The old utility-pole-in-the-sidewalk predicament: do we have clearance…Clarence?

I’ve written as a guest contributor at the blog Urban Indy numerous times in the past.  Although the blog is currently only marginally active, and I personally have not dabbled in the topic, other contributors have bemoaned the fact that pedestrian improvements in the very auto-centric city of Indianapolis rarely extend to persons with disabilities,

Birds as drone surveillance ?

Winged, feathered drone surveillance: if all birds are corrupted, why not insects as well?

To celebrate the spooky season just a little bit on the late side, I’ll abstain from references to zombies, werewolves, or blood-thirsty vampires.  That’s the stuff of Hollywood.  I’ll hold off from massive jack-o’-lanterns, witches crashing into buildings, enormous spiders, or the arched backs of black cats.  Those seem to be the status quo for

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

Multifamily monotony: how to put a new design spin on an all-too-familiar housing type.

While almost all urban aficionados have heralded the revitalization we have witnessed in downtowns large and small across the country, the sticklers and control freaks among us have continued to cavil about one nagging shortcoming: the form of mixed-use and multifamily projects has disproportionately favored big lots with monolithic structures that, while certainly better than

A hydrant below sea level: raising the stakes for mitigating property loss.

A bizarre piece of infrastructure like this will inevitably captivate a few more curiosity seekers than yours truly. As a Google Images search would prove, I’m not the first to snap a pic of something like this. Still, a fire hydrant elevated about 18 inches off the ground is hardly a typical sight even in

An oasis and a bean-counter.

The climate of the American high plains may not be completely desert-like, but the similarities are uncanny: relatively little rain or moisture in the air, a temperature that plunges at night throughout the year, considerable variation between summer and winter, but fiercely hot in the former. Many of these characteristics incidentally bespeak high altitudes more

Electric neglected.

On a serene stretch of Interstate 70 in western Maryland—west of Hagerstown but not yet to the point where the freeway veers sharply northward into Pennsylvania—it’s still possible in mid April to see some antiquated power lines that parallel the road, even as dusk approaches. The foliage isn’t yet thick enough, so there they are.

A little piece of heaven—with all the bells and whistles.

In this day and age, with throngs of Baby Boomers approaching and entering retirement, quite a few are inevitably seeking to downsize from the comfy, commodious single-family detached homes where they raised heir kids. Some have already scaled back, and the exodus will only continue in the years ahead, as this unusually large and influential

An oasis and a bean-counter.

The climate of the American high plains may not be completely desert-like, but the similarities are uncanny: relatively little rain or moisture in the air, a temperature that plunges at night throughout the

Electric neglected.

On a serene stretch of Interstate 70 in western Maryland—west of Hagerstown but not yet to the point where the freeway veers sharply northward into Pennsylvania—it’s still possible in mid April to see