The Broken Windows Theory, writ large
Photos and essay by Matthew SchachtCOLUMBIA, Mo 5/7/14 (Photo Essay) -- The grass is cut.The gutters are clean.The porch is swept.An empty driveway waits for a car.This one-story house in the First Ward seems only temporarily empty, as if an owner or a renter might drive up any moment and say "Hello" to the reporter standing outside.
Peering through a dirt-smudged window, the state of things becomes clear.
A house is not a home when rooms contain no furniture, when two-by-four wood studs are all that remain of walls, and when insulation pokes out of cracks, floors and ceilings like teddy-bear stuffing.
The disorder broods like an enduring mystery. Why is the building empty? Why has an owner allowed his or her property to fall into complete disuse?
[Please read our EDITORIAL PREVIEW for more background.]
A new porch, but no one to use it at this
home near Hickman High.
A new metal roof over a ramshackle house years empty. Columbia, Mo
Columbia College just bought this house on Wilkes Blvd., one of several derelict houses that have sat for years in a row just behind the college's pristine
Click side arrows for a slideshow of Columbia's
NEXT: The Why Behind the Vacancy
Matthew Schacht is a photojournalist and former reporter for the Columbia Missourian. This is his third photo feature for the Columbia Heart Beat.