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 For whatever reason, that 300-or-so feet of roadway is obsolete.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
Although the evidence of ghost towns proves that they exist (or have existed) throughout the country, most Americans invariably associate them with the frontier West: the High Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada; the Great Basin, Mojave, and Sonoran Deserts. We also customarily associate the emergence of ghost towns with mining, certainly more than
When green means stop: the impact of classic neon lighting in the wireless era, from West Virginia with love.
If a good sign is worth more than its weight in canvas, plastic, fiberglass, cardboard, or whatever material helped birth it, a good old sign earns even more accolades, as multiplied by the number of years it has done its job. (Weight of the material multiplied by its age?) The perseverance of a good sign
Breezewood. It sounds like it could be the name of a stereotypical suburb to a major Midwest city (Chicago definitely comes to mind); it also sounds sufficiently generic that one might expect a dozen towns scattered across the country with the name. Negative on both counts. There’s only one Breezewood, and it’s not a suburb
Loathe as I am to wade into a subject this topical, the spatial ramifications of it are just as interesting than the content itself—probably more. So, here goes nothing: That small, seemingly innocuous orange and purple sign makes an urgent plea, the context of which should be obvious: the public schools in question are closed
I can’t help myself: with the newly designed blog, I have an array of options available that previously didn’t exist, and this includes media. In the previous article, I posted my first video clip. And now, I offer a revival of an article from a couple years ago—a sign for a gas station in Baltimore,
The Supreme Court Building as a public forum: three recent vignettes place political fractiousness on full display. (MONTAGE)
For the last three years I have lived within a twenty minute walk of the Supreme Court of the United States. I can’t say it’s quite as banal as a city trash can, but it’s hardly something special at this point, when one lives this close. I’ve walked, run, or biked (and sometimes driven) past