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An ecoburb before the word existed.

“Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks that wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world; of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile [sic] inhabitant, but because he is its head and heart, and finds something of himself in every great and small thing, in

Storefront diagnosis? Down but not out.

Retail fatigue is generally easy to spot in both urban and suburban settings: it typically involves a high vacancy rate, occupancies that comprise undesirable tenants, or a combination of the two. But what are these “undesirables” exactly? They usually fall into two categories. The first one is predictable: strip clubs, adult video/novelty stores, windowless package

Retroactive land banking—urban and suburban.

Despite the fact that I always include images in my blog posts, more than a few have been on the wordy side. So I am going to try to include at least one post each month that is dominated by images, with just enough accompanying text to provide some background. I’ve already done this once

The Battle of the Marts, Part I: In pocketbooks and (mostly) hearts.

The Indianapolis Business Journal recently announced that Felbram Plaza on the near south side had secured a new anchor tenant, in a space last occupied by Target. The tenant, Shoppers World, is a discount department store with one location in the region at the Lafayette Square Mall. These are the first two Shoppers Worlds in

Gowns rewrite the town—twice over.

A casual scan across most urban campuses reveals that they have been building increasingly densely to accommodate new growth, after several decades of building at a lower density than the at their original, historic core. More often than not, they have no other choice. Suffering a scarcity of available land but benefiting from a captive

Why pave over the past when you can just build around it?

Some places bury their development histories more discreetly than others. Demolition followed by new construction is the most effective way to relegate the built environment of the past to some weathered photographs stashed away in a vault at the state archives. At best, a historic marker may commemorate what once stood there. But it’s amazing

Campuses have back yards too.

Though I had driven through the mid-southern boomtown of Nashville before in the past, this past weekend was the first time I had left the interstate to tour the city briefly. One of the first stops was the venerable, woodsy campus of VanderbiltUniversity, just a mile or so away from the city center. Much of

Main Street camouflage.

When visiting or even passing through small towns, it’s normal to gravitate toward the business district in order to determine what a town is “like” in the most generalizable sense.  In many cases, the preponderance of commercial activity in these towns, particularly those larger than 2,000 people, takes place at a bulwark of big box

Fueling our appetite to push away from the center.

I have up to this point generally shied away from the topic of urban sprawl because I see it as a hydra with no easy or politically viable solution. Then it occurred to me that few of my blog topics merit a quick fix, and, even though my own views on suburban growth no doubt

The exodus is complete.

I will always be apprehensive to post blighted urban scenes on this blog, particularly if it depicts residential disinvestment. First of all, I don’t want to exploit obvious signs of economic distress and poverty when it involves families, and photography can easily be very exploitative; secondly, even if my analyses attempt to deconstruct dire situations

An ecoburb before the word existed.

“Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks that wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world; of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile

Storefront diagnosis? Down but not out.

Retail fatigue is generally easy to spot in both urban and suburban settings: it typically involves a high vacancy rate, occupancies that comprise undesirable tenants, or a combination of the two. But what

Gowns rewrite the town—twice over.

A casual scan across most urban campuses reveals that they have been building increasingly densely to accommodate new growth, after several decades of building at a lower density than the at their original,

Why pave over the past when you can just build around it?

Some places bury their development histories more discreetly than others. Demolition followed by new construction is the most effective way to relegate the built environment of the past to some weathered photographs stashed

Campuses have back yards too.

Though I had driven through the mid-southern boomtown of Nashville before in the past, this past weekend was the first time I had left the interstate to tour the city briefly. One of

Main Street camouflage.

When visiting or even passing through small towns, it’s normal to gravitate toward the business district in order to determine what a town is “like” in the most generalizable sense.  In many cases,

The exodus is complete.

I will always be apprehensive to post blighted urban scenes on this blog, particularly if it depicts residential disinvestment. First of all, I don’t want to exploit obvious signs of economic distress and

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