Category Archives: Dead Zones
Dispatch from the slums of suburbia.
When I parked my car at the end of Santiago Street, I half expected to find a cul-de-sac devoid of houses. Chris Blackwell, principal planner from the Penn Hills Department of Planning and Economic Development, told me how his department had demolished nearly all the street’s blighted properties in recent years.
For the last several months, I’ve been researching the topic of suburban decline for a series of nonfiction stories I’m working on. I’m looking at what is traditionally viewed as first-ring suburbs, or the first wave of planned communities beyond the city limits. My focus is on the eastern suburbs outside of Pittsburgh, an area I’ve lived nearly all my life.
Scenes from surrendered homes.
If you want to know what economic collapse looks like, Douglas R. Smith’s photographs of foreclosed homes in California’s Central Valley tell the story. In his series Scenes from Surrendered Homes, visual evidence of the recession is depicted in heartbreaking detail.