30 April 2008

Live Blog: Steven Handel Lecture

LIVE BLOG: Dr. Steven Handel spoke today on The Dreams and Nightmares of Restoring Urban Landscapes. As a newly announced Honorary Member of ASLA, he has worked closely with designers and shapers of landscapes throughout much of his career. His specialty is restoration ecology on sites of extreme degradation, which may explain his role on the winning team in the College Ave Design Competition. Sites he showed included a landfill in NJ, a port in Brooklyn, and a strip mine in West Virginia.

One of his larger projects has been the long-term restoration of the surfaces of the Fresh Kills Landfill, in Staten Island. While it is just seen as a landfill today, the designs for its future suggest that this area should become an important and ecologically valuable landscape. Early demonstration planting relied on common native plants that were not then as easy to purchase (like hackberry and sumac) but have since become easier to buy from nurseries.

Much less spectacular (but still important) was the urban planting at the brownfield site that is home to EPA offices in Edison, NJ. All of these projects, large and small, require recognition of the variability of the landscape - you can't just declare it urban and use a one-size-fits-all solution.

Time is an important element as you look at the impact of hard to control natural processes like seed dispersal, ants, and bees.

For students, a sign of seriousness is the academic lineage of these ideas. So, a key citation was the important 1997 paper, Ecosystem Services: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems, by Daily et al. in Issues in Ecology [Issues Ecol.]. Vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 1-18. 1997. This is an important paper, frequently cited, as it helps establish the important idea of evaluating sites based on the services they deliver.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park project is moving ahead with MVV. He partnered with Jim Corner on the Great Falls State Park in Paterson.

But one of his largest projects is the Great Park of Orange County on the site of the former El Toro Marine Air Base. The ecology of that site is different than his usual project - only 13 inches of rain a year. The park design, more than twice the size of Central Park in New York, includes a large wildife living corridor where the public will be forbidden from visiting. The wildlife area is hoped to become home to bobcats and coyotes. The public parts of the park will be a major attraction for almost every type of person imaginable (to the design team).

Privatizing parks

The governor denies rumors about privatizing the State Parks. He also denies claims that he is thinking of creating a new department by combing parks and wildlife (from the DEP) with the Department of Ag to create a new state dept. As you can see, people in Trenton don't always take these denials seriously:

Jeff Tittel, Sierra Club director, said he has seen e-mails and memos on the idea that have moved between the governor's office and Senate Democrats. "In Trenton, a rumor is just an unconfirmed fact," he said.

The photo is of Double Trouble State Park, just off the GSP.

29 April 2008

Cooling the planet with development and transportation?

I've written a little before about the proposal for the old J&J factory site on Route 1 in North Brunswick. Well, NJ Future is hosting an interesting meeting this Wedensday evening at that site:

Growing Cooler: Using Development and Transportation to Address Climate Change
Development patterns are both a key contributor to climate change and an essential factor in combating it. Meeting the growing demand for conveniently located homes in walkable neighborhoods could significantly reduce the growth in the number of miles Americans drive, shrinking the nation’s carbon footprint while giving people more housing choices. We invite you to join us for a presentation of the national study, Growing Cooler, which quantifies the connection between land use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well a discussion of the role of the state and local government in being part of the solution.

David Goldberg, Communications Director, Smart Growth America
Peter Kasabach, Executive Director, New Jersey Future
Jack Lettiere, President, Jack Lettiere Consulting, LLC; former Commissioner NJDOT

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lead paint

In class yesterday I mentioned that problems with lead paint in urban homes and landscapes. Today Corzine points to it as a problem for the state to address more aggressively.

Rutgers in Second LIfe

Having written a small bit about Second Life, I like to keep an eye out for universities exploring what the game might mean for them. Rutgers Continuous Education has opened a competition, called Innovations in Learning, within Second Life looking at creative educational tools and techniques for use in the metaverse. I think the potential for creative problem-solving and innovation is strong, and the prizes are compelling (1st place gets a Mac Book Pro). But I can't help but wonder how many students we have that will have both the technical skills to build something new and the time to do it.

