April 2010


The American financial crisis as seen from 30,000 feet

I noticed as my plane was descending into Salt Lake City clear evidence of the financial crisis and its impact on housing – it’s actually quite easy to see from above. Unfortunately I didn’t grab my camera quickly enough and the Utah aspects went unphotographed.

Descending into Denver I was better prepared and I got this housing development which is located south of Denver International Airport: Streets laid out—in many cases paved—and what looks like a park with a walking path next to what may be a community center of some kind (with a swimming pool), but lots of empty lots and no sign of impending construction.

Somebody's lost a lot of money.

On final approach into Cincinnati I noticed similarly stalled developments – including the one in this photo. It must be depressing to drive past only four houses to get to your house at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Trees were cut down to build that road.

6 comments to The American financial crisis as seen from 30,000 feet

  • Don’t worry – after the economy gets going again those lots will be filled just in time for more roads to be built in advance of the next wave of sprawl.

  • Those don’t look as bad as what is happening around Phoenix and Las Vegas. There the markets were so hot that many developments were nearly finished only to remain unsold, so now the houses there sit with the doors swinging back and forth in the wind.

    The development you note in Cincinnati may only be stalled but not stopped. I don’t think the financial crisis hit housing in that area the same as it did in locations in the west. At least that is the view I got after making two cross-country trips on the ground this time, last year.

  • Wow, great observation and pictures, Adam.

  • I wonder what Detroit looks like from the air these days.

  • ian – that’s depressing: I am annoyed at all the land that’s been disturbed–land in eastern Colorado, once broken might never get back to what it once was.

    Cynical Queer – My Cincinnati photo is clearly not that dramatic, but I bet one can find some worse examples if one was not limited to flight paths…

    CN – Thanks!

    Snooker – Decaying buildings are probably harder to identify from above than from the street. I’ve seen some amazing pictures taken driving down some neighborhood streets.

  • I linked to this entry on Facebook and it turns out that my sister’s boyfriend’s grandparents’ house is in the Cincinnati photo!