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By now, the story is a familiar one, particularly for small towns and various exurban areas: A major retailer constructs what is referred to as a "big box" commercial building, and subsequently closes up shop several years later. While there is often a great public hue and cry over the construction of such buildings, few people have looked into what happens to these structures after they are abandoned. Julia Christensen (a MFA student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) has stepped into the fray to help answer that question. With the use of an interactive map of the United States, visitors can view the transformation of such structures from major retail outlets into flea markets, churches, apartments, and a host of other uses. For each site, Christensen has also included photographs of how the building has been reused and adapted, adding a nice dimension to her work. Planners, architectural pundits, and others will find plenty to keep themselves busy within this intriguing site.
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