When I was going through the photos, I wanted one that presented the best example of catabolic collapse. This is it, it shows new homes that are nestled among the ruins. These little pockets represent the "partial recovery" that makes this theory so unique. Such new housing (however far and few between) are scattered throughout most of the inner city neighborhoods. Like this one, new homes are built right next door to abandoned houses, this was very common. Not only that, but fresh blacktop was recently laid on many of the streets around such projects.
Perhaps a better way to illustrate the catabolic collapse cycles of descent is shown in the graph that I've drawn on the left. This again, is very much like the one that is depicted in John Michael Greer's, "The Long Descent", however, I've added a thinner line that might suggest other scenarios projecting "Long Emergencies" that have no periods of partial recovery, just maybe periods of staying the same or ever so slightly declining. Both lines drawn show a staircase effect, however, the catabolic line (the thicker line) captures the eye showing this staircase effect better, when viewed diagonally. When viewed diagonally, the thinner line more represents some kind of saw tooth effect. This is very important, as I've heard both kinds of scenarios described as having the staircase effect, however the dynamics are not the same. Also, by viewing graphics or abstract models at different angles and by inverted them, can express ideas better or perhaps in a whole new light. More about this later...
Back to the graph and a society in catabolic collapse, each period of crisis (shown by the fall in the thicker line and the period in time is shaded) causes losses in infrastructure, social organization, information resources and population. This period can be described as a "bust". What follows is a period of stability and recovery or "boom" , but only PARTLY (the recovery cannot reach the level as obtained before it). This period will be followed by another period of instability and decline and so on. This trajectory suggests a downward arc. As John suggests in "The Long Decline" and elsewhere, the industrial world has already experienced a mild crisis during the 1970's and also a period of recovery in the following decades. The same process is likely to have more severe crises and briefer pauses, to shape history in the next 200 years..
What I really want to get across to readers, is this pattern or rhythm that John is suggesting in catabolic collapse. It's a period of decline to be followed by a period of partial recovery to be followed by even deeper decline, etc..