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Comments on Weeks 1& 2 Readings-2013




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  1. The Following comments are on these two readings from the syllabus:

    1. Steven High, “Gold Doesn’t Rust: Regions of the North American Mind” in Industrial Sunset.

    2. John Gallagher, “Shrinking Cities,” in Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City.

    Emily Reinauer

    “Shrinking Cities” focuses less on how such cities got to that state, and more on what steps these cities should take next. Tiptoeing around the economic decline and depopulation issue as well as the causes gives this article a much more encouraging tone, but also makes the second article that much more sullen.
    One of the points that Shrinking Cities makes is our nation’s overreaction. I found it very enlightening that Europeans have accepted this type of situation as a cycle; they have been through such a thing several times because of their age. This is something American has not taken into consideration, but rather has plunged right into panic. We believe that this is merely the end, and would rather wait for a miraculous recovery than take affirmative action (such as Turin and Youngstown). I believe that if Americans took the time to put our current situation into perspective, (age of our country, population ebb and flow, annexed territory) all hope would not be lost.
    This article hits on another good point; a city should not let the psychological pain of shrinkage stop them from seizing the opportunities that await a smaller city (‘planned emptiness’). The last think a financially troubled shrinking city needs to worry about is getting bigger; rather they should take advantage of the perks a smaller city offers, such as the ability to experiment and the ease of management. The path that Turin took, taking stock of what their city used to offer and revamping it, is a good model for cities to follow.
    “Gold Doesn’t Rust” focuses more on the causes and effects of the Rust Belt. By addressing the process of a shrinking city, from evictions, to shutdowns, to demolition, the writer makes it more understandable why residents would be unmotivated to take such actions described in Shrinking Cities. A community that witnesses such a downturn would be discouraged and disordered for quite some time. The emptiness is described in detail, painting a much more somber picture. This article also touches on the loss of jobs in these cities, which likely plays a role in the lack of renovation (a fact the other article ignores).
    One similarity I did find in the two articles is the comparisons between the Rust Belt and Sun Belt shift to the city and suburb shift. Both are the same idea, just on different scales, but in both cases people move to where there is more activity and opportunity. The city and suburb shift is also the pattern that would be easier to reverse as it is more local rather than national.
    The last point I took from the second article was that Canada escaped similar fates by using the US as an example. They started caring about the environment much sooner (‘diagnosed’ the decline before the ‘disease’). They also had a different mindset, and did not recognize a downfall as unavoidable, a factor that has kept their identity intact, while Americas continues to be damaged.

      • Pamela Karimi on behalf of Benjamin M. Duhamel:

        Gallagher’s “Shrinking Cities” gives a general view of the “shrinking city” (i.e., a dense or largely populated city that experiences great population loss and rises serious concern due to the original infrastructure designed to support a greater population). This excerpt focuses on shrinking cities caused by closing auto factories, steel mills and factories of the like. Another cause outlined in the article is low birth rates. There is a great emphasis on the city of Detroit when it comes to Shrinkage, however this article explains that shrinkage can be found in Germany, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Hungary, and Latvia. Annexing a given cities suburbs gives the city a chance to grow physically, which then allows more population, giving it a greater risk of shrinkage. My favorite part of the excerpt was the Youngstown Story as it gave many real-life examples of how shrinkage directly effects people.

        Steven High’s “Gold Doesn’t Rust” gave me a better idea of what the Rust Belt is. The name–Rust Belt–comes from a metaphor and is a description of a postindustrial region in the northeastern and the midwestern states, Rust Belt refers to a decline in population and urban decay due to the shrinking of its prior industrial sector.

  2. Allison Romero

    Post industrial cities were once powerhouses of mass production and manufacturing but are no longer able to sustain themselves. Big industries failed because of economic problems, leaving them with shrinking “ghost cities.” However, some cities both abroad and within the U.S. have come up with innovative responses to their dwindling populations and decrepitated buildings. Some, such as Turin, have turned their energies and resources to what the cities already had physically and culturally. They pursued the industries of tourism and attracting visitors rather than manufacturing. Others, such as Youngstown, came up with long-term plans to turn abandoned land into parks and areas of recreation. This not only improves the lives of the city’s residents but also eliminates areas that were unused and unattractive. Rather than regrowing the population of the city, they chose to use a benefit of a smaller population.

    I think that the U.S. may in time be like Europe and understand the up’s and down’s of every economy. Even now with our short history, Americans are definitely becoming more innovative. Youngstown for example has stepped up to the plate and decided to take their future into their own hands. I am sure that other cities will follow in their footsteps, particularly as it becomes more imperative in shrinking cities.

    • Allison: I like your emphasis on the difference between European and American experiences. I think we should discuss this notion in class. The general perception is that Europeans are more successful when it comes to urban life. Some may disagree, but let’s see what others have to say about this.

  3. Robert Duffany

    what really struck me was the turn around that Turin had in the face of the economic decline in Europe, and looking into how this could be revitalized in US cities, it reminded me of an article I read a few years ago about bringing the movie industry into SE Mass, focusing in Wareham, as a source of revitalization for the area.

    It also made me think of how this type of revitalization to life, along with the sustainability building in dwindling cities could make for self-sustaining hubs with sprawling suburban areas feeding the cities population. Without the high price of living in the inner city it could be more appealing for young families to move back to these areas, especially with the emphasis on sustainability being important in relocating, could help bring some life back to these cities. With urban farming creating self sustaining cities with a differing labor force, transferring to small agricultural businesses, which in turn can lead to other development opportunities in economy.

    The use of incentives in relocation of neighborhoods in the city of Youngstown also seems like a good plan that needs more seeding. If more towns were to adopt the plan I think that contractors would be more apt to conform with the plan, rather than just building where ever there is space, building near certain areas to rebuild the community. This would be beneficial to the town/city as a whole, and i think that the plan could be modified to work on cities of different scale.

  4. Julianna Thibeault

    Post industrial cities are cities that were once booming industries and companies that collapsed with the stock market and the economy. Everything that was once big, powerful and crowded with industrial workers, are now littered with empty buildings and rustic neighborhoods. This deterioration is caused by globalization, economy decline, war, natural disasters, low birth rates, famine and political upheave. Places such as Detroit was once a big city with a large population because of the booming factories in the city. Once the economy fell, the factories and industry fell along with it, bringing down jobs and the wealth of the town. There have been ways to try to bring up the economy in the falling cities by expanding suburbs around the cities like Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and San Diego. Growing the community by adding housing can help the city grow in population, but can also harm it. Because of the high concentration of population, commuting times to work grow, housing is expensive, the taxes are high, crime and pollution become a major problem. Small suburbs scattered around the city help preserve cultural opportunities. Areas in Detroit are joining together to help boost the city’s bad reputation because of the economy crash. The rich fled out of the town to better opportunities leaving the poorer people struggle to keep the city going. One way the locals help the city is by building greenways, biking trails and cleaning vacant lots. Artists and farmers have come together to build art in the deteriorating town and grow locally farmed food for restaurants and locals. These people have helped Detroit grown into a cleaner, friendlier and healthier environment.
    It wasn’t only the United States that was effected by the economy. Turin Italy fell on it’s knees because of the collapse and this has effected it’s town heavily. The major saw the fall of population and wealth of the community and stepped up. He publicized the town to travelers because of the Alpine Mountains and boosted the amount of festivals for the locals to get businesses flowing again. After the XX Olympics, the city started to change for the better because the major stepped up and slowly improved the town’s economy to make it more appealing to travelers. Detroit struggled to improve because there isn’t gorgeous mountains in it’s back drop to lure in travelers and visitors.
    When the economy is changing and thriving, it is easy to build towns from rural buildings, to major steel plants. In Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were known as the midwestern heartlands because of the thriving cities. These areas in the United States are known as the rust belt now because of the rusting factories scattered along the area.
    When there is a lot of cash flow and improvements to towns that help it grown, why not build it up as fast as you can. But what happens when everything crashes and you’re left with steel plants that are vacant and empty? In Youngstown Ohio, steel mills closed out farm lands because there was a lot of money to be made from steel. It was the greatest and latest, so farm lands didn’t stand a chance from the thriving steel business that the United States wanted for their growing cities. The Major of Youngstown regretted building his town from farms to businesses because maintaining smaller cities was easier to manage and was a better quality of life. Evicting people out of their homes to move the population closer to the main city to help it prosper won’t be easy. He started an ongoing plan called youngstown 2010 to help his city from the ruins of the steel economy. Many places such as Detroit, Ohio, Italy and in the Rust Belt all have been heavily hit because of the economy. Each area has it’s own way of recovering and changing for the best of it’s inhabitants. Even though the areas effected by the economy are far apart, their sense of staying together and helping their cities adjust is all the same.

