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Sears at Landmark Mall: all dressed up and nowhere to go.

We’re all aware of the abysmal condition of the national corporation Sears Holdings Company and its two flagship department stores, Sears and Kmart. I’ve covered both numerous times. For the last decade, the parent company, in a desperate attempt to induce profitability, has shed its lowest performing locations, one after another. But none are well-performing,

Department store downward spiral: at least the shelves are stocked.

In these lean times, hardly a day goes by that our preferred media outlets don’t promulgate another gloom-and-doom indicator regarding the retail sector: a national chain cutting locations, more chapter 11 filings, an Amazon buyout. A number of syndicates and even some independent outlets have taken a more visual approach, documenting the dire straits of

Full skyscrapers, looming over empty streets.

Those of us who identify as urbanophilic—to which I include myself a great deal of the time—have long bemoaned the lack of density afflicting many of our American urban centers, which impedes these places from achieving not just the level of on-the-street liveliness heralded by Jane Jacobs—the first great autodidact urbanophile—but their basic capacity to

Sitting on the property, banking on its value to rise.

Despite the seismic cultural and political shift that typically takes place every four or eight years, Washington DC has enjoyed a growth trajectory that surpasses most other US metros. In the first ten years of the 21st century, the region grew 16.4% –fourth highest among the ten most populous metros, and it proved particularly resilient

The emperor might have beautiful clothes, but what about the shoes?

By 21st century standards, it would seem like a moot point that buildings in high density downtowns would attempt to have at least some street level engagement, meaning that the ground floor offers something for passers-by to look at beyond a mere blank wall.  Usually this translates to a large window for a display that

The college paints the town anything but red.

The phrase infill development can loosely refer to a wide variety of approaches with the overriding aim of introducing (or reintroducing) a higher density of habitable buildings into a mature, already established built environment. In most cases, the surrounding infrastructure for an infill parcel has long been in place, the adjacent properties are at least

Drivable main streets, Part II: Concentrating the poverty.

The previous post explored one of the most unusual examples of apparent grassroots historic preservation in an essentially rural setting that has succeeded in spite of itself. St. Francisville, Louisiana has no explicit town center, yet the low vacancy levels suggest that the few scattered commercial buildings command higher than average rents for a town

The safety of objects.

The escalation of airport security after September 11th has unambiguously complicated air travel. Hardly a year has gone by since that tragic day without the introduction of a new major regulation, generally enforced by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The use of small box-cutters to intimidate the passengers of the four hijacked airplanes prompted the

Full skyscrapers, looming over empty streets.

Those of us who identify as urbanophilic—to which I include myself a great deal of the time—have long bemoaned the lack of density afflicting many of our American urban centers, which impedes these

Sitting on the property, banking on its value to rise.

Despite the seismic cultural and political shift that typically takes place every four or eight years, Washington DC has enjoyed a growth trajectory that surpasses most other US metros. In the first ten

The college paints the town anything but red.

The phrase infill development can loosely refer to a wide variety of approaches with the overriding aim of introducing (or reintroducing) a higher density of habitable buildings into a mature, already established built

Drivable main streets, Part II: Concentrating the poverty.

The previous post explored one of the most unusual examples of apparent grassroots historic preservation in an essentially rural setting that has succeeded in spite of itself. St. Francisville, Louisiana has no explicit

The safety of objects.

The escalation of airport security after September 11th has unambiguously complicated air travel. Hardly a year has gone by since that tragic day without the introduction of a new major regulation, generally enforced

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