Cortana closes mallwalking…and then closes altogether.

As I work on a longer, more photo-saturated post, I have to get a little snippet in because of some news that a reader recently sent me. The Cortana Mall (or the Mall at Cortana) in Baton Rouge recently closed. The only functional portion left is a Dillard’s Clearance Center, which, though physically connected to

Sears at Castleton closes: no longer a crisis; merely an opportunity.

My lasted post just went up at Urban Indy.  It focuses on the announced closure of the Sears at Castleton Square Mall, the largest mall in the Indianapolis metro, second largest mall in the state, and, together with all the outparcel space, probably the largest retail/commercial hub in the state.  This leaves only one Sears

The stick-built home isn’t always the flimsiest.

Cliché though it may be, the world offers plenty of evidence that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Travel through the most rugged parts of West Virginia, and it’s easy to find a small burg nestled in the valley between uncompromising hills. Human settlements stretch far north of the Arctic Circle, with Inuit populations

Not a fork in the road as much as a spoon.

While it’s easy to derisively brand American suburbia as homogenous and essentially unchanging since it emerged as the preferred settlement pattern for the majority of Americans fifty years ago, we hardly need an intense study to see how much they’ve evolved since the postwar housing boom that began in the late 1940s.  In fact, this

MONTAGE: Washing and cleansing every stain from the sin of neglect.

This montage blog post pioneers an unusual organizational approach: the time elapse. During a six-month period in which I was living in the city of Baton Rouge, a particular edifice caught my attention: a stalled high-rise with its load-bearing walls fully complete but little else. All evidence suggested that its owners had abandoned it quite

Brick roads don’t always lead to Oz.

While this blog post won’t win any awards for brevity (would my blog ever win such a prize?), it surely surpasses all others for the simplicity of the concept. The photo below details the sidewalk upgrade component of a traffic improvement initiative in the Southdowns neighborhood of Baton Rouge. The area represents a banner opportunity

In an economic hell, a house is but a shell.

“Developers have to eat too.” We have tacitly organized to demonize land developers for their perceived role in wrecking metropolitan America. Their greed often supersedes concern for the environment, they cut corners in construction quality, they cater to a lowbrow design culture—and these are just the criticisms chimed by many on the left. While the

Suburban heaven may await, but you can’t take it (all) with you.

The decentralization that has virtually turned our cities inside-out over the past 60 years continues, for the most part unabated. Throughout the country, it’s not difficult to spot the aftermath of this outward migration, in the moribund downtowns and impoverished urban neighborhoods that it left in its wake. That many central business districts are visibly

There goes the neighborhood, Part II: When a Name is More Powerful Than a Fence.

An unusually intense period at work reduced my blogging activity to a few uninspired posts these past few weeks, but at long last I can return to the second part of my study on the application of labels such as “neighborhoods” and “subdivisions” to sub-districts within a larger metropolitan area. In the first part, I

There goes the neighborhood, Part I: Separating the Typologies.

I have long wondered what forces were at work that spurred the transition from using the term “neighborhood” to the more contemporary “subdivision” when referring to residential communities in metropolitan environments. One could easily rattle off some widely held assumptions that more often than not distinguish the two, and I’m bold enough to assert that

The stick-built home isn’t always the flimsiest.

Cliché though it may be, the world offers plenty of evidence that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Travel through the most rugged parts of West Virginia, and it’s easy to find

Not a fork in the road as much as a spoon.

While it’s easy to derisively brand American suburbia as homogenous and essentially unchanging since it emerged as the preferred settlement pattern for the majority of Americans fifty years ago, we hardly need an

Brick roads don’t always lead to Oz.

While this blog post won’t win any awards for brevity (would my blog ever win such a prize?), it surely surpasses all others for the simplicity of the concept. The photo below details

In an economic hell, a house is but a shell.

“Developers have to eat too.” We have tacitly organized to demonize land developers for their perceived role in wrecking metropolitan America. Their greed often supersedes concern for the environment, they cut corners in