Viewpoint: Urban decay

Haifa is experiencing the phenomenon of “urban decay” – whereby a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair.

July 25, 2012 22:54
1 minute read.
Old, abandoned buildings

Old, abandoned buildings 370. (photo credit: EHAB ABOU HOUSIEN)

Haifa has always been considered the “bride” of the north side of this country; the shape of the city geographically resembles a fair lady with a long dress that flows into the ocean. Nowadays, however Haifa is experiencing the phenomenon of “urban decay” (also known as urban rot and urban blight) – the process whereby a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude.

In these pictures I wanted to represent the idea of an urban spectrum, starting with old, abandoned buildings and areas at one end, with modern buildings and public figures representing the other end of this spectrum. Streaming vehicles connect the two sides of the city with an imaginary thread of light.

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Old buildings blend in in a harmonious yet contradictory way. They lend a city a special flavour, but on the other hand attract less people to come visit and invest in the area, which in turn prevents development or reconstruction. In another picture there is a busy government building beside an old, closed up mosque. This plot is not usable as it is, and that’s a waste.

The painting of the dancing woman was found on a main street in the old city. The building is abandoned and in disrepair.

No one is using it in any way, nor is the site being maintained.

The photos were taken Wednesday in the afternoon and you can see the emptiness representing the idea of decay.

In the last picture I wanted to represent the other side of the city, the Carmel Center, always full of people of all ages, with lots of places tourists and locals can make use of.

The two sides of the city call out for a connection, but for some reason this gap only seems to grow wider. Too bad for a city considered a national treasure.

The writer is a photographer who lives in Haifa and loves to explore the cityscape via photography.

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