“Already we are seeing the excesses of speculative urbanism, which leaves behind acres of crumbling, uninhabited concrete monuments. Indeed, it seems that the urban boom not only consumes vast amounts of land and resources in the process of construction, but also might in fact use up even more in the moment of dissolution.”
For those who prefer history chopped up into neat slices, John McCain’s modest concession speech on the lawn of the Arizona Biltmore on November 5, 2008, seemed like a clean cut of the knife. With the economy in a nosedive, it was not just the end of a presidential campaign. The neoliberal era seemed to be over–its reigning troika of deregulation, marketization, and privatization cast into disgrace, along with its most recent fiscal vehicles such as debt leveraging and speculation in finance and land. Nowhere was the devastation more visible than in McCain’s hometown. Phoenix had flown highest in the race to profit from the housing bubble, and it had fallen the furthest. Footage of the metro region’s outer-ring subdivisions reclaimed by sage grass, tumbleweed, and geckos was as evocative of the bubble’s savage aftermath as photographs of the Dust Bowl’s windblown soil had been of the Great Depression.