• Downtown Miami: A Work of Art

    March 29, 2014, Washington, DC: The city of Miami is itself a work of modern art. Its scale pushes boundaries. Its colors are arresting. Its bold and sculpted subjects ooze style. The other night I watched from a high downtown balcony as someone threw a rainbow of strobe lights against this interactive exhibit to gear

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  • Vallejo’s Story: Roshanda’s Hometown

    January 23, 2014, Washington, DC: “The stigma hangs.” That’s how Roshanda Cummings described her hometown of Vallejo, California when she first wrote me about contributing to Neighborhood Nomads. She described a city that struggles to project a positive image despite having a lot going for it, despite triumphantly exiting bankruptcy in 2011. She shared links

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  • Stuart of Broad Ripple

    January 12, 2014, Washington, DC: “It’s all cyclical, right?” Indianapolis resident Stuart Drake and I are talking about how our choices concerning where to live often mimic those faced by our parents. Stuart’s friends and family constantly ask him when he, his wife, toddler and dog will leave the city and move to the suburbs.

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  • On Common Ground: Nomads and Neighbors of 2013

    December 30, 2013, Washington, DC: What do the people interviewed this year on Neighborhood Nomads have in common? They share an admirable commitment to their homes, neighborhoods and cities, and use their professions as a springboard from which to connect to their communities. This year, I interviewed several formidable nomads and neighbors whose work has enabled

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  • Kerri’s Thoughts on Detroit

    July 26, 2013: There’s one Detroit memory in particular that novelist Kerri Schlottman recalls after all these years. Her childhood recollections of the parade at Hudson’s department store or a visit to the museum aren’t particularly clear. But growing up in Detroit’s suburbs in the late 70s and early 80s, Kerri saw the streetscape change

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  • The Lifecycle of Place

    May 30, 2013, Washington, DC: Have you ever lived in a city or town that is no longer alive? Are there places you remember from childhood or somewhere along the way that have simply ceased to exist? Can a place die and fade away completely or will always experience rebirth, in some form? I don’t

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  • Spring Cleaning, Spring Reading

    April 3, 2013, Washington, DC:  Last winter, I published a post called Writing About Place: A Reading List where I planned to keep tabs on books and articles that spoke to the power of place. The idea was to create a resource of conversations about neighborhood history, urban studies, compelling travel writing — any content

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  • I Live in a Cupcake Neighborhood

    March 13, 2013, Washington, DC:  I leave the Atlas Theater on H St. Sunday night thinking about cupcakes and sweet potato pie. The night is mild and a taxicab pulls up immediately to the theater’s well-lit doorstep to drive us from the north side of Capitol Hill to the south. On the way home, we

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  • Small Talk on a DC Street

    December 28, 2012, Washington, DC: The older woman walking down the sidewalk just ahead of me this afternoon slowed down and turned to wait by the board game shop. “Do you live in this area?” she asked. “I do,” I said. “How do you stand it?” she asked with a laugh. She’d been looking for parking

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  • Our Home These Days

    November 15, 2012, Washington, DC: I always have trouble with this time of year when the sun sets early and the temperature drops and those of us who are outdoor types accustomed to squeezing all we can into long, bright days are suddenly forced to find alternatives indoors. You’d think that after 30 some years, I’d

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  • The Navy Yard Reshena Knew

    Photo Credit: Jacqueline Dupree August 15, 2012, Washington, DC: So often our neighborhoods are the settings for wonderful stories. They are places where we come to appreciate simple things like the comforts of home and the traditions of families, the value of community and the rhythms of our hometowns. But our neighborhoods are also complex landscapes that evoke

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  • Race, Gentrification and the Keys to the Corridor

    August 10, 2012, Washington, DC: Heavy topics, yes. But Rick Skinner will tell you a thing or two about Washington if you’re not afraid to listen. He will tell you that Howard University holds the keys to the corridor, that elderly black women are the keepers of DC’s history, that he himself is a part of the

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  • Living in Dignowity Hill

    July 29, 2012, Washington, DC: I was struck by my recent conversation with Bekah McNeel of San Antonio. In relaying her story about moving into the neighborhood of Dignowity Hill two years ago, Bekah challenged me to think more deeply about not only our love of place, but about our responsibility to place. She had

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  • Living on Capitol Hill: Meet Julia

    July 20, 2012, Washington, DC: Like so many of us, Julia Christian very deliberately selected a place to call home. Bottom line: She loved it there. But unlike those of us with ultra-nomadic tendencies who land far from the nest, Julia chose to return to the very neighborhood in which she grew up. She decided

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