Human Landscapes in SW Florida

From The Big Picture:

A couple weeks ago, I was listening to a story by NPR’s Planet Money team about “Toxie” a toxic asset they had purchased to follow and help tell the story of the recent financial meltdown. One of the mortgages in Toxie was on a home bought for investment in Bradenton, Florida, and the team took a look at housing in the area. Many homes there are empty and have been for years. Huge developments sit partially completed among densely built up neighborhoods and swampland. A guest stated that there were “enough housing lots in Charlotte County to last for more than 100 years”. Boom and bust residential development has drastically affected parts of southwest Florida for decades now, and I spent some time (with the help of Google Earth), looking around the area.


  1. After Hurricane Charley kicked us in the pants 6 years ago Charlotte County was “discovered” as a great place to live by the rest of the country.The housing boom started and property values skyrocketed. Fools like myself refinanced figuring the glory days were here. Then the bottom fell out of the housing market. I’m currently forced to walk away from my property like so many others who are horribly upside down.

  2. Behold! the McMansions! When i am king, everyone gets to live in the city and all the sprawl gets bulldozed.

    This is in part an effect of capitalism. Land is cheap, the only way to grow (they think) is to expand outward, the economics make sense but nothing else does. You get these far off sprawls away from the city where you can get “more house for your money”.

  3. Amazing images.

    Crop circles without crops or aliens.

    Mazes without exits.

    100 years from now it will all be underwater, a suburban Atlantis.

  4. I live just north of that area. It’s amazing how drastic the housing boom climbed and fell here. Prices were way above market value 5 years ago, and now they sell for half of that. At the heart of all of it is greed.
    A friend of mine bought his house in the 90s for $225k. Around 2005 he wanted to sell it and got an offer of $370k, but declined, saying he’d hold out for $400k, since the market was still climbing. Before it hit the magic 400 everything crashed and he never did sell it. Last time I spoke to him he was filing for bankruptcy. As a friend I felt sorry for him, but he kind of made his own luck.

  5. #1 and #13 are unsanctioned racetracks waiting to happen. Does anybody know if the police even bother patrolling these areas?

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