As with many forgotten places, few people—even New York locals—know that North Brother Island exists. While the island was once home to the famed Typhoid Mary, it has since been overtaken by Mother Nature’s gentle yet unyielding hand. A dot on the East River that’s nestled between Bronx and Rikers Island, North Brother Island is now like the world’s other abandoned locales: overrun with lush trees, ivy and tall grasses, a mere shadow of its former self.
Perched atop a quaint Cambodian landscape, Bokor Hill Station was once a thriving French resort town where visitors sought solace from the oppressive heat of nearby capital Phnom Penh. Yet after being…
A building is never just that. It can be a place we call home, a repository for memories, an intimate space where we share even more intimate ideas; it’s one of the ways we as people lay physical claim to the world in which we live. And just as a building is more than its material components, the same can be said for a building in shambles. Evocative of our own limits, mortality and time’s dominion over all, these abandoned structures provide as much aesthetic interest as they do opportunities to consider our place–however temporary–in the world:
Across the world are cities and places that once thrived but now lay in ruins. These abandoned cities, which are often referred to as ghost towns, can be as beautiful as they are haunting. Their decay causes our imaginations to run wild, conjuring images of a place lost to time and just what kinds of life may have passed through its city limits. Some have rich and glorious pasts while others have a dark and troubled history.
Abandoned Cities: Sanzhi Pod City
Sanzhi Pod City is located just outside of New Taipei City, Taiwan. Construction of this UFO style housing development began in 1978, and was intended to be a vacation resort marketed toward US military personnel. After several fatal car accidents during construction and an equally devastating loss of investment, the project was scrapped.
Many attribute the pod city’s bad luck to the bisecting of a Chinese dragon statue near the front gates in order to widen the road. Though the area had become a tourist curiosity and the subject of an MTV film, the pods were demolished in 2010 to make way for a commercial seaside resort.
As of July 18, 2013, the Motor City officially ran out of gas. Filing for for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, Detroit’s debts–a whopping $18 to $20 billion–represent the largest municipal filing for bankruptcy in United States history. And as its solvency has gone down the drain, so too has its population. In 1950, the burgeoning industrial city was home to nearly two million Americans. But today, as Detroit’s population has dwindled to a mere 700,000, the only boom Detroit has seen rests in the number of abandoned buildings popping up within city limits.
As evidenced by the following photos of an abandoned Detroit, those remaining might have a hard time forging optimism about the future when constantly surrounded by brick laid ghosts: