1. The Beautiful Vancouver Beach Town With Only One Resident
But between pollution, erosion, tsunamis, rising water levels and earthquakes many coastal towns are discovered to be less than ideal places to live, so people move out and leave the beach be.
That's what happened in the Vancouver town of Jordan River- the frequent earthquakes, and floods triggered by the earthquakes, left the town empty- except for one resident who refuses to move.
72-year-old Hugh Pite divides his time between his homes in Jordan River and nearby Brentwood Bay, and even though he has been warned of the dangers of living in Jordan River he says he'll never leave:
"I'm right across the road from the water and I go out there and I go surfing," Pite told CBC News. "If I didn't have the place there, I'd have to drive an hour and a half each way, which is in my opinion far more dangerous than the very slight chance of an earthquake."
Pite first learned to surf while living abroad in Australia in his early 20s. When he returned home to Vancouver Island in his early 30s, according to the Times Colonist, he came to know the surfing community in Jordan River. He purchased a home there in 1987.
The town has changed a lot since then—in the last year alone, it has dwindled from 100 residents—but Pite isn't concerned. He's keeping his little slice of paradise, even if that means "it's going to be a bit lonely," he says.
"It's quite possible I become so decrepit that I can't surf anymore," he said. "But I can still come here and look out the window and surf vicariously."
2. Nebraska woman is mayor and only resident of rural town
"And the oldest," she is quick to add.
When you are the only resident of a community, every title fits.
Eiler, 77, is the lone inhabitant of Monowi, a village in northeast Nebraska. That is unique, according to new 2010 U.S. Census data, which indicates Monowi to be the only incorporated town, village or city in the country with only one resident.
Monowi had two people in 2000, the census showed, but the other one was Eiler's husband, Rudy, and he died in 2004.
"We probably have the record by going down in population 50 percent," Eiler quipped. "I chose to stay here after my husband died. It's home."
Eiler lives in a mobile home a half-block from the only business in town -- the Monowi Tavern. This is convenient because Eiler owns and operates the tavern. She and her husband bought the place in 1971 and she is there 12 hours a day serving drinks and food. Eiler also runs the town library, a tiny building jammed with 5,000 books that is dedicated to Rudy, a devoted reader.
3. Buford, Wyoming, US
The town was originally named Buford (in honor of Major General John Buford), a Union cavalry officer who fought during the Civil War. In 2013, the town was sold to a Vietnamese owner, who re-branded it as "PhinDeli Town Buford." )The postal addresses, however, still bears the town's original name.) In 2013, the population was 1—Don Sammons.
Sammons moved to Buford in 1980 with his wife and son. In 1992, he purchased the town. His wife died in 1995, and his son moved away around 2007, making him Buford's only resident.
The local convenience store, gas station and modular home were put up for sale after Sammons decided to move closer to his son. The town was sold on April 5, 2012, for $900,000 to two Vietnamese men, one of which was later identified as Ph?m ?ình Nguyên.
4. Lost Springs, Wyoming
For the 2000 census, only one person resided in Lost Springs. However, Mayor Leda Price claims the figure was inaccurate and claims Lost Springs had four residents in 2000.
As of 2010, there were four people, three households, and 0 families residing in the town and the population density was 44.4 inhabitants per square mile (17.1/km2).
5. Villa Epecuen: The Town That Was Submerged For 25 Years
Lago Epecuen’s therapeutic powers have been famous for centuries. Legend holds that the lake was formed by the tears of a great Chief crying for the pain of his beloved. It is said that Epecuen — or “eternal spring” — can cure depression, rheumatism, skin diseases, anaemia, even treat diabetes.
By late nineteenth century, the first residents and visitors started to arrive to Villa Epecuen and set up tents on the banks. Villa Epecuen transformed from a sleepy mountain village to a bustling tourist resort. The village soon had a railway line linking it to Buenos Aires. Before long, tourists from all over South American and the World came flocking, and by the 1960s, as many as 25,000 people came every year to soak in the soothing salt water. The town’s population peaked in the 1970s with more than 5,000. Nearly 300 businesses thrived, including hotels, hostels, spas, shops, and museums.
Around the same time, a long-term weather event was delivering far more rain than usual to the surrounding hills for years, and Lago Epecuen began to swell. On 10 November 1985 the enormous volume of water broke through the rock and earth dam and inundated much of the town under four feet of water. By 1993, the slow-growing flood consumed the town until it was covered in 10 meters of water.
