Why Detroit is Actually Gotham City

Batman has an alter ego.  Why can’t Detroit be Gotham’s Bruce Wayne?

This is something that’s been rolling around in my head all summer.  Observe:



They both are dominated by large, gleaming towers paid for by the largest company calling the city home.

Detroit’s General Motors Renaissance Center

Gotham’s Wayne Industries Tower

Both these towers have awesome monorails leading right to them.

The Detroit “People Mover”

The Gotham “Liam Neeson Death Mobile”

And they’re both in desperate need of economic help.

Abandoned buildings abound in Detroit

Just… watch “Batman Begins”



  1. In the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, all the license plates are the same as Illinois except the name says Gotham. So it’s possibly Chicago? Altho I have always thought of Gotham as New York.

    1. Yeah, and the car/semi/van/armored truck chase seen in Dark Knight was filmed in Lower Wacker in downtown Chicago.

  2. The Wayne Industries building is the Chicago Board of Trade building. A big part of the movie was filmed in Chicago.

  3. Chicago has one of the most expansive downtowns in the world in terms of skyscrapers. New York is obviously more expansive but it turns out that, in terms of portraying “Gotham City”, New York is TOO expansive. New York’s skyscrapers and tall buildings end up creating a very uniform image in which big buildings are really just really tall mainstreet buildings. All around New York, the majority of buildings keep the city looking uniform and giving it a fairly flat, albeit high, skyline. Only the central skyscrapers pop out to give a small incline in the skyline. Chicago on the other hand is surrounded by very low suburbs. Coming in to Chicago at nighttime from a freeway will give you a really nice sense of awe from the sheer size of the buildings in the downtown area… and the countless numbers of them, with the backdrop of so little surrounding the heart of buildings. Gotham City has always been a city characterized by its tallness near the center and numerous buildings. In this analysis, it’s true that the real New York is probably bigger than the fictitious Gotham City. But if you look at the comics, there’s really nothing portraying the image that Gotham City should be New York. Both cities lies on large bodies of water, but New York has severe congestion that requires pedestrians to be vigilantly moving the traffic all the time (themselves). Chicago is more lax in that regard, and thus more reminiscent of Gotham City. Don’t underestimate the sheer awe of Chicago. In my own feelings, I’ve always felt that Gotham City was a future New York, or alternative reality New York where the city center became obnoxiously massive against the backdrop of countless tall buildings surrounding it, but much lower in comparison.

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