Charting the Mortgage Crisis from the Air

One doesn't have to travel far in virtual outer space to find evidence of how shelter, that most basic of all human needs, has in recent decades been converted into just another commodity, manufactured in bulk. From above, the subdivisions look like pieces from a board game waiting to be played, a perfect visual representation of the packages of shoddy balloon mortgages that were swapped and leveraged all along the merry road to our current economic calamity.

Clusters of identical constructions appear shrink-wrapped. Crammed into gridlike spaces with not a buildable square foot unaccounted for, the proper ratio of building to lawn to pavement to price appears to be the result of a process of consumer research, rather like the test marketing of a new soda pop. When did the American Dream morph into a housing development that resembles a circuit board?

San Antonio, TX

Riverside, CA

I don't need a real estate agent to lay out for me the varied prices for homes in each of these quadrants near Plainsborough, NJ

Phoenix, AZ

Cut and Fill near Tampa, FL

Las Vegas, NV

Albuquerque, NM

All images cadged, in a few idle moments, from Google Earth

1 comment:

L. Harmon said...

It's hard to imagine that suburbs were once imagined as social utopias, a place where everyone could live equally around a cul-de-sac. Here is Olmsted's suburban version: