bark park at The Blairs apartments, Silver Spring MD

Pint sized bark parks: when an undefined patch of land is going to the dogs.

I’m not sure what it is, but something about the downtown to the unincorporated Washington DC suburb of Sliver Spring, Maryland seems have spawned a number of unusual urban forms: acute angles, bizarre protrusions, and neglected little corners.  I’ve written about this once before: how a building’s orientation and street frontage created a little storefront

Corona goes corporate: how the service sector faces a disease, as measured by the local friendly office park.

As the recovery from the economic ravages inflicted by COVID-19 lumbers haltingly forward, it’s obvious even to the unattuned that some industries are bouncing back more nimbly than others. Having chronicled the malaise of retail numerous times, including well before anyone knew that coronavirus would define the year 2020, it’s obvious that the imposed lockdowns only…

Regal Cinemas closes in Alexandria: a casualty of corona or a sign of bigger things to come?

As the American public attempts to reconcile a steadily rising COVID-19 caseload with increasingly diffuse reports on the means to combat the scourge—peppered by occasional reports that many other countries are now also reporting a rise in cases—it is clear that most businesses cannot sustain the draconian conditions imposed by the spring lockdowns.  And, with

A non-defense of the back alley, from the mean streets of suburban Dallas.

A trip to the Dallas Metroplex last fall helped acquaint me with a characteristic to Texas street subdivision design that I had never noticed before: the unusual prevalence of the back alley, even in housing built within the last 25 years.  While it’s possible this never struck me in the past because it’s a Dallas

Lake Dallas Main Street: a bedroom community doesn’t neglect its entrance hall.

I’ll concede at this point that small town revitalization has become sufficiently commonplace that finding a new example is hardly revelatory, even for those who aren’t really attuned to that sort of thing…because they never visit small towns, or because they just don’t care.  It’s even less of a surprise if the municipality in question

Forest Fair Village, Part II: a lesson in how not to create a regional mega attraction.

The previous half of this mega-blog post explored Forest Fair Village pictorially, showing what happens when an investment company is left wringing whatever remaining profit they can derive from an almost completely dead attraction.  This mall—98% vacant yet also 98% open to the public—is hardly unique, even by Cincinnati standards, which, like most metros of

In small biz, do red-letter signs yield red-letter days?

As I prep for a much longer, photo-heavy blog article, I offer this brief filler, with a new take on some familiar material: a declining, heavily vacant strip mall in a suburban area, this time in metro DC (the Maryland side).We’ve all been here before: these days, blighted strip malls are just as common in

Corona goes corporate: how the service sector faces a disease, as measured by the local friendly office park.

As the recovery from the economic ravages inflicted by COVID-19 lumbers haltingly forward, it’s obvious even to the unattuned that some industries are bouncing back more nimbly than others. Having chronicled the malaise of retail numerous times, including well before anyone knew that coronavirus would define the year 2020, it’s obvious that the imposed lockdowns only…