It’s a really good thing that this isn’t a photo series in which I actually traveled to these places in sequential order. Especially because today I’d be flying back to Ohio and giving Al Gore heartburn!
Anyhow, the next destination is Tipp City, Ohio. In some ways, this is the quintessential small town: beautiful brick buildings, no setbacks, tree-canopied streets, and family-owned shops, cafÃ©s, and restaurants. But the town also hugs Interstate 75 and is just a few miles north of Dayton. The Dayton Region is not growing in population, but like many Midwestern cities, it’s rapidly expanding… outward, not up. Tipp City is seeing the effects of that expansion, as sprawl plagues the major interchanges.
I love this photo. To me, this photo represents exactly what we need to protect in this country—a sense of place. Tipp City has it. Most small towns had it or are about to lose it with the generalization of America. When I travel across the country, most every town looks the same. The charming little downtowns have lost their distinctive characters because the chain retailers have forced them out of business. Or, the businesses relocated to “high-visibility” places.
The truth is, no place is more visible than a walkable neighborhood. You can see so many more details while walking than driving. Sprawl and chain businesses all look the same to me and become overwhelmingly ugly and mind-numbing.
If you happen to be traveling to or through Miami County, Ohio, I highly recommend visiting Tipp City, Troy, and Piqua. The cores of these three cities will remind you of what the old Americana used to be. The rapid sprawling in these cities will remind you of what we stand to lose. You can view more of my photos of Tipp City in the photo gallery.
This article is a part of the Exploring the Walkability of America in 30 Days photo series.