Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Ponzi State

Driving around Florida's ghost subdivisions, you feel not just that their influence is waning but that they are physically hollowing out. In a place like Lehigh Acres, near Fort Meyers, where half the driveways are sprouting weeds, and where garbage piles up in the bushes along the outer streets, it's already possible to see the slums of the future. More and more of the residents in Hamilton Park will be renters like Lee Gaither. The vacant houses in Country Walk will be boarded up. The St. Augustine grass in the front yards of Tanglewood Preserve will grow three feet high. The open fields with street lights but no houses will become dumps.
More of George Packer's excellent article on Florida's speculative real estate disaster here (New Yorker subscription required) and a video here.

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