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100 articles

A downtown without clear pedestrian advocacy: the Fort Worth example.

Many years ago—before I even had conceived of this blog—I was an intern for a university semester at WalkBoston, which was (and remains) the signature pedestrian advocacy organization for Bean Town.  Founded in 1990, it was the first of its kind in the country.  Since then (and since my internship), WalkBoston’s scope and ambitions have

Folk pop: the classic Mail Pouch Tobacco ad gets the meme treatment. For better health.

I’ve never bothered to discern what Pierre Bourdieu would probably brand the “echelons of taste” that distinguish “folk” from “pop”.  Their thematic intersection owes a great deal to the fact that they share a prosaic, anti-elitist undercurrent, but the commonalities probably don’t extend much further.  While both folk and pop eschew the highbrow ethos that

Heritage infrastructure in Homecroft: when evoking the past, size matters.

Many, many years ago I featured some heritage infrastructure in the quasi-autonomous Indianapolis enclave of Homecroft.  If the most appropriate descriptor for a place like Homecroft is “quasi-autonomous enclave”, it goes without saying that it’s an unusual place.  The community (which functions largely as a neighborhood) sits about seven miles south of downtown Indianapolis as

Anthony Santaniello: a eulogy for a lover of subways.

In what is a first for American Dirt—and what I hope not to become a regular occurrence—I offer a tribute to a fellow urbanist and friend.  Longtime employee of Philadelphia City Planning Commission and then Philadelphia Streets Department, Anthony Santaniello passed away on October 21st.  Anthony wasn’t just a casual follower of the work on

Storefront movie theaters are icons. So why is it so hard to keep the lights on?

It’s hard to imagine any American town of a certain size—small enough that most would still consider it just a town, but big enough that it probably fits the political classification of a city—that doesn’t have, or at least had, an old storefront movie theater as part of its main street.  Everyone knows the type:

One-way streets downtown: are they really a revitalization dead end?

Among transportation planners, it is almost universally acknowledged that two-way streets are healthier for downtown vitality than one-way streets.  Storefronts on two-way streets tend to command higher lease rates, indicating that demand among prospective tenants is greater than a similar storefront that fronts a one-way street.  It’s not because one-way streets get less traffic; in

Anthony Santaniello: a eulogy for a lover of subways.

In what is a first for American Dirt—and what I hope not to become a regular occurrence—I offer a tribute to a fellow urbanist and friend.  Longtime employee of Philadelphia City Planning Commission

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