Bridging the gap between state budgets.

IMG_4334

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…

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

img_4998

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…

A chip off the old bulb.

DSCF1828

Seven months after the announcement, it still seems like the largest municipal bankruptcy filing (at least up to this point) is the stuff of legend—the culminating event, after successive blunders.  The apex.  Or the nadir.  No doubt those of us living here are guilty of a degree of chauvinism as we experience how it plays …Read more…

A signal to retreat to the suburbs? Too late.

DSCF1658

Scattered throughout various locations throughout the City of Detroit, one is likely to run into this unusual sign. It may be unusual in almost any other urban area, but not the Motor City.  In due time, the city could end up removing this traffic light at the intersection of Peterboro Street and Second Avenue altogether.  …Read more…

And on the seventh day…He created a market.

Creation Museum 032

With this article I venture into what may prove one of my most overtly political topics ever, possibly against better judgment.  Yet I wade into these waters as a deliberate challenge to myself, since I strive to separate the intensive political controversy that this tourist attraction elicits from what I think is more interesting and …Read more…

Speed surveillance scamming spreads statewide.

DSCF6566

I don’t usually highlight topical events, and certainly not in a way that they become central to a blog post.  But in this case, I just couldn’t resist—the news is too timely, and it eerily echoes a subject I’ve covered on this blog as well as a rewrite at New Geography: the jurisdictionally defined speed trap.  …Read more…

Treating hemorrhaging retail with a tourniquet.

Plainfield Burlington 004-001

It’s a topic I can rarely avoid for long: the ups and downs of the American retail landscape.  Originally, I had planned to combine this essay with the previous one, on the aged Venture department store in a tired community not far from East Saint Louis.  Then I realized that, while not a meaty topic …Read more…

It may take a village, but what if the village is the taker?

Virtually every metropolitan area in America, both large and small, consists of more than one incorporated municipality, usually with a shared boundary.  Typically the “core” city after which the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is named is the oldest, most industrialized, and the most populous city.  The surrounding, contiguous cities—the suburbs—are the inverse: newer, lower population, …Read more…