More than just murals: Philadelphia’s distinctive and superlative legacy of public art.

I’ve spent multiple blog articles praising the colorful initiatives of Mural Arts Philadelphia in the past—including a very recent article—but it occurred to me that precious few of these articles have actually depicted the City-funded initiative in its full form.  Up to this point, I have compared Philly’s influence on mural programs in other cities,

Axonometric artistry: raising the bar for street art.

Despite the expansive array of urban imagery I have featured here at American Dirt, I have rarely covered graffiti as a topic. Perhaps it’s because I fundamentally respect private property and see it as an infringement. But not entirely: I have no problem recognizing graffiti tags if they are funny or creative enough. In many

Interpretive banners as makeshift urbanism: the Durham solution.

Durham, the second largest city in North Carolina’s burgeoning Research Triangle, has historically underperformed economically, at least compared to Raleigh and Chapel Hill, but the progress I witnessed from a visit last fall compared to 3.5 years earlier certainly bespeaks the rapidly growing economy here and elsewhere across the Tarheel State. While in 2015, the

Dirt turns 10!

It is this month, way back in 2009, that I inaugurated this blog, with a post on wildlife tunnels in a suburb of Boston. I wanted breadth. At that point in time, I thought it would just be an amusement—a hobby that would help me hone in on my photography skills, while giving me a

Colorful commemorations: what do painted bikes mean to the unschooled?

Nearly four months had passed—a long time for me—since my last visit to Pentagon City in Arlington County, Virginia, home to a big, well-situated, and (as malls go) prosperous mall, a booming multifamily housing sector, numerous key big-box retailers, and a variety of office complexes—all within walking distance of the none-too-pedestrian-friendly Pentagon. The area is

Petersburg, Virginia: will small cities ever get the same infill as the big kids?

Most cities over a certain population—say 100,000—are enjoying renewed curiosity in their historic downtowns, enough to spawn not just an array of restaurants and bars and (for the lucky few) a handful of flourishing retail establishments, but to attract a solid residential component that helps galvanize even more restaurants. And in quite a few of

Axonometric artistry: raising the bar for street art.

Despite the expansive array of urban imagery I have featured here at American Dirt, I have rarely covered graffiti as a topic. Perhaps it’s because I fundamentally respect private property and see it

Dirt turns 10!

It is this month, way back in 2009, that I inaugurated this blog, with a post on wildlife tunnels in a suburb of Boston. I wanted breadth. At that point in time, I