Phoenix | Suburbandonment

“After seeing hundreds of decaying structures, we are all aware that each new building constructed is another building which will one day slip into ruination.” – Bradley L Garrett (History of Hacking 2010)

of the tide


True. In 2008, the government established the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) (Division B, Title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008) in an effort to purchase and redevelop “abandoned or foreclosed homes or residential properties”. Over 50 Million Dollars worth of purchasing and redeveloping.

The good news for the nation and areas like Phoenix who participate in the national program? NSP homes “will be used to house individuals or families whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of the area median income”. In other words, not the 1%.  Who, by the way Are buying up their own portion of the foreclosed housing stock- to resell to ..?? Or perhaps simply hold in private possession, fenced off, and guarded by both live manned security vehicles and mounted cameras. One guard we spoke to said he’s been watching this street of empty homes for over a year. Based on the amount of vehicle oil left, I’d guess he’s telling it straight.



Meanwhile,  companies have been posting signs throughout Phoenix metro which encourage homeowners to declare bankruptcy and ‘stop foreclosure’.


David Gissen, an architectural theorist and professor blogged in Oct 2011 about his experience at an Occupy Oakland event that reverberated ‘housing’, “listening to these protests, you quickly realize that everyday life in the US has become an extreme environment.” More recently the Occupy movement has begun a permutation of its own. ‘Occupy Homes’ movements have had a growing presence, this post from twitter:

UPDATE: Amazing photos from #CruzHome #EvictionDefense by Peter Leeman. #ows #OccupyHomes


“A body – not bodies in general, nor corporeality, but a specific body, a body capable of indicating direction by a gesture, of defining rotation by turning round, of demarcating and orienting space.”  - Lefebvre 

Javier Arbona, architectural researcher, critic, and social geographer, recently blogged, “there seems to be another series of concerns bubbling up within Occupy, at least in Oakland—concerns that seem rather interesting for the architecture discipline to consider. These are matters not of housing or public space (though not eschewing these), but something less immediate or tangible.”

Could he be referring to ‘moments of in-betweenness’  B.L.Garrett  wrote urban explorers ‘are in search for’?

When ‘Chuck’ and I entered the swale of suburbandonment in west metro phoenix, our senses were heightened. Lighting levels that night were in-between the fully occupied and the palimpsest of rural farmlands or even earlier occupants. It was dark. Even google maps couldn’t light it up. That blinking blue marker was no match for the homogeneousness of a street yet built.



It was undifferentiatable and therefor we abandoned the map and relied on our sense of smell, sound, touch and bearing. Touch pulled us further into the tangled street to dead ends of hollow stucco structures and empty cul-du-sacs, but sound led us out, as rather large trucks full of cargo, animals, and industrial whatnot raced toward the freeway, we followed. It’s true, we are born from our mothers’, but we are also made from the places of our making ‘embedded in a spatial context and a texture’ we are somewhere in-between as end ‘users’ and ‘technocrats’.



unfold and ovrflow

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