Lowe's ascending

Lowe’s ascending
Minolta Maxxum 7000i, 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 Minolta AF Zoom
Fujifilm Fujicolor 200

Everywhere else I’ve ever lived, I was able to drive out of my neighborhood without passing a single store or restaurant. Not here. The only two ways out of the neighborhood empty out onto the big main road, which is a long shopping strip. I’ve never been so surrounded by companies trying to sell me things.

I don’t like it. It feels like this neighborhood’s entire reason to exist is to supply people to these businesses. All of us who live here are immersed in commerce.

I photograph this Lowe’s a lot as it is one of the first things I see anytime I walk or drive toward the main road. I made this photograph from that main road’s old alignment, which is now just a connector road for my neighborhood.

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6 responses to “single frame: Lowe’s ascending”

  1. Roger Meade Avatar
    Roger Meade

    I’d say you are probably not wrong about the reason for the location of the neighborhood. This is really something you have been saying and showing with your photographs for some time now, perhaps without realizing it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I photograph what I see, and while working from home I’ve seen the shopping strip here a lot.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    I wonder if Lowe’s “bermed up” the ground around the parking lot and planted the trees, or if that was there before? One more tree in the center there and your vision would have been “Lowe’s Free”! Some municipalities zone it that way, others just have an ugly flat parking lot!

    I actually remember when this type of development used to be a “thing”. Back in the early 70’s, they built a mall called Northridge on the far northwest side of Milwaukee. All the building happened in league with developers building condo and apartment projects (one called Northridge Lakes), surrounding it, so that you could walk to the mall from your apartment, or work at the mall. The city even built a new high-school within a few miles of the mall. It was supposed to be a contained community. I don’t think anyone ever ran the numbers concerning the ability to work at a mall and afford a condo. I remember a teacher we knew transferring to the new high-school and buying a condo, so he could ride his bike to work!

    Fast forward 50 years and Northridge is completely defunct and padlocked. Also a run-down unmaintained blight. A judge ruled in May of 2020 that the Chinese owners had to tear all 900,000 square feet to the ground as it was a danger and health hazard! The apartments and condos are mostly all run down and crime ridden. And yet, it’s 5 minutes away in a couple of directions from farmland and the county border? People say it’s a research project waiting to happen on how a project could basically develop all the worst problems of the city in a far suburban complex! A partial mystery, but a good example of how maybe people don’t want to live near large retail projects!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I have to assume that the strip mall developer put in the hill and trees. This was all farmland before the strip malls went in.

      I’d like to see some stats on planned communities. I’ll bet 80% of them fail as you describe.

  3. Kodachromeguy Avatar

    Unfortunately, the American landscape is cursed with these architectural disasters. Who will pay to dismantle the thousands of abandoned big box stores and strip malls? Who will restore the landscape and ruined ecosystems? Note that it is “capitalism” to allow a developer to pillage woods and farms, but it is not “socialism” when the municipality has to clean up the damage.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It is so hard to watch the push outward in cities creating new strip malls and leaving old ones behind to molder. There are few good reuses of an old strip mall.

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