Beautiful photos, and very thoughtful and well written prose. Although that’s only one side of the issue. Many other parts of the country for instance my area —Berkeley/ Oakland CA — were boarded-up ruins in the early nineties and are now thriving — wonderfully fixed up neighborhoods teaming with small businesses and life.
We should all keep in mind that the world is constantly changing. While the northern midwestern part of our country was once the industrial/manufacturing capital of the world, the rest of the planet has kept on moving forward and now hundreds of millions are enjoying prosperity that was once confined to a few western countries.