In these economically fraught times, it’s not always easy to find an urbanized restaurant/retail district where one can comfortably kick back a burger and a brew and feel safe, either from crime, civil unrest, or inconsistent enforcement of COVID precautions (depending on what you perceive is the greatest threat). In 2021, the suburbs of large
Eisenhower Valley and the Victory Center: in an otherwise prosperous area, a vacant office building finds a new lease. Or two.
If the name “ Eisenhower Valley ” in Alexandria, Virginia sounds silly to you, you’re not the only one. Why would a natural feature in one of the nation’s original thirteen colonies share a name with a man whose presidency ended in 1961? Was there a little known colonial Eisenhower family who bumped shoulders with
Mixed-use town center as the new “organic” downtown: how distinct can they be if they become as commonplace as malls?
The mixed-use town center is a novelty across much of the county. A metropolitan area of one million people is unlikely to have more than one or two of these newfangled nodes, which typically combine housing, retail, offices, hotels, garage parking, and maybe even an institutional use like a school, a library, or a municipal
I’m not sure what it is, but something about the downtown to the unincorporated Washington DC suburb of Sliver Spring, Maryland seems have spawned a number of unusual urban forms: acute angles, bizarre protrusions, and neglected little corners. I’ve written about this once before: how a building’s orientation and street frontage created a little storefront
In April of 1967, the City of Montreal unveiled an unprecedented architectural showpiece, attendant to hosting the International and Universal Exposition, an event that most people referred by its catchier abbreviation “Expo 67”. This spectacular feat in construction owes a great deal to tradition. Starting with the the World’s Columbian Exposition (the Chicago World’s
On a relatively quiet block in the densely built, mixed-use Navy Yard neighborhood in Washington DC, a single structure stands out for its modest appearance. But in the Navy Yard, which, according to some measurements, has metamorphosed from a sparse and unsafe industrial zone of the 2000s to what is or soon will be
As cites grow and urbanization spreads outward, the most common practice is to build new roads or to expand the capacity of the existing ones. I don’t think this merits much of an explanation. Of course, as the population increases, an elaborate network of roads becomes more essential, to accommodate both people and (inevitably) their
For those who don’t go to malls regularly—which, in 2020, it’s safe to assume is most of us—we’ve probably stopped thinking all that much about the act of shopping altogether. By and large, it’s no longer a peripatetic activity. But there was a certain mystique toward the idea of walking confidently down a street—or, more
Okay, since I toiled relentlessly in putting together those two Forest Fair Mall articles, I’m entitled to slack off for a post. And this time it’s not even a decent photograph; on a bright winter day it’s hard not to eliminate the hard shadows. Sorry about that. But the point still comes across, as will
While almost all urban aficionados have heralded the revitalization we have witnessed in downtowns large and small across the country, the sticklers and control freaks among us have continued to cavil about one nagging shortcoming: the form of mixed-use and multifamily projects has disproportionately favored big lots with monolithic structures that, while certainly better than