Gary, Indiana was founded in 1906 by U.S. Steel Corporation and boomed until post World War II. In the 1960s, like many other American urban centers reliant on one particular industry, Gary entered a spiral of decline. Gary’s decline was brought on by the growing overseas competitiveness in the steel industry, which had caused U.S. Steel to lay off many workers from the Gary area. As the city declined, crime increased. The city now lays in ruins, with one third of all homes abandoned. and the average annual income is only $28,000 with 36% of the residents falling below the poverty line.
This ongoing project has become very personal to me over the past 4 years I have been visiting Gary, Indiana. The need for change is abundent, yet a solution to the epidemic promblem is far out of sight for a city in such decay. I am currently working on a grant porposal to continue the project, and have teamed up with a writer to interview residents of the city, giving them a voice to advocate change.