Friday, 26 October 2007
Flint, Michigan via Subtopia
"There we were in this plain white vehicle truckin’ northbound on the I-69 with oversized Starbucks cups in our hands (unfortunately, without those there would be absolutely no coffee in Indiana, a very sad fact it seems), whizzing past corn fields and Rest Areas and strange taxonomies of roadkill that accumulated every few hundred yards or so on the highway’s shoulders (I’m convinced Indiana has more roadkill than any other state in the U.S. – after forcing Wes to open his eyes while driving we spotted three mangled little corpses blur past us in a single second followed immediately by a broken down Oldsmobile, the perfect exclamation point to all that ended up there and would never make it across the road), squirrels, raccoons, mice, gophers, rabbits, cats, drivers (who knows what else) … the road to Flint was already a stroll through a long cemetery.
"When Wes, Nihal, and I headed up there a few weeks ago I couldn’t wait to pick up on that geography of urban ruins that weaves so many of my interests together about architecture, global economies, lost histories, indigenous culture, systemic poverty, the road trip, contexts of abandonment, informal communities, urban salvagers, and so on.
"As you know, Wes has been paying close attention to Flint over the last couple of years, he says he’s photographed literally thousands of abandoned houses there, some that have just remained boarded up for years, others that have been tagged with For Sale signs from hustlers trying to collect money on structures they don’t even own. Still, some homes are being moved into by neighbors looking to upgrade next door just as the occupants have left the property. There are owners who are defiant, scared, territorial, proud, some who want to keep their homes and those who pray for demolition, and in many ways Flint is just another shade of New Orleans caught in between states of devastation and piddly renewal. Though instead of having been flooded, it’s all dried up instead."
If there is life in Flint...
- Subtopia: A Field Guide to Military Urbanism