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50 articles

If a tree grows in Brooklyn, then Queens can claim an entire garden.

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

Power centers: where beauty is in the eye of the consumer.

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

MONTAGE: Teardowns: cleaning out the residential wardrobe.  

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,

Why America deserves its retail blight.

My latest was just published in full at Urban Indy.  It focuses on a new greenfield development proposed in Greenwood, the first suburb just south of Indianapolis.  The proposal, at a site just off of I-65 at County Line Road, includes 700,000 square feet of retail in what is anticipated to function as a lifestyle center arrangement,

Hustling all the antiques under one roof.  

Even metros with the most resilient of economies couldn’t salvage many of their historic buildings downtown during the 1970s, the virtually undisputed nadir of urban America. The imbroglio facing most cities wasn’t just a lack of investment—there simply wasn’t even any psychological interest. (Not surprisingly, “interest” and “investment” go hand in hand…in more ways than

Preventing an Elm Street nightmare.

It’s a trend one encounters all across the country, in large towns or small cities, of varying degrees of economic health. Almost instinctively, we know when we’re there—in the oldest part of town, usually co-located with the downtown. For the most part, it’s hard not to miss the central business district, which often amounts to

MONTAGE: When the pursuit of all things suburban becomes a religion, Part II.

Part I of this photo-heavy blog article provided an overview of the history of the Village of Kiryas Joel, a rapidly expanding enclave of Satmar Hasidic Jews tucked in the woods of Orange County, about 60 miles north of New York City. Surrounded by what would appear to most viewers as pretty standard post-war suburban

Fencing in the human will.

Driving westward from the suburbs to downtown Grand Rapids earlier this year, I came across an unusual road sign.   Needless to say, it wasn’t easy to read, but it clearly wasn’t a conventional one. In Grand Rapids (as in many cities), most street signage uses a bold, white sans-serif lettering against a green background, as

A signal to retreat to the suburbs? Too late.

Scattered throughout various locations throughout the City of Detroit, one is likely to run into this unusual sign. It may be unusual in almost any other urban area, but not the Motor City.  In due time, the city could end up removing this traffic light at the intersection of Peterboro Street and Second Avenue altogether. 

Grow quickly. Live better.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, from the perspective of urban sociologists and planners, at least, major discount retailers such as Walmart have thrived on the destruction of commercial activity in traditional town centers.  No doubt my assertion borders on exaggeration, but it would have to, considering I’ve cribbed Jane Austen’s famous (and equally

Why America deserves its retail blight.

My latest was just published in full at Urban Indy.  It focuses on a new greenfield development proposed in Greenwood, the first suburb just south of Indianapolis.  The proposal, at a site just off of

Hustling all the antiques under one roof.  

Even metros with the most resilient of economies couldn’t salvage many of their historic buildings downtown during the 1970s, the virtually undisputed nadir of urban America. The imbroglio facing most cities wasn’t just

Preventing an Elm Street nightmare.

It’s a trend one encounters all across the country, in large towns or small cities, of varying degrees of economic health. Almost instinctively, we know when we’re there—in the oldest part of town,

Fencing in the human will.

Driving westward from the suburbs to downtown Grand Rapids earlier this year, I came across an unusual road sign.   Needless to say, it wasn’t easy to read, but it clearly wasn’t a conventional

A signal to retreat to the suburbs? Too late.

Scattered throughout various locations throughout the City of Detroit, one is likely to run into this unusual sign. It may be unusual in almost any other urban area, but not the Motor City.

Grow quickly. Live better.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, from the perspective of urban sociologists and planners, at least, major discount retailers such as Walmart have thrived on the destruction of commercial activity in traditional

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