Prologue: Ruins, and “Ruin Porn,” in American Cities

  • Tanya Whitehouse


The prologue of this book explains that interest in ruins, including contemporary ruins, is not without its complications. It is an interest that can be as ambiguous as the structures themselves. We may wonder not only why these structures cause aesthetic interest, but whether they should. The prologue notes that the work will address the following questions: Isn’t it odd to enjoy scenes of destruction or abandonment? To photograph them? How could buildings built to do something decidedly non-aesthetic be regarded as beautiful or aesthetically interesting? For that matter, how could they be considered the same as the ruins of much earlier centuries? And in any case, now that many of them are no longer fulfilling their functions, what should be done about them?


Ruins Ruin porn 


  1. James, Henry. The Italian Hours. Accessed September 7, 2018. Originally Published 1909.
  2. Macaulay, Rose. Pleasure of Ruins. New York: Walker and Company, 1966.Google Scholar
  3. Parsons, Glenn, and Allen Carlson. Functional Beauty. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2008.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanya Whitehouse
    • 1
  1. 1.AustinUSA

Personalised recommendations