Demolition for a teardown, clothes in the closet and all

Many neighbors don’t like teardowns and one residents highlight that the new property owners didn’t even empty the old home:

This house is two houses away from us. The lady who lived in this house passed away a few months ago. A builder bought the house for $660,000 and a mortgage was taken out for $1,178,000 on it. So what this means is it’s probably going to be sold for a minimum of $1.5 million dollars…

The builder didn’t even empty the closet.

On one hand, if the whole house is going, why not simply trash everything inside rather than spend the time sorting it all out? On the other hand, displaying such a picture highlights several features:

  1. It increases the tragedy factor many claim are inherent in teardowns. These aren’t just houses; these places where people have lived for decades and threatening the character (and social life) of the neighborhood is not a trivial matter.
  2. Americans have so much stuff through our consumption patterns that it simply doesn’t make sense to try to salvage any of these items. It often may not be worth it to even donate the items as it is too easy to throw it out and/or obtain more.

Now that I think about, there are numerous photographers and artists in recent decades who highlight ruins in big cities – like Detroit or New York City. Where is the major project that documents the sadness of teardowns? It may not quite have the noir allure of the city but there is long history of suburban critiques to draw upon: the mass produced raised ranch of the post-war era is even more desolate in the snow and shadow of the wrecking ball.

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