Sunday, 31 March 2013

Detroit on the eve of the 21st century

The once bustling Motor City has become all but a ghost town, with nature having reclaimed whole districts. For decades, the richer suburbs and the financial district managed to survive, while the rest of the town slowly withered. Finally, around the middle of the century, it became clear that metropolitan Detroit was dead. After that realisation, it was only a matter of months before all corporate and municipal activity were closed down. Those who could picked up and moved. Those who could not were left stranded in a dead city.

Today Detroit has become something unique, where frontier-spirit and gangland mentality has created something akin to a new Wild West. With drones and automatic weapons.

Large parts of the metropolitan area has become completely abandoned, and entire city blocks now stand as hollow, man-made cliffs surrounded by a young and vital forest. Wildlife has returned to the area, and with it hunting and trapping as a way of life.

As one might expect, life in the ruins of a metropolis isn't always easy. Despite this, the Corktown community has managed to maintain something akin to modern standards of living. Most of their economic strength comes from the sale of scavenged metals, agriculture, and trade in fur and consumer electronics. It has both a sheriff, a school and small hospital. This stability does not come without a price, and the Corktown Minutemen are often called upon to protect life and liberty.

Despite the collapse of the city, life still goes on. It is often a life outside the law, and only a few kilometres outside the relative stability of Corktown there are pockets of violent desperation and ruthless crime. Criminal gangs such as the Zerilli Family, the Harbour Town Rednecks, and other, smaller outfits control large parts of the area.


  1. "post-(slow) apocalypse" cyberpunk. I like it.

  2. Thanks mate. Nice to see someone still stops by here ;)

    An important component of cyberpunk as a genre is the exploration of current problems in a near future setting, and the economic issues of today are easily extrapolated. Detroit has always fascinated me, as have the ghost towns of the Wild West. Combining the two seemed the logical way to go. It also gives me a good excuse for a few post-apoc adventures without going too far down the Doomsday rabbit hole.

  3. I really like how your class timings of your blog. I enjoyed reading your blog and it is both instructional and interesting.Thanks!

    Agen bola

  4. I find this a bit confusing. We are already in the 21st century now so when does your timeline diverge from real world. Assuming that you mean on the verge of the 22nd century, I would look at Detroit as more of a Escape from New York type location if you push the area to collapse. The fall of the city during the late 20th century is more similar to the end of colonial rule in Africa where the traditional disenfranchised group get control of the city and the formerly privileged group more outside its bounds taking most of the wealth and educated workforce outside the city. The reduction of the tax base, population, and productivity combined with corruption and incompetence generated a cycle of collapse.

    Not far outside the city there are areas of very high wealth. Some of the most wealthy zipcodes in the country are only like 8-10 miles from the Detroit city limits. These areas will defend themselves as the core descends into chaos so they will probably either fortify as localities and/or try to isolate the core. So you probably will end up with a group of fortress principalities that compete for resources while cooperating in defense from the core.

    Your corktown type of groups would actually probably mainly be on the outside of these. Where I live now I can essentially start in an area which is mixed use residential/farm land (I live in a neighborhood but have to drive past farm fields to get to the highway), I can drive into and through to the other side of Detroit in like 1 hour. They would probably live outside and raid in for salvage and such.

  5. Nice. Would also like to see more of the timeline. Funny (or sad) how much good material surfaces when doing a google image search for "Detroit Ghost Town" -- like:

    Is this related to the mage setting from Toronto, or something completely different?