Quietland: Does the future begin here?

(News & Editorial/ Quietland: Does the future begin here?)

It’s not the way “we” live, but it is out there and like a deadly pandemic germ held in bay by modern medicine and communications, it is a threat. Once we fall, once civilization has taken a hit and our social structures become fragmented, the shocking images of “underground poverty” and waste accumulation will spring into our daily visual lives across the environment. Today these seeds lie quiet and dormant,  seemingly non existant or at least remote from our city or neighborhood. But, given life by the circumstances discussed often in this blog, they can spring to live in days.

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A. Buried Alive in Sin City: Underground Living in Las Vegas
dornob.com
Pasted from: http://dornob.com/buried-alive-in-sin-city-underground-living-in-las-vegas/

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Buried beneath the exuberant excesses of the most infamous 24-hour party town on the planet lies a second, semi-secret city with hundreds (if not thousands) of full-time inhabitants. Its shadow population occupy spaces in the over 200 miles of infrastructural support and storm drains – all constructed to support the over-the-top luxury resort and casino complex on the surface above. This is the flip-side of Sin City (photographed by Austin Hargrave) you will not see on the casino-sponsored maps or in the company of smiling tour guides.

B.  Garbage City: An Unbelievable Real-Life Urban Wasteland
dornob.com
Pasted from: http://dornob.com/garbage-city-an-unbelievable-real-life-urban-wasteland/

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No, it is not just trash talk or slang for some city slum – this place really is known as Garbage City with good reason: its denizens live in a surreal urban landscape with waste stuffed in every spare corner, stacked on the sidewalks and surrounding every structure – captured above by photographer Bas Princen.

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More amazing than the trash-strewn architecture and garbage-stuffed city streets is the strange fact that this place is fully occupied and abuzz with activity. People live, work, eat and sleep within this object graveyard outside the city center of Cairo, Egypt. Spaces not occupied by people are given over to livestock (fed with trash scraps) and guerrilla urban gardens.

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Officially known as Manshiyat Naser, this district has shops and apartments like any other, but its residents earn their keep by specializing in collecting, sorting and recycling specific types of trashed materials. A group of children can be found sifting for plastic bottles while an organized team of women scours the remnants for cans or glass. Other items are burned locally as fuel.

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While it might not meet any health standards on Earth, the unique urban phenomena is arguably sustainable in a certain sense – even ‘green’ in a some ways. Working in the area does provide some basic necessities for its inhabitants, though water, sewage and (perhaps ironically) even official garbage collection services are not available to those living within its trash-cluttered walls.

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Anyone who has visited Las Vegas and taken the monorail has seen the incredible parking structures required to accommodate travelers – just imagine those same huge stacks of unused space laid out beneath the grid of the city, so many dark subterranean corners ready to be turned into ersatz dwellings. Some of these places have been turned into virtual homes, complete with running water (for DIY showers and sinks), furnished living rooms and real (salvaged) beds with mattresses and blankets – most likely leftovers from the hotels above.

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A city of abundant means, Las Vegas celebrates opulence and waste from the tourist-oriented service industries abounds (from trashed food to furniture objects). As such, it is in some ways an easy place to live homeless – or in a relatively comfortable, cool and semi-safe underground squat. Between begging and swiping forgotten winnings left behind by drunks, there is also cold cash and hard credit to be had. Some denizens cobble together impressive collections of objects and elaborately decorate their dwelling spaces.

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None of this need glamorous the lifestyles of those living below the streets of Sin City. This second population faces dangers from disease, animals, flash floods and of course one another as well. Some look on the bright side: a relatively temperature-controlled and autonomous space to call home. Others have fallen victim to vices (including alcohol, drugs and gambling – all offered in abundance on the streets above) that drove them quite literally underground.

[Given the right set of not so remote circumstances, places such as these could become the brave new world from which future survivors leave, to salvage parts from a collapsed social environment  above ground. Alternatively, we could live in an environment where utility services have failed or are overwhelmed, such dystopian lands already exists in 3rd world abundance.
Anyone for a global economic collapse, major volcanic eruption or USA centric EMP to expand this premise to your neighborhood?   lfp]

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