The Emotional Landscape of Vacancy

Vacancy has left parts of the Midwest shattered, resulting in an insecurity which invokes a diluted "fight or flight" response. Restoring the psychological landscape of cities is a difficult, but essential, first step, says Richey Piiparinen.

Piiparinen argues that while solutions like "shrinkage" are a practical approach to growing vacancies in cities, they don't address the psychological and emotional issues associated with loss. Art, he says, is the answer:

"...the interesting thing about Ruin Porn was that the photographs of 'abandonment beauty' effectively challenged our perceptions of decay. In other words, what was once only associated as dead, losing, lost, and disinvested in became the notion of the frontier. Folks, then, flocked to empty factories and houses near and wide to make art, with the Ruin Porn aesthetic even morphing into an evolving 'new genre of Americana', or Rust Belt Chic."

Piiparinen points to a blog post by The Urbanophile that suggests cities consider having a "creative director" on staff.

Thanks to Angie Schmitt

Full Story: The Emotional Landscape of Vacancy


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