You see, we squishy humans with all our delicate flesh and breakable bones consider ourselves indestructible. Maybe it has come with the knowledge of the wonderful technology of huge explosions and the powers of reinforced concrete. But we also have a habit of blowing said concrete and much more up in our faces and Mother Nature is nothing if not an opportunist. So here are a few instances of Mother Nature reclaiming the land she watched us tear up for so long;
La Petite Ceinture, Paris
The Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture, meaning ‘Little belt railway’, was not only named like a children’s story book character but also circular connection between the main railway stations in Paris from 1852 and has been in a state of abandonment since 1934. Some parts of it look like the ending of rom-com waiting to happen and the rest look like a low budget set up for young rebellious souls expressing their inner turmoil and quest for freedom.
Pripyat is the remains of a city which was once the happy home of some 50,000 people. It was founded in 1970 for the workers and scientists of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant. However, a malfunction in the Chernobyl reactor resulted in the evacuation of the entire town leaving behind signs of civilised occupation. Furniture, clothes, even dolls were left behind for nature to do with them as it pleased.
On 11th March 2011, an earthquake caused a tsunami which initiated an energy accident at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. It was a rather tragic chain of events. Even though active reactors automatically shut down as the earthquake hit, the tsunami destroyed the emergency cooling the reactors due to which four of them overheated and released radioactive material. Though many people hope to return to their homes and some periodically visit to gather their belongings, the process of nature reclaiming the land has already begun.
Spreepark, Berlin, once known as Kulturpark Plänterwald, was the only constant entertainment park from 1969 through the Soviet era. Because even in the face of doom and gloom people need theme rides. However, the with the fall of the Berlin wall people found other ways to entertain themselves and the park fell farther and farther into debt until in 2001 they announced they were insolvent. Rich people talk for ‘broke’. The park encompasses an area of 29.5 hectares and what once welcomed some 1.7 million visitors is now an abandoned husk of forgotten dreams getting a direly needed makeover with nature reclaiming the land.
North Brother Island, New York
For a city as giant as New York it is mandatory to have at least one abandoned hospital, an origin story to a deadly disease and a tragic fire story where hundreds dies. Thank fully, North Brother Island ticks all check marks and then some. The island has a hospital in the 19th century where medical practices were so poor it started the second round of lethal Typhoid fever epidemic, later it was used as a facility for the victims of war and then finally it was used as a teenage rehab centre. Just to add a little cherry on top. The island is now in a state of complete desertion.