Inga Saffron is the Architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The city does a poor job of taking care of blighted buildings, whether in ritzy or rundown areas.
Once upon a time it was a stately Philadelphia townhouse with a high mansard roof, stained glass and a dramatic bay window. Today, the 19th-century building is a weed-choked wreck with bricks popping out of the facade. Upper windows hang slack-jawed, like a drunk who just passed out. Graffiti dances across a side wall. A family of possums has colonized the interior.
As regular readers of this column know, I consider parking garages the lowest form of downtown development. The uninhabited structures suck the life out of their surroundings and encourage people to choose cars over transit for trips into Center City. But if there is one thing worse than a free-standing downtown garage, it is a blighted free-standing downtown garage.