15 June 2007

[liff] Gary, Indiana

836 Apropos of nothing else, save that it caught my eye, this post at Loaded Orygun really affected me. I'd heard that Gary, Indiana was something of an urban wasteland and a forgotten place, but I really had no reality on such a thing; after all, I'm a child of Oregon, where some downtown districts may be gone but never really forgotten.

The photos that really got me are over at this site, that LO referred to. They suggest–no, baldly depict–block after block of neglect and despair, where nobody-not even locals-ever go. Gary is a town of about 105,000–can a place of such size really have mostly abandoned its downtown core?

Apparently. Wanting to see what what truly what, it was off to Google maps to get a satellite piccy. Here's a view of Broadway, Gary's main address axis as well as what seems to be the downtown core. Clicky to embiggen and make your own judgement:

Even in this day, some pictures still don't lie. The few remaining businesses line one side of the street only; beyond, cleared-off, vacant land. This is a city with an empty heart.

I hope that Gary finds a way to fill in that heart; it's truly sad. And, while I feel like Portland and Oregon are actually resting on our laurels and these days more reputation than reality as far as urban growth and planning go (what else can you say about a state whose populace will pass Measure 37 with no hint of irony?) we still have it better than many places, and I'm counting my blessings.

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