I'm putting together in one place, all the various posts on this topic I wrote roughly 10 years ago -- which might as well be an eternity, lying on the other side of the dividing line, before the Web 2.0 era degraded into the social media era.
Below are the links, with brief descriptions. They're in chronological order, but you can browse them in any order without missing out on background. New posts on the topic will come when I get some old images cleaned up for presentation. Until then, reacquaint yourselves with the topic, or dive into it for the first time.
This is what you come to the ruins of the blogosphere for -- long trips wending through secret passageways of online, far from the beaten path of the 24-hour take-cycle. How fitting that the topic of decaying environments once part of vibrant living communities, can only be explored within a region of the virtual realm that is itself lying in ruins. But I am still here, tending the grounds, and serving as a guide for those curious souls who wander by.
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Wet cement carvings
They're not an "I'm so awesome" display, but like signing the guestbook of a party, or signing a communal yearbook, to memorialize your social group. In the comments, newspaper articles on the police crackdown against the practice during the helicopter parent era of the '90s and after.
Suburban archaeology overview
Big-picture thoughts about doing archaeology in the suburbs, how much life has changed so quickly and how that is reflected in visits to functionally-ancient sites. Mostly about the social changes from the outgoing era of roughly 1960-1990, to the cocooning era of 1990 to present (or is it turning around circa 2020?).
Lamp post carvings
A site visit with pictures (taken with, I believe, a crappy early 2010s iPhone camera -- am trying to clean up the pics from that excursion, including a whole bunch on tree carvings and beverage containers, and will post those later). Since the early 2010s were still deep in cocooning territory, the empty desertedness of suburban spaces is on display in the shots of the location. I took those pictures on a sunny summer afternoon -- no way a public place with athletic fields, playgrounds, and open grass areas, would have been devoid of people back in the '80s or early '90s.
The school rock phenomenon
Schools used to have a school rock, which kids decorated, signed, and otherwise left their imprint on. Similar to carving your name in wet cement, or signing a communal yearbook. As communities collapsed, the practice died off, and nothing has taken its place, whether IRL or virtual.
Suburban woods reclaimed by nature
There was a trend in the late 2000s and early 2010s of documenting the reclaiming of urban ruins by wild nature, mainly focusing on the collapse of Detroit proper (not the 'burbs). This post extends the approach to the suburban woods, which used to be far more tamed due to people hanging out back there so frequently. But once everyone abandoned them, they became so overgrown that they're hostile to anyone wandering around there these days. I was really shocked wandering trails that I had been used to in the early-mid '90s, 20 years later. Part of what inspired me to make a part-time job out of DIY trail maintenance -- I couldn't stand seeing those woods getting so unwelcoming.
Follow-up on the above
Further observations on that change in the woods, after spending more time there on trail maintenance / reconstruction.
Families replacing friends in graffiti
Graffiti overall has plummeted off a cliff since the '80s and early '90s, but there is still some here and there. But in the 'burbs, where it would have been a group of friends leaving their mark before, now it's the nuclear family leaving their mark. As communities collapse, the only social group left standing is the nuclear family.
Booze and drug use at middle-school hang-out
Site visit, though no pictures. I was just passing through, not intending to do any archaeological documentary work, so didn't bring a camera. But committed it to memory to write a post about it. We all know high schoolers and college kids used to be more wild in the good ol' days, but for a brief time, that encompassed middle schoolers as well. Namely, when the late Boomers were in middle school, during the '70s. They would shortly become the Fast Times at Ridgement High generation, but they were already on their way there in middle school. Actual ancient beer cans present, plus tree carvings about being high on pot.