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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

Opportunism in animals: by hook or by crook, they’ll make a home of it.

Some animals are just more opportunistic than others.  In most cases, it cannot help but serve as a survival tactic.  Bears are notoriously omnivorous and remarkably clever at finding ways to access nutrients that accommodate their diverse palates.  It is for this reason that many National Park must use trash cans of a durable material

High tension wires in Pickwick Commons: maximizing utility out of utility line ROWs.

For the small handful of people who are this blog’s devotees, the image below may be a tiny bit familiar.  I’ve covered this small subdivision in New Albany, Indiana once before.  The name is Pickwick Commons, an age-restricted townhome development in which the retirement-age residents retain (at most) a small garden plot to cultivate, but

Falls Church, Virginia: an independent city asserting its identity through…stop lights?

After seventy years of steady and often astronomical growth—from 1940 to 2010—suburban Fairfax County Virginia finally slowed in the 2010s to a more modest pace.  It had no choice.  This county opposite the Potomac River from Washington DC is developed across about 75% of its 390-square-mile land area.  Even more impressive is that isn’t even

Hoboken NJ: gentrification in a time-lapse overdrive, but without all the improvements.

Hoboken, New Jersey isn’t a particularly obscure suburb.  Peering right across the Hudson River toward Greenwich Village, it’s a fortuitously located municipality that basically everyone in metro New York knows.  Odds are good that most adults living in the tri-state area have passed through it at one point in time.   Tiny though it may

“STUDENT DRIVER” strikes again…or do we expect hired drivers to be amateurs?

As I fine-tune and finish up a much longer blog post, I wanted to fill this dry spell with some amusing content that serves as a follow-up to an unexpectedly popular blog post from about a year ago.  I noted last spring the strange, recent proliferation of bumper stickers (magnets in actuality) alerting passers-by of

Footbridge folly: a century-old pedestrian amenity faces a decade of reckoning.

The US earns its reputation for encouraging urban auto dependency, largely by eschewing any good provisions for pedestrians and reducing far too many of its streetscapes to vehicular sewers.  Nonetheless, now and then we can come across some remarkable little pedestrian provision that surprises us.  And it doesn’t have to be in a historically pedestrian

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