As someone who enjoys long road trips (perfectly fine if they’re solitary), I can never get enough of the small, often amusing telltale indicators of the cultural composition that distinguishes a place. The visual shibboleths, if you will. Venturing across Interstate 70, one of the oldest, longest, and most heavily traveled segments of the original
It’s been a tough decade or so for the American retail scene, a condition I’ve explored numerous times in the past. Social turbulence, exacerbated by a pandemic and the erratic response to it, only further maimed an already hobbled industry, facing persistent pressure from online commerce. The fact remains that people just don’t go out
The larger and more densely populated a community is, the more byzantine and stringent its regulations become. This statement may not quite pass as a truism, but it comes close, especially in a country with a governing system as decentralized as the United States. Simply put, the principles that characterize individual liberty become harder to
About eighteen months ago I explored an isolated example of a trend that has become increasingly common: the vacating of old church buildings by their original founding congregations. In some cases, the old church benefits from monumental architecture, making it suitable for adaptive reuse, particularly as an events planning or catering facility that can capitalize
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
I’m going to go out on a limb with this mini-post. Maybe I’m the only one who has noticed this, but in my opinion, we sure seem to see a lot more of this feature these days. I’m referring to the decals above the rear bumper on this car. Which one am I talking about?
For much of the twentieth century, it was an all-too-common occurrence: an old commercial structure in a declining downtown struggles to compete with the strip malls cropping up everywhere on the outskirts. Over time, the old building—retail on the first floor, office or warehousing on the next two/three/four levels—becomes functionally obsolete. It’s drafty, the plumbing
Graffiti Highway in the Keystone State: the histories of two abandoned roads are as different as their spraypainted messages.
In urban America, it’s a common occurrence for an executive body to determine that a small segment of a public right-of-way should no longer function as a transportation conduit. For whatever reason, that 300-or-so feet of roadway is obsolete. Perhaps it’s because it no longer leads to anything; it was a dead-end that provided access
Mixed-use town center as the new “organic” downtown: how distinct can they be if they become as commonplace as malls?
The mixed-use town center is a novelty across much of the county. A metropolitan area of one million people is unlikely to have more than one or two of these newfangled nodes, which typically combine housing, retail, offices, hotels, garage parking, and maybe even an institutional use like a school, a library, or a municipal
It’s rare—maybe even unprecedented—that I have created an article based almost completely on a social media conversation. This probably has something to do with the fact that I’m not a heavy social media user. But I’m relenting this one time because I want to churn out a quickie article as I prep for a longer