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A suburban hand in an urban glove. But does it fit?

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On the western edge of Boston’s Back Bay Fens, a stone’s throw from Fenway Park, the Landmark Center stands prominently; as both the tallest and broadest building in the area, particularly when viewed looking eastward from across the fens, it lives up to its name.Monumental as it may be today, the massive structure didn’t always …Read more…

An ecoburb before the word existed.

“Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks that wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world; of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile [sic] inhabitant, but because he is its head and heart, and finds something of himself in every great and small thing, in …Read more…

Gowns rewrite the town—twice over.

A casual scan across most urban campuses reveals that they have been building increasingly densely to accommodate new growth, after several decades of building at a lower density than the at their original, historic core. More often than not, they have no other choice. Suffering a scarcity of available land but benefiting from a captive …Read more…

Faded paint can be a badge worn proudly.

In the past I’ve mused obliquely about how signage can influence the overall character of a retail district. Lo and behold, the character of a retail district can, in turn, influence the type of signage as well. And what better place to demonstrate this than in some of the most heavily trafficked retail locations in …Read more…

Four-Legged Pedestrians?

As I prepare for a significantly longer essay on the introduction of complete streets into the American landscape, I wanted to include a few images of a quiet but growing concern among planners and civil engineers: biofragmentation through the construction of roads.  In his book Road Ecology, Richard T. T. Forman estimates that 1,000,000 animals …Read more…