Wastelands

Wasted spaces, wasted buildings, wasted efforts

Left Behind

A week of stories about what we squander, discard, and fritter away: Welcome to the Wastelands.

Epic Boondoggles, Ranked

It’s not the Big Dig or the Second Avenue Subway. America’s biggest infrastructure quagmires are much, much larger than that.

The Cities That Have Risen From Ruins

Whether they’ve been leveled by wars or earthquakes, cities don’t tend to stay wastelands forever.

The Private Lives of Vacant Homes

An art installation celebrates the spirit of boarded-up blocks of Baltimore and Japan.

The Moral Baggage of 'Wastelands'

“An act of transforming the wasteland is seen as a redemptive activity that’s going to save the individual, the society, and the nation.”

Wastelands Reborn

Turning around abandoned urban spaces sometimes just takes a little imagination.

The Wild Comeback Of New York's Legendary Landfill

At Freshkills Park, where the city dumped 150 million tons of its garbage, human desires and nature’s needs are feeling their way to a new harmony.

The Meaning of Blight

A word that was originally about plant diseases became “infused with racial and ethnic prejudice” when it moved to the city.

Humanity's Garbage Keeps Piling Up in the Arctic Ocean

Less ice and more shipping traffic has left the seafloor looking like the side of a New Jersey highway.

The Wisdom of Garbage

Researchers are digging into heaps of discarded food to uncover clues about why we throw so much of it away—and how cities can cut the waste.

The Stadiums That Ate Texas

Why are these Dallas suburbs funding the most expensive high school football stadiums ever built?

Hiroshima's Quest to Symbolize Peace, Not Destruction

Tourists flock there to see “the most destructive force ever created by humankind.” But the Japanese city wants people to look beyond the bomb.

The Personal Lives of Forgotten Trinkets

A photographer explores the emotional connections of mementos that change hands at Dallas estate sales.

Berlin's 'Devil's Mountain': Built From Rubble, And Going to Waste

One of the most historically resonant sites in Germany’s capital has been left in ruins.

Phnom Penh's Canal of Unpleasant Fragrances

As the Cambodian capital’s least-majestic waterway, the infamous “Shit Canal” is descended from greater architectural marvels intended to re-engineer the landscape.

'You Made Me. And I'm Coming for You.'

Lake Erie is cleaner now that it was during the Rust Belt’s industrial heyday. But all is not well underwater.

The Wastelands of Urban Renewal

Through large-scale demolition and clearance, American urban renewal waged a war on perceived waste—and created a new tide of it.