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51 articles

Upper floors in old buildings: why are they so hard to put to use?

City planners, chambers of commerce, commercial real estate brokers, and Business Improvement District (BID) managers should have no difficulty finding common ground on a number of subjects.  Generally speaking, they don’t run out of things to talk about.  And while they might cavil about the finer points of what is more important in attracting investment

Masking rules modified: small businesses play the UNO reverse card.

I’ll try not to get smug about this, but bear with me if I’m a little sententious about the ironies I’m witnessing, particularly regarding social distancing and masking rules for which we are rapidly approaching the three-year corona-versary.  I’ll concede this much: few municipalities if any are still actively imposing restrictions at this point.  Not

Family-run fiascos: small business as a coronavirus casualty deserves a post-mortem.

As the end of 2022 approaches, it’s essentially a truism that coronavirus-inspired closures devastated many small businesses.  For a brief period, the unemployment rate was as high as 14.4% (the rate in April 2020), a condition on par with the peak of the Great Recession, but it got there much more quickly this time around. 

Elmira after the flood: sewing together the tatters of a downtown.

A city the size of Elmira, New York isn’t necessarily going to have much in the way of a robust old downtown.  Its population according to the 2020 Decennial Census is a mere 26,523—nothing huge.  Virtually any major metro has at least a few surrounding suburbs of similar size that lack any true organized, historic

Temporary outdoor seating: bringing pep to parking lots when indoor dining was too risky.

I think the majority of Americans would at this point would agree that, in most respects, day-to-day urban life has deteriorated since COVD-19: higher costs to everything, escalating crime, visible vandalism, irregular cleaning and maintenance, and—perhaps this is just me (but probably not)—a general malaise that is either a cause or the effect of those

Cor blimey!  Manhattan’s Irish pubs continue to languish in purgatory. 

Surely I’m not the only one who remembers learning about the tragic story of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius onto the ill-fated Roman city of Pompeii in 79 AD.  I think it’s something many of us in the Midwest learned even in elementary school.  Our teachers described to us, in vivid detail, how it all

Yes, we still have no bananas: worm’s-eye assessments of corona after two years.

We have now reached, almost to the day, the point when the majority of US states, taking the lead from a national disaster declaration, began issuing safety precautions in an attempt to prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), better known as COVID-19, the number attributing the year in which epidemiologists

24-hour turmoil: Walgreens eliminates one of its biggest selling points.

With holiday and work commitments colliding every day, my posts this past month have been unusually slight—shorter and less than pithy.  This tendency may have to continue until the year’s end, since it isn’t going to let up all that much.  But I still hope to home in on the obscure, the typically overlooked, or—something

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