Dead ex-Factory Towns

What we have here is a failure of the imagination.

I know of more than one town in the USA with at least 500 properties in foreclosure. Whole neighbourhoods could be bought for O(10⁴) dollars. But what could you do with such places that would make money?

Laws prohibit some kinds of things.

  • You couldn’t charge people admission to smash and burn the things in the houses.
  • In fact every house you buy would saddle you with responsibilities that would require at least a few administrative people to watch over and help you comply with.
  • You couldn’t grow cash crops like pot inside the houses.
  • It would be too expensive to demolish the houses to justify the meager returns on outdoor crops.
  • You couldn’t sell or give the houses to Haitians, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, or other people who would be super happy to just have a US quality house over their heads.
  • If you gave the houses to homeless charities, the charity would be saddled with upkeep and accounting/legal costs.

It would also be difficult to get enough momentum behind an artists’ colony. B&B’s or retreats would take way too much money & effort for the probable payoff (who is going to do a retreat in Detroit?).

But there are some real resources that are under-utilized in these places.

  1. Already constructed houses.
  2. Hooked up with electricity.
  3. Power lines and roads around them.
  4. Land — cheap land.

There’s got to be something that someone could do with these dead spaces.

Just need some good ideas, willpower, inspiration, vision.


About isomorphismes

Argonaut: someone engaged in a dangerous but potentially rewarding adventure.
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