Deserted Dream Homes: Visualizing an Economic Downturn

The so-called economic downturn has hit here harder than most places, resulting in a remarkable half-constructed community. A grid of barren streets, a cul-de-sac to nowhere and in the middle of it all a nearly-abandoned strip of abnormally nice-looking houses centered on a circular roundabout.

Finding these cheery homes complete and picture-perfect (though unoccupied) is almost stranger than it would be to see this entire set of suburban streets and plots were utterly deserted, photographed here by Justin Sullivan.

This housing development in Rio Vista, California, was set to feature 750 new dwellings – now each home punctuates the home of dozens of others. Street lights ridiculously line each street and pristine concrete curbs wrap sidewalks and medians, serving their normal functions of mediating between streets and residences – only the latter is lacking, and the landscape has been left to return to dust.

It seems hard to believe that there is no one with the motive and means to make something of this would-be set of suburban homesteads, yet everything is in place, the land plotted and ready for development, and yet … nothing is inhabited. Half-finished subterranean wiring and plumbing connects much of the multiple square miles of groomed space. Who knows, maybe someone will at least squat in the deceptively invited model homes at the heart of it all. Nothing short of an economic upturn (or u-turn, if you will) seems able to save this unique and chilling place.

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