photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Jakob Ehrensvärd | profile | all galleries >> Decay, ruins, wrecks and scrap >> The abandoned residential area tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

The abandoned residential area

The abandoned residential area Hästhagen in the industrial town Söderfors is definately a prime candidate of being the most depressing site I have ever seen in its ultimate dullness and decay. After a long slope towards the bottom, the place was finally abandoned around 1994 and since then there has been a long debacle over its future. A conclusive reflection is that it is like with desk of general Franco - time tends to solve problems, even without any particular action and implicitly the time have set the fate for Hästängen - the place is doomed, there is no way back.

Amazingly, the place reminds a bit of a zebra slain by a lion out on a savanna in Africa. When the prime parts have been eaten, hyenas, vultures, worms, flies, ants and finally bacteria do their job in order of precedence and suddenly nothing but the skeleton is left. At Hästhagen, various levels of "entrepreneurs" seem to have cherry-picked stuff of their taste and now there is not very much more left than a concrete shell filled with rubble. As a very final stage, organic material is now slowly decomposing by mould and bacteria...

The story is all to common and familiar – during the industrial boom in the 1960s, the industry needed vast amount of workers to meet demand. The politicians were all enthusiastic about supplying this demand as their pockets were filled with tax money. The architects were equally enthusiastic in exploring the new trends and materials. Money was not an issue but speed was – no one asked the people, which were intended to live in these dull shapes with no aesthetical values whatsoever.

But, what the heck – all curves went up and workers from other parts of the world came to Sweden and found peace, work and decent living. Not bad if you left war or poverty, but boring indeed...

And we all then know what happened during the 1970s... When the oil crisis hit and the first sustained post WWII-recession came, the mechanism that fuelled the boom was turned against itself. Years of increasing wages and wealth made the industry less competitive and a creative system of devaluations struck with a devastating power.

The second effect of massive rationalizations and globalization effects have increased efficiency, where the simple math tells us that there are simply more things done with less manpower required.

And guess what happened when there was negative demand on property and housing as people moved away from the industrial areas... ? Which areas were hit first ? It surely seems like this is not a problem unique to Sweden.

Although fully functional, thousands of apartments from the 1960s and 1970s have been abandoned and/or bulldozed in certain areas as there is simply no demand for them. Hästhagen is somewhat unique in the way that it has been left for so long to deteriorate without having been blasted down.

Sigh... Although the place is nothing but terrible, I sincerely think it is painful to watch this modern failure and feel the waste in effort and money. Everyone further understands that even more big money needs to be spent on converting this ugliness into gravel. When that finally happens, the only ones showing signs of mourning would be the paintball- and soft-airgun guys...

UPDATE 2008-03-30: During 2007, finally there was a go-ahead for demolition and the 10 MSEK cash needed to finish it off was found somewhere. When asbestos was found, it seemed like there would be a halt again, but the curse of Hästhagen seems now to be over after the demolition finally began in early March. By June, the terrible area will be gone and replaced with a park.
LC4S6606.jpg LC4S6610.jpg LC4S6612.jpg LC4S6616.jpg
LC4S6666.jpg LC4S6702.jpg LC4S6675.jpg LC4S6630.jpg
LC4S6618.jpg LC4S6692.jpg LC4S6707.jpg LC4S6624.jpg
LC4S6685.jpg LC4S6625.jpg LC4S6672.jpg LC4S6684.jpg
LC4S6636.jpg LC4S6640.jpg LC4S6698.jpg LC4S6644.jpg
LC4S6663.jpg LC4S6690.jpg LC4S6623.jpg LC4S6696.jpg
LC4S6682.jpg LC4S6687.jpg LC4S6621.jpg LC4S6620.jpg
LC4S6689.jpg LC4S6649.jpg LC4S6676.jpg LC4S6614.jpg
LC4S6679.jpg LC4S6639.jpg LC4S6658.jpg LC4S6694.jpg
IMG_0182.jpg IMG_0186.jpg IMG_0187.jpg IMG_0188.jpg
IMG_0190.jpg IMG_0191.jpg IMG_0195.jpg IMG_0197.jpg