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TimeSpace: Half A Tank

Post photographer Michael Williamson is traveling across the country covering the economic situation.

The Best Laid Plans


A stalled housing development as seen from above Rio Vista, California. Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post

They've been called "stillborn" – housing tracts that never had a chance to become the neighborhoods they were supposed to be. Michael and I have seen them from Florida to California. The one pictured above was in the Sacramento Delta. Plans called for it to be a development of 750 houses, but only about a dozen model homes were built before construction stopped in November.

By Theresa Vargas  |  August 12, 2009; 12:40 PM ET
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nice photo, difficult to make out what it was at first.

was the photo from helicopter?

Posted by: apeirond | August 12, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Backstory: That was probably a farm that was in someone's family for several generations, but the developer pressured the city to rezone the surrounding area sending the property taxes up to the point that the family had to sell. Acres of rich productive soil that had grown peaches and cherries and green beans were stripped, graded, and paved. Now the area is devoid of life, rainwater doesn't percolate through the earth but runs along the roads picking up oil and tar and straight into the river. The people that live within 30 miles that used to buy food from the farmer still eat same fruits and vegetables, but now they buy them from a grocery store that shipped them up from Mexico.

Posted by: sacomment | August 13, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Nice photo. The rest of your story? The photo look odd since no homes have been built but the road is there.

Posted by: robinhood2 | August 13, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

sacomment, you are absolutely correct about the destruction of farmland to support "development".
You forgot to add the part about all the existing homes in the area that are for sale, but sit empty because Americans mindlessly purchase poorly-built new McMansions on a tiny empty lots rather than a better-built older home in an established neighborhood that might actually have trees and birds.

Posted by: CellBioProf | August 13, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

you can blame barney frank and chris dodd for this.........keep voting for democrat socialist party.....amnesty, health care and social security for illegal immigrants.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | August 13, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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