This map displays the building of Southeast Michigan by decade, beginning with structures built before 1900, then adding the structures built in each subsequent decade. The data is based on the year the current structures were built, with buildings lacking year-built information displayed in gray. Placing the mouse over a building will reveal its address and year built. Use the slider to stop the animation at a specific decade.
First settled in the early 1700s, Southeast Michigan grew slowly at first. The development of the auto industry in Detroit led to the first large gain in population, as the city annexed developing land until 1926 to become the fourth largest city in the country. Development in the region after 1950, fueled by the post-war baby boom and the advent of the federal highway network, led to a region that was 20 percent developed by 1965. Subsequent sustained growth outwards over the next three decades expanded the region’s built environment to 33 percent by 1995. The pace of development has slowed in recent years, with development accounting for approximately 40 percent of the land in Southeast Michigan at present.