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Urban autumn: when a single favored tree like the gingko provides all the leaf-peeping a city needs.

The introduction of landscaping into densely populated urban settings has always been a thorny issue, pun fully intended.  Steeped in emissions and incarcerated by impervious surfaces, plant life across urban environments typically only thrives against the odds.  Certain flora that can flourish in a suburban front yard are scarce in downtown settings, for obvious reasons:

Staircases can be sexist: when the design of stairs is a hazard to high heels.

Of all the keywords used to organize my blog posts by topic, the number one by far is “signage”.  The keyword (under my menu bar “Topics”) yields 193 separate articles.  Given the aspirations of this blog, it’s a hard subject to avoid: one of the key elements of a human-conceived, built environment is that critical,

Crested Butte main street: a shopper’s oasis amidst the lingering retail drought.

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

A strip mall can house a tapestry of tenants. Including once-mighty churches.

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

Food trucks as an ethnic pastiche: are they the new emblem of the American dream?

For the last decade or so, it’s been not too difficult to spot a specific type of vehicle parked on the street or driveway in residential neighborhoods.  Here’s an example in a quiet lower-middle class part of Alexandria, Virginia: Yes, it’s the formerly ubiquitous (but hardly obsolete) food truck.  Before its explosion in popularity about