Though it's easy to crack jokes about Detroit's downfall from afar, it doesn't change the fact that there are very real people forced to look on as the place they call home slowly descends into decay. One of the most poignant depictions of this has come from none other than Google Maps.

Using Google Street View Time Machine, Alex Asup, a chief product officer at LOVELAND Technologies, has been documenting the neglect of the Detroit Metro's some 78,000+ "feral houses." Web Urbanist explains:

The word [feral] is most often applied to domesticated animals that have reverted back to a wild state, but urban explorer and photographer James Griffioen applies it to inanimate objects: abandoned houses. Specifically, the many vacant and decaying homes in Detroit that are being completely overtaken by nature.

And the photos of these houses become even more striking when you realize that this extreme (in some instances) transformation really only takes place over a period of a few years, from 2009 to 2013. While it will almost certainly take quite a bit longer than that, hopefully one day, we'll be able to look back again, this time at a city rising from the ruins. [GooBing Detroit via Web Urbanist]

Update 6/12: The above building, the Palmer Lodge, is in fact being renovated and is not in a state of decay.