Lightweave: Washington DC attempts to replicate (and improve upon) Indy’s stalled Swarm Street.

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My latest article just posted in Urban Indy, despite the fact that it’s fundamentally about a new project going on in Washington DC.  What’s the rationale behind this?  Well, take a look.  Here’s the underpass in question in Washington DC: And here’s the proposed art installation, known as Lightweave:Those attuned to urban development in Indy …Read more…

In Central Falls, a strip mall is still salvation.

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Even in the best of times, the opening of a new strip mall rarely if ever gets anyone’s pulses racing. This one, on the southern boundary of Central Falls, Rhode Island, a suburb of nearby Providence, is no different.The only characteristic that distinguishes this is a certain three-letter adjective that appears in my first sentence—a word …Read more…

Downtown Houston: paved with good intentions.

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One of the most unnerving characteristics of the built environment is when an alternative taste culture becomes so entrenched and so mundane that we forget that it wasn’t always the status quo. And it’s even worse when this anti-establishment product yields an inferior outcome whatever it was that preceded it. I’m speaking so vaguely that …Read more…

Petworth: where the development climate is anything but Frosty.

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In a district of rapidly escalating land values, the natural tendency is for extrusion. Buildings start to stretch upward, growing taller and taller to cram value into a patch of land that, even absent an edifice, is worth a lot. Despite the legal limitations to building heights, Washington DC still demonstrates this phenomenon perfectly. It is a …Read more…

The Great Recession and its undead discontents.

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In the immediate years following the housing market’s catastrophic implosion, it was common to find half-finished suburban developments, where a handful of homes splayed out across a tangle of curvilinear streets. In most of these zombie subdivisions, the developer had already installed water/sewer, at least some of the paved roads, streetlights, road signs, maybe even …Read more…