Crested Butte main street: a shopper’s oasis amidst the lingering retail drought.

More times than I can count, I’ve explored the country’s mismatch between the supply of retail-oriented real estate and the broader public’s demand.  We just have too many shopping centers.  And it’s always been that way.  Even in the best of times—the peak of the suburban mall during the 1970s and 80s—our historic downtown storefronts

Fort Worth Water Gardens: when a splashy downtown feature rests on a slippery slope (literally).

Let’s face it: it doesn’t matter how big or vibrant your city’s downtown is.  Generally speaking, the civic plazas immediately outside the major municipal buildings are dead on weekends.  There just isn’t any magnetism, given that these buildings host city government functions, which typically operate during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.  (Emergency and corrections

The skeletons of West Virginia’s film industry finally come out of the storefront.

The streetscape of downtown Martinsburg, the largest municipality (population 17,500) in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, doesn’t exactly boast an occupancy level one would rate as thriving.  But it’s hardly plagued by persistent plywood in the windows of the commercial buildings, and the majority of them look like they benefit from regular maintenance and upkeep. I

Summit, New Jersey: does a promenade between two buildings represent an opportunity gap?

For much of the twentieth century, it was an all-too-common occurrence: an old commercial structure in a declining downtown struggles to compete with the strip malls cropping up everywhere on the outskirts.  Over time, the old building—retail on the first floor, office or warehousing on the next two/three/four levels—becomes functionally obsolete.  It’s drafty, the plumbing

Grants, New Mexico: where the ghosts of miners haunt a thriving prison industry.

Although the evidence of ghost towns proves that they exist (or have existed) throughout the country, most Americans invariably associate them with the frontier West: the High Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada; the Great Basin, Mojave, and Sonoran Deserts.  We also customarily associate the emergence of ghost towns with mining, certainly more than

Habitat 67: did Montreal’s mega-manifestation manage to make modular marvelous to the masses?

In April of 1967, the City of Montreal unveiled an unprecedented architectural showpiece, attendant to hosting the International and Universal Exposition, an event that most people referred by its catchier abbreviation “Expo 67”.   This spectacular feat in construction owes a great deal to tradition.  Starting with the the World’s Columbian Exposition (the Chicago World’s