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Food trucks as an ethnic pastiche: are they the new emblem of the American dream?

For the last decade or so, it’s been not too difficult to spot a specific type of vehicle parked on the street or driveway in residential neighborhoods.  Here’s an example in a quiet lower-middle class part of Alexandria, Virginia: Yes, it’s the formerly ubiquitous (but hardly obsolete) food truck.  Before its explosion in popularity about

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

Mid-block traffic management: what’s behind those seemingly pointless stop lights in Denver?

I’m rarely one to begrudge municipalities that find creative, site-specific means of managing traffic flow.  If these solutions meet the desired outcome of improving the Level of Service (LOS) at a certain road segment, intersection, or even a single lane of traffic (left-turn, right-turn, or through), and they achieve this without compromising safety for alternative

More than just murals: Philadelphia’s distinctive and superlative legacy of public art.

I’ve spent multiple blog articles praising the colorful initiatives of Mural Arts Philadelphia in the past—including a very recent article—but it occurred to me that precious few of these articles have actually depicted the City-funded initiative in its full form.  Up to this point, I have compared Philly’s influence on mural programs in other cities,

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

Ann’s Beauty Supply: a serenade to small biz stubbornness.

On a relatively quiet block in the densely built, mixed-use Navy Yard neighborhood in Washington DC, a single structure stands out for its modest appearance.      But in the Navy Yard, which, according to some measurements, has metamorphosed from a sparse and unsafe industrial zone of the 2000s to what is or soon will be