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74 articles

Front yards in the Federal City: even the close-knit rowhomes feature green plots for garden gnomes. Or (since it’s Capitol Hill) political signs.

In these polarizing and emotionally fraught times, it has ostensibly become far more common for people to announce their political loyalties from the front yards of their homes—not just by promoting the campaigns of preferred candidates, but (at least in recent years) to overtly declare one’s stance on a certain issue, or even to declare

Habitat 67: did Montreal’s mega-manifestation manage to make modular marvelous to the masses?

In April of 1967, the City of Montreal unveiled an unprecedented architectural showpiece, attendant to hosting the International and Universal Exposition, an event that most people referred by its catchier abbreviation “Expo 67”.   This spectacular feat in construction owes a great deal to tradition.  Starting with the the World’s Columbian Exposition (the Chicago World’s

A non-defense of the back alley, from the mean streets of suburban Dallas.

A trip to the Dallas Metroplex last fall helped acquaint me with a characteristic to Texas street subdivision design that I had never noticed before: the unusual prevalence of the back alley, even in housing built within the last 25 years.  While it’s possible this never struck me in the past because it’s a Dallas

The pocket park: does a mega city need a mini playground?

The caliber of playground amenities in our urban parks has improved and diversified considerably in recent years. I can remember when I was a child: it was typical for each piece of equipment to sit in isolation, almost forcing the kids to decide between playing with one another or engaging with the equipment and making

Multifamily monotony: how to put a new design spin on an all-too-familiar housing type.

While almost all urban aficionados have heralded the revitalization we have witnessed in downtowns large and small across the country, the sticklers and control freaks among us have continued to cavil about one nagging shortcoming: the form of mixed-use and multifamily projects has disproportionately favored big lots with monolithic structures that, while certainly better than

What will Washington DC do with all its triangular parcels?

In a quiet, mostly residential neighborhood in northern Washington DC, less than a half-mile from the Maryland border, a modest bit of new construction yields a subtle surprise.It doesn’t look like much, and, in most respects, it isn’t. Just a big new house, presumably multifamily (I’m guessing between two and four units), though maybe it’s

Mailbox mirth: even our homes can put on the “weekend clothes”.

No doubt we can find whimsical people everywhere we go, but a established urban neighborhood, regardless of the socioeconomics, isn’t particularly likely to offer one of these: Somewhere, amidst the directional arrows for Key West, Cape May, and Bourbon Street, there seems to be a mailbox. And just down the street, there’s another oddity:Yes, the

The Wharf of Washington DC: the shopping destination of the hour (but not the day).

Ever since it opened in late 2017, Washington DC’s mixed-use waterfront development known as The District Wharf (“The Wharf”) has become a premier attraction for locals and visitors who are in the know. Unlike so many riverfront investments in recent years, it doesn’t look like a single developer conceived it, even though it owes most

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