Nearly 25 years later, in 2009, the wet weather reversed and the waters began to recede. Villa Epecuen started coming back to the surface.
No one returned back to the town, except 81-year-old Pablo Novak who is now Villa Epecuen’s sole resident.
“I am OK here. I am just alone. I read the newspaper. And I always think of the towns golden days back in the 1960s and 70s,” Novak says.
In 2011, AFP photographer Juan Mabromata visited the ruins of Villa Epecuen, met its sole inhabitant, and returned with these images.
6. The sole resident of post-Fukushima ghost town
Devastated by an earthquake and ensuing tsunami that flattened part of the north-east Japanese coastline on March 11th 2011, the Japanese nuclear power plant of Fukushima Daiichi went into meltdown, causing high-level nuclear contamination of a vast surrounding area and the forced evacuation of hundreds of thousands of local inhabitants.
The most contaminated zone, set in a 20-kilometre radius encircling the plant, remains an official restricted area, in which only temporary access is allowed, mainly for the dangerous and laborious clean-up work.
Beginning in April 2011, just weeks after the catastrophe began, Italian photographer Antonio Pagnotta clandestinely ventured into the exclusion zone (see a map detail here) for a series of photo-reportages which he completed in March this year. His brave work provides a rare and chilling vision of the effects of the cataclysm, the worst civil nuclear disaster since that of Chernobyl in 1986.
Mediapart is publishing a selection of his stunning pictures, brought together in a series of themes, beginning here with a report on a farmer, Naoto Matsumura, who continues to tend his land at Tomioka, once home to nearly 16,000 people, now a ghost a town inside the restricted area, where he is the only resident, living without running water or electricity.
In March 2011, Matsumura was among the thousands who fled the zone as it was swept by a nuclear cloud, but he soon returned to tend the land, abandoned animals and even a local cemetery. He sees it as his duty to keep life and presence in defiance of the devastation.
According to official Japanese figures released in February this year, the events of March 2011 left 15,800 people dead, another 6,000 injured and more than 3,200 people missing. A total of 343,000 people were evacuated from the area around Fukushima and still living in temporary accommodation.
7. Cass: A one-man town
"I didn't want to come here in the beginning to be honest," he said.
But 25 years later, despite being the Selwyn District town's only resident, Drummond said he had no plans to leave any time soon.
Drummond, 65, who works for KiwiRail and is responsible for the highest section of the track linking Christchurch to Greymouth, said he never felt lonely or isolated in the one-man town.
It was only a short drive to Arthurs Pass or Flock Hill and there was always visitors passing through wanting to look at the railway station made famous by Rita Angus' iconic painting more than 60 years ago, he said.
"There's always people here all the time. There'd be four or five people here every day calling in to look at that," Drummond said.
Ironically, it was largely the people that made him stay.
Drummond said he had developed life-long friendships with locals in the area.
"That's what made me stay here," he said.
And as for the lack of woman... well "it's never really worried me", Drummond, who has never been married, said.
Drummond said there was not a lot he missed from living in a city, aside from fast food, particularly fish and chips and KFC.
"I always get some whenever I'm in town," he said.
But he had alternatives for convenience food, the nearby Bealey Hotel or Grassmere Lodge.
He said he found living in a city noisy, and the cost of living expensive.
The rent for his house, owned by the railway, was $50 a fortnight, and there was no traffic to contend with, he said.
Drummond's plans to remain in the town even when he retires, helping the railway with any emergencies.
"As long as I'm able to get around and that I'll stay here."
Drummond also organises an annual "Cass Bash" event, - a weekend cricket match between KiwiRail staff and the locals that sees hundreds gather from across the country.
He has transformed one of the old railway sheds into a bar, complete with stage for the band.
"I don't mind having this thing, but it's gone on Monday.
"It's good to have people around but I'm so used to living by myself now for so many years. I like my own peace and quiet. It's good to see them come and go. I suppose I'm in a bit of a rut now I like doing things myself."
This year about 240 people attended and the railway staff ended the locals four-year reign, winning by one run.
Along with the bash, Drummond has added a mini golf course and most recently a bowling green to the town to try and attract visitors.
But Drummond is modest about his additions to the town; he said simply that he likes "pottering about".