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Elmira after the flood: sewing together the tatters of a downtown.

A city the size of Elmira, New York isn’t necessarily going to have much in the way of a robust old downtown.  Its population according to the 2020 Decennial Census is a mere 26,523—nothing huge.  Virtually any major metro has at least a few surrounding suburbs of similar size that lack any true organized, historic

Temporary outdoor seating: bringing pep to parking lots when indoor dining was too risky.

I think the majority of Americans would at this point would agree that, in most respects, day-to-day urban life has deteriorated since COVD-19: higher costs to everything, escalating crime, visible vandalism, irregular cleaning and maintenance, and—perhaps this is just me (but probably not)—a general malaise that is either a cause or the effect of those

Corner commercial lots: are they worth more? You can bank on it.

As recently as my last blog article, I alluded to an unusual dichotomy in the value of corner parcels: for the most part, residences on street corners are less valuable than homes on the rest of the block.  People don’t the reduced privacy one expects when a property fronts two streets, when they can easily

Reserved parking: staking claim on the public ROW from a private flower bed.

It’s uncommon that I feature an article where I strive to keep the location mostly or completely anonymous.  After all, that “sense of place” is often a critical feature, and it’s one of the primary ways I organize/classify them: by major city, by state, and (in rare instances) by country.  Only one example comes to

Flagging the falls, geotagging the jokes: another meme for the First State.

It’s not nice.  But it probably was inevitable.  Earlier this summer, during a photo shoot on a weekend getaway to his beachside vacation home, a certain head of state stopped his bike but was unable to disengage his feet from the toe clamps in time.  Having nothing to stabilize himself, he fell over.  No serious

Dolphin Mansion: the country’s ugliest house hits a fascinating planning snag.

The Dolphin Mansion is up for sale again!  Indianapolis’s most notorious home has struggled to find an occupant for the last seventeen years, but it’s not for lack of trying.  Actually more of a campus with six structures on a mega-lot, surrounded by mid-century middle-class housing that’s a lot humbler (and I mean that in

How to stymie shoplifting? Simply suggest some soup-to-nuts security strategies.

With this article I’m presenting my second feature on crime prevention strategies in less than a month.  This isn’t typical.  But then, the sort of criminality urban America has countenanced these last few years hasn’t been typical either, though it’s rapidly becoming so.  Given the double-digit year-to-year increases in violent and property crime, let alone

Whitestone apartments: when low-lying land is for the dogs…and that’s a good thing.

As evidence mounts that the prime child-raising generations at the moment seem to prefer raising pets over children, it should come as no surprise that a growing number of residential developments host dog parks as a predictable amenity.  I’ve covered the topic numerous times before: from a forest clearing in a tucked away corner of

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:

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