Monthly Archives: September 2009

The true harbinger of social meltdown in New Orleans.

Our original intention for taking this photo while in New Orleans was to vindicate ourselves in case we were ticketed for not paying for our off-street space in a private surface lot. But it also proves useful for another musing on the necessity of parking. Yes, it’s a private, self-service parking meter. And the black …Read more…

Photo upgrades and references.

Several weeks ago I posted an analysis of vacant residential lots as evidenced by the one surviving component: the cement stairways leading up to the former front porch. I included several photos of vacant lots in New Orleans post-Katrina which I remarked at the time were not accurately representing the city’s Lakeview neighborhood. Since then, …Read more…

Can a street name influence the local economy?

MLK Drive Shelton eyesores 015

Recently as I stumbled across some largely unexplored corners around downtown Indianapolis, I noticed a handful of new townhome condominiums had recently been completed in an unlikely area. They comprise what is probably the first new construction in that city block in decades. My suspicion is this development will have several formidable challenges to overcome. …Read more…

Answering the question posed by stairs to nowhere.

A few weeks ago I blogged about paved stairs in an old Indianapolis neighborhood, leading to vacant lots that serve as a reminder of the house that once stood there. Apparently Indianapolis isn’t the only city whose demolition crew decided its not worth the expense of ripping out the sidewalk when demolishing long-vacant housing. Here …Read more…

Pounding what little there is of the pavement.

Sidewalk ordinance 003 (Copy)

My fascination with pedestrianism and the perspective of the walker along city streets extends to what most would consider tedious, minute details. But I have tried to follow every gesture in favor or against the pedestrian landscape that has transpired, both legislatively and from the private sector, over the past few years in Indianapolis. The …Read more…

Faded paint can be a badge worn proudly.

In the past I’ve mused obliquely about how signage can influence the overall character of a retail district. Lo and behold, the character of a retail district can, in turn, influence the type of signage as well. And what better place to demonstrate this than in some of the most heavily trafficked retail locations in …Read more…

The Berlin Wall of housing tenure.

The title to this posting is an obvious exaggeration, because what you see below is hardly a wall; it is not impervious, and people who pass it do not risk being shot. But it is a barricade to a right-of-way on a road in the suburbs of Indianapolis that was formerly completely accessible but has …Read more…

Charm City hubris.

This is by no means intended as an insult to the largest city in Maryland, but the absence of any other context for this bench does lead one to wonder… Donated by the Johns Hopkins Class of 1947? I can’t help but question if a company mass produces these, leaving the buyer to fill in …Read more…

When a better (no, perfect) deal is only 20 feet away.

Planners and economic geographers have long dissected the negative impacts to urbanism induced by the provision of vast stretches of off-street parking in central business districts; Donald Shoup’s The High Cost of Free Parking is simply the most high-profile of many evaluations of the embedded inefficiencies created when public officials do their utmost to distort …Read more…

Sidewalks are just too bourgeois.

Fellow blogger Urbanophile recently pondered the absence of sidewalks in a high-end recent development in Nashville city limits. He marveled at an upmarket subdivision within the city limits having sidewalks on only one side of the street. Nashville, which apparently has suffered recent negative press for its pedestrian unfriendliness, outdoes any Midwestern city in terms …Read more…