  5. Julianna: As I was reading about Turin, I became curious about Mole Antonelliana. Here you can find more information about it: &
    The city of Turin was the home of Italy’s first cinema productions. The National Museum of Cinema, which is now housed in Mole Antonelliana (originally a synagogue that had been left vacant and unused for decades) is a great example of how a town’s history can contribute to its future revival.
    See an image of Mole Antonelliana here:

  6. Benjamin Duhamel

    “Shrinking Cities” was a great excerpt to give a layperson an idea as to what exactly a shrinking city is. (a dense or largely populated city that experiences great population loss and rises serious concern due to the original infrastructure designed to support a greater population). This excerpt focuses on shrinking cities caused by closing auto factories, steel mills and factories of the like. Another cause outlined in the article is low birth rates. There is a great emphasis on the city of Detroit when it comes to Shrinkage, however this article explains that shrinkage can be found in Germany, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Hungary, and Latvia. Annexing a given cities suburbs gives the city a chance to grow physically, which then allows more population, giving it a greater risk of shrinkage. My favorite part of the excerpt was the Youngstown Story as it gave many real life examples of how shrinkage directly effects people.

    “Gold Doesn’t Rust” gave me a better idea of what the Rust Belt is. ( The name comes from a metaphor and is a description of a postindustrial region in the northeastern states, Rust Belt refers to a decline in population and urban decay due to the shrinking of its prior industrial sector.)

  7. Post-Industrial cities, by definition, includes cities within the Midwest and Northwest that thrived in steel and auto industries that eventually gradually lost its population. During World War II steel and auto factories were considered the golden age for the industries. However, in the 1980s employment started to drop due to factories being moved to other countries and trading with them. Because of mass unemployment and high costs in taxes, citizens move out of the city promptly. This lead to several abandoned areas within the cities.
    In order to withstand a sustainable growth within cities is to make a more environmental friendly city. For example, in Detroit, the city has taken its abandon areas and has turned them into bicycle paths ans has dug up some abandoned areas to uncover some of the natural features to the area to make the travelers happier and to have cleaner air; which is also good to grow food within the city. This will also help with the Global Warming situations that is considerably noticeable within cities. In other cities, such as Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Diego, added land in the 1960s has doubled in population since. Other cities that struggle with low population should consider in making their cities more environmentally friendly.

  8. Both articles touched on post-industrial cities that once experienced “city life” or large populations, constant community activity, and high employment that has depleted in most areas. Populations wanting to move to more populous and lively areas were indicated in both articles, along with other historical events and industry trends all over. Details into specific regions were described separately in the articles using different language.
    My favorite aspect of “Gold Doesn’t Rust” was learning about the history behind pop culture and how perceptions of cities can be influenced upon different aspects of culture such as the media or music. Bobby Bare, Kris Kristofferson, and Crystal Gale were some of the new generations of singers linking to the rise of the sunbelt and shift in the attractions of the south. It is so fascinating to learn that all these connections (the dust bowl, great depression, culture, etc.) causes a domino effect, leading to a transformational way of living.. a new lifestyle, way of thinking, and way of being.

    The American Dream is something we all want to reach. It is rather depressing that beautiful cities are becoming wiped out plantations because of the economy and industry. From the article many of these cities were once an active place where people could find jobs and affordable living that still appeared beautiful. Today, these cities are for the lower class citizens that can only afford to live in this “ghetto” area we once called a city. The thing is people aren’t appreciating what still exist in these cities or what can become of it. We need to as a society not let these cities go to wasteland but instead create a new existing city. I think our society worries too much about other countries instead of our own which is a problem. We need to take action instead of hoping things will just work out.

    This article is about how people need to be grateful on what they have and take action before it is lost. This article focuses on the matter of what could have been done to prevent it, learning from history. Americans seem to panic then instead of taking action they just give up on it. They have too much faith that everything will just work out.

    This article discusses the process of a shrinking city because of cause and effect. People who lived in cities that were doing well that turns into a ghost town, usually face depression and have discouragement. They figure once they see eviction and demolition, there is no hope to their once called home.

  10. Industrial decline and suburban sprawl caused depopulation major cities in US. Cities lose population now but it is part of cycle of growing and shrinking. “measure of a community’s quality or success is not the population figure. The measure is what is life like for whatever number of people choose to live there.” Smaller can mean better most surveys put Chicago and New York not on the top list. In fact smaller cities may gain flexibility to become more innovative to become a better city.

  11. Post-Industrial cities are often a result of de-industrialization and it’s prevalent amongst our society and worldwide. In the U.S. these cities were once an agglomeration of many striving industries that later faltered due to a change of interest and a economical decline. These cities all faced different cycles of prosperity and depression, some either recovered and others were left to decay. Currently, our society are going through a big shift of interest and certain industries that were striving in the past are not as successful anymore. In order for these “shrinking cities” to strive again, many steps need to take place. In John Gallagher’s “Shrinking Cities,” from Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City, he touches basis on this by using Youngstown, Ohio (2010) as an example. He mentioned that their town first started by having a proactive individual, Jay Williams (former mayor), preach about the benefits of actual having such a smaller population in their town, in areas such as management, politics and order. He also went into further detail of their action plan that paved the way for a successful future.

  12. The article, “Shrinking Cities” starts off discussing some cities and the reasons as to why they ended up the way they did. Some of these causes are event such as the pop of the tech bubble, the recession, and the closing of factories which creates a lack of jobs. The author then goes on to discuss how complex of a problem this is. They say that because our country has a much shorter history than European countries, we see a drop in population in a much more drastic way. The main focus of this piece seems to be what we can do about this whole problem. The author discusses “why smaller can mean better.” Smaller cities enjoy things such as being more affordable, having shorter commutes, and less pollution. Small shrinking cities create awesome opportunities for improvement. Many people in Detroit are doing things to make the city a nicer and more earth friendly place. People are doing things such as building greenways or growing food. These shrinking cities provide an opportunity to redefine cities and change the way cities work for the current and future culture and people. The author then discusses two examples of shrinking cities that have recovered. The first is Turin Italy which suffered from a collapse in the auto industry. They had to get creative, and they took their past in the film industry and turned it into their future. The city created an extremely successful museum as well as film and other festivals to attract people. The other city is Youngstown where the shrinkage began when the steel mills began closing. There, they took steps like making plans to make the city smaller and designating parts of the city for recreation or agriculture. To do this, the plans were to leave it up to people to voluntarily (or sometimes with incentives if necessary) move, and not move if they don’t like.

    The second article is “Gold Doesn’t Rust: Regions of the North American Mind.” The author begins by discussing Michael Moore’s documentary about the town of Flint which ended up the way it did when car companies began closing. This article is about how the Great Lakes basin went from a prospering place into a “rust belt” and what happened in Canada as well as how the term came to be. The article discusses how the Midwest came to be where and what it was. It became a great industrial area. Sadly, the great industrial area was hit hard when plants and factories were shut down. I think it is interesting how the author discusses that the term rust belt came as a play on words off of the dust bowl and the sunbelt, it seems a fitting term. The author continues and discusses the fate that Detroit faced when the vehicle companies left. It is an extremely sad description, the empty streets full of empty houses. Also the machinery left in the abandoned factories were turning to rust, and we realize how accurate the term rust belt is. The author continues with a discussion of “Canada’s golden horseshoe.” This term comes from the fact that the area is in the shape of a horseshoe and that the area had rapidly growing industry. Much like the US, Ontario and other parts of Canada also lost a lot of industry through the closing of factories. Even though Canada had some of the same issues as the US, the stigma of the term rust belt, did not follow into Canada. It is really interesting how Canadian cities managed to go through such similar events as the US but they seem to have a different, more positive, outlook towards their cities.

