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30 articles

Food trucks as an ethnic pastiche: are they the new emblem of the American dream?

For the last decade or so, it’s been not too difficult to spot a specific type of vehicle parked on the street or driveway in residential neighborhoods.  Here’s an example in a quiet lower-middle class part of Alexandria, Virginia: Yes, it’s the formerly ubiquitous (but hardly obsolete) food truck.  Before its explosion in popularity about

Summit, New Jersey: does a promenade between two buildings represent an opportunity gap?

For much of the twentieth century, it was an all-too-common occurrence: an old commercial structure in a declining downtown struggles to compete with the strip malls cropping up everywhere on the outskirts.  Over time, the old building—retail on the first floor, office or warehousing on the next two/three/four levels—becomes functionally obsolete.  It’s drafty, the plumbing

Empty airport: the consequences of a corona-driven collapse in air travel (MONTAGE).

Less than a month ago, I availed myself of a long-planned opportunity to travel from the mid-Atlantic to the Midwest, using a flight a purchased several weeks before the world’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic had set the turbulent economic and social course for 2020.  Obviously there are others before me—people who took this risk

Gas station dysfunction: prices rising even faster than Venezuela.

A small gas station in a little-known part of the east side of Baltimore is offering the nation’s best deals on gasoline. Here’s a pic taken from this past Friday. Can’t really get a better deal than that. It’s amazing how the Shell station in the background can even compete. But if I closed out

Tanks on the border, but it isn’t a military strategy.

For a commodity as market-sensitive as petroleum (let’s call it “gas”), a featurette on pricing is less likely to be indicative of market trends than, say, certain perishable goods (which induced considerable hardship on dairy and grain farmers these last few years) or certain appliances (in which the decline in demand has bankrupted several high-profile

CityWay Phase Two: retail retreat and its impact on the street.

My latest just went up at Urban Indy.  It focuses on the CityWay mixed-used development in downtown Indianapolis, which includes a few hundred apartments, multiple restaurants, a hotel, and a multi-level YMCA.That’s phase one, at least.  Now the developer is embarking on Phase Two, which will double the apartment units (to nearly 500), add some

In Central Falls, a strip mall is still salvation.

Even in the best of times, the opening of a new strip mall rarely if ever gets anyone’s pulses racing. This one, on the southern boundary of Central Falls, Rhode Island, a suburb of nearby Providence, is no different.The only characteristic that distinguishes this is a certain three-letter adjective that appears in my first sentence—a word

Subsidization and its discontents.

My latest just recently went to post at Urban Indy. The subject, a parking garage in an Indianapolis neighborhood, might seem dry or parochial to those outside of that metro region, but it speaks powerfully about the potential pitfalls of poorly prepared public-private partnerships.  Here’s the garage: It sits at a prime corner in Broad

Tanks on the border, but it isn’t a military strategy.

For a commodity as market-sensitive as petroleum (let’s call it “gas”), a featurette on pricing is less likely to be indicative of market trends than, say, certain perishable goods (which induced considerable hardship

In Central Falls, a strip mall is still salvation.

Even in the best of times, the opening of a new strip mall rarely if ever gets anyone’s pulses racing. This one, on the southern boundary of Central Falls, Rhode Island, a suburb of

Subsidization and its discontents.

My latest just recently went to post at Urban Indy. The subject, a parking garage in an Indianapolis neighborhood, might seem dry or parochial to those outside of that metro region, but it