Tanks on the border, but it isn’t a military strategy.

For a commodity as market-sensitive as petroleum (let’s call it “gas”), a featurette on pricing is less likely to be indicative of market trends than, say, certain perishable goods (which induced considerable hardship on dairy and grain farmers these last few years) or certain appliances (in which the decline in demand has bankrupted several high-profile

Is Danbury the next emerald city, or is it just the color of money?

Brokers and real estate analysts have known this for years: our country has way too much space for retail. More than any other country by a wide margin.   Now, as the predicament escalates to the point that the even the average citizen can spot the oversupply—it’s empirically obvious—mainstream journalists have branded it “the retail apocalypse”.

Mystic and the tourist main street: undermined by its own eclecticism?

Southeastern Connecticut boasts a flourishing, well-preserved hub of commercial activity, popular with tourists but hardly neglected by the locals. This hub is not New London, historically the largest city in the region, a former shipping center and home to the Coast Guard Academy. It also isn’t Norwich, a mill city up the Thames River that

Luring us back to the center, by whatever means necessary.

After crossing the Thames River along Interstate 95, speeding westward past the compact, archetypically New England central business district to New London, Connecticut, a visitor will encounter an exit ramp leading directly to the city’s economically recovering downtown. Generally speaking, this should be the preferred trajectory for those of us obsessed with old town centers.

The ugly, underutilized garage: soon a mere memory?

Has urban America learned its last lesson on downtown parking? After forty years of declining fortunes, have we deduced that giving people cheap, abundant, convenient places to park their cars failed to save our city centers? Have we finally realized that demolishing 100-year-old buildings to form new garages and lots did not stem the vacancy

Back-of-the-envelope navigation.

As I try to increase my volume of monthly blog posts, I owe it to both my readers and myself to bring back something I used to do regularly: a mini-post, which for me amounts to something less than 1,000 words. The fact of the matter is that I often try to write less, but

Helping downtowns meet demand and save face.

The façadectomy fan club hasn’t earned a lot of love over the years. Historic preservationists deride it because it cynically assumes that the only true value to a historic structure is the often three-foot-thick façade, while the remaining 99% of the building (not to mention everything that took place within it) is left to the

Daylighting.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a meta-post (blogging about my own blogging), but I’m due for one this time around. Back in May, I blogged about the Brass Mill Center, a very suburban-styled mall in the heart of Waterbury, Connecticut’s inner city.  I’m generally happy with how the article turned out, but most of

Dethroning the top brass.

When it first opened in 1997, local and regional media acclaimed the Brass Mill Center of Waterbury, Connecticut for transforming a long-blighted, desolate, contaminated old industrial site. And, considering that the retail hub replaced an expansive collection of derelict buildings visible along Interstate 84, it probably improved Waterbury’s image not just to its natives but

After a national chain is toast, who picks up the crumbs?

When a recognizable meme gets untethered from its usual habitat—its preferred social and cultural context—it’s amazing how quickly people forget what it was intended to signify. That’s exactly the case with this neon sign in a downtown storefront window: Does it ring a bell? Probably not at first blush. But look at the general shape

Tanks on the border, but it isn’t a military strategy.

For a commodity as market-sensitive as petroleum (let’s call it “gas”), a featurette on pricing is less likely to be indicative of market trends than, say, certain perishable goods (which induced considerable hardship

Luring us back to the center, by whatever means necessary.

After crossing the Thames River along Interstate 95, speeding westward past the compact, archetypically New England central business district to New London, Connecticut, a visitor will encounter an exit ramp leading directly to

The ugly, underutilized garage: soon a mere memory?

Has urban America learned its last lesson on downtown parking? After forty years of declining fortunes, have we deduced that giving people cheap, abundant, convenient places to park their cars failed to save

Back-of-the-envelope navigation.

As I try to increase my volume of monthly blog posts, I owe it to both my readers and myself to bring back something I used to do regularly: a mini-post, which for

Helping downtowns meet demand and save face.

The façadectomy fan club hasn’t earned a lot of love over the years. Historic preservationists deride it because it cynically assumes that the only true value to a historic structure is the often

Daylighting.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a meta-post (blogging about my own blogging), but I’m due for one this time around. Back in May, I blogged about the Brass Mill Center, a very

Dethroning the top brass.

When it first opened in 1997, local and regional media acclaimed the Brass Mill Center of Waterbury, Connecticut for transforming a long-blighted, desolate, contaminated old industrial site. And, considering that the retail hub

After a national chain is toast, who picks up the crumbs?

When a recognizable meme gets untethered from its usual habitat—its preferred social and cultural context—it’s amazing how quickly people forget what it was intended to signify. That’s exactly the case with this neon