Monthly Archives: December 2009

MONTAGE: Small town in the big city.

Fort Wayne Christmas 2009 027

As an antidote to my previous, text-heavy post, I offer one that focuses almost entirely on images, looking at remnants of small towns and rural communities in Marion County that have long ago been engulfed by the continuous urbanization of the city of Indianapolis. I’m not the first to attempt this. Urban Indy has featured …Read more…

Invisible fences for humans, Part III: Importing desirability to schools that lack the demographic advantages.

My previous post on this subject explored my hypothesis, on how school districts derive most of their competitive advantage from demographics that favor high educational attainment. The greatest public schools earn their cachet far more from demographics that skew towards either low poverty or ethnic homogeneity (or ideally a combination of the two) far more …Read more…

Gowns rewrite the town—twice over.

A casual scan across most urban campuses reveals that they have been building increasingly densely to accommodate new growth, after several decades of building at a lower density than the at their original, historic core. More often than not, they have no other choice. Suffering a scarcity of available land but benefiting from a captive …Read more…

Retail’s softer side.

Of all the major department stores hoping for bang-up business over the holidays (at least compared to the 2008 nadir), perhaps the one that’s been the quietest in recent years is Sears. For over half of a century, the Sears, Roebuck and Company was the number one retailer up until the early 1980s, before the …Read more…

Oiling the gears.

I’ve received several notifications from people that some of my posts have had a series technical glitches. None of these have been apparent to me as a Firefox user, but apparently those who use Internet Explorer have found problems with missing text and misplaced sidebars. I believe I have corrected those errors, particularly with the …Read more…

Love your neighbor. Keep the hedge.

Keeping the spirit of my last study on the boundaries of Bexley, this post is more of a prelude to a lengthier study I hope to begin—eventually—on barriers, their evolving sophistication in keeping out the unwanted, as well as their expressive role in human settlements of varying scales. My study will at least partially respond …Read more…

Time to break down those cubicles at DPW?

Most cities’ Public Works Departments have several sub-departments within the larger entity. For Indianapolis, those smaller units consist of Customer Service, Engineering, Environmental Services, and Operations. Obviously I have no idea what the day-to-day events in this department entail, so I always need to approach any serious shortcoming with measured criticism. But it doesn’t take …Read more…

Roadside Americana gets flair.

When a community takes a banal public works project and gussies it up, it is certain to divert a visitor’s gaze—what normally blends in to the landscape because of its ubiquity and sheer ordinariness has suddenly become remarkable. Other initiatives simply attempt to camouflage what the public almost unanimously agrees is an ugly piece of …Read more…