Phoenix | Waste Landscapes: dross, public health, sprawl

i dont buy nice things

Dear Alan Berger, I have begun work on drosscapes 2.0 for you, addendum to dross, the unfinished and abandoned (foreclosed) housing burb. Unfold, three main characteristics of the sprawl environment are; low land use mix, low connectivity and low density- not limited to housing. But, in a paper for my environmental public health course last year I explored housing waste specific to Phoenix and the Sonoran desert. What happens to waste in the desert climate? 


The act of sprawl maybe human, however the mechanism through which we have been producing and inhabiting sprawl is toxic. All this becomes exponentially destructive to environmental public health here in the desert climate both during use and post-use cycles. There is a new temporary. The empty house- either built and not sold, or recently both built and now foreclosed. A cycle which I have seen as rapid as four years. What makes the homes un-affordable besides ballooning mortgages? Simple. The monthly energy bill. 

hot box

Climate control for the new housing type through non-regenerative energy use and poor solar orientation, sucking for air these enclaves are out their element. They are everywhere, massive scale. 

In just the last 15 years, the US has developed 25% of all the land developed in the entire 225 years of the life of our republic. – Frumkin

wash up

Shift scale for a moment to look material toxicity in these built housing environments. Impurities in the air impact our individual and collective health through the respiratory system. Explicit Toxicity is found in both live and dead suburban sites that are in a current state of decay and have exhausted their original commercial life use.  As materials shift molecular structure, deteriorate, and experience allotropy, they enter our environmental health systems through air and water vectors. During construction, destruction, renovation, or as speculator derived phantom inventory;  lead, pesticides, off gasses of formaldehyde from insulation, and ethers from cleaning products, particle board and carpet glues can be released into the environment. In the case of unfinished housing burbs or boarded up phantom inventory, the environment effected can be semi-live neighborhoods full of elderly, young, and adult inhabitants. Surrounded by (‘single family homes (in the US) built from 1970 to 2000 grew nearly 64%, while population only increased by 38%’- Frumkin) dematerialization exacerbated by foreclosure and economics built housing structures are themselves becoming toxic waste powder; contributing to end of the line health problems in the most vulnerable populations, children, seniors, and immobile poor. 

unfold + ovrflow

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