Highest and best may not be tall, but it’s still higher and better.

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Urban neighborhoods have been changing considerably over the last decade, and, in many locations, income levels have risen steadily. When we hear about gentrification, the coverage often reaches us through a few recurrent tropes: data-driven accounts of demographic and socioeconomic change; journalistic interviews of individuals who have either left or feel threatened by the rising …Read more…

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…

Along the road to Calvary, a bingo parlor.

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I’ve ruminated multiple times on this blog about how we spatialize ourselves through religion—a subject of great interest to me, but one of which I haven’t plumbed any great depths. And this is not the time. I’ll keep it superficial, while at least adding a little texture to the layer. And here’s that texture: a …Read more…

The ugly, underutilized garage: soon a mere memory?

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Has urban America learned its last lesson on downtown parking? After forty years of declining fortunes, have we deduced that giving people cheap, abundant, convenient places to park their cars failed to save our city centers? Have we finally realized that demolishing 100-year-old buildings to form new garages and lots did not stem the vacancy …Read more…

Is it time to peel back our provisions for parking?

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With few exceptions, any time a person living in a less urban area must patronize a business in a more urban area, a single question emerges… “What’s the parking situation like?” But this commonplace consideration masks an underlying predicament that’s a lot hairier: what is the perception of parking at the destination? And, as is …Read more…

Parsimonious (but potent) pedestrian provisions.

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If you don’t have the money to make it aesthetic, at least you can make it functional. This seems to be mentality that Hoboken, New Jersey, America’s most walkable city, endorses in some of its streetscape improvements. Considering the high median incomes of this city of over 40,000 people per square mile, it’s a bit …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…

A colorful patch on a faded pair of slacks.

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At a primary intersection in the weather-beaten downtown of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, I came across this little row of storefronts.Truth be told, the photo is deceptive. I positioned the camera so that the street rests in the center, only to conceal what is going on at the periphery.   Perhaps the reader/viewer can already tell, but …Read more…

A star is born…and stepped on.  

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The remarkable, resilient city of Hoboken, New Jersey is worthy of blog posts far longer than this one, and someday I will give it justice. But it’s time to start with a snapshot, evoking one of this densely populated burg’s most cherished cultural artifacts. Not surprisingly, the city, directly across the Hudson River from New …Read more…