As They Can Be

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If you’ve been reading along, you know I’ve lately been pondering the topic of vacant buildings. I was talking to someone earlier this week and they brought up my essays on vacant buildings. This person is a relatively recent transplant to Stamford who is enamored with the opportunities in town and they said something that stuck with me. They said they like to look at vacant buildings and think about what those buildings can be. That’s when this line popped up in my mind: “not what they are, but what they can be.”

When you drive by a vacant building, how do you see it? Do you see it for what it is? Or do you see it for what it can be? Or maybe, if you remember its past life or know its history, do you see the building as it used to be? Each of us might see buildings through all three prisms, from time to time. Heck, we might view different buildings in different ways. We have fond memories of one building, so we see it as it used to be. We have no particular feeling about another building, so we just see it as it is. Then, there’s that building whose future we dream about, so we see it as it can be.

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