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22 articles

Anthony Santaniello: a eulogy for a lover of subways.

In what is a first for American Dirt—and what I hope not to become a regular occurrence—I offer a tribute to a fellow urbanist and friend.  Longtime employee of Philadelphia City Planning Commission and then Philadelphia Streets Department, Anthony Santaniello passed away on October 21st.  Anthony wasn’t just a casual follower of the work on

Custom racks: a stylish place to park your Cannondale. Or canine.

Bicycles may never become a primary means of getting around in the United States, at least not to the degree that they are in, say, Denmark or Netherlands.  Our cities are too spread out, cars have (at least until recently) been comparatively cheap and easy to own, and—perhaps most important of all—a majority of Americans

Chestnut Hill switching station: a subtle shield for an ugly use, or a waste of space?

Public utilities are a tough nut to crack, especially in urban settings, where the population density is greater—and so, consequently, is the demand for electricity, gas, water, wastewater, fiber optics, and so forth.  With higher density comes greater intricacy of the conduit; there’s more of it, and it must be more economical with its use

More than just murals: Philadelphia’s distinctive and superlative legacy of public art.

I’ve spent multiple blog articles praising the colorful initiatives of Mural Arts Philadelphia in the past—including a very recent article—but it occurred to me that precious few of these articles have actually depicted the City-funded initiative in its full form.  Up to this point, I have compared Philly’s influence on mural programs in other cities,

Philly’s subway entrances: should we cast great infrastructure in iron or cast it away?

As a general rule, the major public works initiatives of America suffer an almost complete bifurcation in our broader societal gaze: between the deliberately ornamental versus the purely utilitarian. We clutch our pearls in attempts to salvage the former—even if many critics impugn these embellishments as kitschy, schlocky, or some other great Yiddish adjective. Their

The signs, sounds and flavahs of summah.

Like the other three seasons, summer impels us to gravitate toward certain foods. To some extent, growing seasons and the availability of certain types of produce influence our choices. But in the globalized era, when pineapple is available twelve months a year, the “harvest” (what a quaint word!) has less and less to do with

Along the road to Calvary, a bingo parlor.

I’ve ruminated multiple times on this blog about how we spatialize ourselves through religion—a subject of great interest to me, but one of which I haven’t plumbed any great depths. And this is not the time. I’ll keep it superficial, while at least adding a little texture to the layer. And here’s that texture: a

Anthony Santaniello: a eulogy for a lover of subways.

In what is a first for American Dirt—and what I hope not to become a regular occurrence—I offer a tribute to a fellow urbanist and friend.  Longtime employee of Philadelphia City Planning Commission

The signs, sounds and flavahs of summah.

Like the other three seasons, summer impels us to gravitate toward certain foods. To some extent, growing seasons and the availability of certain types of produce influence our choices. But in the globalized

Along the road to Calvary, a bingo parlor.

I’ve ruminated multiple times on this blog about how we spatialize ourselves through religion—a subject of great interest to me, but one of which I haven’t plumbed any great depths. And this is

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