Café Dolci on Market Street: will defensive downscaling (and social distancing) pave the way for more microretail?

In the approximately eighteen months since I walked along the underachieving arterial of Market Street in downtown San Francisco, its character has changed far more than anyone might expect. For such a prime thoroughfare in such a densely populated city, it’s surprisingly mediocre in terms of the density of foot-traffic, which, not surprisingly, leads to

Ridgecrest retail reticence: even remote communities are reeling from reduced relish.

Strategically located in the middle of sun-baked somewhere, the military city of Ridgecrest, California offers the accidental visitor a surprisingly populous alternative to the preceding and subsequent miles of Mojave desolation. By contrast, the deliberate visitor’s most likely destination is Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a munitions and explosives testing range and research facility,

Primm, Nevada: an oasis where the only green comes from the color of money.

More than a few times, I’ve captured the clever ways that the free market intersects with government regulations at key political boundaries, usually those with powerful differences (something more than just a township or municipality) but not so carefully monitored that it stops the flow of traffic, as would be the case through customs at

Tad’s on Powell Street: Putting a stake in the heart of a once-mighty restaurant chain.

On Powell Street, the partly pedestrianized commercial spine connecting Market Street to Union Square, the heart of San Francisco’s shopping district, one encounters a distinctly aged, elaborately colored neon sign. Those of you who might have read my old article on aged commercial signage in urban areas might already know what’s coming. For the rest,

Dirt turns 10!

It is this month, way back in 2009, that I inaugurated this blog, with a post on wildlife tunnels in a suburb of Boston. I wanted breadth. At that point in time, I thought it would just be an amusement—a hobby that would help me hone in on my photography skills, while giving me a

Contraflow: when compared to people or cars, salmon still have it the toughest.

It’s hard not to wonder if there are unspoken rules that explain why well-moving vehicular traffic operates in much the same configuration as human crowds in a congested, spatially constrained setting. Which came first? Well, humans/pedestrians obviously. But vehicular motion remains subject to numerous regulations in the interest of safety for pedestrians and other vehicles.

Tendencies in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood that polarizes.

My first blog post in San Francisco is atypical (if anything about this blog topic could ever be considered typical), but it’s probably a significant one given the socioeconomic context. The wealthy core to one of the richest regions in the country—probably among the wealthiest in the world—San Francisco is also the only city I’m

Dirt turns 10!

It is this month, way back in 2009, that I inaugurated this blog, with a post on wildlife tunnels in a suburb of Boston. I wanted breadth. At that point in time, I