Campus News

Circle Gallery to exhibit failed ‘American Dreams’ photography exhibition

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Photos of failed subdivisions will be on display in the Circle Gallery Nov. 8-Dec. 21.

The Circle Gallery in the College of Environment and Design will host the exhibit American Dreams: The Paradox of Failed Subdivisions in Georgia, featuring photographs by alumna Stephanie N. Bryan, Nov. 8-Dec. 21. An opening reception will be held Nov. 8 from 4:30-6 p.m. in the gallery.

This photographic exhibition documents failed residential and commercial developments in Georgia following the recent economic downturn. The images depict long-term ecological and social impacts of human actions, the fragility and resilience of nature, small acts of human reclamation and redemption, and the unfulfilled American dreams that lay fallow in farm fields.

Bryan, who received a master’s degree in landscape architecture from UGA in 2011, works as a landscape historian with the Jaeger Company. She has spent her free time during the past three years traveling throughout Georgia to document changes in rural and suburban landscapes through photography and writing. Her photographic essay aims to convey the effects of these changes and inspire people to consider how to avoid over-development.  

The U.S. converted 7,491,300 acres of its rural land—an area nearly the size of Maryland—to developed land between 2002 and 2007, according to the American Farmland Trust. Developed land increased by 57 percent, while the population grew by only 30 percent in these years. Consequently, more than 18.5 million vacant residential lots exist across the American landscape. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Georgia has approximately 150,000 of these idle spaces. 

These unrealized developments create an alien aesthetic that is neither rural landscape nor suburban neighborhood. Left in legal and political limbo, these areas limit the ability of public and private planners and landscape architects to grapple with the implications of incomplete designs. 

The exhibition can be viewed weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.