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42 articles

Hollywood Gateway: a pocket park with a preconceived plan. Will people partake?

Far be it from me to turn into a crotchety old killjoy who lambastes every pocket park I find, but I already did it once a few years ago, for a tidy but neglected little mini-playground in Alexandria, Virginia.  Since a bigger, higher-profile, and splashier (literally) play area stands just a few blocks away, my

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

Glenwood Springs: so much to do that they could only fit some of it under a bridge. (MONTAGE)

Glenwood Springs, Colorado is a fun town.  That’s its brand.  It aspires to be one of America’s most recreationally-minded small municipalities—really more of a tiny city—and it routinely makes the top 10 lists among various outdoor-centric periodicals, as I covered once before.  Sometimes it reaches a bit further, placing on lists of all-around best and

Color choice: a gladiator match between brand green and brand red, in a strip mall coliseum.

The infamous book How to Lie with Maps initially offered a light-hearted attempt to explore how maps can entice, mislead, inflame, and generally propagandize, often without necessarily depicting anything geographically untruthfully.  Juxtapositions (not always to scale), labels, color choice, and infographics can all endow an editorial skew on what seems like objective spatial representation.  And

DC food desert: South Anacostia has a single holdout supermarket.  Will it survive?

The term itself doesn’t usually require much explanation, even if most people have never used the it in everyday conversation.  They automatically know what a food desert is.  For those who don’t, it takes very little to conceptualize: if a person lives in an urbanized area—and most Americans do—odds are good that he or she

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:

Kokopelli: a mascot for Moab?

The earth has revolved around the sun quite a few times since I patronized a restaurant called Kokopelli’s, a little boutique burrito joint on an obscure intersection near Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, which did not re-open after Hurricane Katrina.  (Yep, that long.)  Time has relegated this hapless sole proprietorship to such obscurity that there’s

Towamencin Shopping Village: a strip mall, all dressed up for a date, but not a single suitor. (MONTAGE)

I’ve featured more derelict malls and shopping centers than the average reader can shake a selfie stick at.  (An apt reference, since the oldest chroniclers of struggling retail—the sites DeadMalls.com and LabelScar.com—haven’t received updates since the popularization of the selfie stick.  But they were great sites when I first started blogging!)  As far as depressed

Excess parking in strip malls: is it necessary to build out enough space for Black Friday?

Urban planning, like most disciplines, endures its fair share of fads and passing fancies, many of which the advocates manage to elevate to temporary orthodoxy.  And if “temporary orthodoxy” seems like an oxymoron, it shouldn’t require a great deal of introspection to realize that many orthodoxies remain doctrinaire for about a decade.  And then they

Kokopelli: a mascot for Moab?

The earth has revolved around the sun quite a few times since I patronized a restaurant called Kokopelli’s, a little boutique burrito joint on an obscure intersection near Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans,

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