Map: The Empty Business Rings of Detroit



I began five years ago looking intensely at the grocery store conundrum in Detroit. There were handfuls of academic writings and news articles about how national and chain grocers abandoned the inner city, in Detroit and other notable cities. This abandoning of the urban core is a phenomena is best understood in terms of chain supermarkets, but the practice and theory applies to many other retailers and business types too. It is also important to look at what kinds of businesses have stayed or expanded in the same space.



Detroit completely lost its Downtown commercial retail businesses in the half century decline of the city. The commercial core never recovered and even Hudson’s largest department store was torn down. The process of building a series of suburban malls followed the new city planning trend and places like Northland Mall, Southland Mall, and Oakland Mall sprang up. Grocery retail has…

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