Spain is one of the countries hardest hit by the European economic crisis. Because of a highly unstable financial and real estate market, an estimated 1.2 million empty houses litter the landscape, affecting a large majority of the population. In parallel, unemployment figures are growing to such an extent that cities are experiencing unemployment rates as high as 40%.
I visited several ghost towns and documented the daily lives of unemployed people in Espera and Moron de La Frontera, two Andalucian towns where unemployment levels are among the highest in Spain. And yet, as a proactive attempt to find ways of tackling the crisis, many are organising themselves to protest and to request local companies to recruit new workers. In Moron, the tactics are perhaps more urgent, with unemployed civilians mobilising to gather potatoes missed by the farmers’ harvests in an attempt to survive; either through sales or as a simple source of food.
Even in this corner of the developed world, the impact of economic crisis is resulting in the often surreal juxtaposition of a hand to mouth existence lived amongst the ruins of failed urban and economic development.