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The statue of the parents of Francisco el Pocero, constructor of the Residencial Francisco Hernando in Sesena, Spain. El Pocero planned to build the biggest housing development in Spain’s with 13,508 homes. However, only 5,096 houses have building permit, and only 750 people have been registered so far in Sesena. 28/05/2011

Spain is one of the countries hardest hit by the European economic crisis. Thanks to a highly unstable financial and real estate market, an estimated 1.2 million new empty houses litter the landscape, affecting a large majority of the population. In parallel, unemployment figures are growing to such an extent that in some areas, especially in the south, cities are experiencing unemployment rates as high as 40%.

I have traveled around the country to photograph the ghost towns and documented the daily lives of unemployed people in Espera and Moron de La Frontera, two Andalucian towns where unemployment levels are among the highest in Spain. And yet, as a proactive attempt to find ways of tackling the crisis, many are organizing themselves to protest and to request local companies to recruit new workers. In towns such as Moron de la Frontera, the tactics are perhaps more urgent, with unemployed civilians mobilizing to gather potatoes missed by the farmers’ harvests in an attempt to survive; either through sales or as a simple source of food.

Even in this corner of the developed world, the impact of Europe’s economic crisis is resulting in the often surreal juxtaposition of a hand to mouth existence lived amongst the ruins of failed urban and economic development.

Residencial Francisco Hernando in Sesena, Spain. Francisco Hernando, known as El Pocero, planned to build the biggest housing development in Spain’s with 13,508 homes. However, only 5,096 houses have building permit, and only 750 people have been registered so far. 28/05/2011
Manuel Lobato and his wife, both unemployed, at their home in Moron de La Frontera, Andalucia. 06/06/2011
Cristobal Moreno, 45, is unemployed since the 3rd of september of 2008. 05/06/2011
Antonio, “El Purgui”, looks for potatoes in a field near Seville after the farmers have collected the harvest for the season. 07/06/2011
Housing development Valle de Calpe. 16/05/2011
A pneumatic cemetery in Sesena, between Madrid and Toledo. 28/05/2011
Monte Alto house development in Pioz. Pioz is Spain’s most indebted village. Its empty houses – an estimated 600 new builds lie vacant – are gradually being looted. In fact with its projected income, Spain’s Ministry of Public Administration estimates that Pioz will take 7,058 years to repay its debts. 29/05/2011
“Urbanizacion La Duquesa” housing development in Casares, Malaga, Spain. 15/05/2011
A 20 tone and 300.000 euros statue of Carlos Fabra, former president of Castellon autonomous region, welcomes visitors to the empty Castellon Airport. 17/05/2011
Mar Menor Golf Resort. 70 Hectares, 797 houses. 16/05/2011
Housing development Cortijo Grande in Los Barrios, Cadiz. More than 700 houses were initially planed. 14/05/2011
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Markel Redondo

Markel Redondo, I studied photography in the United Kingdom and China where I started working as a freelance photographer for various international news agencies,… More »

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