As cites grow and urbanization spreads outward, the most common practice is to build new roads or to expand the capacity of the existing ones. I don’t think this merits much of an explanation. Of course, as the population increases, an elaborate network of roads becomes more essential, to accommodate both people and (inevitably) their
German Street in Shepherdstown, WV: where, instead of a curb at the sidewalk, there’s a fence. And shrubs.
The prosperous little municipality of Shepherdstown, fortuitously situated along the Potomac River in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, boasts a charming three-block main street, German Street, with nothing but locally owned establishments, achieving almost perfect occupancy amidst its variegated, well-maintained 19th century buildings. It’s an enviable arrangement, no doubt enhanced by its location in
As I manage issues regarding data migration from my old computer to new—apparently a process that, so far, has involved over four hours with tech support and no success—I must resign myself to another mini-post to keep things going when time is scarce. On a bright May morning, I was trolling around downtown Trenton, New
A construction staging area and a sidewalk: never a healthy pairing, but sometimes the treatment is worse than the disease.
For most of the 21st century, and certainly in the last ten years (since the Great Depression) the majority of American downtowns have enjoyed a reinvestment no longer measured merely in spruced-up old façades. The cranes, dozers and other construction equipment are all the evidence one needs. People are returning to central business districts, in
Both nestled in and perched on the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s largest city of Portland (by far) has its share of dramatic slopes and sublime vistas. This should come as no surprise. And although nearly three-quarters of the municipal limits sit to the east of the Willamette River, downtown Portland and most of its highest points
As bicycling becomes an increasingly acceptable—and even fully integrated—mode of transportation, sharing our car-dominated streets, we should expect some enforcement of standards that better facilitate this integration. We’re not there yet—not even close. Plenty of heavily urbanized spaces have yet to acknowledge bicycling as a viable alternative to cars through the provision of infrastructure, even
Nearly four months had passed—a long time for me—since my last visit to Pentagon City in Arlington County, Virginia, home to a big, well-situated, and (as malls go) prosperous mall, a booming multifamily housing sector, numerous key big-box retailers, and a variety of office complexes—all within walking distance of the none-too-pedestrian-friendly Pentagon. The area is
For those of us who care about this sort of thing (the precious few), it’s become increasingly obvious that bollards have become a significant element of the average streetscape. We owe some of this, no doubt, to the unfortunate reality of an escalating collective fear of terrorist attacks in the form of vehicle ramming, either
Carefully thought-out infrastructure—the type we actually notice because it’s so smartly conceived—is a rarity. But why? Sure, we might hold certain examples in high esteem; the Hoover Dam or Brooklyn Bridge are among the first that come to mind. But hundreds of millions of tons of civic infrastructure get dedicated, upgraded, or repaired every year,
A railing on a sidewalk may seem like a humble installation, in the context of the vast strip mall that surrounds it. And it is. But it does seem odd, almost random, based on the environment. Why does this twelve-foot stretch of sidewalk need two railings when nothing around it has them? A view from