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Big boxes: keeping all the ducks in a row.

I have chronicled the tireless migration of retail across metropolitan landscapes several times in the past; it formed the central topic of one of my earliest blog posts.  Unfortunately, most of my posts have focused on the blight left by outdated retail typologies: the dead malls, exsanguinated big boxes, pockmarked parking lots, blighted strip malls,

Enticing visitors downtown…and then incarcerating them.

As much as street-level engagement for large projects in city centers should, by this point, seem like a foregone conclusion, it continues to amaze how many big ticket items—in cities of widely varying size—either engage in terpsichorean negotiations around it or neglect it completely.  When developers confront a zoning ordinance or design guideline that insists

Economizing and downsizing a city’s landmarks.

When navigating through an unfamiliar place, either urban or rural, we tend to seek visual points of reference to aid us in further wayfinding.  It is as instinctual of an action as folding the corner of a book to keep our place in lieu of a bookmark.  Across the countryside, visual cues assume a variety

Elevating street art, through both the laws of physics and of popular taste.

Murals are a time-tested method of urban beautification that generally eschew political controversy, thanks to a number of factors: the low cost when compared to other capital improvement projects; the minimal disruption of other routine urban patterns (traffic, utility operation) involved in the “installation” of the mural; their persistent success at attracting private or non-profit

Modulars get modern.

Work commitments yet again prevent me from devoting time to lengthy blog posts the way I often would like, but maybe this is a godsend for my readers. My previous post on condo(m)s in Dayton managed to arouse more interest than I’ve achieved in some time. One topic from which I have shied for the

The greasy spoon straddles the Pacific.

As much as I’d like to commend the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson, I have to confess: I love billboards. Maybe I’ve spent too much time living in parts of the country where the landscapes offer relatively little variety, and the billboards help compensate for monotony. But I also love the flattest, most treeless stretches

Vestigial Judaism, Part III: Urbanization along the Cotton Belt.

The first two parts of this lengthy exploration of southern Judaica attempted to re-acquaint the readers with what in this day and age may defy typical expectations: Jewish enclaves in small towns throughout the rural Deep South. From approximately 1850 to 1950, in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama—as well as the other southern states—immigrants from Germany,

Updates and downgrades.

Occasionally—maybe even frequently—I am apt to represent something incorrectly in one of my blog entries. While the underlying claim to most of my posts is an analysis based on observation and opinion, the road to my final destination is always paved with on-the-scene reports, research, or even press releases, and sometimes it is based on

Not quite the corner store.

By this point, you’d more or less have to depend on a private jet for transport not to encounter the occasional—or frequent—dollar store. No longer just the mainstay in communities with a median income below the national average, the ultra-bargain store is one of the few retail segments that has done not just well during

Interruptions and protrusions.

My apologies for both the delay between posts and the unexpected lapse between Part II and Part III of my Overhead Wire series. The collection and organization of photographs has proven far more challenging than I ever anticipated, but it will continue.  In order to counter the dry spell between posts, I wanted to offer

Big boxes: keeping all the ducks in a row.

I have chronicled the tireless migration of retail across metropolitan landscapes several times in the past; it formed the central topic of one of my earliest blog posts.  Unfortunately, most of my posts

Economizing and downsizing a city’s landmarks.

When navigating through an unfamiliar place, either urban or rural, we tend to seek visual points of reference to aid us in further wayfinding.  It is as instinctual of an action as folding

Modulars get modern.

Work commitments yet again prevent me from devoting time to lengthy blog posts the way I often would like, but maybe this is a godsend for my readers. My previous post on condo(m)s

The greasy spoon straddles the Pacific.

As much as I’d like to commend the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson, I have to confess: I love billboards. Maybe I’ve spent too much time living in parts of the country where

Updates and downgrades.

Occasionally—maybe even frequently—I am apt to represent something incorrectly in one of my blog entries. While the underlying claim to most of my posts is an analysis based on observation and opinion, the

Not quite the corner store.

By this point, you’d more or less have to depend on a private jet for transport not to encounter the occasional—or frequent—dollar store. No longer just the mainstay in communities with a median

Interruptions and protrusions.

My apologies for both the delay between posts and the unexpected lapse between Part II and Part III of my Overhead Wire series. The collection and organization of photographs has proven far more

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