Monthly Archives: April 2010

Removing the gauze.

If you’ve tuned in the past few days, I’ve been gradually tweaking the appearance of the blog to give it a bit more personality. This announcement serves as an indicator that I’m finish making these adjustments for now. No doubt I’ll alter the appearance again in the future, but too frequent appearance changes only serve …Read more…

Mall rot: how they do it in Dixie.

Cortana decay 002

This blog is due for another photo montage, and while the subject this month is hardly original, it remains one of my favorite: the always fascinating dying mall. I’ve explored several examples in the past: two in Indianapolis and one outside of Detroit. But dying malls are hardly relegated to the Midwest—all across the country, …Read more…

Repelling criminals and just about everyone else.

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A few years ago I was assigned to collect demographics on the downtowns of a number of different American cities of varying sizes, from Detroit to Lafayette Louisiana, using carefully defined census tracts that correlated as well as possible from 1970 to 2000. We were hoping to find similar characteristics to the downtown dwellers across …Read more…

A view of the slump. . .from within.

New Orleans Crack hotel 002

It’s not just the domain of rambling old men in seersuckers on front porches. Everyone knows that New Orleans is sinking. The Tragically Hip even wrote a song about it. The idea of a post-apocalyptic New Orleans submerged in the Gulf of Mexico entered folk parlance long before Hurricane Katrina. But is it really doomed …Read more…

The heart of a state, encased in stone.

Baton Rouge Street Wall 001

The average well-traveled person who looks at the remarkably uniform street walls below will likely draw a conclusion that the photo comes from Washington DC. After all, with the alabaster facades, the prosaic fenestration, and—most tellingly—the uniform height of all the structures, the photo could capture a typical avenue in the sprawling central business district …Read more…

Blurred vision.

Hilton Bathroom

My apologies for the rather arid posting period. I have been at a conference that has consumed much more time than I expected, and on top of that, I have come down with a mild illness. While I promise to post more profoundly in the near future, I interrupt the dry spell with another of …Read more…

Hurdles on the runway.

Memphis airport oldness 002

For the most part, the scale of a city’s major institutions correlates directly to the metropolitan area’s size and economic power. Metros like New York and Chicago win the flagship luxury department stores, they have the highest number of super-tall skyscrapers, the biggest libraries, movie theaters, power plants, and so forth. Obviously Boston’s Fenway Park …Read more…

A new shade of pastoralism.

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An exploration in unfamiliar territory can often make the typically mundane landscape features pop out. This doesn’t require a great understanding of psychology: when we don’t know our surroundings that well, the employment of the senses becomes more of a conscious act. Much of western Kentucky, of which I am more familiar, is embedded in …Read more…