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139 articles

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

There goes the neighborhood, Part II: When a Name is More Powerful Than a Fence.

An unusually intense period at work reduced my blogging activity to a few uninspired posts these past few weeks, but at long last I can return to the second part of my study on the application of labels such as “neighborhoods” and “subdivisions” to sub-districts within a larger metropolitan area. In the first part, I

There goes the neighborhood, Part I: Separating the Typologies.

I have long wondered what forces were at work that spurred the transition from using the term “neighborhood” to the more contemporary “subdivision” when referring to residential communities in metropolitan environments. One could easily rattle off some widely held assumptions that more often than not distinguish the two, and I’m bold enough to assert that

aerial cables downtown New Orleans

Making it hot to be wired, Part I: Initial Observations.

Low density and vast distances of sparse population have fostered a North American landscape in which much of the infrastructure remains supra-structure. Unlike much of urban Western Europe, most American and Canadian cities are pierced with wires hoisted above the sidewalks by either wood poles or, in more exurban areas, by steel pylons. Though overhead

The College Avenue Interurban: Stop-by-Stop Snapshots, Part II.

My previous blog post used College Avenue as a launchpad for exploring how Indianapolis had once earned the moniker “Interurban Capital of the World”. College Avenue, heading from downtown northward to Broad Ripple Village and beyond, was one of many routes of this predecessor to today’s light rail that used Indy as a hub. The

Improving urban bikability amounts to more than just spinning wheels.

It’s not just for the Dutch anymore. The inclusion of infrastructure to accommodate bicycles has, at least in the US, finally entered the mainstream, most likely far later than in most other developed countries that are less dependent upon the automobile. While some large American cities introduced segregated bicycle facilities as early as the 1970s,

MONTAGE: Small town in the big city.

As an antidote to my previous, text-heavy post, I offer one that focuses almost entirely on images, looking at remnants of small towns and rural communities in Marion County that have long ago been engulfed by the continuous urbanization of the city of Indianapolis. I’m not the first to attempt this. Urban Indy has featured

Public art: importing both the craft and the credulousness.

A few weeks ago I expressed my skepticism about public art’s ability to catalyze neighborhood regeneration, using the respected Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia as the case study. Known internationally as the City of Murals, both municipal and private sponsors have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a rich array of murals along 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

aerial cables downtown New Orleans

Making it hot to be wired, Part I: Initial Observations.

Low density and vast distances of sparse population have fostered a North American landscape in which much of the infrastructure remains supra-structure. Unlike much of urban Western Europe, most American and Canadian cities

MONTAGE: Small town in the big city.

As an antidote to my previous, text-heavy post, I offer one that focuses almost entirely on images, looking at remnants of small towns and rural communities in Marion County that have long ago

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