2016 - Ongoing
Texas, United States
Nearly every time that I return to my hometown of Fulshear, Texas, I try to remember the way that it was. But often times, it is just not possible. As of 2019, my hometown is one of the fastest growing towns in the state, according to the United States Census Bureau.
When I was a young child, I remember sitting in my family’s car, waiting to turn at the continuously blinking traffic light with no other cars at the single intersection of the town west of Houston. With a population of just over 1,000 individuals in 2010, Fulshear has experienced a growth rate of about 663% in under a decade. It is safe to assume that Fulshear will inevitably become a generic suburban sprawl of the Houston metropolitan area.
The town is still relatively small, but in many ways, Fulshear represents the vast contradictions in American society. What determines the level of wealth in one’s life— is it monetary prosperity or a connection to one’s surroundings? As more individuals move to major cities across the country, suburbs will inevitably grow. The town of Fulshear illustrates what is happening to other areas in the United States with rapid population growth.
Memories are fleeting. In one moment, they are gone. I returned to Fulshear to find glimpses of not only the past of myself and other long-time residents, but also moments that represent the present and future for my changing community, in order to show what happens to a culture when convenience outweighs the long-term effects of urbanization.
Because I know longer live in Fulshear, it is difficult to find the time to document what is occurring. In the three-year period that I have worked on this project, the largest amount of urbanization has occurred in the last two years. With a newly completed tollway expansion, 2020 is projected to be the year with the largest amount of growth for the city west of Houston, Texas. This will be an integral part of the project, to show the last remnants of the town before the way it has been disappears forever.
The traffic light of my childhood no long exists. My family’s single car sitting in the turning lane has now been replaced with a line of predominantly luxury cars backed up for miles. Dusty cattle ranches are now extravagant farms. Vast prairies have transformed into tract housing that stretches on as far as one can see, with one identical roof after another.
My hometown is no longer recognizable to me, but I know that there are brief views into what remains— they just need to be discovered before they’re gone.