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Race, violence in Ferguson, Mo., cop killing play out on Main Street
Race, violence in Ferguson, Mo., cop killing play out on Main Street

As it runs along the eastern edge of the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., Florissant Avenue resembles hundreds and perhaps thousands of commercial strips around the country. Five lanes wide, it is lined with fast-food restaurants, banks, pawnshops and storage facilities. This is precisely the territory that architect Robert Venturi was defending in 1966, when he asked near the end of his book "Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture," "Is not Main Street almost all right? Indeed, is not the commercial strip of a Route 66 almost all right?" Not this week, that's for sure. It wasn't media reports or urgent tweets from Canfield Drive, the nearby street...

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