  13. By measuring cities only on populational growth or decline, we are narrowing our view of a city–many things are important to consider in a city’s health. These articles outlined that bigger is not necessarily better, and that shrinking cities are growing richer in other senses besides economic. Many are developing a better sense of community or are simply less stressful than the bigger, bustling cities. Sure, there could be things a shrinking cit or gateway city once had that it now lacks, but that does not mean it should be counted out–it is full of a new kind of potential. European cities can be described as “breathing”, fluxing between periods of “growth” and “decline” but our country’s history is just shorter and the data, so far, quite linear.

  14. Matt Becker

    I was surprised to find that the idea that Post Industrial cities recovering was a new idea for me. I think, like most people mentioned in the article, I had assumed that a city just continues to get worse until it eventually dies. My parents are actually both from the Detroit area, and whenever we visit Michigan, I hear comments about how different the city is now from when they were young. I’ve always wondered why no one had taken any of the empty buildings and houses and used them for another purpose. I do think that a lot of people are hoping the auto industry to someday come flooding back into Detroit, and are hoping that will revitalize the economy there, I just don’t think it’ll happen.

    The concept of completely turning a city around is a smart one. I grew up near Hartford, Connecticut, and I always thought it was interesting how inactive the city was compared to other areas, and how hostile the city was to new businesses popping up. I’ve even heard anecdotes from past teachers on how the art community in the Hartford area has died, and if you ever want a career in the field you should move somewhere else.

    I think that the way forward for most of these cities is going to involve them doing unpleasant things (like knocking down neighborhoods that are mostly empty already) and trying to reinterpret what to do with their city. I think that a lot of people (including myself, sometimes) view public projects like parks, community centers, festivals, and gardens as superfluous to a city, and something that is a byproduct of a strong center of business. I wonder if this is an underestimation of how important those types of activities are to a city and how much benefit they would bring.

  15. The followings are students’ comments on these readings:

    1. Tim Edensor. “Materiality in the Runis: Waste, Excess and Sensuality” in Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics, and Materiality.

    2. Brian Dillon, ed., “Selection of short essays” in Ruins (Documents of Contemporary Art published by MIT Press).

    Emily Reinauer

    In his introduction to the edited volume, _Ruins_ Dillion pointed out that many contemporary artists look to the decay and devastation of our time for inspiration and subject matter. This is true for me; after spending a few years in this area, exploring, and learning about the history of the region, I decided to make it the focus of my degree project (South Coast Op-Ed: From a Sailors’ Town to a Smokestack City).

    Another point that was made that I found interesting was the question of what constitutes a ruin. Unlike the ruins of Greece and Rome, most of our decayed buildings were ‘achieved’ (demolished, bombed) instead of naturally worn, which will likely be the reality for most modern buildings. I also found the term ‘ruin value’ really intriguing because it described the feeling I had about some modern architecture, which is that many architects are not planning for the buildings ‘picturesque decay.’ It seems silly to plan for what the building will look like when its time is over and it is decaying, but more forethought may lead to more ruins and less rubble.

    Huyssen’s essay brought up the question of authenticity versus auraticity in ruins, and how it adds to the nostalgic factor of such structures. He points out that while the romance (aura) of ruins seem to promise authenticity, the fact that it exists in both past and present and that one can never be sure of a ruin’s past, a ruin cannot truly claim authenticity. I find this uncertainty, the inability to truly know its origins, the most fascinating part of ruins.

    What I took most from Simmel’s short essay is the ‘limitedness’ of ruins, the fact that a ruin will only exist until the equilibrium of nature and structure is in its favor.

    Ballard, another contributor to this edited volume, did not talk much about ruins but focused more on modern architecture versus the more ornamental movements. He used words such as defensive and guilty to describe decorative architecture, which are adjectives I have never heard used. What I took from it in terms of ruins is, the ‘confusion’ and ‘illusions’ of ornamental architecture add to their romance, and the melancholy of modern architecture will make for lifeless ruins.

    Lastly, Virilio (another contributor to this collection of essays) described how a ruin that is surrounded by starkly different surroundings, such as a brutalist structure surrounding by contemporary architecture, offers an ‘immediate comparison’ between the past and present. It not only emphasizes the purpose or time period of the ruin, but also contemporary ideologies. I think viewing a ruin that is out of place would make it a better total experience.

  16. Emily: Good comments on all of the assigned short essays from Brian Dillon’s edited volume (Ruins). As Dillon aptly mentions in his intro to the volume, the fascination with the ruins goes back to the 18th century (and even before), when artists of all media romanticized the ruins and found a picturesque quality in them. But the essays that you read are about more recent approaches to the ruins. Most of these authors refer to modern ruins. While some philosophize them (e.g., Simmel, Virilio, others explore the ways in which artists in the 1960s and 1970s dealt with vacant buildings, empty sites, forgotten industrial zones, etc (e.g., Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and Gordon Matta-Clark’s “building cuts” I think these essays are really helpful. When working with/in dilapidated buildings, industrial zones, damaged “found” objects, and ruins, artists and designers need to contemplate them in different and unique ways. These essays provide food for thought….

  17. Allison Romero

    When I read the articles from Dillon’s book, what stood out to me the most was the discussion of plain, modern architectural ruins vs. older, ornamental ruins., In Ballard’s essay, one particular sentence really made me stop and think, as someone who enjoys many styles of architecture. Ballard stated, “Architecture supplies us with camouflage, and I regret that no one could fall in love inside the Heathrow Hilton. By contrast, people are forever falling in love inside the Louvre and the National Gallery.” It made me wonder whether this was true because of the style or because of nostalgia. Oddly enough, a movie that I love and just watched again is “Midnight in Paris.” The story is about a writer living in the 2000’s who travels back in time to the 1920‘s, a time he sees as ‘The Golden Era.’ While traveling back in time, he meets a woman who believes the 1890‘s are ‘The Golden Era,’ contrary to what he believed was the greatest decade. The protagonist realizes by the end of the movie that people from all time periods romanticize and admire earlier years. Now applying this to Ballard, I question if we find buildings such as the Louvre more romantic and beautiful because of the style or because they have more history. The Louvre and National Gallery are old but have been properly taken care of while they have aged. If this was not the case, it is possible they may not be as beloved as they are. Perhaps if the Heathrow Hilton is maintained consistently, in 150 years, visitors will “fall in love there” as well. Nostalgia for old times, even times we have not even experienced, might be just a human nature. Therefore, our seemingly bland contemporary architecture might be appreciated in the future if we take care of it. I can’t say for sure if this is true or not but it was a thought that occurred to me as I read Ballard’s piece.

  18. Reading “Materiality in the Runis: Waste, Excess and Sensuality”

    My initial thoughts on this article pertain to the fascination that we have with the decaying, obsolete things of the past; Left to transcend their original purposes these objects become tools of the now. Coal smokestacks dot the skyline, is it something beautiful or is it a sign of destruction? is it a weapon in the arsenal of an activist reminding of the destructive tendencies of man, or the muse of an artist creating a masterpiece. Is it the comparison of the past and present, how we have evolved. I drive home each day through Fallriver, coming over the Braga Bridge i see the smokestacks and cooling towers of the powerplant ( . At twilight, when the sun is just hinted over the horizon the towers fill with the colors of the sky, a standing testament to the advancement of the human race. Other days the sky is flooded with plumes of steam and smoke, reminding me of the caustic outcome of so many industries.

    Though I did find this article interesting, I also found it to be a bit repetitive. Edensor did make his point, but i found he did so over and over again.

  19. Robert: What I got out of this article is that ruined (industrial) objects do not fit into conventional symbolic or practical orders. They have escaped the functions that were assigned to them previously. Instead of looking at them as waste, the author encourages us to relate to them in imaginative and sensual ways: “We may incorporate them into speculative narratives which free them from epistemological moornigs.” I like it that you brought up the notion of temporarily (i.e., the way we appreciate industrial objects and settings only at specific times.

