May 11, 2004

Take a look at this artist's drawing and decide whether or not it's an improvement over, say, the two gas stations at the Nobscot traffic light in Framingham.

OK, so the Towne Market Mobil planned for Mequon, Wisc., isn't exactly something you'd gasp over with delight while strolling the Champs Elysées. Still, it can pay off when suburban officials get more demanding about design.

"While the results may not be cutting-edge architecture, the shunning of cookie-cutter corporate formulas can help reinforce a community's sense of place, raise the bar for design and shore up property values," Whitney Gould writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Towne Market Mobil's "signage is discreet; the gas pumps are in the back; and there's a circular seating area in the front with attractive landscaping and walkways."

Seems an improvement over the unappealing pedestrian atmosphere at the Nobscot corner stations.

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