advertising and promotion of DETROITography and its website. All maps reproduced will include the mapper’s credit as it is feasible.

Map: Detroit Lead and Copper Water Testing Results 2016

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This map from DWSD shows the degree of potential old lead service lines in the darker blue areas of the city as well as the higher lead results that are more likely to be found in those areas. After the 2016 testing, the rate of lead in Detroit’s water was found to be at an increase.

During previous sampling periods, MDEQ recommended a sampling protocol which included “pre-stagnation flushing.” Sampling volunteers were instructed to flush the tap for five minutes, stop water use in the house for a minimum of six hours, and collect the first liter of water after the six-hour stagnation period. This practice has been documented to produce lower results than normal household use prior to the stagnation period. In 2016, MDEQ recommended discontinuation of pre-stagnation flushing as part of the sampling protocol. A summary of the findings is available on the City website at under the “Lead and Drinking Water” webpage.


Map: Detroit: Industrial Ruins, Temples of Commerce


“The American Geographical Society is pleased to present this month’s Map Contest winner Donna David and her map entitled “Detroit: Industrial Ruins, Temples of Commerce.” The AGS chose this map due its artistic style, creative freedom, and unique function as a map. Not all maps need to be data-driven and information dense. Some can document personal and emotional journeys experienced from a certain perspective. Donna David’s map illustrates all these points beautifully. To describe the artistic and creative process behind this map, the creator herself has written the following description.”

Map: Paradise Valley, the Original Innovation District


History is the most crucial context of any city. In thinking about the “lifecourse of place,” or the evolution of a particular geography over time, socio-demographics provide deep insight.

Detroit’s Black community was restricted in where they could legally purchase housing, so there had long been a concentration of Black households in the Paradise Valley area, north of Black Bottom.

Overlaying the current 7.2 square mile boundary onto this map of 1940s non-white households give stark contrast between history and current redevelopment.

Map originally presented by Josh Akers’ in a Book Review of Rebecca Kinney’s book, “Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier.”

Map: Open Space Pattern Plan 1970

This proposed map of open space and green pathways was included in the beautifully designed plan “Detroit 1990: an Urban Design Concept for the Inner City” from the Department of City Planning.

The plan broke the Greater Downtown area into “subdistricts” and this particular plan of pedestrian pathways imagines linking all the subdistricts together. From the planning report:

“Each  cross-city link connects to major centers: on the eat to Forest Park via the community college; no the west to a continuation of Wayne’s campus and to the shopping triangle of West City. These links together with the major pedestrian bridges to the CBD and New Center are important as intelligible symbols of the continuity from district to district and encourage a sensible sequence of related-ness from district to community to city.”

Map: Detroit Multifamily Housing 2016


In the 2016 report, “Detroit Inclusionary Housing Plan and Market Study” prepared for the City of Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department (HRD) HR&A Advisors, Grounded Solutions Network, and Capital Impact Partners found that Detroit remains a single-family home market based on overall stock.

However, there is significant multifamily housing stock with over 125,000 units concentrated in Greater Downtown. Greater Downtown is a renter market, but has seen positive growth and a reduction in vacancy rates, down 11% between 2005 and 2015.


Map: Detroit Highway Construction Benefit Cost Ratio 1955

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This map is included in Part 2 of the Detroit Metropolitan Area Traffic Study of 1955 by the Michigan State Highway Department. You can see I-94 and the M-10 Lodge Freeway were already complete, but considerations were being made to expand and add more highways. On page 118, it notes:

“Yet there are considerations of land costs; of property removal; of financial responsibility; of classes of trips with relatively greater need; and of public acceptance and rapidity of possible building.”

Not enough weight was given to the consideration of racially disproportionate impacts and wholesale destruction of Detroit’s Black community center where I-75 now lies.

Interestingly the highway proposed along Jefferson Avenue has ratios of 2.3 for every segment making it the highest benefit cost ratio on the map, yet was a highway that was never built. The outcome of that can be seen in the 1968 map of “Where communters run over Black children on the Pointes-Downtown track.” What if that highway had been built?



Hand Drawn Map of Detroit International Bridge Crossing 

Hand drawn maps are super fun! 

This map was included with a hand out that highlights the potential impacts of the “New International Trade Crossing” bridge to Canada, better known as the Gordon Howe Bridge. Community members have raised concerns about land rights and increased truck pollution in their neighborhood. 

The area presents a great opportunity for carbon buffer forests to limit effect of truck exhaust on residents. 

Map: Detroit Cultural Segregation 1971

This map was included in Judy Humphrey’s publication titled: “Segregation and Integration: A Geography of People in Metropolitan Detroit” and utilizes data from the “Detroit Area Ethnic Groups” map from 1971.

“[…] anyone familiar with Detroit can attest to the persistence of ethnic tradition and cohesiveness. In addition to a voluminous number of ethnic organizations, clubs, churches and bars, there are ethnic -language radio hours and newspapers, and of course the specialty food shops and restaurants that give variety to the central city. The map of cultural groups (Map 5) gives spatial form to the patterns of ethnicity.”

Event: Mapping the Past – Interpreting Detroit Maps from 1967


Join staff from the Reuther and DETROITography on September 27 at 6pm for a hands-on event exploring the ways maps can be used to inform or misinform. Visitors will have a chance to work with original maps related to Detroit’s 1967 Uprising that have been used in exhibits at the Reuther, Detroit Historical, and in films such as Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit.”

Map: Uneven Subsidies for Development in Detroit 2015

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The Urban Institute’s recent report highlights the uneven investment and development in Detroit. The report found that tax subsidies disproportionately favor downtown and Midtown, which received 57 percent of state, federal and local tax subsidy investments from 2013 to 2015.

“This combination of growth downtown and more limited investment in outer neighborhoods … can make Detroit appear to be a ‘tale of two cities'”