  20. Julianna Thibeault : Maternity in the ruins waste excess and sensuality:
    Ruins are an important part of culture and landscape because it makes us remember what we had in the past. I find ruins to be unique and hold an important story of what once was the past. I do not find them to be a waste or trash, because I enjoy old things. Some people may find them to be in the way of new opportunities. Although having something new and exciting may be good, but having something old to remind you of how people lived in the past helps you appreciate the now. Factories and businesses these days will never really become old ruins (like the old stone ones in old cities) because of how much they are used today. Old ruins in Rome were abandoned because of war, population moving elsewhere or famine. In a country that is rapidly evolving and growing, it will be hard for old cities to become ruins because people are all living everywhere. Living in a town where there’s industry and businesses everywhere, things like ruins can be forgotten and brushed aside. It’s only the important ones that are kept up to stay upright and clean because of events that have happened in the past.
    Old abandoned buildings that once were factories that held materials and parts are now ruins. Even though important historical events haven’t happened in them, they still are old, forgotten and falling apart. At this point, they could be considered a waste of space with their pieces of rusty parts and trash laying around. Old buildings can be cleaned out, cleaned up and converted into a living space for people, or it can be part of a community center that can benefit the city it’s in. Old factories don’t have to be old and decrepit. If a little work is put in, the old ruins can become a part of peoples lives again. Old cars can be refurbished and cleaned up and painted to be part of someones collection. Even though this world is rapidly evolving, we don’t have to cast aside what is old, falling apart, dirty and cracked.

  21. Ryan Gallagher

    Materiality in the Ruin: Waste, Excess and sensuality

    The chapter covers a lot of ground talking about materiality but not in the conventional way in which we look at objects on a daily basis. Objects in ruin is the main focus and the origin and purpose of these objects within our reality. It was interesting when reading about the circular life span of objects within life not only making you more aware of the life of an object but taking it and putting it under the spot light. Typically I do not open my cabinet or look on my shelves and wonder how the objects that are there made it there or the function before or after their use. It was interesting thinking about the order of objects in our daily life and how much effort was exerted to creating this order and its maintenance. The chapter talks about the value of objects and its fluctuation from their creation until they are categorized as trash or rubbish were the object is discarded. This process of birth to decay much like our life cycle has its roots beginning with how we conceive of our own existence which is parallel to some forms of objects. The idea of a transient object much like the human body. This cycle is an illusion based on the multiple purposes of materials that can be reused and restored to its original purpose much like a plastic cup or a tin can or be recycled for an entirely new purpose such as a piece of furniture made of composite materials. There is definitely two distinct ways of thinking about objects that has been ingrained in advertisements and the massive production of objects having a beginning and end. The other being a continual cycle much like a circle with a continuous use and repurpose for materials after the intended use. This is where we are heading as a society based on the massive mount of resources that are being used yearly and the increase in the population. As more problems arise thinking has to change and this is the beginning of a mental shift to a differnt train of thought about production and the use of resources.

  22. Matt Becker
    Comments on Tim Edensor’s “Materiality in the Runis: Waste, Excess and Sensuality”:

    Before delving into the text of the article, I would like to comment on the author, who seems to have been a frustrated poet. There were interesting points in the article, but what I left with was an impression that the author had a thesaurus on hand when writing. I’m a little worried I might have missed points in the elaborate constructions of this authors words. In every discipline besides Art History I have found that clarity is the most important factor in a piece of writing not who can use the most big words in a sentence.


In terms of what the article says, I did think that there were a few interesting points. The idea of trash as a cycle was interesting. You can see ideas of this turning up in television where we now have shows about everything from hoarders to people who bid on abandoned storage units. Antiques Roadshow is a very well known program that consists of evaluating junk to find the rarest piece.

    There are whole mainstream decorating styles devoted to antiquing (and making things look like antiques) and many people are not afraid to say that they go to flea markets. This concept of rooting through trash seems to have limitations though. People that go thrift shopping for clothes have an approved list of things to shop for (presumably because things like underwear won’t resell), but it is still interesting to see the rules we’ve applied to bargain hunting through other peoples junk. 

    I think some of the prestige of junk comes from the implication that said junk has been in your family for years. This is less true in our mobile society, but the concept seems to have stuck around. 

In terms of the beauty of the decrepit, there is a certain fascination with crumbling buildings and collapsing houses. When buildings are fresh they have an aura of presentation. It is similar to how people will present themselves differently on days when they are well rested and put together, and days when they are sick or not functioning at their peak. Buildings that have gone into disrepair are interesting because they have features that aren’t practical or don’t make sense. They’ve grown a character that, good or bad, is unique. 

    Last year, in the town next to my hometown, there was a large fire at a mill that had been abandoned for years (no one had the money to tear it down). The fire collapsed the building and exposed the metal structures underneath, only now the metal was warped and twisted. It’s now an even more obvious pile of junk, but it sure is an interesting pile of junk.


The concept of beauty partly depends on rarity, and I believe that this is why the decrepit can be so valued. Natural decay presents situations that can’t be replicated by designers, and is thus valued. Because much junk is left in disrepair, the pieces that remain whole are rare and develop an aura of beauty.

  23. Talitha Andrews
    ‘Materiality in the Ruins: Waste, Excess and Sensuality”

    Tim Edensor made some points that the Ruins are apart of our social order and that they should be either reused or remind us of our history. Edensor says that we call all objects that are apart of the ruin is waste, but why? People look at a ruin and say everything is trash, the whole building and the contents in it, Edensor states that we claim it as trash because ” there is no higher or lower value to it.” Others think that we should get rid of everything all together. The objects that we call waste are actually a rekindle to our past and histories. The objects that are in the buildings, we could restore or use for a different purpose, based on of their value and structure. Edensor that commodities are being forgotten, decaying and are disappearing because they are not relevant to our lives today. This I do agree and disagree with. A lot of commodities that are in Ruins we do not use today because they are either broken or the parts to fix them are discontinued. So we have no choice to say that they will decay or finally disappear. This I agree with, but now a days the society today uses more and more objects from the past than the new technology. Vehicles are one of the most common example, there have been cars, early as the 20’s, that are still being used today. Also connecting to the new 2013 “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, these stores and antique shops carry many objects that have come from these ruins, and people pay a lot of money for some of these antiques or commodities that have come from the very ruins that we would also call “waste”. Being a Sculpture major, I have explored Ruins, from factories to old abandon houses, and the amount of what we would call “Waste,” that is in these buildings is like a gold-mine for me. With permission from original owner or property owner, I have taken some of these objects and either restores it to its original commodity or modified it so I can create a fascinating work of art. The real adventure is to actually do research about this so called “waste,” for example, what was it’s purpose? Where did it come from? How did it work? What era is it from? Will it work today? So I do agree with Edensor that slowly but surly these object will become nothing buy trash but on the other hand if people do their research and fix these objects, they can reconnect with their history and maybe learn a little more about their past.

  24. Most of these essays are a bit more philosophical than I am used to. I found myself a bit out of practice with readings of this type which made it difficult to read and respond.

    Arriola – A Victim and a Viewer: Some Thoughts on Anticipated Ruins

    This essay starts off talking about Prypiat, a town that housed workers from the Chernobyl power plant. This town was deserted when the plant failed, and all of the people were forced to evacuate and never return. The town now stands as ruins representing that time in history. This essay explores why we see these ruins as such. While the town of Prypiat is left in waste, we see it as ruins or monuments from the soviet regime. Something I find interesting is the idea of “ruin value” from Albert Speer when he was redesigning the Zepellin Field in Nuremberg. This idea takes into account that eventually a building may stand as ruins from the very beginning and using that fact in the design process. Another interesting thing I found in this essay is an unfinished building in Mexico City. It was damaged by an earthquake and remained unfinished. While it stood abandoned and unfinished, it was monumentalized by lighting the structure up. This structure, and others like it, is also a place where homeless people and vendors often inhabit.

    Herbert – The Dead Town

    This essay is about the author’s trip to a city called Norilsk in Northern Siberia. From 1932-1953 the area was known as Norillag and was a Soviet gulag camp. The area is in the extremely inhospitable area above the Arctic Circle. The place is described as grim, but is still used as a nickel mine and has refineries. I can only imagine such a frozen desolate place, a picture can be found here: . Outside of the city is what locals call “the dead town.” The dead town is a group of apartment buildings which the author is unsure of who, if anyone, would have lived there. There are just a bunch of huge concrete buildings with empty spaces where doors or windows should be. The entire area is extremely polluted due to the mining that is done in the city.

