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58 articles

Repelling criminals and just about everyone else.

A few years ago I was assigned to collect demographics on the downtowns of a number of different American cities of varying sizes, from Detroit to Lafayette Louisiana, using carefully defined census tracts that correlated as well as possible from 1970 to 2000. We were hoping to find similar characteristics to the downtown dwellers across

The heart of a state, encased in stone.

The average well-traveled person who looks at the remarkably uniform street walls below will likely draw a conclusion that the photo comes from Washington DC. After all, with the alabaster facades, the prosaic fenestration, and—most tellingly—the uniform height of all the structures, the photo could capture a typical avenue in the sprawling central business district

Full parking lots, not-so-full pews.

The robust and always broadening cultural pluralism of this country almost guarantees that issues of faith will enter the public limelight on a regular basis. Scarcely a day passes where religious and political concerns don’t overlap, but that is the subject I will consciously avoid in this blog. I’m far more interested in exploring whether

Extreme makeover—small business edition.

If it’s built to last, the conventional middle class American home may be a far more versatile structure than we credit it. As homes age, if their interior layout falls out of fashion, or the neighborhood around them declines economically, all too often they eventually face neglect, abandonment, and, eventually, the bulldozer. What a shame,

Lifestyle main streets.

In this widely suburbanizing nation, it is enough that our historic urban centers must continually seek assert their viability through new methods of socioeconomic or political re-branding in order not to implode. But what about the small towns, far removed from metro areas? In many cases they imploded long ago, devoid of a raison d’être,

Country Chic, Part I – When Farming Becomes Fashionable.

I’ve discussed recently the challenges that certain suburban areas within Indianapolis city limits are facing at attracting newcomers. Essentially the city of Indianapolis consists of nine townships, with Center Township holding the lion’s share of historic neighborhoods and an infrastructure that one might generally perceive as “urban”, as well as much of the most pervasive

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

When urban revitalization is nothing more than a façade.

Among the more controversial results of arbitration during urban redevelopment is the retention of a building façade, while demolishing everything that comes behind it because, presumably, the layout, traditional use, and possibly even the entire floorplate fail to meet contemporary needs. The growing practice of façadectomy has entered the general development parlance, though the closet

Repelling criminals and just about everyone else.

A few years ago I was assigned to collect demographics on the downtowns of a number of different American cities of varying sizes, from Detroit to Lafayette Louisiana, using carefully defined census tracts

The heart of a state, encased in stone.

The average well-traveled person who looks at the remarkably uniform street walls below will likely draw a conclusion that the photo comes from Washington DC. After all, with the alabaster facades, the prosaic

Full parking lots, not-so-full pews.

The robust and always broadening cultural pluralism of this country almost guarantees that issues of faith will enter the public limelight on a regular basis. Scarcely a day passes where religious and political

Extreme makeover—small business edition.

If it’s built to last, the conventional middle class American home may be a far more versatile structure than we credit it. As homes age, if their interior layout falls out of fashion,

Lifestyle main streets.

In this widely suburbanizing nation, it is enough that our historic urban centers must continually seek assert their viability through new methods of socioeconomic or political re-branding in order not to implode. But

Country Chic, Part I – When Farming Becomes Fashionable.

I’ve discussed recently the challenges that certain suburban areas within Indianapolis city limits are facing at attracting newcomers. Essentially the city of Indianapolis consists of nine townships, with Center Township holding the lion’s

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

When urban revitalization is nothing more than a façade.

Among the more controversial results of arbitration during urban redevelopment is the retention of a building façade, while demolishing everything that comes behind it because, presumably, the layout, traditional use, and possibly even