In Central Falls, a strip mall is still salvation.

Even in the best of times, the opening of a new strip mall rarely if ever gets anyone’s pulses racing. This one, on the southern boundary of Central Falls, Rhode Island, a suburb of nearby Providence, is no different.The only characteristic that distinguishes this is a certain three-letter adjective that appears in my first sentence—a word

Unisex restrooms: a truce amidst the eternal battle.

In an era when unisex facilities have escalated into a nationwide debate, it’s comforting to see that one family operation hasn’t forgotten what its like to be a little lighter on its feet.  This sign was quite the novelty when I saw it at a café in southern Mississippi several years ago; since then I think

Downtown Houston: paved with good intentions.

One of the most unnerving characteristics of the built environment is when an alternative taste culture becomes so entrenched and so mundane that we forget that it wasn’t always the status quo. And it’s even worse when this anti-establishment product yields an inferior outcome whatever it was that preceded it. I’m speaking so vaguely that

Panda politics: a new diplomacy for the nation’s capital.

Some time overseas has kept me out of the blogging loop for much of this month, but I’m back now. And while I work to catch up on something more substantive, I offer this little ursine divertissement, from a bus stop in Washington DC: It doesn’t take a great social critic or an expert in

When physical malls confront a virtual reality, the brand’s the thing.

Amidst all the talk of mall death—at least some of it from yours truly—it’s becoming easier to spot the retail sector’s outright desperation. When was the last time you visited a chain retailer and were not asked about becoming a member of the rewards program? And how long did it take you to find a

In Central Falls, a strip mall is still salvation.

Even in the best of times, the opening of a new strip mall rarely if ever gets anyone’s pulses racing. This one, on the southern boundary of Central Falls, Rhode Island, a suburb of

Unisex restrooms: a truce amidst the eternal battle.

In an era when unisex facilities have escalated into a nationwide debate, it’s comforting to see that one family operation hasn’t forgotten what its like to be a little lighter on its feet.  This

Downtown Houston: paved with good intentions.

One of the most unnerving characteristics of the built environment is when an alternative taste culture becomes so entrenched and so mundane that we forget that it wasn’t always the status quo. And