isolated ghost towns

Sometimes economy insists on clinging on to lost enclaves.

Fordlandia (Fordlândia) was the beginning of a failed American Dream by Henry Ford in 1928. In the middle of Brazilian jungle, he thought he could settle a piece of Detroit society, to stop depending on British manufacturers of rubber for his T-model wheels.

Although identical clone suburban houses started blossoming among rubber trees for American engineers, life quality did not come together. Despite having ball-room, cinema, school, hair-salon, bakery, informal alcohol suppliers and even brothel, the American Dream, only for a few, ended up with the uprising of agonizing Brazilian slave-like workers. In 1942, the settlement was definetely abandoned.

Another whim of ersatz society was established in Hashima island, Japan in 1916, with the highest concrete building of the country at the time. The island was 6 times more overcrowded than nowadays Tokyo. Based on an intensive coal-mining activity, Mitsubishi entrepreneur set up another failed utopia there.

Lacking of basic private (intimate) space, dwellers inhabited 10m2 sleeping cells with shared bathrooms. However, entertainment services were also provided, such as swimming pool, kindergarten, clinic, temple, and again as in Fordlândia, a brothel. Since they could not chop rubber trees down to make space for new uses, roofs were the only spheres for expanding personal autonomy.

In 1975, coal was not profitable anymore, and Hashima was abandoned; recently it is experiencing a phase of photography-aficionados tourism.

[Images1&2> googlemaps] [Rest of images> spiegel.de]

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