09 February 2016

Central Park in the FT

Rutgers alum, Doug Blonsky, got featured in a nice article in the Financial Times this week.

Lathrop Homes

Here is a story to watch for a while. It seems unlikely to get resolved without a few rounds of news coverage.

In Chicago, an old housing project is getting update. In an effort to turn the historic project into a riverfront destination, some buildings will be torn down and others will be renovated. The proposal is for a mixed income development that will feature kayak launches and lush parks.

The Chicago Tribune describes the proposed changes this way: "The exterior of the historic buildings would be restored to their Depression-era luster, while the buildings will be gutted and updated with modern amenities. New buildings would be designed to fit with the original architecture." It will include But the project is controversial. Perhaps because project reduces the number of affordable units from 925 to 525. But the Tribune says that there are currently only 140 low-income families living there.

The slideshow accompanying the Tribune story gives a sense for some community protests and concerns. Curbed reports that the landscape architecture is being designed by MVVA.

The projects were named after Julia Lathrop who led the United States Children's Bureau from 1912 to 1922.

08 February 2016

Hoboken's plan

The NY Times takes a longer look at Hoboken's engineered approach to resiliency. At its heart, the plan uses structures that work like floodwalls. But in Hoboken, that has turned out to be so controversial that Mayor Dawn Zimmer has developed an alternative vocabulary. The Times says that, "Instead, she is careful to use less provocative terms, such as a “flood-protection measure,” and emphasizes that a wall could double as an “amenity,” such as a bench or planter, that would fit into the urban landscape."

In Fundamentals, we just finished talking about some participatory planning methods. The article highlights the difficulty that those present. But it might also demonstrate the value of choosing the right ones.

Meanwhile, this morning's high tide has Jersey Shore towns under water. Keep an eye on the photos getting reposted by the Twitter account @JSHurricaneNews.

05 February 2016

Staten Island resiliency changes

NY1 reports that since Superstorm Sandy, New York CIty's Build it Back program has elevated 25 homes in Staten Island above the floodplain. But these elevated homes change the feeling of the neighborhood fairly dramatically. 

NY1 writes that "the problem is, while some are raising their homes so they can get cheaper flood insurance, others are choosing not to." But there is also the simpler problem that it changes the street into an unintended canyon that the designs don't address. We are going to see more of this near our shores, especially in urban neighborhoods, with designers starting to propose some interest solutions.

The Rutgers LA Housing Studio taught by Kate Higgins took a look at how resiliency-driven design decisions could change a neighborhood at the shore. Check out the video

04 February 2016

New map design book

Map design fans will be excited. Cynthia Brewer has a new book out promoting ideas behind designing better maps. And, because it is 2016, Esri Press has a 2 minute video describing the book.

03 February 2016

Health mapping examples

In class today we talked about Public Participatory GIS and VGI. Some of the applications are important socially relevant crowdsourcing efforts like Tomnod but others are popular, like
the bathroom mapping story in the New Yorker.

We also looked at public sources of mappable information like NYC Open Data or the Health Data at Data.Gov.

While there were lots of examples of community projects, there were also some health research projects that were mentioned including series of maps investigating health at IMMemphis. This included mapping of Ebola tweets.

One of the issues is really scale. When you hear about someone mapping cases of Zika, you probably think of something different than this map that TIME has posted.

02 February 2016

Parks lecture

Nette Compton
Senior Director of Park Central and City Park Development
The Trust for Public Land

Common Ground: Parks as a driver for public process and community empowerment 

Parks play a critical role in the civic life of cities - places to reflect, play, relax, and interact with the community. A successful park is not only based on its size, location, and physical features; the life of a park is in its ability to be used flexibly by a wide range of people, conveying a sense of ownership and welcoming that endear a park it its neighbors. Landscape architects must consider how best to create these vibrant public spaces not only through the built form of a park, but in the process itself. Community engagement in the process of building a park is not just an opportunity to receive feedback on program and layout; it is an opportunity to instill interest and momentum around the value of the park, fostering a network of stewards and advocates long after the ribbon is cut. Presentation to include a collection of case studies demonstrating this process, and a discussion of how landscape architects can play a central role in leading this process.

February 3, 2016 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Cook/Douglass Lecture Hall, Room 110
Cook Campus

01 February 2016

USGS Topo maps

In class today we will be talking about ways to access the free USGS topographic quads for NJ online. It is amazing to me to think how much the use of these has changed aver the years even though the maps themselves have changed so little. For those that are new to the maps, I am sharing some different scenes from around New Jersey that may be of interest. Just click on each and they'll expand.

A special thanks goes out to Mike Siegel and the Rutgers Cartography Lab.  This is a great resource for students and for pros.  A national resource is the Libre Map Project, but it is a bit harder for first time users.

The changing face of libraries

The campus library is undergoing a dramatic change as physical books are taking a back seat to digital indices and search resources. So what happens at the campus library? It the new design for Temple's main library, Snøhetta wants to make it "a new social and academic heart for the campus." It will be interesting to watch as they transform the neighborhood (below) with the reality of this new vision. But it is interesting to see that their renderings include a winter scene, which represents a substantial portion of the academic year in North Philadelphia.