Another defunct college campus, cleft in two.

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If I call this article my third installment in a trilogy on abandoned campuses, I guess that implies that I’m done with the subject for a while. And I am. But after exploring old campuses in small cities (or perhaps “big towns” is the better term) in Nebraska and South Dakota, it’s time to take a …Read more…

A new life for an old campus…where the students cannot leave.

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As I blogged about recently, the uncertainty following the closure of Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, has left a sizable portion of the town’s incorporated limits in a state of escalating neglect. While the downtown and residential districts of Blair remain tidy (if not exactly teeming with life), the small city’s most prominent institution is closed, most …Read more…

MONTAGE: An abandoned building is bad enough. But what about an abandoned campus?

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It’s been a long time since I’ve shared a mostly photo-driven blog article, and I can’t think of a richer array from recent years than that of Dana College, a private educational institution founded in Blair, Nebraska. Originally affiliated with the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Association (the denomination and nationality of the original pioneer founders), various …Read more…

Biblical Flooding on a Biblical Floodplain, Part I – The recipe for natural disaster.

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Whether wildfires, tornadoes, power plant meltdowns, explosions, epidemics, bankruptcies, school shootings, Godzilla invasions, or roving bands of undomesticated alpacas on the loose, the essential agreement for a disaster to capture the public eye is magnitude. This isn’t brain surgery. Size is generally the variable that semantically distinguishes disaster from catastrophe, or separates predicament from setback. …Read more…

Students or cyborgs?

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It goes without saying that college campuses are usually hubs of pedestrianism. Even the most car-oriented, pavement-saturated, commuter-dependent academic environments will still harbor more bipeds than one would typically see in just about any other workplace. It’s unavoidable. This association owes much to the etymology of the word “campus”: a derived from the Latin word …Read more…

Testing the mutability of murals.

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Urban murals, once a rarity outside of a few pioneering cities such as Philadelphia, have emerged in the last decade or so as a sine qua non for any big-city civic art initiative.  Philadelphia might still be the national (or even global) leader through its Mural Arts Program, but many other cities are trying to …Read more…

Sustainable Mayberry.

Impeded by byzantine zoning regulations, compliance with historic preservation standards, or anti-density community activists (aka NIMBYs), infill development is typically challenging enough to implement in an urban setting.  Auto-dependent cities in America—which are the majority—remain littered with parking lots wedged between two older, surviving structures that pre-date the car.  Those lots serve as a reminder …Read more…

Tending the student flock.

With any urban infrastructure project dedicated exclusively to separating pedestrians from vehicular traffic, the benefit is typically a double-edged sword.  While the investment may allow pedestrians to cross on their own volition at any point in time, it also expedites the flow of traffic at higher speeds through what could be a pedestrian-dense area.  Instead …Read more…

Economizing and downsizing a city’s landmarks.

When navigating through an unfamiliar place, either urban or rural, we tend to seek visual points of reference to aid us in further wayfinding.  It is as instinctual of an action as folding the corner of a book.  Across the countryside, visual cues assume a variety of incarnations: a distinctive geological form, an unusual sign, …Read more…