Enhanced security and its bleak, inconvenient aftermath.

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These days, if you’re looking to fly out of Newark Liberty International (EWR) and you have no choice but to approach this widely transit-accessible airport by car, chances are strong that you’ll save big bucks by opting for one of the independent, off-site parking providers. And then, if you opt for one of those off-site …Read more…

Potty protections.

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We’ve come to expect a certain iconography at our airports: restrooms, baggage claims, handicapped access, information centers, baby-changing stations, cabs. Less common: subways, light rail, prayer rooms, and, in this day and age, a smoker refuge. Perhaps I’m revealing my East Coast bias—or at least my tendency to orient myself in terms of where I …Read more…

Another hint that a business is toast.

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All of us are guilty from time to time with finding a brand and latching onto it. It fosters exactly the sort of customer loyalty that the producers want. My own brand fascination has less to do with the product—I was hardly hooked on it—but more in how it could have gotten so big and …Read more…

Art space to ad space.

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My latest just went up at Urban Indy.  It looks at Indianapolis International Airport (IND), which, when the new terminal opened in 2008, received accolades for the sensitive integration of public art throughout the premises.  Six years have passed, and most–but not all–of the artwork remains.  But now, virtually every surviving flat service gets monetized: …Read more…

When the first one out the gate is also the last.

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Several weeks ago I explored one of the most obvious consequences of the veritable implosion of the commercial airline industry.  After several years of declining enplanements and repeated consolidations of the major airlines, we will inevitably confront many manifestations of what I saw at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport: virtually an entirely vacant concourse.  This blog article …Read more…

An airport’s hollowed halls.

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After a decade of persistent turbulence within the airline industry, it is no surprise that scarcely a year goes by that one of the big carriers merges with a second, or a third files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  Among industries that the American Customer Satisfaction Index evaluates, airlines elicit some of the lowest scores—if …Read more…

Elevating street art, through both the laws of physics and of popular taste.

Murals are a time-tested method of urban beautification that generally eschew political controversy, thanks to a number of factors: the low cost when compared to other capital improvement projects; the minimal disruption of other routine urban patterns (traffic, utility operation) involved in the “installation” of the mural; their persistent success at attracting private or non-profit …Read more…

The safety of objects.

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The escalation of airport security after September 11th has unambiguously complicated air travel. Hardly a year has gone by since that tragic day without the introduction of a new major regulation, generally enforced by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The use of small box-cutters to intimidate the passengers of the four hijacked airplanes prompted the …Read more…

Hurdles on the runway.

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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…