Philly’s subway entrances: should we cast great infrastructure in iron or cast it away?

As a general rule, the major public works initiatives of America suffer an almost complete bifurcation in our broader societal gaze: between the deliberately ornamental versus the purely utilitarian. We clutch our pearls in attempts to salvage the former—even if many critics impugn these embellishments as kitschy, schlocky, or some other great Yiddish adjective. Their

Mall’s end: brought to you by WBAL.

As a follow-up from my City Journal article last week on the end of retail (and especially malls), neighboring broadcaster WBAL-Baltimore (1090 AM/101.5 FM) asked me to do a brief clip on the future of malls for the Bryan Nehman show earlier this morning.  Nehman’s program runs on WBAL from 5a to 9a each weekday, and my

Society without shopping: the bleak future of malls in particular and retail in general.

My latest came out just in time for Black Friday, on Manhattan Institute’s City Journal: a world without malls.  It’s my most recent rumination on the bleak future of retail in 2018–an industry that looks increasingly likely experience a collapse with no other precedent than era when the suburban shopping mall replaced the American town center as the place

Portland: the apex of bike-friendliness—by American standards.

During my first visit to the West Coast in many, many years, I encountered the following sight on an unseasonably cold Friday morning in the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood of Portland. It might not seem terribly striking to readers of this blog from other countries—just a normal street scene. And even Americans may see nothing

Small town retail: is the outlook any better than the cities?

I’ve spoken numerous times about the dire state of retail, and I’m hardly alone. National urban publications have covered it, obsessing in recent months how even the Borough of Manhattan, America’s most densely populated urban settlement, is witnessing increasingly yawning gaps between its occupied storefronts on formerly bustling streets. And it’s not like the island

Fort Ross: challenging the orthodoxy on the California coast.

Regardless of the time of year, any coastal sunset should supersede something as stubbornly human-wrought as a church steeple. After all, the ephemerality of that palette reduces the comparable permanence of an opulent beachfront home—or even a charming fishing village—to banality.Yet here, along the north-central coast of California, in rural Sonoma County, far removed from

Mall’s end: brought to you by WBAL.

As a follow-up from my City Journal article last week on the end of retail (and especially malls), neighboring broadcaster WBAL-Baltimore (1090 AM/101.5 FM) asked me to do a brief clip on the future of