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

As ambition grows, the menus shrink.

The destiny of generally unregulated markets is one of intensifying competition. In an ideal world, these markets spawn a trajectory that impels producers or service providers to innovate so they can achieve that competitive edge. As a result, the consumer reaps the benefit of products and services that continuously improve in quality and efficiency. One

Second Street services in High Street storefronts.

A little while back, in a meticulously photographed post on the blog Urban Indy, I noted many emergent urban main street corridors that fall short of their full potential for a single simple reason: they can’t secure the optimal types of tenants. It was a challenging post, because I felt like I was taking two

Rising above the district dogma.

Normally I have come to the defense of historic preservation as a both a discipline and an economic development tool. But, inasmuch as I support almost any effort to cultivate, recognize and then save heritage, I also know that the most sincere efforts can go up in flames when couched in the liberal use of

When a vintage sign is like a fine wine.

While I suspect virtually every adult has at one time experienced some sort of nostalgia, we all have different stimuli. It’s that much more appealing when it’s unexpected, which was exactly the case when I was out recently along a major highway in Dover, Delaware’s rapidly growing capital, and I saw this sign. Unexpected and

Breaking the rules to enforce them.

Whimsical signs in unexpected places are so commonplace these days that it’s difficult even to use to the word “unexpected”. But signage in general is ubiquitous, and since most signs communicate their messages in a no-frills manner, any notification with a slightly different tone still comes across as atypical. Which, most likely, is precisely the

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

As ambition grows, the menus shrink.

The destiny of generally unregulated markets is one of intensifying competition. In an ideal world, these markets spawn a trajectory that impels producers or service providers to innovate so they can achieve that

Second Street services in High Street storefronts.

A little while back, in a meticulously photographed post on the blog Urban Indy, I noted many emergent urban main street corridors that fall short of their full potential for a single simple

Rising above the district dogma.

Normally I have come to the defense of historic preservation as a both a discipline and an economic development tool. But, inasmuch as I support almost any effort to cultivate, recognize and then

When a vintage sign is like a fine wine.

While I suspect virtually every adult has at one time experienced some sort of nostalgia, we all have different stimuli. It’s that much more appealing when it’s unexpected, which was exactly the case

Breaking the rules to enforce them.

Whimsical signs in unexpected places are so commonplace these days that it’s difficult even to use to the word “unexpected”. But signage in general is ubiquitous, and since most signs communicate their messages