The New New Thing: Suburban Bunker Buildings

6 thoughts on “The New New Thing: Suburban Bunker Buildings”

    1. Just started reading your blog last week and am working through the backlog. I’m enjoying how you touch on many different regions and cities and always get a kick out of your articles of the jersey shore and Philadelphia. Callowhill is a really interesting neighborhood still. Its certainly gentrifying with new condo towers being infilled and existing warehouses being converted into actual warehouse loft residences, but there are still a lot of purely industrial buildings and even some blight still in the area. It was always a bit baffling to me in college (10 years ago) when I explored it on foot that an area so close to center city’s beating heart and between it and china town and the gentrifying Northern Liberties to the further NE that it would remain so underutilized.

      1. I’m happy to hear you’re getting some value from my rantings.

        There’s a herd mentality and an institutional lag time involved in these things. My mom used to call Philly Filthydelphia.

        It was common wisdom in the 1970s that all inner cities were doomed to degrade into poverty ridden, crime infested, polluted, high tax, low service, majority minority ruin. Only the suburbs were safe, clean, and respectable.

        It’s taken decades for the new memes to be dominated by hipsters, gentrification, the displacement of vulnerable populations, and the whims of the elite. That’s always been as much of an overstatement as the ruin memes were.

        Personally I think we’re at the top of an urbanism bubble that will not continue as expected by the “live/work/play” folks. These things roll out in long slow cycles and this one is about to pivot. The proponents of endless exurban sprawl will also be disappointed in that trajectory.

        The future will be dominated by what I call The Big Squeeze. Instead of focusing on superficial consumer desires we’re going to have to shift to much more pragmatic arrangements that include keeping the population warm and dry and putting food on the table. Blog posts to come.

  1. I too am attracted to the in-between areas, places that are semi-industrial, but walkable, with buildings that are built out of concrete, steel and metal. They are the harbinger of the new urbanism, where makers of things flock to work and live. But to describe your love of this to a typical real estate agent, who only sees life in terms of sales, not potential, is futile.

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