by jess lewis


urban sprawl is one of my biggest dislikes, especially undeveloped urban sprawl. i’m surrounded by it. wooded areas razed to build new shopping centers that sit empty for years, often in poorly placed locations. low income housing demolished for shiny new developments of  mcmansions (that take years to get even 6 houses built). some of these locations are maintained. they are the ones that become safe places for inexperienced teen drivers to practice their skills and newbie bicyclists to test out their balancing acts on a level surface. others are left to return to their natural state, but with the addition of street lamps, useless parking places, and meaningless traffic signs. some of the older developments are slowly filling with dollar stores, nail salons, smoothie shops, and the occasionally successful local business (while half of the center remains empty). i can’t leave my house in any direction and not pass one of these locations within a mile or two of my house. i’d love to see at least one of these places put to good use for the benefit of the community (a kick ass park or maybe a recreation/art center?). sadly, i don’t see that happening any time soon.




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  1. damiec #
    September 25, 2012

    i can’t help but think of the prescient lyric, “this was a Pizza Hut, now it’s all covered with daisies,” especially when i see these sun drenched, weed covered, never needed developments.

    • September 25, 2012

      one of my favorite talking heads songs (though there are many)! big yellow taxi always comes to mind, too. at least I found a little bit of beauty in them when I got up close to take these pictures.

  2. kingmidget #
    September 25, 2012

    You had me at your opening line … the rest of the words and the pictures add plenty more. Well done.

    • September 25, 2012

      thanks, kingmidget! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.

  3. stacilee72 #
    September 25, 2012

    Great post. You made urban beautiful.

    • September 30, 2012

      thanks. late summer made it easier to find the beauty (at least upon closer inspection). sadly, in a few weeks that will all be gone and these lots will look as barren as they really are.

  4. September 26, 2012

    Gorgeous photos. You and Laura are making the ugly beautiful. Our community fights this sort of sprawl with teeth and claws, and I am so grateful.

    • September 30, 2012

      thank you. it really is a sad sight to witness on a daily basis.

  5. sorryforbeingawkward #
    September 26, 2012

    Reblogged this on sorryforbeingawkward.

  6. September 26, 2012

    Sadly this is all too common. We’ve got our very own “road to nowhere” in my town. And downtown Hartford is just yearning for tenants to rent the beautifully awninged empty space that has been like that since 2005. Ugh.

    • September 30, 2012

      the downtown areas around us (we’re sandwiched between two burbs) are thriving here. there has been somewhat of a revival of those locations and the cities have done a great job supporting local businesses. these strip mall places just keep getting built and keep staying empty.

  7. September 27, 2012

    this is one of my favorite posts so far this month. We have sprawl, but this is unbelievable. Those buildings look brand new. Why would you build that?! Mindblowing.

    • September 30, 2012

      thanks, becky! these building are new, that’s what makes this especially crazy. another thing is, they will clear the land and the land will sit undeveloped for years. years! then they build quickly and the buildings sit empty. it’s really frustrating.

  8. October 2, 2012

    So sad. I see this happening where I live too.

    • jess lewis #
      October 14, 2012

      and they still keep building new ones. it blows my mind.

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