  25. Materiality in Ruins: Waste, Excess and Sensuality

    Although I did find this article to be interesting, I did find it hard to read because it was repetitive and hard to understand. I did think Edensor did bring up some interesting points. One in particular topic brought up was factories, or industrial, buildings that lay abandoned leaving a memory of what used to be there. Not only does this leave a memory but it also lead to wonder of what would eventually replace the building. However there is value to what is abandoned, due to the “prowess and tradition embodied in these objects” (Edensore, pg 104).
    This article made me also considered what we consider what is and not necessary. A great example of this is a factory in Winchester. This factory was dumping their chemicals in the back of the building. This was lead to unnoticed civilians for years. the townspeople though were suffering from cancers that were at a very high level for a town. After so many years, the factory was caught dumping the chemicals, and it was discovered that the chemicals were sinking into the ground and into the water system. The factory shut down and was left abandoned. To this day the land is fenced up and left abandoned. A though the land looks depressing, this memory of what happened on this land leaves a memory to the citizens there. Edensor quotes Buck-Morss: “‘the debris of industrial culture teaches us not the necessity of submitting to historical catastrophe, but the fragility of the social order that tells us thee catastrophe was necessary'” (Edensor pg 104, Morss 170). In a way the discovery of what the factory doing was a life savor to the citizens of the Winchester. This peace of wasteland is a reminder to the town that the factory was the cause to all the sickness and eventually the land will be safe to put something new there.

  26. Maura Silva

    Brian Dillon, ed., “Selection of short essays” in Ruins (Documents of Contemporary Art published by MIT Press).
    Andreas Huyssen’s article Nostalgia for Ruins focuses on ruin experiences and debates whether “authentic” ruins even still exist. If you think about it, when does a ruin become a historical site? When it becomes so developed for an exhibit, is it no longer “ruined,” but instead transformed into a designed item? In my opinion, only the ruins that have regular contact with people are preserved and if you prevent access to these areas they will be history and not persevered, instead they will be considered, “ruined.” Huyssen makes a valid point about how romantic ruins seem to guarantee origins because they promise authority and authentic immediacy. Also she makes a point when she states, “It articulates the nightmare of the Enlightenment that all history might ultimately be overwhelmed by nature…” From this quote, I took it as if we do not do something with these ruins, nature like animals and trees will inhabit them and they will no longer be considered preserved but instead a dead zone.
    Martin Herbert’s article The Dead Town focuses on a place that once was filled with life and employment that someone turned into a ruined location of nothing. Like he states, “Norilsk feels like a kind of ruin preserved in a deep freeze.” The place is abandoned and gloomy filled with carcasses and broken down buildings. The locals call it the dead town. People still visit here because of general human curiosity.
    In both these articles, I think that the general question appears again. Are these places that have been abandoned considered a ruin? There are still a small group usually hanging around, employment of small businesses that are still standing, and frequent visitors who want to get information about this once called dead town. These issues we have in the ruins need to be fixed, these cities need to be rebuilt, and people need to move back in. Art and design needs to be established. Because even if the place is not high populated, it still exists, it isn’t vanished.

  27. In the Arriola essay. I found it interesting how it describes a disconnect between the Architects/ planners and the people who live in and around these structures. What was planned for isn’t necessarily how it may eventually be used. There also seems to be a way in which a building transition from one use to the next decides it’s fate.

  28. Materiality in the Ruin: Waste, Excess and sensuality

    What I took away from this chapter were points that were easily relatable.

    Ruins help us to understand what our predecessors lived like before us and help us to remember the fact that nothing in this world is permanent. It does not matter what the structure or building is made of, it will eventually become a mere ruin over the forces of time. Ruins are a vital part of society due to the fact that they prove similar to our own lives as human beings. They once held life, once held a society or city all their own and with age, grew more fragile until there was no other choice but to be left abandoned to disintegrate back into the Earth. Ruins mirror the lives of every being on earth that has a life cycle. They remind us that we are not immortal; that every thing that was created must come to an end. Ruins also give hope for a brighter future and prove that yes, while things that were once alive and bustling die, something new and even more economical can arise from their dust.

    While it is often conceived that ruins are “waste” or “trash” or “unsightly”, they are a keepsake from a specific moment in time. Within the desolate walls of a crumbled ruin, there lies a history of what once was. It is almost sad to know that at one moment in time, ruins held a meaning to a group of people, whether it was a small town, city, village or even a tribe. Learning as much about what the ruins were used for can help understand the culture of the area and appreciate what once was and perhaps even give the opportunity to start again by rebuilding or renovating the ruins.

    I do want to apologize for my lack of wording and intricate detail with my response. I am a little rusty with writing responses to long chapters and hopefully I can get better as the semester moves forward.

  29. Benjamin Duhamel

    After reading Materiality in the Ruin, Waste, Excess, and Sensuality, I suddenly became more aware of many things that i would never think of. The one thing that stood out most in my mind was the matter of waste. This may or may not be due to my civil engineering/ waste water background but it did indeed catch my attention immensely. Many of us do not even think once about the production of waste, where it goes, who takes care of it, things of that nature. We just go about our daily lives and if something breaks or goes wrong we do not look into what happened, we casually call the local plumber and tell him what is working and what is not working. The article/ excerpt brought up a good point as to why we never see, hear, or think about waste, sewage, or rubbish. this is simply because with our modern cities and industry operating systems are all conveyed underground. This raises a new concern that i have experienced first hand. since all of these systems are all underground, they are invisible to the human eye unless dug up responsibly. I raise this issue because i was working for a surveying firm this summer and at one of our jobs we had to install eight four foot granite monuments that were to be dug into the ground and placed flush with the existing grade. SO, we followed protocol and called up Dig Safe so they can check out the eight dig locations and make sure their are no gas, water or any type of lines. In conclusion, they emailed us back saying all locations are good to dig, come to find out they only looked at 7 of the eight locations and we hit a water line on the one location they missed. I mention this because it could easily happen at a larger scale, EX: digging in Boston and hitting an active sewage line with the excavator bucket, that could be a huge source of pollution, never mind the cost of clean up.

  30. Materiality in Ruins
    Reading this article really made me think about how old abandoned places are treated now a days as compared to how some abandoned ruins are treated from hundreds of years ago. Some old ruins are adored as beautiful land marks while most factories are just looked at as ugly abandoned buildings. All that it would take to make some of these abandoned factories useful places is a little cleaning up and restoration just like old abandoned ruins from hundreds of years ago that are glorified today.

  31. Dillon’s short essays-

    The introduction immediately grasped my interest by the use of passionate analogous and descriptive text. “The ruined building is a remnant of, and portal into, the past; its decay is a concrete reminder of the passage of time”. This paragraph opened my mind to the history and art behind architecture as I think of some very known buildings still here today.

    Herbert’s short story was intriguing since the descriptive language created such imagery in my head. Sneaking into Norilsk, viewing what is left and what previously has been there, then describing the design of the town left me wanting to learn more about places like this. I found this interesting article, explaining much of Herbert’s story regarding weather, society’s perceptions/lifestyles, and agreeing that it is one of the most polluted cities in the world,

  32. Ruins: A Short History of Decay
    Ruins: The Dead Town

    While reading these passages I was struck by the notion: As a culture we think ruins are beautiful. I have never given second thought to my appreciation of ruins but I see now their beauty is from their mystery. But this is really only when speaking of ancient ruins like those of Greece and Rome. The Colosseum is so beautiful even though it is decrepit. I think this comes from the imagination. We dream of what it once looked like, of how it once functioned and flourished. It seems quite baffling to me that we appreciate ruins instead of fearing them. In a sense they are reminders of death, Rome fell after all. Ruins may be the one reminder of our own ephemerality that we actually enjoy. That being said there are ruins that we do fear, for instance a haunted house or hospital. But these are recent ruins. Ruins that less than a century ago functioned. They are the less fortunate buildings that did not persevere like the others around them. In New England there are many many old buildings that are still in use and there are some that have became ruins and we do not look at them the same way we look at the Pantheon or the Colosseum.

