What does the aftermath look like? That’s the big question as we go through this remarkable economic reset.    We’ve had this huge build-up of building over the past decade. We’re going through a contraction. The changing fabric of the economy and the related shift in our national geography is going to leave empty artifacts behind.

You can find these records already across the web: photographs of abandoned buildings, empty housing projects, half-developed communities. The images of Detroit are especially poignant: the slow deterioration of the physical stock of a once-grand factory town, chronicled by talented photographers.

Here are some pictures. As you look at them, think of these words from an Olde English poem, The Ruin:

Splendid this rampart is, though Wyrd destroyed it,
The city buildings fell apart, the works
Of giants crumble. Tumbled are the towers,
Ruined the roofs, and broken the barred gate,
Frost in the plaster, all the ceilings gape,
Torn and collapsed and eaten up by age.
And grit holds in its grip, the hard embrace
Of earth, the dead departed master-builders,
Until a hundred generations now
Of people have passed by. Often this wall
Stained red and grey with lichen has stood by
Surviving storms while kingdoms rose and fell.
And now the high curved wall itself has fallen.

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