Frances Whitehead

About Location

SLOW Cleanup – Abandoned Service Stations in Chicago, 2009; © Frances Whitehead


Abandoned Gas Stations exist in virtually every part of the United States and much of the world. They are typically contaminated with a wide variety of hydrocarbons, which are associated with the carbon economy and the use of petroleum products.


Due to the complexity and liability associated with ownership of properties with contamination, known in the USA as Brownfields, sometimes property owners abandon their land, which revert to local governmental ownership. In the USA, gas stations are typically high visibility corner parcels or other prominent locations in the community, and share the pervasive contaminants associated with petroleum use, PAH’s, PNA’s, BTEX, and other volatile and semi-volatile hydrocarbons, along with other toxins. 


Distribution patterns of re-use of these properties frequently reflects socio-economic factors as part of overall land use and revitalization patterns in a given urban setting.