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A new life for an old campus…where the students cannot leave.

As I blogged about recently, the uncertainty following the closure of Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, has left a sizable portion of the town’s incorporated limits in a state of escalating neglect. While the downtown and residential districts of Blair remain tidy (if not exactly teeming with life), the small city’s most prominent institution is closed, most

MONTAGE: An abandoned building is bad enough. But what about an abandoned campus?

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared a mostly photo-driven blog article, and I can’t think of a richer array from recent years than that of Dana College, a private educational institution founded in Blair, Nebraska. Originally affiliated with the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Association (the denomination and nationality of the original pioneer founders), various

Biblical flooding on a biblical floodplain, Part II – Post-Diluvian Ponderings.    

The previous part of this lengthy blog offered the essential background on Zarephath, a small religious community in northern New Jersey, originally known as Pillar of Fire Church, built entirely on a floodplain. In 2011, every building in Zarephath suffered devastation from flooding induced by Hurricane Irene. But that wasn’t the first time. Hurricane Floyd

Biblical Flooding on a Biblical Floodplain, Part I – The recipe for natural disaster.

Whether wildfires, tornadoes, power plant meltdowns, explosions, epidemics, bankruptcies, school shootings, Godzilla invasions, or roving bands of undomesticated alpacas on the loose, the essential agreement for a disaster to capture the public eye is magnitude. This isn’t brain surgery. Size is generally the variable that semantically distinguishes disaster from catastrophe, or separates predicament from setback.

Students or cyborgs?

It goes without saying that college campuses are usually hubs of pedestrianism. Even the most car-oriented, pavement-saturated, commuter-dependent academic environments will still harbor more bipeds than one would typically see in just about any other workplace. It’s unavoidable. This association owes much to the etymology of the word “campus”: a derived from the Latin word

Testing the mutability of murals.

Urban murals, once a rarity outside of a few pioneering cities such as Philadelphia, have emerged in the last decade or so as a sine qua non for any big-city civic art initiative.  Philadelphia might still be the national (or even global) leader through its Mural Arts Program, but many other cities are trying to

Sustainable Mayberry.

Impeded by byzantine zoning regulations, compliance with historic preservation standards, or anti-density community activists (aka NIMBYs), infill development is typically challenging enough to implement in an urban setting.  Auto-dependent cities in America—which are the majority—remain littered with parking lots wedged between two older, surviving structures that pre-date the car.  Those lots serve as a reminder

Tending the student flock.

With any urban infrastructure project dedicated exclusively to separating pedestrians from vehicular traffic, the benefit is typically a double-edged sword.  While the investment may allow pedestrians to cross on their own volition at any point in time, it also expedites the flow of traffic at higher speeds through what could be a pedestrian-dense area.  Instead

Economizing and downsizing a city’s landmarks.

When navigating through an unfamiliar place, either urban or rural, we tend to seek visual points of reference to aid us in further wayfinding.  It is as instinctual of an action as folding the corner of a book to keep our place in lieu of a bookmark.  Across the countryside, visual cues assume a variety

The college paints the town anything but red.

The phrase infill development can loosely refer to a wide variety of approaches with the overriding aim of introducing (or reintroducing) a higher density of habitable buildings into a mature, already established built environment. In most cases, the surrounding infrastructure for an infill parcel has long been in place, the adjacent properties are at least

Students or cyborgs?

It goes without saying that college campuses are usually hubs of pedestrianism. Even the most car-oriented, pavement-saturated, commuter-dependent academic environments will still harbor more bipeds than one would typically see in just about

Testing the mutability of murals.

Urban murals, once a rarity outside of a few pioneering cities such as Philadelphia, have emerged in the last decade or so as a sine qua non for any big-city civic art initiative. 

Sustainable Mayberry.

Impeded by byzantine zoning regulations, compliance with historic preservation standards, or anti-density community activists (aka NIMBYs), infill development is typically challenging enough to implement in an urban setting.  Auto-dependent cities in America—which are

Tending the student flock.

With any urban infrastructure project dedicated exclusively to separating pedestrians from vehicular traffic, the benefit is typically a double-edged sword.  While the investment may allow pedestrians to cross on their own volition at

Economizing and downsizing a city’s landmarks.

When navigating through an unfamiliar place, either urban or rural, we tend to seek visual points of reference to aid us in further wayfinding.  It is as instinctual of an action as folding

The college paints the town anything but red.

The phrase infill development can loosely refer to a wide variety of approaches with the overriding aim of introducing (or reintroducing) a higher density of habitable buildings into a mature, already established built

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