I was on the road a while back and needed to stop to use the facilities. A chain restaurant on the side of the highway seemed like a reasonable spot. As I headed to the men’s room I noticed iPads on all the tables. These are the new electronic menus. They don’t replace wait staff, … Continue reading Guaranteed Minimum What?
I recently bought a new mattress. What could this possibly have to do with architecture, urban form, economics, or society? Humor me for a minute. In years past I would have dreaded the transaction. Driving out along an eight lane arterial to a series of chain mattress stores or going to a department store in … Continue reading Mattressland
I just enjoyed an adventure in Springfield, Massachusetts with Steve Shultis and his wife Liz of Rational Urbanism. Steve does a far better job of describing his town and his philosophy than I ever could, but my interpretation can be summed up with an analogy about an old college room mate. At the end of … Continue reading The Springfield Strategy
Every once in a while I stumble on a building and scratch my head. What were these people thinking when they built this place? When resources are scarce or people are under the yoke of oppressive circumstances it’s obvious. They make do. But a law firm in Massachusetts? In this case I think I understand … Continue reading The Woo
During high religious holidays like Easter I often find myself asking why rituals are structured the way there are. For example, Lent – a period of forty days of fasting, penance, and almsgiving – coincides precisely with the six week stretch of the year when food is at its most scarce in traditional agricultural societies. … Continue reading High Holy Days
Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel The Jungle was intended to inform the larger American public of the miserable working environment and sub survival wages of Chicago’s meat packing employees. The popular response was huge and lead to new government agencies and protections, but not the kind Sinclair had hoped for. By describing the dangerous and unhealthy … Continue reading The Jungle