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15 articles

A downtown without clear pedestrian advocacy: the Fort Worth example.

Many years ago—before I even had conceived of this blog—I was an intern for a university semester at WalkBoston, which was (and remains) the signature pedestrian advocacy organization for Bean Town.  Founded in 1990, it was the first of its kind in the country.  Since then (and since my internship), WalkBoston’s scope and ambitions have

Fort Worth Convention Center: does it fit in its location? Best just to look at the footprint.

On the south end of Fort Worth’s tidy, finely-wrought latticework of a downtown, the mammoth Fort Worth Convention Center Building helps ensure a steady array of visitors whenever a major event is in town.  Why shouldn’t it?  That’s precisely what convention centers do.  This convention center seems to benefit from a slightly greater-than-average effort to

Burnett Plaza: where human-centered architecture almost gets the shaft.

Poking out over the squat, one-story barbecue joint in the photo above is a relentlessly iterative office building, with not a single variation in its fenestration across all thirty-nine of its upper floors.  Windows look the exact same, row after row after row.  The only exception is the far left and far right of this

Fort Worth Water Gardens: when a splashy downtown feature rests on a slippery slope (literally).

Let’s face it: it doesn’t matter how big or vibrant your city’s downtown is.  Generally speaking, the civic plazas immediately outside the major municipal buildings are dead on weekends.  There just isn’t any magnetism, given that these buildings host city government functions, which typically operate during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.  (Emergency and corrections

A non-defense of the back alley, from the mean streets of suburban Dallas.

A trip to the Dallas Metroplex last fall helped acquaint me with a characteristic to Texas street subdivision design that I had never noticed before: the unusual prevalence of the back alley, even in housing built within the last 25 years.  While it’s possible this never struck me in the past because it’s a Dallas

Lake Dallas Main Street: a bedroom community doesn’t neglect its entrance hall.

I’ll concede at this point that small town revitalization has become sufficiently commonplace that finding a new example is hardly revelatory, even for those who aren’t really attuned to that sort of thing…because they never visit small towns, or because they just don’t care.  It’s even less of a surprise if the municipality in question

Fort Worth Stockyards get a slice of New York chic–but in the form of a ground beef patty.

From the looks of things, the Fort Worth Stockyards are in the midst of a slow-motion renaissance.  I’m hardly an expert on the subject, but I’d wager that the multiblock district–which is apparently the only surviving stockyard left in the country–is among the biggest attractions in the entire Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, certainly as far as

Society without shopping: the bleak future of malls in particular and retail in general.

My latest came out just in time for Black Friday, on Manhattan Institute’s City Journal: a world without malls.  It’s my most recent rumination on the bleak future of retail in 2018–an industry that looks increasingly likely experience a collapse with no other precedent than era when the suburban shopping mall replaced the American town center as the place

Downtown Houston: paved with good intentions.

One of the most unnerving characteristics of the built environment is when an alternative taste culture becomes so entrenched and so mundane that we forget that it wasn’t always the status quo. And it’s even worse when this anti-establishment product yields an inferior outcome whatever it was that preceded it. I’m speaking so vaguely that

Downtown Houston: paved with good intentions.

One of the most unnerving characteristics of the built environment is when an alternative taste culture becomes so entrenched and so mundane that we forget that it wasn’t always the status quo. And

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