I. The Great Recession: Foreclosure, USA
Foreclosure, USA serves as quiet witness to the Great Recession. In recent years the financial distress induced by widespread foreclosures in the United States has become an urgent national concern. There is still much public discourse on how to solve the problem that has decimated communities, threatens the country’s entire financial system, and seems to discredit the American Dream. Lots of foreclosures, yet not much closure.
Inspired by the Dust Bowl photographs of the Great Depression, the project focuses on the foreclosure crisis in Stockton, California. Only a few years ago, Stockton seemed to manifest the vision of America in its unreserved sense of possibility and its openness to business. Sadly, it is now better known as one of the epicenters of the foreclosure crisis. In the first quarter of 2009, one in every 27 housing units in the region received a foreclosure notice, against a national rate of about one in 159.
Foreclosure, USA explores Stockton’s foreclosed homes and the abruptly suspended housing developments in its hardest hit neighborhoods. It also documents the foreclosure industry and businesses affected by the housing crash. A city that twice received the All America City award from the National Civic League as it converted large tracts of farmland into “homes,” can surely teach us much about truly sustainable development. This project promotes dialogue about sustainable economic growth in local communities everywhere and educates about the real cost of the unquestioned American Dream.