    I find the semantics of ruins to be very interesting. Calling a place a ruin conveys a much different mental image than just calling it abandoned. There is an abandoned warehouse down the street but there are no ruins there. I think this is due to the dichotomy in new ruins and old ruins. A modern or a relatively new building as compared to the ancient ones we would call abandoned instead of calling it a ruin, even though it may be in ruin. A building must age to be a ruin, like a wine must age. There is something in the ageing that speaks to us. What can we learn from the wise old ruins?

  33. Materiality in the Ruin: Waste, Excess and sensuality :
    I had hard time reading this and I still don’t know what he is trying to say. I know it is written in English but feel like I read in language I don’t know of. I think author is trying to say objects that are old or we don’t use anymore now days we call it trash. But thing we call trash is our past and people are eager to change everything new which is not good always, because trash was once we used before we had new thing. In conclusion I think he wants us to look back and start taking care of old artifacts and things we don’t use as much.

  34. In the introduction to Brian Dillon’s essays on “A Short History of Decay”, the author writes:

    “This sense of having lived on too late, of having survived the collapse of past dreams of the future, is key to the ruinous optic that still animates certain artists today.”

    Speaking about ruins, the nostalgia, meloncholy, reflections on change, desolation, and feelings associated with one’s inner thoughts about past, present, future, and TIME are very powerful, human emotions. It is something that humans everywhere, in all era, contemplate. Of course this would be a powerful draw to artists, who are investigating the human experience. It allows one to explore alternate realities, dream, destroy, and invent, with this lens of “ruin lust.”

  35. – Brian Dillon “Selection of short essays” in Ruins (Documents of Contemporary Art)
    – What are Industrial Ruins and Corporate Wastelands?

    “The idea of an architectural monument as an embodiment and abstract representation of the human body, its reliance on the anthropomorphic analogy for proportional and figurative authority, was, we are lead to believe, abandoned with the collapse of the classical tradition and the birth of a technologically dependent architecture” (page 55).

    I skimmed through the short essays in Dillon’s “Ruins,” and this one sentenced definitely stuck out to me. Anthony Vidler, renown architect and professor from The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture stated this back in 1992 in his book, “The Architectural Uncanny.” I definitely agree with what Vidler is stating, in today’s architecture, most if not all do not have any human characteristics behind it, per say. Architecture is still abstract and that is an aspect that will not be abandoned, technology has played a big role. Some architectural advancement are amazing and unbelievable, this can only be credited to our great technology we have in today’s society.

  36. Ashley Correia
    “‘Materiality in the Ruins: Waste, Excess and Sensuality”

    I found it interesting that the trash we label things as are really objects that were once useful. We use them until they are no longer needed and than we discard them.

    The article talks about a building in ruin and the items found there. Once, they help a purpose and even as common of objects as they are once surrounded by ruin they seem so different. They are objects of the past.

  37. The followings are students’ responses to these readings:

    1. Jennifer Cowie and Joseph Heathcott, eds., “Introduction” in Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization.

    2. Steven High and David Lewis. “The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization” in Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization

    The High and Lewis reading addressed one of the most important questions of post-industrial cities, which is: how should they be remembered? They set the context by describing what it is about such areas and structures that make residents uneasy and hopeless. They examine post-industrialism as both a cultural and economic problem, effecting both the city’s finances as well as morale.

    This explanation helped be realize why it may be so hard for residents and officials to rethink or rebuild their city. The realization that they are unable to overcome the destructive forces’ at hand leaves them traumatized and filled with doubt. Like the Saskatchewan example, residents feel their importance and role in the region/country is over. Their American dream (which is pointed out, is based mainly on natural resources, an unstable market) has been shattered and they are left not knowing how to identify themselves, now that their old way has failed them.

    On a side note, I think a good point is made concerning the instability of working with primary resources; when towns are built around a single industry, e.g. logging and textiles, a blow to the resource can destroy the entire community. I think embracing diversification is an opportunity that shrinking cities should seize, if only to avoid the same fate in the future.

    I feel one of the best approaches that was mentioned in this article is that of ‘museumification. Not only would this prevent destruction of a historic site, but also it would be more likely to instill pride in a city’s based rather than shame; ignoring the ruins would be the worst option. Leaving the ruins would also run the possibility of making it a negative ‘memory place.’ This is why reinventing the site would be the best option; it would be positive for the community and help them gain a new identity. Investing in the past lets the community know their past role was and still is important.

  38. Ryan Gallagher

    Corporate Wasteland the Landscape and memory of deindustrialization
    Author Steven High and David Lewis

    This chapter was interesting to me based on the attention given to the idea that all of this production happened within a specific temporal existence at the time this existence to the men and women who contributed it seemed as if it was a stable working environment built on technological advancements, but as time dwindles the need for production slows than then becomes non-existent. Places like the steal making region of Ohio the steel industry made a comparison stating, “ The great mills fell like broken promises” leaving the cities that were once thriving to a deindustrialized ruin. Now some of these cities have been left to rot and some have been turned into mini malls with stores like bed bath and beyond, McDonald’s and so on.

    The reading highlights the temporal aspects of industry and that this deindustrialized landscape isn’t the end of industry but just as a “temporary and impermanent developments in space and time”, that there will be a recycling of this industry when the time comes to reinvent these abandon cities.

    During the reading I noticed that there was a correlation being talked about with economic growth and the industrialization that was taking place. Once the need for the product of production is no longer necessity than the plants begin to shut down and the economy suffers. Once the economy takes a downward shift people can no longer live there and are forced out of their homes and to make a shift. Whether that production had been moved or stops the problem lies within an inability to adapt “is meant a widespread, systematic disinvestment in the nation’s basic productive capacity”.

    Capitol controls production.

  39. Allison Romero

    The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization

    When I read this article, I immediately thought about my hometown, Nashua, NH. Nashua is another example of a city that was once an industrial powerhouse. Today it has not fallen apart like many of the other cities we have read about. However, Nashua does have remains of old mills along the Nashua and Merrimack River. Like David Miller, I find many of these historical sites beautiful and fascinating. Many of the old mill buildings are now offices and business centers. They are made out of brick with tall windows, high ceilings, and hardwood floors. These are sturdy materials that are not commonly used in contemporary buildings. More importantly though, these are characteristics from an older time period that most apartment buildings lack now; this is exactly what makes them so romantic. The Clocktower Plaza, as it is aptly named for the adjacent clock tower, is part of the mill area. It was renovated successfully and in a way that I think is more attractive than many newer buildings. Unfortunately not all of the buildings in the mill area have been renovated and kept up; this is especially a shame once you look at the other beautiful facilities. I applaud Miller for photographing these historical areas. It draws attention to where help is needed and to where renovation has turned out well. The beautifully maintained buildings are a testament to what others can be.

  40. Corporate Wasteland

    While reading the excerpt from Corporate Wasteland the prominent thought in my head was “Wow, I hope we have learned from the past”. Granted these closings happened in Canada but I can only imagine they could have been even worse in the states a nation that prides itself on its capitalist economy. The idea that good workers, even the ones who had been there for decades could be left with no severance or safety net when their plants closed is appalling. I can only dream, nightmarishly, how that affects a small community. When 600 workers can no longer afford food for their families. When friends family and strangers are all competing for a limited number of jobs in that area. How is one supposed to find a job? As if job hunting wasn’t already an obstacle the addition of fierce competition dampers even the most voracious spirit. It really is tragic. What happens next is the flight; the egressing of the population- that is the ones who can afford to leave- and we have seen what happens to a city or even a town when it shrinks. Revenues from taxes plummet leaving no way to pay for services, granted some money is saved from not having to produce as much but nevertheless that reduction in revenue severely affects the efficiency and utility of an area. With less police more crime can happen; with less people there are more places for crime to occur. Schools can no longer run because the cost of running them is more than the revenue funding them. It is easier to accomplish more with more people as counterintuitive as that sounds. It is due to the effect of increasing marginal returns, this happens when there is a large start up cost like a building with fewer revenues funding that project the burden is heavier when there are more revenue sources the cost burden is easier for each consumer. It is essentially why buying in bulk is cheaper. When an area loses all of its revenue sources (Taxpayers) it no longer becomes feasible to operate in the manner it previously has. This is why unemployment insurance is called insurance it helps create a buffer not only for individuals but also for communities. I really do hope that companies are not allowed to just pick up and leave one day and allows the pieces to fall as they may. It is grossly unethical to use an entire community like that.

