30 July 2014

Mapping out ITINs

A different way to look at the immigrant landscape is to map out where Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)  have been issued. Think of these as an alternative to a Social Security number that allows a non-citizen to still file taxes.

Mapped in isolation the pattern of ITINs already says plenty about the distribution across New Jersey. While the Northeast corridor seems like a predictable area for a higher density of ITINs, casual observers may be surprised to see the areas in Salem and Cumberland County. But the map shows that the farming communities around Hammonton, Vineland and Bridgeton are all labor markets popular with migrant workers.

Over time, the growth of ITINs shows a very dynamic landscape (click on map to view it up close).

Campus landscape architect

Rutgers is looking for some to fill the position of University Landscape Architect.

29 July 2014

EPA Launches Third Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge

EPA Launches Third Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, Registration Begins Sept. 2
EPA has launched the third annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design challenge for college and university students. Student teams, working with a faculty advisor, will submit design boards, a project narrative, and a letter of support describing a proposed green infrastructure project for a location on their campus. Registration opens Sept. 2 and ends Oct. 3. Registrants must submit their entries by Dec. 19. Winning teams will earn a student prize of $1,000-$2,000 to be divided evenly among student team members, and a faculty prize of $2,000-$3,000 to support green infrastructure research or training. More information: www.epa.gov/campusrainworks.

The posts include videos from the winning teams,  like this one from Florida

And another from Michigan State

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.