November 01, 2014

Aerial Suburbia » American suburban sprawl captured from the air

American urban sprawl is rarely seen as attractive or even interesting, but see it from the air and the story changes.

urban sprawl

Images © Christoph Gielen

These amazing images come from photographer Christoph Gielen, a German photographer who has captured the strange characteristics of urban development and visual impact of the mass developments around the world for years. Taken from a helicopter, Gielen manages to capture the true architectural essence of what these urban developments are all about. Master planning and geometry.

urban planning

Images © Christoph Gielen

Whatever may catch your eye about these images, it is a stark reminder of what can happen when humans plow-on with progress without stopping to think about what the best collective urban solution for the future might be. Blinded by the vast areas available in a country as big as the US, developers and local authorities seem  to have barely stopped to think about the global consequences of housing people further and further away from town center. Suburbia causes the need to spread like viruses over vast uninhabited landscapes for a bit of comfort and a bit of private garden. What they fail to realize is that these intricate ‘networks’ of suburban pockets carry a great burden to this planet. There is a need to travel further for groceries and basic services like water and sanitation have to be unnecessarily diverted and stretched beyond their needs. At a time where the car is being scrutinized and put under pressure to change the ‘old’ mentality of fuel for something cleaner, such as electricity, maybe it is time that architecture in the United states begin to acknowledge its part in this oil dependency mess.

“Sprawl is a really careless use of new land. I want people who look at my photos to start a reconsideration of how they live through my art”

Christoph Gielen


Image © Christoph Gielen

suburban sprawl

Image © Christoph Gielen

suburban hell

Images © Christoph Gielen

suburban development

Images © Christoph Gielen

stop urban development

Images © Christoph Gielen

population environment

Images © Christoph Gielen

population and environment

Images © Christoph Gielen

For more amazing images visit the artist’s website or just fly over Las Vegas on Google Earth… it’s frightening!

Other relevant articles that might be of interest you...

Share on Tumblr

About Fermín Beltrán

Fermín Beltrán has worked in Architecture for many years gaining a wide range of real-world design and construction experience. He is fascinated by finding alternatives methods of creating modern architecture in ways that are sustainable, elegant, comfortable and functional. He has vast experience designing and constructing a wide array of buildings ranging from state-of-the-art music halls to social housing and even small holdings in South America. He is currently completing a Masters in Advanced Sustainability at the University of Dundee in Scotland Connect with him on » LinkedIn » and on Flickr

Access all our previous articles by month

What is Sutmundo?

{ Sustainability. Urbanism. Technology. Planet Earth } is an online periodical that publishes eco-friendly content to promote the latest green innovations and humanitarian projects around the world.

We share green design knowledge through the web to discover the best sustainable solutions that will help us reach a modern green society.

Feel free to browse through our archives…why not

Have your say + share your green ideas

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

Green Top Sites - Ranking the Best Green Sites on the Internet