Forest Fair Village, Part II: a lesson in how not to create a regional mega attraction.

The previous half of this mega-blog post explored Forest Fair Village pictorially, showing what happens when an investment company is left wringing whatever remaining profit they can derive from an almost completely dead attraction.  This mall—98% vacant yet also 98% open to the public—is hardly unique, even by Cincinnati standards, which, like most metros of

The construction year: is it a building’s badge of honor, a brand, or both?

Although a freestanding municipality, the City of Harrison in far southwest Ohio also functions fully within the orbit of metropolitan Cincinnati.  And although the two-block commercial main street appears small for a city of 11,000 and growing, it owes this lack of proportion to the surge of population after 1960, prior to which Harrison lingered

The Sandusky Mall’s precipitous fall.

While this article treads across some familiar territory—dead and dying malls—it arrives through a different lens: the eyes of a friend and fellow devotee of interesting landscapes. I blogged many years ago about Sandusky—specifically an unusual Value City Furniture in the heart of downtown—but I spent very little time in the area that one would

When a state chooses to feast on its identity, what does it use to fill its plate?

It is completely unreasonable for me to use license plate background art as a synecdoche for a state’s prevailing ethos, but I’m going to do it anyway. Why not? The design of a license plate is broadly attempting to achieve this effect, more so than even a flag. Whether license plates originally intended this or

In Mt. Adams, residential infill gets the old spit ‘n shine.

Residential infill development can—and often does—fail to integrate architecturally with the neighborhood that surrounds it. And that’s okay. Far more important than adherence to a certain vernacular is the physical form of the house. When looking at the front of the home square-on, does the layout emphasize a front door, a porch, a garage, or

“Dirt” photos make Cleveland news: WKYC covers the closed Concourse D.

I don’t always single out those times when American Dirt gets outside media coverage, but this one was germane enough that I figured it was worth it. Cleveland-area news and NBC affiliate WKYC contacted me a few weeks ago about an article I wrote back in early 2013, featuring the quiet halls of Concourse D

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

Urban artistry comes in all forms.

Maybe it was the bohemian misfits converging in a once-floundering SoHo that prompted this approach. Perhaps it was the rediscovery of Classical values in 15th century Florence that spurred a continent toward unprecedented economic growth after centuries of stagnance. More likely it was neither. Quite simply, people operated on an hunch (mostly unconscious) that something

Plowing the factories to plant a field.

Cities large and small have borne the brunt of criticism from economic development experts for investing heavily in sports venues, in an effort to bring people back—and thus to help revitalize—their old downtowns.  I’ll admit it: I’ve been one of these critics in the past as well, heaping three successive blog articles of scorn to

The Sandusky Mall’s precipitous fall.

While this article treads across some familiar territory—dead and dying malls—it arrives through a different lens: the eyes of a friend and fellow devotee of interesting landscapes. I blogged many years ago about

In Mt. Adams, residential infill gets the old spit ‘n shine.

Residential infill development can—and often does—fail to integrate architecturally with the neighborhood that surrounds it. And that’s okay. Far more important than adherence to a certain vernacular is the physical form of the

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

Urban artistry comes in all forms.

Maybe it was the bohemian misfits converging in a once-floundering SoHo that prompted this approach. Perhaps it was the rediscovery of Classical values in 15th century Florence that spurred a continent toward unprecedented

Plowing the factories to plant a field.

Cities large and small have borne the brunt of criticism from economic development experts for investing heavily in sports venues, in an effort to bring people back—and thus to help revitalize—their old downtowns.