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188 articles

Most controversial blog posts: a truculent top five (plus one).

With another year coming to a close, and ushering in what will be the start of my fifteenth year at this blogging venture, I decided to attempt something that is mostly good for a laugh: a ranking list.  A listicle, if you will.  Since this is a blog whose most loyal followers are relatively few

Cumberland MD: where ancient Americana rolls out a welcome mat to trendy townhomes.

There was probably a point in history when virtually every American had heard of Cumberland, Maryland.  Not only that, it’s reasonable to surmise that a significant proportion of Americans had passed through it.  Aside from the fact that, for most of Maryland’s history, it was the state’s second largest city (its “Queen City” behind Lord/King

Elmira after the flood: sewing together the tatters of a downtown.

A city the size of Elmira, New York isn’t necessarily going to have much in the way of a robust old downtown.  Its population according to the 2020 Decennial Census is a mere 26,523—nothing huge.  Virtually any major metro has at least a few surrounding suburbs of similar size that lack any true organized, historic

Corner commercial lots: are they worth more? You can bank on it.

As recently as my last blog article, I alluded to an unusual dichotomy in the value of corner parcels: for the most part, residences on street corners are less valuable than homes on the rest of the block.  People don’t the reduced privacy one expects when a property fronts two streets, when they can easily

First Lutheran Church: a permanent record at Encyclopedia of Indianapolis at last!

The subject of this article should win some sort of award for the longest one in the making, but, twelve years later, it has culminated in a major accomplishment: a certain landmark building now has an article permanently inscribed in the Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, courtesy of yours truly.  The structure is the former First

Hoboken NJ: gentrification in a time-lapse overdrive, but without all the improvements.

Hoboken, New Jersey isn’t a particularly obscure suburb.  Peering right across the Hudson River toward Greenwich Village, it’s a fortuitously located municipality that basically everyone in metro New York knows.  Odds are good that most adults living in the tri-state area have passed through it at one point in time.   Tiny though it may

When catastrophe wipes out a family of small businesses, the second generation must rise from the ashes.

Every industry has its own mini-lexicon.  Why shouldn’t it?  These neologisms might originate from journalism, where they achieve enough prevalence to become mainstream: e.g., the press’s notably unecological use of the word “ecosystem”, the cringe-inducing phrase that begins “help me unpack…”, or the use of “ask” as a noun.  The US Department of Defense has

Chambersburg courthouse: when prosperity helps to bridge the old and new. Literally.

It’s hard to assess the exact time measurement of a single generation.  How long is it?  Fifteen years?  Twenty?  Usually not more than that.  However, it’s intended typically to convey the time necessary for a person to “come of age”—that is, the duration from birth to the point when he/she is making adult decisions, including

The oversized rabbits of Valdez, Alaska: from invasive specie to unofficial mascot.

Verdant and breathtaking as much of Alaska might be, the Last Frontier is no great shakes when it comes to biodiversity.  Such is the nature of boreal forests in general: they typically host few varieties of tree species, although the ones that thrive are as abundant as one might expect in a mostly uninhabited, vast