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61 articles

Transmission towers need booster seats too. Allegedly.

Some infrastructural features are so ubiquitous and operate so effectively behind the scenes that they become almost invisible—like most utility lines.  Compared to many developed nations, the United States still has a sizable portion of its electrical and telecomm wires hoisted high into the sky through utility poles.  In fact, outside the densely populated downtowns

Streetery of Wheaton Mall: a dining concept that pedestrianizes a garage?

Throughout the life of this blog, I’ve come down hard on malls.  And I’ve done this, not because I fundamentally dislike them—they’re a paradigm for consumerism in the automobile era, whether we wanted it or not—but because malls in general have shown a diminishing ability to adapt to the shopping patterns of the last twenty

Brand refresh: Barnes & Noble goes on a tear. No books destroyed in the process.

A quick look at the photo above and it should be obvious that something’s afoot at this particular location of Barnes and Noble.  Incidentally, I only heavily scrutinized a Barnes and Noble once before, also in Maryland, when I noticed a repositioning of merchandise within the interior just a few months ago.  This time, the

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

Corporate bookstores morph and recede: are they keeping up with the 1990s?

For the book-lovers among us, it’s hard to believe that Borders Books and Music has been defunct now for over ten years.  It was one of the first and most obvious high-profile casualties of Amazon, the latter of which nipped away at the revenue stream of what had previously been the nation’s largest bookstore, peaking

The last Sears in Maryland: a final sympathy visit while in hospice care.

This is probably beating a dead horse: it’s Sears article.  Again.  I’ve featured the declining department store many times on the blog; back in the early 2010s, it was still a ubiquitous presence in American malls.  And I last covered Sears just six months ago, when I found an operating store in Francis Scott Key

How to stymie shoplifting? Simply suggest some soup-to-nuts security strategies.

With this article I’m presenting my second feature on crime prevention strategies in less than a month.  This isn’t typical.  But then, the sort of criminality urban America has countenanced these last few years hasn’t been typical either, though it’s rapidly becoming so.  Given the double-digit year-to-year increases in violent and property crime, let alone

How can we tell if a restaurant is an ascendent chain? It calls itself “local”.

It’s been over a decade since I wrote about the fish, chop, and steakhouse known as Kincaid’s, a chain with a location in Carmel, Indiana (an Indianapolis suburb) that, based on my fleeting observations, was doing everything it could to downplay its very chainy-ness.   And that was the point.  The interior of Kincaid’s included

Transmission towers need booster seats too. Allegedly.

Some infrastructural features are so ubiquitous and operate so effectively behind the scenes that they become almost invisible—like most utility lines.  Compared to many developed nations, the United States still has a sizable

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