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61 articles

Vestigial Judaism, Part III: Urbanization along the Cotton Belt.

The first two parts of this lengthy exploration of southern Judaica attempted to re-acquaint the readers with what in this day and age may defy typical expectations: Jewish enclaves in small towns throughout the rural Deep South. From approximately 1850 to 1950, in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama—as well as the other southern states—immigrants from Germany,

In an economic hell, a house is but a shell.

“Developers have to eat too.” We have tacitly organized to demonize land developers for their perceived role in wrecking metropolitan America. Their greed often supersedes concern for the environment, they cut corners in construction quality, they cater to a lowbrow design culture—and these are just the criticisms chimed by many on the left. While the

An ecoburb before the word existed.

“Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks that wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world; of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile [sic] inhabitant, but because he is its head and heart, and finds something of himself in every great and small thing, in

Invisible fences for humans, Part I: The Columbus example at the ground level.

The most concise definition for an enclave according to the principles of political geography is a small land area outside its home country, completely surrounded by the neighboring country. In a world atlas, the most visibly obvious example of this is the small mountainous kingdom of Lesotho, surrounded in totality by the large Republic of

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

Wading through the swamp of economic development and historic preservation.

When a specific site survives as evidence of early colonial settlement, it usually requires far less effort in this day and age to convince the American public that it’s worth preserving—major initiatives to restore Mount Vernon, colonial Williamsburg, or the Vieux Carre in New Orleans come to mind as some of the earliest instigators of

Can a street name influence the local economy?

Recently as I stumbled across some largely unexplored corners around downtown Indianapolis, I noticed a handful of new townhome condominiums had recently been completed in an unlikely area. They comprise what is probably the first new construction in that city block in decades. My suspicion is this development will have several formidable challenges to overcome.

The Berlin Wall of housing tenure.

The title to this posting is an obvious exaggeration, because what you see below is hardly a wall; it is not impervious, and people who pass it do not risk being shot. But it is a barricade to a right-of-way on a road in the suburbs of Indianapolis that was formerly completely accessible but has

Cheapened by the nosebleed view?

If you want evidence that the economy of the Pittsburgh metro area has long been in the doldrums, you can use any variety of studies: year-to-year changes in GDP provided by the Bureau Economic of Analysis; job growth patterns there in relation to the rest of the US by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the

In an economic hell, a house is but a shell.

“Developers have to eat too.” We have tacitly organized to demonize land developers for their perceived role in wrecking metropolitan America. Their greed often supersedes concern for the environment, they cut corners in

An ecoburb before the word existed.

“Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks that wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world; of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile

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

Can a street name influence the local economy?

Recently as I stumbled across some largely unexplored corners around downtown Indianapolis, I noticed a handful of new townhome condominiums had recently been completed in an unlikely area. They comprise what is probably

The Berlin Wall of housing tenure.

The title to this posting is an obvious exaggeration, because what you see below is hardly a wall; it is not impervious, and people who pass it do not risk being shot. But

Cheapened by the nosebleed view?

If you want evidence that the economy of the Pittsburgh metro area has long been in the doldrums, you can use any variety of studies: year-to-year changes in GDP provided by the Bureau