Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cuidad Valdeluz, Spanish Ghost Town

If you're like me, you have thought of Spain as a decently well-put together country.  Fun party areas, cool cities like Madrid and Barcelona, good weather.  Unfortunately, the worldwide recession has hit Spain particularly hard.  It's one of the "PIGS" (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain) that are dragging the European Union down economically.

Spain's unemployment rate stands around 26.9% (May 2013 rate), which is....atrocious.  So needless to say, some stuff is tore up in Spain.

My brother-in-law told me about an episode of Top Gear he saw on BBC America where the guys went to a Spanish ghost town called Cuidad Valdeluz.  The Top Gear were able to squat in half built or completely built housing units that were never filled as a result of the economy going pear-shaped in 2008.

Cuidad Valdeluz was intended to one of many satellite cities built around Madrid and served by high-speed rail to the main metro area.  It was built out for 30,000 people.  Today, around 3,000 people live there.  There's no grocery store and very few amenities for the people.  There are construction cranes sitting idle for years at half-built apartment buildings.  The roadway network and utilities are fully built, but just...sitting there.  There are huge tracts of undeveloped land still.

It's described as looking like an abandoned movie set.  Will it be populated once Spain's economy improves?  Maybe, but when will that be?  I can't see an economy like Spain's rebounding for at least 5 years.  Could you live in eerie isolation like that?  With hoodlums roaming around ripping copper and anything else out of buildings for scrap money?

In the United States, there are plenty of housing developments (large and small) that are vastly underpopulated or abandoned.  But not whole towns built for 30,000 people.  Viva la Spain!

No comments:

Post a Comment