Delaware Water Gap: a landmark border crossing or simply a pretty place to pay a toll?

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Within the lower 48, one the humblest of great border crossings is the Delaware Water Gap, separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey.My use of an oxymoron—“humblest” coupled with “great”—is deliberate. Because in most respects (certainly from a flatlander like me) it’s a geographic marvel, yet, outside of the surrounding region, little evidence suggests that it’s a …Read more…

The Maryland flag: anything but a flop.

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Sure, each one of our nation’s fifty states gets two senators to represent its constituents federally through the legislature, and each state claims an individual vote on amendments to the Constitution. But on matters of the House of Representatives, votes for the Electoral College, budget allocations and just about every other consideration, not all states …Read more…

Bridging the gap between state budgets.

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The unincorporated community of Upper Black Eddy clutches the western bank of the Delaware River as though its existence depends upon the aquatic arterial. Because it does.        It’s so small, the Census doesn’t even track it. Despite the fact the hotel operated by the Black family first operated at least 150 years ago, the …Read more…

Still towing the line…150 years later.

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Driving southward on Pennsylvania State Route 134, one encounters a run-of-the-mill rural intersection, indicated by the streetlight in the distance of the photo below.Doesn’t look like much, does it? If you get a little closer, it turns out it’s one of the most candid indicators of what may be the country’s most culturally significant interior …Read more…

Boundary battles over sparklers and smokes?

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We always look for the better deal first. It goes without saying. When two neighboring jurisdictions apply different regulations to a specific good or service for which great demand exists, the industry that financially depends on that good/service will gravitate toward the less stringent side of the boundary line. I’ve pointed this out before when …Read more…

Why America deserves its retail blight.

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My latest was just published in full at Urban Indy.  It focuses on a new greenfield development proposed in Greenwood, the first suburb just south of Indianapolis.  The proposal, at a site just off of I-65 at County Line Road, includes 700,000 square feet of retail in what is anticipated to function as a lifestyle center arrangement, …Read more…

Perplexed in Pawtucket.

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My latest just made it to Huffington Post.  Fundamentally it’s about two cities and how they strategically toy with the boundary between them. The industrial city of Pawtucket has a prominent border with Providence, Rhode Island’s economically mixed state capital.  Both cities have their fare share of gritty neighborhoods, but, where the two abut one another, …Read more…

Provisions for our peccadilloes.

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Virtually every top-down policy yields a bottom-up response. And is there any policy out there that isn’t to some degree top-down, at least in the nature of its implementation? This isn’t rocket science, but if we learned from the undesirable consequences elicited by well-intentioned policies, we may be far charier to legislate. But then there …Read more…