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44 articles

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

Not quite the corner store.

By this point, you’d more or less have to depend on a private jet for transport not to encounter the occasional—or frequent—dollar store. No longer just the mainstay in communities with a median income below the national average, the ultra-bargain store is one of the few retail segments that has done not just well during

MONTAGE: Suburban tumbleweeds.

As the month’s end approaches, I’m due for another photo-centric blog post, and this time I have to reveal to my viewing community a particularly charming incarnation from the housing bust that shares an inextricable link to the economic downturn. Or perhaps not. This development, in Tangipahoa Parish, 60 miles to the northwest of New

Civil unrest along the highway.

It is easy to attribute The Great Recession to the increasingly visible decision among many states to cut long-standing social services. In a good portion of the country, publicly supported interstate rest areas have lost much of their reason for being; with so many other options at the exit ramps along our many limited-access highways,

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

Even the cows can be crooked.

Across most cultures, the animals that comprise what we would call “livestock” remain remarkably similar. Chickens, turkeys, goats, pigs, sheep, cattle, and horses are reliably visible in countries with widely variable climates and levels of industrialization. Some of this may be due to a commonly cultivated taste for the meat, milk, and eggs of these

aerial cables downtown New Orleans

Making it hot to be wired, Part I: Initial Observations.

Low density and vast distances of sparse population have fostered a North American landscape in which much of the infrastructure remains supra-structure. Unlike much of urban Western Europe, most American and Canadian cities are pierced with wires hoisted above the sidewalks by either wood poles or, in more exurban areas, by steel pylons. Though overhead

Not quite the corner store.

By this point, you’d more or less have to depend on a private jet for transport not to encounter the occasional—or frequent—dollar store. No longer just the mainstay in communities with a median

MONTAGE: Suburban tumbleweeds.

As the month’s end approaches, I’m due for another photo-centric blog post, and this time I have to reveal to my viewing community a particularly charming incarnation from the housing bust that shares

Civil unrest along the highway.

It is easy to attribute The Great Recession to the increasingly visible decision among many states to cut long-standing social services. In a good portion of the country, publicly supported interstate rest areas

Even the cows can be crooked.

Across most cultures, the animals that comprise what we would call “livestock” remain remarkably similar. Chickens, turkeys, goats, pigs, sheep, cattle, and horses are reliably visible in countries with widely variable climates and

aerial cables downtown New Orleans

Making it hot to be wired, Part I: Initial Observations.

Low density and vast distances of sparse population have fostered a North American landscape in which much of the infrastructure remains supra-structure. Unlike much of urban Western Europe, most American and Canadian cities