October 31, 2015
I spent the last week in Spain, trying to soak up as much culture and vocabulary as possible. Over in Valencia, I found out about a historic fishing district called El Cabanyal, which has been dealing with legal uncertainty for around 20 years: The city government had wanted to extend a major road towards the seaside and planned to unceremoniously bulldoze its way through the neighborhood. Considering the architecture, the history and — most importantly — the marginalized population in El Cabanyal, destruction would be an utter tragedy. I decided to document the current state for our brand-new magazine The Idea List:
After 24 years, Valencia chose a new government earlier this year. And while El Cabanyal has remained standing, it remains in a state of permanent limbo: Its beautiful art-deco buildings are in dire need of reparations that nobody has been willing to undertake for many years — too big was the risk of imminent destruction. Facades are crumbling, paint is peeling off the walls, trash is everywhere. Some housing blocks have gaping holes, through which you can see modern Valencia looming in the distance. The population has remained poor and marginalized, with drug problems often surfacing in the area. I visited El Cabanyal in October and spent several hours strolling through the streets and documenting what is left — before it goes away.