    These costs (unemployment insurance, the devastation to communities etc.) are called externalities, it means they are not factored into the price of a good. If these costs could be calculated and added to the price of a good, these companies would never leave, but on the other hand many wouldn’t start to begin with. The cost of the detrimental externalities (pollution) is a cost we pay for in many other ways.

  41. Julianna

    The Armstrong Cork Factory in Pennsylvania was once famous and employed thousands of people. Its now closed and falling apart but the structure still stands tall among the surroundings. The landscape with the old building now doesn’t seem to be a ‘visual order’ because the business was left to wither. Yes, it was once a power house to many people, but since it no longer runs as a business, its just a part of the dusty flat landscape.
    Deindustrialization is the breaking down of what the landscape holds: opportunity and growth. Charles Sheeler saw landscapes that were busy with life and businesses and thought of it as the American Landscape. Criss cross conveyers and smoke stacks of Sheeler’s image is now rubble and dirt. Mills and factories that make products that are now made by machine are closing down rapidly and this is losing jobs across the country. Effecting everyone that has a job as a factory or mill worker. Small industrial towns are more at risk in canada for closing, but still hold on because farming and textiles is what fuel the population. Moving of a factory to a smaller low-wage location is also a reason for closing of a business because of the decrease of workers and profit from the lack of population. The closing of factories is not limited to the rust belt, but scattered everywhere on the continent.
    There are many cultural symbols from factories that build cars and textiles that have closed. Even though they no longer manufacture cars, it still serves as a museum to show the public and travelers the heritage and importance of what the factory has done for the town. I find this to be a great thing because it brings a piece of history back into the town that lost something that was a great power and opportunity to the people. It’s a shame that so many old factories are abandoned because some are so big that there is not much that can be done to preserve or recycle the buildings. Possibly bomb shelters and food stock reserves, but nothing for a daily basis.

  42. Materiality in the Ruin: Waste, Excess and Sensuality
    As the chapter gets into the material world and all of the vast meanings of objects, it took me back to my philosophy classes which I thoroughly enjoyed. The links between our physical, spiritual and mindful world is astonishing, and obviously all interconnected. Along the use of metaphors, my interpretation states that if society’s behaviors and social structure coincide with ruins (our physical world), as our material world depletes, our community and lifestyles will negatively change as well. “Objects have biographies by virtue of their emergence out of cultures expressive of particular aesthetics, functions and desires…”
    Regarding the talk about the waste- It was a difficult read for me but it did make me realize all of the past projects I have completed on ‘trash’. Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle is a sustainable aspect that all created items should be a part of. If we perceived trash in a different way, the Pacific trash vortex, the Fall River dump, and other pollutants around the world would be lessoned. How were mass producers supposed to predict all of the negative aspects of wastes? Maybe they knew of the negative outcomes, but run on greed and power… or maybe we are all just finding out about this unsustainable world we live in and individually and collectively should take part to override it.
    Another one of my interpretations to the last of the chapter is that our eyes do connect to the way we feel about our external world, affecting our moods and ultimately actions.

  43. Steve High and David Lewis “The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization”

    Reading this chapter than reading the blogs of my classmates I have come to a conclusion that the countries of Canada and North America, they are not willing to repair or replace their old mills and factories. Why have they closed down the factories and mills down in the first place? It is all about the dollar signs. Plants have “inevitably” have been closing for the reason of relocation or factory obsolescence. High and Lewis have made it their point that the main reason for these reasons of the closure is that the owners of these factories have found another area to move their factories for lower wages or that they don’t want to pay there employees at all. So, money has been the big object to close down all these mils and factories.

    As the factory owners think about saving a buck, they have ruined hundreds and hundreds of their former employee lives. People were purposely moved to another living area to work for that company and try to make a living, from what little they were getting. Now the someone has a change of heart they have destroyed many of peoples lives. So if owners are closing their factories and mills because of a financial stand point, do you really think that the standing ruins will be replaced or repaired?

  44. The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization

    This excerpt begins by talking about the Armstrong Cork Factory in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. The building is described as a monumental structure which is famous for the huge amount of graffiti that covers the entire inside. The author then discusses how factories like this one were intended to run like a machine, but many of such places have been “reduced to ruins.” Then the author goes on to explain that these ruins are the “birth of a new American landscape, a deindustrialized one” which I think is an interesting point that I agree with.

    This excerpt is broken up into a couple different topics, the first of which is the political and economic context. Before 1970s many blue-collar families found themselves in the middle class. The workers in factories were making good money and were able to get homes in the suburbs. These people were still vulnerable to economic changes. The closing of factories was a reminder of this, the industrial American dream was not what it once was. One fact that I find interesting is that in 1985 there were 5 million factory workers in unions, but in 2002 there were only 3 million. Another interesting thing I found in this section is the fact that Canada was able to save many jobs (encouraged by the people) by running plants as publicly owned as well as imploring other methods. This section seems to be about why plants close and how they are sometimes saved, but the general consensus is that it is normal for these plants to be closing due to corporate capitalism.

    The next topic is The Deindustrial Sublime. The author starts off by discussing that the closed and abandoned factories are totally widespread across the country, not just within the rust belt. Some of these places have been turned into something new, from museums to condos. Others have been destroyed, and the rest are just left as is for nature to take its course. The author goes on to discuss how many people like to photograph these places, and that there are many books with pictures, but are lacking in historical context. Something that got my attention is that a geographer Tim Edensor called the industrial ruins “modern gothic.” I really like that description. This section discusses different uses for random old industrial sites; things such as old mines being used for movie sets.

    The last topic is Oral History and Photography. The author explains how they tell the stories of these deindustrialized cities and closed factories through photographs and the stories of the people who used to work there and lived through it. I think that this is an extremely interesting and effective method of telling the stories. I would expect that people who have actually lived through it would have some amazing insight as well as emotional stories that would mesh perfectly with photographs of the places that used to be.

  45. “The Meanings of Deindustrialization”

    After reading this excerpt from Jefferson Cowie and Joseph Heathcott, i became much more aware and informed as to what “deindustrialization is. Jefferson and Joseph started off strong by mentioning and explaining a real life experience to grab my attention; They noted Joe Trotter Sr., a 37 year veteran of Youngstown’s steel industry. He is one of many who dig through the rubble of the destroyed Ohio Works. Another reason why i enjoyed this piece is due to the great image they provided to give me a better understanding of the reality of deindustrialization. The image is of a dozen smokestacks that are located in a strip mall. The smokestacks act as a reminder that what is now a shopping center was once home to “the gritty and turbulent labor history of the mighty Homestead Work steel mill”. They then close the chapter by almost supporting deindustrialization by explaining that “it allowed for the creation of a semi imaginary historical benchmark against which very real contemporary assaults on unions and key industrial sectors could be measured”.

  46. The Landscape and the Memory of De-industrialization:

    I found this article to be fascinating. Although I felt that the author strayed away at times from the artistic view of the buildings and focused more on the workers and what they were going through when the corporations were being shut down. Although what he had to say was all important. Once topic he discussed fascinated me. He discussed the concept of photography and the concept of memory and time.
    The author discuses the photographs in Gabriel Solano of Detroit and Henry Labelle of Sturgeon Falls. In the pictures thee people are absent from the photograph and the focus is specifically on the industrial building left abandoned. It is discussed that the reason that the people are not in the photograph because either the people have moved or passed away. Time has changed the surroundings of the buildings and the people that have lived in the town. Their is a capture of the De-industrialization of the businesses within the photographs. Although life has moved on from the day that the industries were shut down, a photograph freezes time. The photographs capture the beauty and the sadness of the events that happened with the coworkers and the town in this sudden change in lifestyle.

  47. Maura Silva

    Steven High and David W. Lewis. Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization.

