photography and text by Lauren R. Pacini
Today the urban landscape is a patchwork of contrast. Silent factories stand in varying states of decay. Boarded houses, relieved of their pipes and siding by industrious scrappers. Cavernous housing projects offer grim testimony to urban renewal efforts of by-gone days. Inside the boarded, abandoned buildings, the clutter of wine and whiskey bottles and beer cans and the stench of human waste speak to the despair of transient occupants in search of refuge from cold winds and rain or snow. A vacant lot indicates where something once stood, where people with hopes and dreams once worked or lived, now with the rusting hulk of an abandoned automobile as its headstone. Down the street the sounds of demolition announce the coming of another vacant lot. The monochromatic landscape is broken only by brightly colored graffiti – the work of the local gang or urban artist, staking a claim, or making a statement. Yet, amid the decay is new life. The city struggles to be reborn - Its resilience a tribute to its people. The signs are all around us, if only we make the time to find them.