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Georgetown Circle: cutting the corners out from the old courthouse square.

Where I grew up in the Midwest, most county seats enjoy an almost overbearingly consistent urban form at their historic core.  With few exceptions, they feature the archetypal courthouse square.  The four blocks fronting this courthouse—the four sides of the square—serve as the commercial core, with a variety of different sizes of 19th century buildings:

Classical music and crime prevention: 7-Eleven is just the start.

Several weeks ago I noted what I believe is a misbegotten campaign loosely branded “hostile design”, which seeks to galvanize criticism toward the now-ubiquitous effort of preventing people from getting too comfortable in shared public spaces—so comfortable it constitutes (in some people’s option) outright abuse of that shared civic trust.  We’ve all seen examples: carefully

Directional arrows in excess: the squires’ turf wars cause serfs’ confusion.

“Too many cooks…”  It was an aphorism decades before it became a cult short film–maybe even centuries.  We all know how it ends.  And we can all think of examples.  After thirteen years at the helm of this blog (American Dirt is finally a teenager!), I had to use my website’s own search function to

The Starbucks logo gets entrepreneurial elevation near the lowest point in the world.

It should come as no surprise that a successful brand, once vindicated through repeated growth and revenue amidst expansion, should explore its opportunities in other countries.  This tendency is such common knowledge that it influences global consumer culture almost unconsciously.  Long gone are the days where we might have pondered, “[McDonald’s] is everywhere I go

First Lutheran Church: a permanent record at Encyclopedia of Indianapolis at last!

The subject of this article should win some sort of award for the longest one in the making, but, twelve years later, it has culminated in a major accomplishment: a certain landmark building now has an article permanently inscribed in the Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, courtesy of yours truly.  The structure is the former First

Area of Refuge in upstate New York: more than just shelter from a six-month snow season.

I generally try to avoid two consecutive posts in the same state, but I can’t help myself this time around.  And frankly, the location—the geography, the jurisdiction—isn’t really all that significant.  Though these images come from upstate New York (as the title indicates), the issues that they raise could just as easily be anywhere in

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