I live in Bridgewater, which in our last meeting we classified as an edge city, and I could not agree more. It most notable landmark, is the Bridgewater Commons Mall, a massive cement and concrete monstrosity in my humble opinion.
Surrounded by expansive parking lots, and presenting a brutal fortress like exterior, from a design perspective there may not be much to like about this mall, (expect the food court). The mall is always adding new stores and has added plenty to the interior, but the exterior has seen little change since its opening. The surrounding area around the mall, is all a circular road pattern and parking lots, almost creating a moat of asphalt.
One bright spot is this pedestrian bridge, that allows people from Somerville cross the busy Route 22, to access the mall. Another such bridge has been completed close to the Somerville Circle
Just across busy Route 206 which also encloses the mall on one side, is another feature of an edge city, plenty of corporate buildings. While i don’t consider these buildings ugly, i consider how they were placed rather odd. Not to mention the large amount of open grass fields around them, really seems to make the buildings isolated and larger then they are. Bridgewater is full of these type of corporate lots, with massive parking lots.
I decided also to take take some pictures of the nearby town Somerville. A shopping and dining destination in its prime, the city is revitalizing its downtown, with some new buildings and projects. Somerville is a unique town as it has a mix old historical buildings, with plenty of modern government buildings as well. Below is an example of the old in Somerville, a church and store.
Across the street is the construction of the new apartments, which are part of a larger effort to revitalize the town, and fill it with young workers, who would use the nearby trains station to commute to NYC theoretically. The apartments look pleasing, but are quite a bit taller then most of the other buildings. Hopefully the bottom floor will be occupied by stores and restaurants.
Two more points of interest, are the new pedestrian oriented Division Street. Once a busy side street, only recently was the street closed to cars, and paved for pedestrian use only. Though this picture may not show it, on a good day the stores and restaurants receive much more foot traffic, prior to the closing. Division Street, is a resounding step to making the town much more pedestrian friendly.
Lastly is an example of the old and new Somerville. Pictured below is a rather historical and impressive Court House, another Church, but also a modern administrative building. Somerville was and still is the governmental center of Somerset County. I believe that while the new developments(apartments, Shoprite) are a positive step forward, the historical buildings must be maintained and respected.