There was probably a point in history when virtually every American had heard of Cumberland, Maryland. Not only that, it’s reasonable to surmise that a significant proportion of Americans had passed through it. Aside from the fact that, for most of Maryland’s history, it was the state’s second largest city (its “Queen City” behind Lord/King
Memories of Marsh Supermarkets: Kroger tries (half-heartedly) to fill the void of a once-mighty chain.
My latest post is on Urban Indy. It comes with the local news (WISH-TV) announcement that it has now been five years since Indianapolis grocery store chain Marsh Supermarkets closed all of its 44 remaining locations, having been run by private equity firm Sun Capital for the last 15 years. The chain, a staple of
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwest South Dakota isn’t much smaller than the state of Vermont, but the population is so sparse that the typical Vermonters—hailing from a very rural state themselves—could hardly conceive of the staggering emptiness of this reservation’s 9,000 square miles. With a population only around 20,000, it claims fewer than 6
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
The well-preserved center of Old Town Albuquerque offers at least a hint of surviving evidence of its Spanish colonial heritage, featuring one building from the late 18th century: San Felipe de Neri church. Settlers constructed this church approximately 90 years after the original founding of the Spanish villa of Albuquerque in 1706—a hamlet using the
I rarely feature material as timely as this; in fact, I deliberately avoid content with a short shelf life, mainly because, if one posts as infrequently as I do, one has little to gain from an article whose relevance will fade within 72 hours, as advancements on the subject quickly supersede it. But in mid-March
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
When a settlement grows suddenly and rapidly, it’s common for the new development to completely overwhelm everything that preceded it: not just for the older settlement to get engulfed in the new, but for it to disappear completely. It’s happening all over the fast-growing areas of the American southwest, particularly states like Texas, where formerly rural
Particularly in the last few months, this blog has honed in on retail trends that usually point to the slow demise of the conventional, enclosed, middle-class shopping mall. I just can’t get enough of the topic. And most evidence suggests that, with the possible exception of the high-end ones, the mall is typically failing to
A topic as prominent as teardowns deserves a vigorous analysis, which I’m prepared to offer at some point in the near future. In the meantime, I hope to whet the appetite through this brief montage, to help familiarize those who otherwise don’t understand the context for this relatively recent phenomenon. But what is a teardown,