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105 articles

Tavistock, New Jersey’s smallest borough, is 95% greens space. (Greens, not green.)

A few lifetimes ago, when I lived in the northern suburbs of Chicago (the “North Shore”) I would routinely drive along Golf Road, an east-west arterial linking the city of Evanston (where they called it Emerson Street) and the seemingly never-ending concatenation of suburbs to the west.  Continuing westward, Golf Road eventually terminates in Elgin,

Where have all the lightning bugs gone?

I’m not an entomologist—not even of the armchair variety.  Nor am I a conservationist, or a meteorologist.  My schooling in ecology does not extend beyond a single graduate-level course that dealt with how urban development disrupts various animals’ habitat and migration patterns.  And it is that course content that I can apply against a backdrop

Defensive urbanism: homeless face hard, heavy new hurdles. Jersey style.

It’s been almost two years exactly since I featured various metal rods, rings, and ridges carefully positioned at select locations in various parks and civic plazas in Oakland and San Francisco.  Aside from alliteration, these rods, rings, and ridges shared one ambition: to prevent people from engaging in certain undesirable activities at these public gathering

Sign regulations: what it looks like if your town generally lacks good ones.

“Signage” has long been the most prominently used keyword here at this blog.  Within its respective jurisdiction, a municipal planning community fixates more than the average person—more even than me—on signs: their placement, size, color, luminosity, content, what can exist.  The American Planning Association (APA) routinely devotes webinars like this on the subject, and, at

A downtown without clear pedestrian advocacy: the Fort Worth example.

Many years ago—before I even had conceived of this blog—I was an intern for a university semester at WalkBoston, which was (and remains) the signature pedestrian advocacy organization for Bean Town.  Founded in 1990, it was the first of its kind in the country.  Since then (and since my internship), WalkBoston’s scope and ambitions have

Folk pop: the classic Mail Pouch Tobacco ad gets the meme treatment. For better health.

I’ve never bothered to discern what Pierre Bourdieu would probably brand the “echelons of taste” that distinguish “folk” from “pop”.  Their thematic intersection owes a great deal to the fact that they share a prosaic, anti-elitist undercurrent, but the commonalities probably don’t extend much further.  While both folk and pop eschew the highbrow ethos that

Resistance to Russia reaps rhetorical rewards in Riga.

I usually wait more than a few weeks before I offer a follow-up from an earlier post.  But if I learn something new almost immediately after posting—sometimes as a direct byproduct of the initial article—then I’m more than happy to revisit the subject, offering new insights or corrections as necessary.  More often than not, the

What’s a flag lot? A flag on a map looks very different from the view on the street.

I don’t really think that flag lot is part of common parlance anywhere outside of the domain of real estate and land development.  But it’s such a common condition—and such a simple concept to understand—that it’s kind of surprising most people don’t really know about it.  I certainly didn’t until I dipped my toe in

Support for Ukraine among neighbors: can a block form a bloc?

I will be overseas a fair part of this month, and I at least wanted to crank out one brief article before I leave.  While this article might, at first blush, seem to come out of nowhere, it bears a direct spatial resemblance to one I wrote just a few weeks ago: on a row

Where have all the lightning bugs gone?

I’m not an entomologist—not even of the armchair variety.  Nor am I a conservationist, or a meteorologist.  My schooling in ecology does not extend beyond a single graduate-level course that dealt with how

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