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Hurdles on the runway.

Memphis airport oldness 002

For the most part, the scale of a city’s major institutions correlates directly to the metropolitan area’s size and economic power. Metros like New York and Chicago win the flagship luxury department stores, they have the highest number of super-tall skyscrapers, the biggest libraries, movie theaters, power plants, and so forth. Obviously Boston’s Fenway Park …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…

Campuses have back yards too.

Though I had driven through the mid-southern boomtown of Nashville before in the past, this past weekend was the first time I had left the interstate to tour the city briefly. One of the first stops was the venerable, woodsy campus of VanderbiltUniversity, just a mile or so away from the city center. Much of …Read more…

When urban revitalization is nothing more than a façade.

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Among the more controversial results of arbitration during urban redevelopment is the retention of a building façade, while demolishing everything that comes behind it because, presumably, the layout, traditional use, and possibly even the entire floorplate fail to meet contemporary needs. The growing practice of façadectomy has entered the general development parlance, though the closet …Read more…