19 January 2017

Poe's 208th

Today is Edgar Allen Poe's 208th birthday. There are plenty of places up and down the East Coast to celebrate, including Richmond, Baltimore and Philadelphia. But did you realize that there are 9 different Poe places in NYC?

If you can't get out, read some Poe!

Starting the spring with a planning post on housing

StrongTowns.org has a post that really works for the start of a new semester of planning.

Written by Nolan Gray, the post explains how Lexington (the best little city in America) could address its affordable housing shortage without compromising the city's famous urban growth boundary. So for a first day lesson, it already integrates the UGB and an important social and economic issue.

The article goes on to talk about mixed use, setbacks, parking, and little zoning tweaks that could make a big difference. For a first day conversation, it is a useful piece because it shows how planning often uses indirect levers to manipulate a problem. It also serves as a reminder that there is a lot to learn from informal sources, like non-profit blogs. Plus, Lexington is a great city that you should read about more often.

18 January 2017

Health Story Maps

As we kick off a new semester of the Honors Seminar linking mapping, design and health, it would be useful to think about some very different ways that maps can speak to health issues. South Carolina has a very data-driven story map that allows side-by-side comparisons of health-related issues across the state. With maps like these, the biggest challenge may be the density of information that they contain. A remarkably different example is a story-driven story map by a group called One Million Community Health Workers Campaign. Each story it tells is mapped, but the locations and the map are more about background and context than they are data.

The point is, not only are there many different types of health issues that can be mapped (obesity, infectious diseases, cancer clusters) but there are many different ways to map them. As we move ahead with our exploration of mapping technologies,

16 January 2017

MLK Memorial

Today is a great day to reflect on the complicated histories of the MLK Memorial in Washington DC. It will get used heavily today, and may become a more popular site over the coming months.

07 January 2017

Appy New Year

A great way to start the year would be cleaning all of the old junk off of your smartphone. But then you'll need to reload it with new apps. What apps should you get? Start with the PlaNetizen list of Best Planning Apps from 2017.

04 January 2017

5 Trends

According to Jack Dangermond, here are the 5 biggest trends impacting GIS. I probably don't give the location services enough attention. Maybe that should be my resolution for 2017.

08 December 2016

Interative map of suburbs

With some regularity I find myself getting calls from people looking for an official map/dataset describing the edge of suburbia. Is it a detailed distinction that shows Morristown as a city compared to Morris Plains as suburbs? Or is a sweeping blob that begins and the Husdon River and reaches out through much of the Highlands? While there is nothing official, a new interactive map from RCLCO offers one fairly detailed interpretation of these boundaries. Perhaps most interesting is the group of classifications that they propose for describing these incredibly complex places.

06 December 2016

Barcelona Pavillion

I am a huge fan of the Barcelona Pavilion, one of Mies van der Rohe's greatest designs. I got hooked on it as a sophomore and have visited it repeatedly. One of the really fun ways I have shared that is taking students there, a true thrill for me.

But I mention it today because I just discovered a great video about the Pavilion. Made by the Arts & Culture Bureau, the video brings this seemingly simple structure to life. Here at the end of a stressful semester, it is a relaxing way to spend 30 minutes: