28 July 2014

Immigration in New Jersey

Immigration is back in the news, again. With that in mind, over the next few days, Places and Spaces will be posting some old maps from our work on the RIIM project. Many our from the final report, Meet the Neighbors. This first one shows levels of limited English proficiency reported by NJ school districts from two different years. It is a measure closely associated with immigrants, particularly young ones. As such, it can be seen as a first glance at the overall pattern of immigration in NJ. But it will be different than some others we'll share and, as you can see, it changes some each year.

Fine, J., A. Mann, D. Tulloch, F. S. Bentley. 2014. Meet the Neighbors: Organizational and Spatial Dynamics in Immigrant New Jersey. Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics.

24 July 2014

Has pre-fab architecture turned a corner?

Lately I have seen more stories on pre-fab architecture as a means for making new and innovative architecture more accessible. But the stories tend to show very stylish homes, sometimes leaning towards vacation homes, like this story on more factory options in Ozy online magazine.

But a subset are closer to the Design Like You Give a Damn school of social innovation, using the increasingly cheaper techniques for lower income alternatives. The new issue of Metropolis looks at how the Chinese are trying to apply the pre-fab innovations from their megacities to building new African urban communities that are safe, solid and more carefully planned than current urban housing. But, it potentially costs African jobs.

As an invention becomes innovation, there is often a moment when it changes social responses and practices. If pre-fab urbanism changes the informal settlement patterns of the urban poor, this trend will have seriously turned a corner.

23 July 2014

More from San Diego

Last week's User Conference also produced an interesting tidbit from the Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker. Addressing the plenary session she announced that the Commerce Department (home to the US Census and NOAA) would finally acknowledge their central role in data production and distribution by adding a chief data officer.
"Unleashing the full force of our data will be a source of innovation, a cornerstone of economic opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs, and a foundation for greater prosperity for millions of families," she said.

22 July 2014

Beetles versus Beatles

Beetles killed the George Harrison Memorial Tree in LA.

"For the forests to be green, each tree must be green." - George Harrison

Bike paths improve health

Road.cc reports that a new study finds that people living close to bike paths get more exercise each week. It sounds intuitive, but each little piece of evidence makes it easier to convince decision makers that these small investments are worth it.

21 July 2014

Esri UC 2014

Last week, a massive horde of GIS experts, technicians, fans and "users" descended on San Diego for a week of GIS feeding frenzy at the Esri User Conference. If you missed the world's largest GIS event, here are a few highlights:

A summary of the plenary in which Jack said Geodesign is the thing
The US Commerce Secretary addressed the audience
Scientific data meetings at the US
Esri's new ArGIS OpenData
Minneapolis' ArcGIS site