Pandemic in the park: did restrictions around DC’s Tidal Basin help flatten the curve?

Given the patchwork of regulatory subcultures that our country’s federalist system inevitable creates, it should come as no surprise that this vast, diverse country is eliciting widely variable responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of the key metrics—confirmed cases, deaths, recoveries—and in the fuzzier, day-to-day manifestation of this most acute of public health

Pollo asado versus petrol: why don’t we see more gas station/restaurant conversions?

Brookings, the southwesternmost municipality in the state of Oregon, features a main street with a level of business activity that betrays its general charmlessness.     Plenty of similarly sized communities would kill to have a downtown with a low level of vacancy, a fully functional old-school cinema, and even a few white-tablecloth independently owned restaurants.

Landfill diversion: the California approach is gentler than it’s ever bin.

By this point, it’s not unusual to encounter a series of trash receptacles in public places, each with distinct labels, allowing passers-by to sort and separate recyclable from non-recyclable waste. On a college campus, it would be far more surprising if a row of receptacles weren’t standing sentinel at every prominent node; the opportunity to

A vacant lot on the California coast: green activism or the color of money?

This article will feature an assertion I’ve made in the past, and I have ruffled feathers for it then. In all likelihood, I’ll ruffle a few more this time around. Yet I’m sticking to my guns. So here goes: far too many communities embrace the notion of urban parks as an absolute good—of parks for

The stick-built home isn’t always the flimsiest.

Cliché though it may be, the world offers plenty of evidence that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Travel through the most rugged parts of West Virginia, and it’s easy to find a small burg nestled in the valley between uncompromising hills. Human settlements stretch far north of the Arctic Circle, with Inuit populations

Palm tree pandemics: even in the Big Easy, winter can be a little difficult.

Many years ago I wrote an article exploring how trees of the palm family are widespread throughout southern Louisiana (specifically the New Orleans region), though they are not indigenous. In other words, they grow there quite easily but it is not their native habitat. If anything, the presence of palms in the southern US—or at

Delaware Water Gap: a landmark border crossing or simply a pretty place to pay a toll?

Within the lower 48, one the humblest of great border crossings is the Delaware Water Gap, separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey.My use of an oxymoron—“humblest” coupled with “great”—is deliberate. Because in most respects (certainly from a flatlander like me) it’s a geographic marvel, yet, outside of the surrounding region, little evidence suggests that it’s a

An oasis and a bean-counter.

The climate of the American high plains may not be completely desert-like, but the similarities are uncanny: relatively little rain or moisture in the air, a temperature that plunges at night throughout the year, considerable variation between summer and winter, but fiercely hot in the former. Many of these characteristics incidentally bespeak high altitudes more

The stick-built home isn’t always the flimsiest.

Cliché though it may be, the world offers plenty of evidence that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Travel through the most rugged parts of West Virginia, and it’s easy to find

An oasis and a bean-counter.

The climate of the American high plains may not be completely desert-like, but the similarities are uncanny: relatively little rain or moisture in the air, a temperature that plunges at night throughout the