(I first published this over on the Johnston Architects Blog that I update, but it was cool enough to get personal).
Despite decades of federal support and societal idealization, suburban expansion has finally slowed, and the economic collapse brought on by the bursting of the housing bubble has only fueled the shift toward greater urban density through suburban contraction. In most cities, this has resulted in thousands of foreclosures, and vast suburban developments sitting unsold.
But in a small extension of California City, in California, the recent economic downturn has had a far stranger – and far more beautiful – manifestation. The developer planned out and laid down an intricate network of roads, and then abandoned the project. These dusty, unused roads form an amazing pattern in the desert, reminiscent of the ancient Nazca Lines.
While it certainly isn’t the most accessible of art, or the most efficient use of space, these urban geoglyphs, the scarred remains of a disappearing ideology, serve as an iconic symbol of our shifting metropolitan sensibilities.