Joint Base AT&T: brutally fortifying our downtown, in preparation for the past.

For those who still need evidence of the Brutalist architectural movement’s effrontery—if my recent article on the two ungainly banks in Asheville wasn’t enough—I offer this leviathan in Worcester, Massachusetts.The barely visible logo in the building’s spire to the left—just behind that stoplight—suggests that this is an AT&T property. Regardless of who owns it (and

Worcester Plaza: a green oasis surrounding by “No Trespassing” signs.

We often judge a city’s economic health or malaise by the condition of the built environment—the visual evidence of concentrated investment in real property. Are the buildings new? If not, have the owners renovated recently? Do the buildings get larger and more closely packed together when approaching the city center? There’s certainly nothing wrong with

A suburban hand in an urban glove. But does it fit?

On the western edge of Boston’s Back Bay Fens, a stone’s throw from Fenway Park, the Landmark Center stands prominently; as both the tallest and broadest building in the area, particularly when viewed looking eastward from across the fens, it lives up to its name.Monumental as it may be today, the massive structure didn’t always

For economic development, is design the tail that wags the dog?

The blogosphere is filled with arguments and examples of how good design can add to the intrinsic value to a building. I’ve avoided such assertions myself, partially because I am not as well-versed in design as many others out there, and largely because I’ve never believed it to be true. So much of what comprises

An ecoburb before the word existed.

“Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks that wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world; of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile [sic] inhabitant, but because he is its head and heart, and finds something of himself in every great and small thing, in

Gowns rewrite the town—twice over.

A casual scan across most urban campuses reveals that they have been building increasingly densely to accommodate new growth, after several decades of building at a lower density than the at their original, historic core. More often than not, they have no other choice. Suffering a scarcity of available land but benefiting from a captive

Faded paint can be a badge worn proudly.

In the past I’ve mused obliquely about how signage can influence the overall character of a retail district. Lo and behold, the character of a retail district can, in turn, influence the type of signage as well. And what better place to demonstrate this than in some of the most heavily trafficked retail locations in

Four-Legged Pedestrians?

As I prepare for a significantly longer essay on the introduction of complete streets into the American landscape, I wanted to include a few images of a quiet but growing concern among planners and civil engineers: biofragmentation through the construction of roads.  In his book Road Ecology, Richard T. T. Forman estimates that 1,000,000 animals

A suburban hand in an urban glove. But does it fit?

On the western edge of Boston’s Back Bay Fens, a stone’s throw from Fenway Park, the Landmark Center stands prominently; as both the tallest and broadest building in the area, particularly when viewed

An ecoburb before the word existed.

“Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks that wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world; of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile

Gowns rewrite the town—twice over.

A casual scan across most urban campuses reveals that they have been building increasingly densely to accommodate new growth, after several decades of building at a lower density than the at their original,

Faded paint can be a badge worn proudly.

In the past I’ve mused obliquely about how signage can influence the overall character of a retail district. Lo and behold, the character of a retail district can, in turn, influence the type

Four-Legged Pedestrians?

As I prepare for a significantly longer essay on the introduction of complete streets into the American landscape, I wanted to include a few images of a quiet but growing concern among planners