I’ve been in Ft. Myers Florida the last few days and to orient myself I’ve looked a bit at Google Earth. I was immediately fascinated by the aerial view of Cape Coral which lies just to the west of Ft. Myers.
The pattern of roads would make a lovely carpet.
To the east of Ft. Myers lies a community called Lehigh Acres. Like many of the developments around Ft. Myers, this one was hard hit by the 2008 housing bust leaving its well organized grid conspicuously devoid of houses.
The develop has had a uneven history and had been declared blighted as early as 1992, over the course of 2000s developers worked hard to build houses and build a tax base, but this all came to a halt in 2008 with the housing boom leaving numerous vacant lots. (Cf. Wilk and Schiffer’s seminal paper in American Antiquity 44 (1979) on this topic.)
I wonder whether a survey of the vacant lots in Lehigh Acres would be profitable to see how empty lots in a struggling development are used.
Vegetation will be a problem in many of the lots, of course, and we’d need to figure out how to get permission, but I bet the results would give insights into the use of marginal land in the U.S. (So far, I’ve not been able to convince my parents to take me out to Lehigh Acres for a drive through survey…)
For some comparison, I’ve included aerial views of Grand Forks at 14 miles and 31000 square feet.