I drive around town and I see some truly disturbing sights. Whole strip malls abandoned. Entire parking lots completely empty. Business "complexes" built years ago with the same "For Rent" or "For Lease" signs in the same windows. Entire malls that were sprawling with customers 25 years ago are now completely vacant, like a ghost town in the old west.
And I start to wonder, 60 years ago, right where those strip malls and "walk-in" malls now stand, all along those vast parking lots of pavement, there used to be forest and hills and grass. But for some reason, maybe an entrepreneur's dream or the growth of America, someone or a group of someone's decided to build it "so they would come." And come they did. For decades maybe, those malls and parking lots were full of America's people, hungry for commerce, for retail, for a good parking spot.
What are the chances that miraculously people will start to occupy those malls and parking lots again? What store, in this age of online commerce is going to get people off their couches, out of their houses and parking on that pavement? I say slim to none.
Lets just agree that “they aren’t coming.” Can we? So now what do we do with the buildings and pavement? Is anyone coming to bulldoze that shit up and plant some trees, grass, or maybe put in a duck pond? Doubtful. And NO, we don’t need more apartment complexes, developments or boutiques. (I love me a boutique now and again but c’mon.)
Why don’t cities take back these brick and pavement catastrophes and put in a lil green? While I’m not much of a couch-sitter, I’d get off my ass for a nice walk in the park. Maybe see some mallards frolicking in the pond. I’d take my old bread there too. Think what a 12-acre park in the middle of a run down town could do for the people there. Think of how much fun kids and mom’s with strollers and semi-retired folks could have after they’re done in (insert department store chain) and only need to go a block to find somewhere to try out those new sneakers or enjoy the zip up sweatshirt.
I’m at a loss for what to do but I have to start with a desire. Maybe I can get more people to motivated by green grass instead of green money. Stay tuned, more to follow.