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44 articles

Holiday season supermarket displays: colors, curios, and comestibles.

When most Americans hear the phrase “holiday season” they tend to think of the end of the year—generally the time frame from Thanksgiving to Christmas (or Hanukkah), then to New Year’s Day  But our appetite for celebratory gestures—and the marketplace’s zeal to respond to it through commodification—has essentially expanded the holiday season to Halloween, given

In small biz, do red-letter signs yield red-letter days?

As I prep for a much longer, photo-heavy blog article, I offer this brief filler, with a new take on some familiar material: a declining, heavily vacant strip mall in a suburban area, this time in metro DC (the Maryland side).We’ve all been here before: these days, blighted strip malls are just as common in

Takoma Park, DC’s preferred prodigal suburb, takes al fresco to the streets.

Looking out the window from inside a café in Takoma Park, Maryland, patrons get astraightforward view of the café’s al fresco diners.Nothing too remarkable about the image at first blush, beyond the unusually high level of care afforded to separating the seating from the sidewalk. Not only does the dining space feature attractive, movable wrought

Pedestrian fencing in the median: jerry-rigged to stop jaywalking?

Sure, despite considerable improvements in the last two decades, the American urban environment is still much more pedestrian unfriendly than that in most other developed countries. But urban advocates all too often assert this with a certitude that, if we plumb beyond the generalizations, reveals that it isn’t always fair. Or even accurate. First of

Windowless storefronts: sure, you can’t see in. But is it an oversight?

Silver Spring, Maryland hugs one of the corners of the District of Columbia. Thanks to this proximity, it’s booming as a bedroom community, much like the better-known, ritzier Bethesda just five miles away. It’s an edge city, a satellite suburb with an unusually high concentration of jobs, which owes its current employment density to its

Aberdeen XChange: a growth machine that choked before the engine’s finished revving.

In the Baltimore exurb of Aberdeen, Maryland, a brand-new strip mall sits on a corner at a moderately busy intersection, awaiting a tenant.Aberdeen XChange is not bad looking, as strip malls go. It aligns with contemporary architectural standards for this type of thing: its chief cladding materials consist of tan fake stucco (probably EIFS) and