It’s rare that an article assumes an urban activist position that gets my dander up at all, let alone one that prompts me to comment directly on the article. But that’s what I had to do a few weeks ago when Planetizen used the neologism (at least to me) “defensive urbanism” to impugn the modern
We have now reached, almost to the day, the point when the majority of US states, taking the lead from a national disaster declaration, began issuing safety precautions in an attempt to prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), better known as COVID-19, the number attributing the year in which epidemiologists
As the year winds down, I intend to avoid any aphorisms or wisdom accrued over the past year—far too cliché. New Years Day is, after all, a capricious imposition of significance to a 24-hour period that otherwise if fundamentally like any other. Just an arbitrarily agreed-upon point on the elliptical orbit. Why impart words of
Perhaps I’m a bit late to the party, but I only heard of the neologism glamping about five years ago. The spellcheck service I use for writing my articles does not seem to recognize it. But Merriam-Webster does, and it claims that glamping came into currency around the year 2005. So it seems I’m a
More times than I can count, I’ve explored the country’s mismatch between the supply of retail-oriented real estate and the broader public’s demand. We just have too many shopping centers. And it’s always been that way. Even in the best of times—the peak of the suburban mall during the 1970s and 80s—our historic downtown storefronts
Let’s face it: it doesn’t matter how big or vibrant your city’s downtown is. Generally speaking, the civic plazas immediately outside the major municipal buildings are dead on weekends. There just isn’t any magnetism, given that these buildings host city government functions, which typically operate during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. (Emergency and corrections
Mothballed marvel in Northwest DC: how does Chesapeake House stay neglected in such a wealthy part of town?
On a nondescript corner sits perched a mothballed little building, seemingly vacant for years. With plywood on all the windows and doors, it fits the standard characterization of blight. It’s hard to imagine any city with a population over 100,000 in this country that doesn’t have at least one structure sharing this forlorn appearance. Okay,
We might expect dissembling wire tapping in the nation’s capital. But what about dangling wire tripping?
Early in the summer, on an evening run in a little-used park along the west bank of the Anacostia River loosely referred to as the Navy Yard Channel, I encountered a hazard that would be bad enough during the daytime. In the darkness of night, in a meagerly lit area, it was even worse. Can’t
From buildings to benches: with enough ingenuity, anything in Lehighton can get the mural treatment.
In the mid 2000s, I engaged in a group research project that assessed the economic impact of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (now called Mural Arts Philadelphia), the longest-running and largest initiative in the country—probably in the world. Started on a shoestring City budget in the mid-1980s to address the widespread graffiti issue, Mural Arts
Among the business enterprises that faced the most stringent of restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were health clubs and sports/recreational facilities. Viewed through the prism of contagion, this injunction on gyms during the lockdown generally made sense: they routinely bring people together in close proximity (whether locker rooms or aerobics classes); they allow patrons to