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Aerial before-and-after illusion reveals 'depressing' reality of urban development: 'This looks so surrealistic to me'

"God the American burbs are so depressing."

Aerial before illusion reveals ‘depressing’ reality of urban development

Photo Credit: iStock

If you get fooled when you see this image on first glance, you probably won't be the only one. 

One Redditor took to the platform to share an apparent before-and-after aerial picture of an urban development in the middle of a desert.  

Photo Credit: u/TownPro / Reddit

But upon closer inspection — and after a quick reveal from the Redditor in the caption — it turns out to be an image of a real community in Arizona, with one long road separating the desert on the left from the housing on the right. 

"This looks so surrealistic to me," said one commenter. "It's weird how there's only houses and no businesses/downtown area. Looks almost like something out of a dream." 

"God the American burbs are so depressing," commented another. 

Upon expanding the picture, the original image came from r/CityPorn, which explained it's the border between the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the city of Scottsdale in Arizona.

So while the planning might seem a little unusual, there is a good reason for the lack of development on one side of the border. 

Interestingly, the symbol of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is the "Man in the Maze." The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona describes how the legend "depicts the experiences which occur during the journey through the maze of life." 

But as the council noted, it's also "an apt design for an Indian Community caught in the web of burgeoning metropolitan pressures." 

Of the 52,600 acres of land, 19,000 remains as natural preserve. The community was established in 1879 following an executive order from President Rutherford B. Hayes, and it is home to over 10,000 members from the American Sovereign Indian Tribes of Pima ("Akimel Au-authm," or river people) and Maricopa ("Xalychidom Pipaash," or people who live toward the water). 

So, in a sense, it is a before-and-after picture. The scenery on the left remains relatively untouched, whereas the right shows what happens when urban developers create housing communities that seem incongruous with the history and traditions of what had been there for centuries before. 

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