What makes the work of photographer Valérie Anex in Ghost Estates stand apart from your run-of-the-ruined-mill abandonment porn is the fact that the homes she documents were never occupied in the first place. The 2011 photo series, now published as a book, documents the subdivisions left unfinished when the Irish housing bubble burst in 2008. Showcasing the uncanny valley version of McMansion outposts that undoubtedly bear names like "Paradise Valley"—pictured unfinished, among mounds of debris and Lorax-worthy tufts of dead grass, or even worse, perfectly kept up but devoid of any signs of life—Anex hopes to "evoke the dynamic that leads from consumer fetishism to the collapse of an economic system."
Ghost estates, which are indeed an official designation (and, it should be noted, a Dublin band that creates "a raw sound that is all their own"), are defined by the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis as developments of at least ten houses where fifty percent or less of them are occupied or completed. In 2010, there were an estimated 2846 in Ireland, and by December 2013, that figure had improved to approximately 1,3000. Why was this problem so pronounced there? According to the New York Times, at some point in the 2000s, per capita housing completions were four times as high as they were in the U.S. But the diminishing number of ghost estates shouldn't be taken purely as a sign of a rebounding economy, as many of these developments were simply torn down.
· Haunting Photographs Of Modern-Day Ghost Towns [Co.Design]