Across the United States, suburban sprawl is consuming our landscape and homogenizing our sense of place. As an individual who spent her first 20 years growing up in the suburbs outside of Chicago, I found myself constantly longing for nature and wildness, yet surrounded by cookie-cutter housing developments and oversized retail stores. Each time I discovered a new patch of open space, I also discovered a "For Sale" sign somewhere on the property.
Our country is frequently referred to as a melting pot, because of the many ethnicities and races that call the US home. But, this country is also home to many regional cultures complete with their own sense of place, and incredible variance in geography and eco-systems. As suburbia continues to grow outwards from our big cities, it eradicates our natural spaces and takes these unique cultures with it. Through these images of natural spaces before, during, and after development, one can see the sacrifice we are making for the American dream. It seems that even after we reintroduce nature into our landscape, it mimics the buildings through monotony.
Using nature as a stepping-stone, these photographs begin to address the larger issue of the vacancy of place in suburbia and how the design and planning of an environment can make or break the sense of place one can form within it. Rather than subduing nature to create a country of sameness, we need to realize that nature is a powerful tool we can use to create places, not just spaces, to live in.