[sbs_tax tax="States"] [sbs_tax tax="Albany"]

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

The modern storefront looks great, but what they sell is just so two-dimensional.

Like many of the satellite cities surrounding Washington DC, Silver Spring offers a dense, active, well-capitalized downtown with a mixture of uses and solid accessibility, thanks to the robust and ever growing DC Metro system.   And the downtown sits just a half-mile from the northwestern corner of the DC boundary, in the prosperous expanses

Sudsy strategies.

By now, it’s not just something for Portland to be smug about. Nearly everywhere in America—urban centers, suburbs, college towns, sometimes even rural hamlets—seems capable of supporting a craft brewery. Not only have the numbers of breweries and the often family-friendly brewpubs increased precipitously in the last five years, but the market share for craft

Because public art can tow the party line.

In many American cities, the most prominent murals emerge on the blank sidewalls of old buildings, often through months (if not years) of well-calibrated civic collaboration. Philadelphia, the national—and perhaps the global—leader in this art form has its own long-established Mural Arts Program, a well-staffed organization that not only vets the content and creators of

Urban recycling: not a bad (unironic) beer in the box.

A recycling station housed in an old factory building might not seem like a novel concept, particularly in a city with a plethora of underutilized or vacant industrial space.  Like Detroit. And even the appearance of it—a pastiche of industrial chic, street artistry, found objects, and, yes, even a pretty extensive panoply of bins of

Who initiated the scrawled controversy? We know (k)nothing.

In a city as replete with illicitly painted buildings as Detroit, it isn’t hard to find graffiti in which the subject matter both polarizes and fully illustrates the ongoing debate between two parties.  In some parts of the country, these polemics rarely stray outside of the stalls of men’s restrooms.  They’re low-key and almost private. 

Movable, misunderstood apparitions.

In certain subcultures, it’s become a meme.  But it took me a little while to catch on. Only after driving past this curiosity for three consecutive days did I realize what it was.  It’s not exactly showy, but that’s the point.  Look slightly to the left of the center of this photo, and it should

Water tower repartee.

Even if it’s not a commissioned piece like the mural from my previous post, the landscape of artistic expression in Detroit is rich.  Since such a huge portion of it comes in the form of graffiti—which is almost always by definition an act of vandalism—it’s understandable that my opening sentence might carry a whiff of

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

Sudsy strategies.

By now, it’s not just something for Portland to be smug about. Nearly everywhere in America—urban centers, suburbs, college towns, sometimes even rural hamlets—seems capable of supporting a craft brewery. Not only have

Because public art can tow the party line.

In many American cities, the most prominent murals emerge on the blank sidewalls of old buildings, often through months (if not years) of well-calibrated civic collaboration. Philadelphia, the national—and perhaps the global—leader in

Movable, misunderstood apparitions.

In certain subcultures, it’s become a meme.  But it took me a little while to catch on. Only after driving past this curiosity for three consecutive days did I realize what it was. 

Water tower repartee.

Even if it’s not a commissioned piece like the mural from my previous post, the landscape of artistic expression in Detroit is rich.  Since such a huge portion of it comes in the

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.