More than just murals: Philadelphia’s distinctive and superlative legacy of public art.

I’ve spent multiple blog articles praising the colorful initiatives of Mural Arts Philadelphia in the past—including a very recent article—but it occurred to me that precious few of these articles have actually depicted the City-funded initiative in its full form.  Up to this point, I have compared Philly’s influence on mural programs in other cities,

First spinning, then smoothies, then sports medicine: fusing physical therapy with the fitness center.

Way out in Somewheresville, Pennsylvania, a glass partition separates this physical therapy office from the rest of the facility. No big deal.  It’s not surprising that a physical therapy office would want potential customers to see what its typical activities look like: the therapists themselves, doing their job, using the latest in rehabilitative equipment.  But

Small-town parking meters: when the knob doesn’t even turn over a two-bit solution.

I’ve seen some pretty remarkable cheats that allow people to circumvent paid parking, but this one has to take the cake. It comes courtesy of Carlisle, a well-situated, generally prosperous small city in south-central Pennsylvania. This meter sits on Pomfret Street, a remarkably well-preserved mixed-use corridor just a few paces away from Carlisle’s downtown civic

Metrics for mallwalkers.

The cultural standards for commerce continue to evolve across the nation, to the point that shopping is no longer a peripatetic pastime. It seems obvious by this point that malls are bearing the brunt of this cataclysm. People still shop, but they don’t go shopping. Sure, there are plenty of sterile strip malls or shopping

Briar Cliff Townhomes at Kutztown: a credible snapshot of life after students.

A lazy Sunday drive along a rural limited-access highway in east-central Pennsylvania yielded an unusual surprise: a sizable residential complex that looked completely abandoned. But we were going fast enough that we could only catch a glimpse. It was so atypical that we had to pull over to investigate further. The background in the photo

Philly’s subway entrances: should we cast great infrastructure in iron or cast it away?

As a general rule, the major public works initiatives of America suffer an almost complete bifurcation in our broader societal gaze: between the deliberately ornamental versus the purely utilitarian. We clutch our pearls in attempts to salvage the former—even if many critics impugn these embellishments as kitschy, schlocky, or some other great Yiddish adjective. Their

Steering with stanchions: keeping the corners safe in the Christmas City.

For those of us who care about this sort of thing (the precious few), it’s become increasingly obvious that bollards have become a significant element of the average streetscape. We owe some of this, no doubt, to the unfortunate reality of an escalating collective fear of terrorist attacks in the form of vehicle ramming, either

Metrics for mallwalkers.

The cultural standards for commerce continue to evolve across the nation, to the point that shopping is no longer a peripatetic pastime. It seems obvious by this point that malls are bearing the