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72 articles

Falls Church, Virginia: an independent city asserting its identity through…stop lights?

After seventy years of steady and often astronomical growth—from 1940 to 2010—suburban Fairfax County Virginia finally slowed in the 2010s to a more modest pace.  It had no choice.  This county opposite the Potomac River from Washington DC is developed across about 75% of its 390-square-mile land area.  Even more impressive is that isn’t even

Sign regulations: gotta be something to protect us from spam on two legs.

By far the most common keyword I’ve used in this blog is “signage”.  At the time of this post, I have written 205 articles that feature the topic.  This should come as no surprise.  After all, it’s a blog on the built environment, and signs are ubiquitous anywhere humans have a presence; additionally the fundamental

Analog Memes, Part II: a memorable trip down Christmas Card Lane.

As a successor to my post on a bumper sticker bedecked guardrail in Wilmington, I offer a second example of what I must at least partly attribute to meme culture, for which the World Wide Web exerted little to no influence.  This second example of memetic behavior that is anti-digital is probably a bit more

Analog Memes, Part I: a guardrail as the artists’ canvas. 

It’s hard to imagine this in 2022, but there was indeed an era when meme was not a part of common parlance.  Such a time may be hard to conceive for the Generation Zoomers, but most older Millennials and all Xers can recall when they somehow knew and fully understood what the term means, even

Black bollards: the Las Vegas Strip’s newest no-armed bandit.

I made an unusual and subtle discovery during my last trip to Las Vegas. (Let’s be fair now; it was only my second time there ever.  I’m hardly a regular, and I was a kid during the previous visit.)  Despite my limited experience there, I could tell almost immediately that the powers-that-be were engaging in

Arlington Temple United Methodist: the gas station church gets its own catechism.

The primary photo in this article features a landmark that is widely known to people in the greater Washington DC area, particularly those on the Virginia side of the river.  But it isn’t significant or important enough to have any clout nationally or even outside the region.  It’s a visual landmark in the sense that

Chambersburg courthouse: when prosperity helps to bridge the old and new. Literally.

It’s hard to assess the exact time measurement of a single generation.  How long is it?  Fifteen years?  Twenty?  Usually not more than that.  However, it’s intended typically to convey the time necessary for a person to “come of age”—that is, the duration from birth to the point when he/she is making adult decisions, including

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: