Real Estate

What would you do with an empty lot?

If you squint, you can make out the tiny wealthy residents, too. via Property Shark
Come on, you could do better than this. via Property Shark

Let’s say you’re a city planner responsible for the development of a city whose principal gripes are income disparity, gentrification and small business support, and someone points you toward an empty patch of land in your city. What would you do with the space?

If your answer was “build a luxury condo,” you can honestly just show yourself out. These interactive sliders popped up on Property Shark this morning, and playing with them shows you just how depressing a condominium looks against the skyline. But it did set us thinking about what might be a better thing to put in its place.

Notorious eyesores like The Edge Towers and 338 Bridge are featured in Property Shark’s article, which credits luxury high-rises as giving “renters and buyers the opportunity to be part of one of the world’s hottest markets.” First of all, opportunity assumes affordability; the prices on condo units definitely don’t fall into that category. And as far as “opportunities” go, being a part of a luxury market isn’t exactly something we all aspire to do.

Instead of condos, those empty spaces could have been replaced by small business storefronts, new green spaces, or permanent flea markets. You know, actual infrastructure! Affordable units aside, condos are still part of a shameless movement that depends on delusion: inflating cost, then brand, then cost, then brand, then one, then the other, and on and on until we’re every single one of us priced out of single-family seven-story mansions, and all that’s left to do is die and maybe be buried in a luxury high-rise mausoleum with affordable units and a separate entrance for the poorer corpses.

Anyhow, that’s our piece. What would you do with an empty city lot, brokesters? Let us know in the comments section! Meanwhile, we’re going to go play with some far more entertaining sliders while we wait for the real estate bubble to burst.


  1. Conal Darcy

    I lived in a beautiful neighborhood in Berlin where the entire blocks were late-1900s apartment buildings that ringed internal common courtyard for the residents. They were cheap, had plenty of room and character, and lots of space for on-street commercial. This is what it looked like from the sky:

    Oh, if I had the money I’d develop empty blocks in Brooklyn like this. Why does anyone want to live in the city when your home is in an isolated tower surrounded by nothing?

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