Pedestrian upgrades: best intentions aren’t always enough to make the grade.

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As pedestrianism intensifies and its strongest advocates promulgate the newest and best practices, we predictably witness compelling or examples well beyond the big-city antecedents. Not surprisingly, we witness the same incremental improvements in accessibility for persons with disabilities, often in tandem with pedestrian upgrades. This should come as no surprise: after all, sidewalks should serve …Read more…

How parochial can public education get?

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Though it sits on a prominent corner in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington DC, this repurposed old school building doesn’t hold a candle in opulence to some of the neighboring churches on 16th Street: It’s unlikely that many would consider it an ugly building, though I suspect historic preservationists would pull their hair out …Read more…

Murals for Mayberry. Or Peapack-Gladstone.

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Over the last decade or so, we’ve witnessed an explosion of murals on the blank sides of buildings. Not surprisingly, it began as a largely big-city phenomenon, most prominently in Philadelphia, whose Mural Arts Program has achieved international recognition for the time, effort and artistry expended on these majestic, multi-story tableaus. (It has also spawned a …Read more…

The Marietta in Indianapolis: Infill and Preserving Murals.

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My latest just went to post at Urban Indy.  A new building, The Marietta, is going up in a fashionable retail, residential, office and recreation corridor near downtown Indianapolis called Massachusetts Avenue.It’s a suitable piece of infill on a triangular parcel, of which Indianapolis has quite a few, due to its prominent diagonal avenues.  From what …Read more…

Passing the bar exam with flying colors.

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Whenever we encounter an odd pairing—anything, really—it’s hard not to ponder how the members of the unlikely duo found one another. The way they engage the senses, or maybe just one sense, is unexpectedly symbiotic. Like when the zing from spicy Buffalo wings gets muted by the buttermilk in blue cheese dressing, usually abetted by …Read more…

Meter meditations made material.

Loath as I am to feature a blog article without a single photo, work and travel obligations are preventing me right now from getting my “real” articles written at the pace that I’d like. And this topic makes for good filler, because it’s a follow-up on a previous small article that generated a fair amount …Read more…

Porous placeholders.

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A multitude of American cities have experienced resurgences in their urban centers over the last decade. Nonetheless, it typically seems that one city in particular enjoys the lion’s share of favorable publicity for a few years…and then passes the baton to another. New York wore the crown through much of the late 90s, with a …Read more…