Irish-Swiss photographer Valérie Anex captures the stillness – and not slightly creepy beauty – of never-inhabited houses. They were built all over Ireland during the speculative craze leading up to the crash of 2008. What a weird and sad waste, but also something that is hard to look away from.
Is it just us or does a diagram of the human brain look like a map of a suburban neighbourhood, replete with winding cul-de-sacs? Perhaps, after a full year on the topic at hand, we simply need a vacation? Not speculative, of course, is the general relationship between where a person is and how they feel. Two items from Australia and one from Ireland indicate that depression is not just an economic term.
Sick suburbs theage.com.au
What price a home? theage.com.au
Ireland’s 2008 economic blow out, complete with real estate bubble and a major banking rescue at public expense was troubling indeed. They were the first European Union country to fall into the Great Recession and have struggled since. The days of the Celtic Tiger may never return since they were based on the greed and sleaze of an out-of-control financial sector combined with the wilful lunacy of a vast real-estate bubble. One of our interns travelled to the Republic of Ireland in the late 1980s and recalls that early in the boom years there was visible progress in the nation’s standard of living and that working people were benefitting from an optimistic economic picture. Now, with Ireland’s history of poverty bred by colonialism and conflict you’d have thought they’d be a little more careful in regard to who gets to do a number on who.
It was with interest, therefore, that we came across this book available online in .pdf format: Suburban Affiliations: Social Relations in the Greater Dublin Area. It remains curious that Ireland chose the cars/suburban sprawl model of economic development, leveraging every last penny on a risky orgy of overbuilding. Perhaps some clue to the madness will be found here…