The stories you hear about Detroit are half true. Making my first visit to the Motor City last year I expected some serious post-apocalyptic stuff. What I found was a dead city riddled with spots of life. A block of boarded up, burnt out houses would have one immaculately kept home right in the middle. A street lined with empty storefronts would have two exciting, thriving businesses. That said, there are eerily empty stretches, and the main downtown part of the city felt like a Sunday morning even on a Tuesday afternoon.
Detroit continues trying to figure out how to come back, and entrepeneur Mark Siwak has an idea: turn part of it into a zombie-themed "experience" park. Siwak imagines a multi-acre site, filled with houses and warehouses, where you would be chased by zombies over the course of a night. If you get caught by a zombie, you become a zombie and you begin hunting the survivors. This sounds like a liability nightmare to me - just imagine the fights that would happen, the injuries caused by running through debris-strewn streets at night, the general overnight exhaustion. But Siwak has successfully raised a few grand on IndieGoGo so far, and I bet all the attention he's been getting will net him much more in the coming weeks.
Some in Detroit feel like this is an ugly way of taking advantage of the city's dire circumstances. I get that. But having been there, there's a sense that this is a city sinking away; the first great American ruin. Perhaps Z World isn't the best idea, but it's an idea.
Here's Siwak's video: