As more businesses in the old suburbs vacate, either going out of business or moving to the new suburbs, large expanses of retail and parking lot become empty. This empty obsolescence is an opportunity for a new kind of business and landscape. It’s an opportunity to reclaim the productive pastoral atmosphere of the land before sprawl. This landscape would not be of an antiquated culture or a superficial culture, but a layering of ideals – sustainable practices of the past, new energy efficient technologies, and contemporary culture.
The example presented is a reversal of a function for a big box grocery store, from retailer of food – food detached from processes from which it came to be – to producer of food. The parking lot becomes a park-farm. The inside of the big box becomes a greenhouse and restaurant. Asphalt farming techniques allow for layering of soil, compost in containers on top of asphalt. The big box store’s roof is partially replaced with a greenhouse roof. Other details, such as the reversal of parking lot light poles into solar trees that hold photovoltaics can be implemented. One can imagine pushing a shopping cart through this suburban farm and picking your produce right from the vine, with the option to bring your harvest to the restaurant chef for preparation and eating your harvest on the spot. As other types of businesses become obsolete, out of fashion, they may need to imagine themselves as part of a productive suburb.