    Corporate Wasteland explores the captivating terrain and the occurrence of its pasting and rediscovery. This book also discusses a stimulating analysis of the aesthetics of deindustrialization. Deindustrialization is a social, cultural, and economic process. Even though modern ruins have become some cultural attractions where people can view this forgotten heritage, this book tries to make us understand the ways in which geographic and emotional immediacy affects how deindustrialization is represented and memorized. They want people from this forgotten area to revisit the process of how this place got abandoned and think about how it could have been changed, besides letting these buildings become rotten and letting things decay and monuments to alter. And from the photographs captured, you can still view the beauty of once was.

  48. The reading talked a lot about how the decay and forgotten architecture and objects are transformed and defined by human, nonhuman and organic interaction. An object that is left behind due to industrialization and our ever changing fashion and style can tell us a lot about our history and show us our thought proses as we progress through time. I found this article interesting in the fact that a lot of the references in the reading were referenced to Benjamin. I loved reading this author even though it was a tough read because I agreed with his views on the life of architecture. I would love to read moreby the same author in the future.

  49. Steven High and David W. Lewis. Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization.

    American and Canadian ruins of abandoned mills, factories, blast furnaces and other industrial work areas are often seen as nostalgic. They are nostalgic in the sense of, “they make us pause, reflect and remember.” However, the thing that most people remember is the thousands of families who lost their livelihood once corporate moved their headquarters in order to find similar laborers who could be paid cheaper. While these ruins are a part of the nation’s cultural past and should be romanticized slightly, it should not be forgotten that these jobs were taken and moved for non-American workers to claim.

    Revisiting abandoned areas that are considered problematic is important if there is a need for change and reinvention. This book helps us to understand ways in which we can remember these abandoned places for what they once contributed to the American/Canadian culture, how the people that worked in these places lost their jobs due to the increase in demand for lower paid workers, and how the architecture still remains beautiful in it’s own right even through the stages of decay.

  50. The Meanings of De industrialization
    This article made it much clearer to me as to what De-industrialization truly is. I liked how the article used multiple anecdote’s to show real life De-industrialization issues. I also enjoyed the imagery given through the pictures. They were a great addition to show the old industrial image the article was trying to show. The only part of the article I disliked was the ending, where I thought they almost were supporting De-industrialization.

  51. – Steven High & David Lewis. “The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization” in Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization

    This article main focus is highlighting de-industrialization in the Midwest and in Canada and the rise of capturing oral and photographic documentation of this occurrence. Not only documentation, it also focuses on the political and economical aspect to the decline of industries and a basic overview of its history. This can basically be summarize with the following quote, “Industrial Ruins are memory places, for they make us pause, reflect, and remember” (page 9).

  52. – Steven High & David Lewis. “The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization” in Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization.

    While reading this, it seemed as though the closing of many or most of these industrial corporations was inevitable. Yet, the workers were left in the dark–about the closing and as well, after the shutdowns. My question is why nobody informed the workers that their workplaces would be closing?
    Because it was not important, because it is not the workers’ concern? Was it because they didn’t want to cause an uproar/strike-type situation? Maybe because the employers did not want to deal with helping the abandoned employees?
    I’m just curious of the motives behind not telling the workforce about something that the employers knew was coming, for years in most situations.

  53. The Meanings of Deindustrialization

    Focuses on different point of view workers and business leaders when deindustrialization occurred. Deindustrialization directly affected to workers they lost their jobs and it changed their lifestyle. Workers felt despair and betrayal but business leaders on other hand took same problem differently. They saw as a chance to downsize and reconstruct from they they have. Author portrays deindustrialization was necessary process for good, but what I think is different there is up and down for this and deindustrialization doesn’t seem always the answer.

  54. Steven High’s article, “Gold Doesn’t Rust” compares the areas of North America known as the Rust Belt in the United States with the region in Canada known as the Golden Horseshoe. The Rust belt was previously known as the Industrial Heartland of America but due to a variety of economic factors, such as the transfer of manufacturing to the Southeast, increased automation, the decline of the US steel and coal industries, globalization, and internationalization, it is now known as an area with increasing rates of urban decay, poverty, population loss and economic decline. High compares this to the Golden Horseshoe of Canada which is a southern part of Ontario that is highly populated, industrialized and highly prosperous. High talks about how and why each of these regions have gone in the directions that they have. He brings up the theory that the smallest things can tear one city apart leaving it in dismay while at the same time it can be throwing another city into prosperity and wealth.

    John Gallagher’s article, “Shrinking Cities” talks about how cities go through phases of shrinking and growing periods. Cities such as Detroit and Buffalo are considered shrinking cities because they were once highly valued in economic crises such as World War II but after the war ended and they weren’t needed to mass produce products anymore, they fell into a downward spiral that they haven’t been able to recover from. Many of these shrinking cities are located in the Rust Belt of America because those were the cities that were the start of the Industrial Revolution that are now slowing becoming less useful and not needed anymore. This isn’t just happening in North America though, Gallagher talks about how there are shrinking cities in Germany, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Hungary and Latvia. He also mentions that being a shrinking city isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, that the impression that smaller is better. Being a part of a smaller community gives the look of more affordable living, I tighter-knit community, earth-friendly atmosphere and healthy environment to raise families. It is a very pros versus cons article and really opened my eyes to a whole new way to look at shrinking and growing cities.

    The site about Gateway cities was also quite interesting in the aspect that they explain that these cities are neither growing nor shrinking. They are midsize cities that are economic and industrial centers that for generations have been the home for communities and industry that offered residents good jobs and a “gateway” to the American Dream. They have a demand for small neighborhoods and entrepreneurial opportunities that will help the residents to grow and learn and then be able to innovate their community in return.

  55. The Following comment are o reading from the syllabus:
    Nadia Anderson,”Public Interest Design as Praxis”

    Michael sarfo.

    The Author started in his article by saying “In today’s rapidly changing world,
    issues such as poverty, homelessness,and climate change are profoundly linked to the production of the built environment, challenging architectural practice and education to engage and address them. Which i think it’s a very strong point off view to start off with because like he said Public interest design
    not only produces spaces that are inclusive and place based but also creates a theoretical framework that incorporates values of equity, inclusivity, and social justice through action or process.

  56. After going through and interpreting the different aspects of each section of the readings; Steven High, “Gold Doesn’t Rust: Regions of the North American Mind” in Industrial Sunset & John Gallagher, “Shrinking Cities,” in Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City. I would describe a post-industrial city as an area that has experienced a negative impact in its economic growth creating a loss in jobs and eventually leading to population size depletion. Now when talking about post-industrial cities in current day, we usually think of the city of Detroit, Michigan’s capital, which due to the mass abandonment of the car industry has left the city quiet bare. However, what isn’t as well realized is that the infamous Rust Belt, spreading from parts of New York to Illinois is still struggling to reach a healthy standing point even after decades of recovery.
    What I have realized from both texts is that even though population loss is seen as a measurement of a city or town’s economic stability and overall positive persona, what I’ve come to learn is that fluctuation to a population within a specific area is a natural. With the growth of our population size as a whole, as well as the ease of travel and the innovations of technology all this can cause shifts within a population. Movement of people can create a more multicultural and vigorous nation, especially when mass movement out of an area occurs. Smaller communities are usually more interconnected about their community environment, government and so on. The fact of the matter is, we must change the perspective on how to display and address post-industrial cities.
    Ignoring post-industrial problems present in many cities across the nation is not the solution; neither is the view that these are lost cities that have no chance for future success as they once had (which occurred when the mid-west gained the stigma of being the Rust Belt). In order to find and create prosperity in such regions one must start out positive even when unsure, the way a problem is first tackled can create the stepping stone for future endeavors. For example, Turin a city in Italy once known as the gateway to France later became the known as “The Detroit of Italy”. In contrast to current day Detroit, Turin took its high population loss which left many vacant buildings, not as a crisis but as a challenge. Turin used innovation, working together with member of the community the local government has helped turn the city into a popular “…hub for European culture and travel” (Gallagher). The most significant point that can be extracted from the Turin example of revitalizing a post-industrial city is that to survive one must adapt. Gallagher recognizes the importance of this concept as well, he emphasizes that this is not the first time the city of Turin has reinvented itself. Post-industrial cities, as well as struggling rural America can adapt and may need to redefine itself multiple times through but it is possible and it must be done.

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