Life might sway to a slower beat in the South, but, compared to other cities in the United States, Austin, Texas‘ growth over the span of the last decade or so hasn’t been slow at all. Steady job growth and population growth have worked together in Austin to create a sort of surreal union between urbanity and rurality. A succinct but steadfast downtown area in Austin is only a couple of miles away from artists’ communities developing on the outskirts of town. These communities are budding and blossoming a short bike ride away from the city’s center, but these communities, like East Austin, are still rural enough that you’ll find chickens roaming the streets and newly-converted living and work spaces being created from has-been barns. This is usually the way these things work.
Artists seeking more affordable housing in New York sought Brooklyn and found homes in vacant factories–vacant anything, really. With dilapidating real estate, supply often meets demand in communities that are attractive for one reason or another to creative thinkers–innovators. It takes a visionary to see the worthwhile in what’s been neglected, and Austin seems to have plenty of visionaries. Upon close inspection, Austin’s framework is still falling apart at the seams in some places. It’s a safe bet that these abandoned and broken-down buildings will be renovated or replaced in due time, but for now, during an economic shift like the one taking place is Austin, these boarded up buildings belonging to abandoned Austin represent the transition of a city to me.
%Gallery-145676%Austin is no abandoned city, but the bygone buildings in Austin are all that much more interesting because of this. Some of the most notorious neglected buildings in Austin are, as summarized in an article in the Austin Chronicle: The Cabin, The Walls, The House, The Restaurant, The Tracks, The Kiln, The Athletic Club, The Rock, Robertson Hill, The Hog Farm, and The Dog Park. The Riverside Dog Park‘s abandoned house on the hill is the only one I visited for this piece, and that’s because I frequent this dog park regularly as it is and was interested in taking a closer look at the house, which has always only been an object barely noticeable in my periphery while socializing my dogs.
Other abandoned Austin buildings have stuck out to me since moving to Austin. The old train station that sits next to the current Amtrak station, for instance. Smaller buildings, like homes, that are beautiful in that way that only a run-down structure can be always catch my eye–particularly since there are so many of them in my neighborhood, East Austin. When I went out to shoot for this piece, I posted a status on my personal Facebook page that read:
“Out photographing abandoned Austin. If you know of a cool abandoned building in Austin, tell me where it is.”
One of my friends commented:
“There are abandoned buildings in this town?”
And I thought that was telling. With all of the boom and business hitting Austin, it seems people are quick to overlook the lack thereof in some areas. It’s easy to overlook, primarily because there really aren’t that many abandoned or otherwise neglected properties in Austin. Thanks to Austin’s increasing popularity and good reputation, people have been flocking to the city for years now and swiping up run-down buildings and making them new. Few remain untouched and that is exactly why I wanted to capture them while I still can. It’s a beautiful thing that Austin is doing so well, that these buildings likely won’t stay neglected for long–and I say that despite that fact that I aesthetically like something about dying structures. I gathered these photos not as a showcase of all of the neglected buildings in Austin, but as a photo diary depicting the abandoned buildings I encounter in my daily life here in Austin. Take a look at these buildings–they won’t be unoccupied for long.