Tag Archives: urban decay

Detroit: Hantz Meanz Farmz


Once a city of innovation, by all accounts, Detroit is today a city in ruin: the Pompeii of our times.  The statistics are frightening: unemployment amongst the highest in the nation, population decreases surpassing even east-Berlin after the wall came down; and not a single supermarket within city limits.

Hantz Farm in inner-Detroit is set to change this.  John Hantz and Matt Allen have created this innovative approach to save the local community.  They realise that much of Detroit is simply “too broken to fix”, so aim to reinvigorate it by creating 100 acres of urban farms – former residential or commercial plots of land which they will clear and transform into a thriving agricultural area, for a relatively low cost. They cannot reinvigorate the fledgling car industry which has devastated the local – and national – economy, but they can create jobs, stimulate the local economy, and give residents a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

It’s an inspiring idea that will create jobs, increase the health of its denizens, aid in smart energy use, lower crime rates and free up emergency services to look after the inhabited areas of the city.

Natty little logo, too.



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Posted by on August 1, 2009 in building, urban design


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Kevin Bauman: 100 Abandoned Houses


As a kid, my knowledge of Detroit extended to what I had seen on Home Improvement – a suburban dream, populated by middle-class families who had a strange yet lovable obsession with cars, and kids who got to take the day off school whenever it snowed.

Fast forward only 15-or-so years, and Detroit has become the Pompeii of our century – but rather than being obliterated by a volcano, this oversized, underpopulated wasteland of a city has been destroyed by  by its own unsustainability.

100 Abandoned Houses is a project by photographer Kevin Bauman which seeks to document just a handful of the thousands of Detroit homes that lie vacant.  Bauman’s large-scale, almost clinical images give a terrifying, almost post-apocolyptic portrayal of a city in ruin.



A foggy morning in Detroit

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Posted by on April 16, 2009 in looking, photography, urban design


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Christopher Morris

If I was asked to name the three most tragic things in the world, here’s what I’d nominate:

1. Toddlers & Tiaras

2. Boyzone‘s latest album

3. Abandoned theme parks

Thankfully for us, Christopher Morris went with number three when choosing a subject for his latest photographic series.  These images are actually part of the Aussie photographer’s Tumbleweed series which examines the wider issue of urban decay and abandonment.  His images evoke a feeling of isolation and tragedy, similar to how Boyzone must feel when viewing their latest album sales. Ouch.

As a side note, Morris has one of the sexiest websites I’ve seen in a long time. Nice and clean, with a touch of sass.  Nothing tragic about that.

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Posted by on April 15, 2009 in looking, photography


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Revitalising: Braddock, Pennsylvania

The Mayor, originally uploaded by Hryck..

All the talk of the global financial crisis has meant it’s been easy to feel a bit down of late. But when you do, spare a thought for Braddock, Pennsylvania.

Once somewhat of a boom town – the capital of America’s steel industry – it’s now a very different place. So what to do if your house price has dropped by 80 percent, your population has dropped by 90 percent and the town is overrun with crime and poverty? Well you could try doing what Mayor John Fetterman has done, and just think outside the proverbial square.

Since 2005, Fetterman has been working almost singlehandedly to change the fortunes of this ailing town. For starters, he made a pact to tattoo the date of every murder in the town on his forearm. He’s also working at attracting people from creative industries, and has appeared in national media such as Yahoo News and The Colbert Report to garner support.

It’s still too early to tell whether his initiatives are working, but his commitment is admirable to say the least.

More info at

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Posted by on March 2, 2009 in urban design


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