28 April 2008

Interesting Class

10:762:435 Administrative Issues in Environmental and Land-Use Planning (3) In-depth use of planning tools such as zoning, subdivision, housing, and eminent domain, and their use in comparative land-use systems.
. . . 762:435:10229 W 6:40-9:30 LCB 103 BELNAY

Dr. Glen Belnay is an Environmental Planner and Health Officer for Hillsborough, NJ and has taught for Rutgers for many years.

Jobs at the NY NJ Trail Conference

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has two job openings that are not our usual EP&D jobs, but might be of interest to some of our readers, especially fans of the AT. Click on the job titles for details about these positions.
Volunteer Coordinator: http://www.nynjtc.org/employees/volcoord.html
Regional Coordinator (East of Hudson): http://www.nynjtc.org/employees/regional-coordinator.html

The NYNJTC is a great group that we partnered with back in 2004 for a student design project at Bear Mountain.

Handel Lecture: Dreams and Nightmares

Distinguished Lecturer in Urban Ecology

"The Dreams and Nightmares of Restoring Urban Landscapes"

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Steven N. Handel, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources

Research interests include the restoration of native habitats, adding sustainable ecological services, biodiversity, and public amenities to our landscape. This work can add environmental, social, and economic renewal to our cities. Many urban environments, from New York to California to abroad, are degraded but can be restored by modern ecological science.

Dr. Handel has worked on the ecological restoration of major urban areas, including the Fresh Kills landfill and new Brooklyn Bridge Park in NYC, the landscape for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and currently, the new Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.

Tedrow Glacier

Last week we celebrated John Tedrow's long and distinguished career of service (and 91st birthday) by giving him a framed image of the Tedrow Glacier that will be permanently displayed in the ENR building.

25 April 2008

ASLA Student Awards

While the ASLA Student Design Competition is a highly visible recognition for LA Students around the nation, one of the highest honors that ASLA bestows on students is the Honor and Merit Student Awards at each program. We are proud to announce this year's winners here at Rutgers:

Sarah Clark
Christina Reimer

Zachary Caruolo
Dominick Pensabene

Unlike a standard design award, the award jury looks at the students' entire body of work and the character of the individuals as potential leaders in the profession. This is an important honor and a great group deserving recognition.

Earth Day conversations

As part of Earth Day week, Slate.com has been posting some great conversations with prominent environmentalists including Laurie David and Bill McKibben.

24 April 2008

New preservation maps

The NGO, The Trust for Public Lands, is finishing a new set of maps of Barnegat Bay priority lands for preservation.


In class we talk about some NGOs, here are a few pages to explore:

Help with the job search

Someone told me today about a great web resource for job searches called Indeed.com. It uses some sort of crawler to index jobs from all of the major job sites and make the very searchable. And, it seems to use a simple URL system that allows users to bookmark a specific search like "landscape architect" in NJ or ArcGIS in NY. It does not change the fact that the best jobs often are not online, but it helps find new ones that are posted.

Cool resource.

23 April 2008


GITA - NY/NJ Chapter Hosts a Spring GeoPresentation:
A Presentation of the Emergency Response Information System (ERIS)
RU Alums Dom Elefante and Eric Yadlovski of the New Jersey Meadowlands
Environmental Research Institute (MERI) will present a functional overview of ERIS, a customized Emergency Response GIS Tool that integrates critical information from easily-queried, right-to-know databases, developed under a regional initiative to share GIS resources among local governments. ERIS data is displayed using available online mapping services and standalone laptops which have been provided to emergency town officials. It has been deployed on emergency vehicles and on Interactive Mapping Services (IMS) as well as a Google Earth-based application designed to be Web accessible.

When: Thursday, April 24th 5:30-6:30pm
Where: The Auditorium of the NJ Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute (MERI)
2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071Refreshments will be provided before the presentation starting at 5:00 at no
For more information on the presentation and travel directions please visit
the URL: http://gita.org/chapters/new_york/Events.asp

Institutional GIS Links

Links from today's IntGeo lecture:

Live music is good for kids

New research shows that live music increases the blood oxygen levels in children. Maybe Blue Cross/Blue Shield should be paying for Mr. Ray's concerts.

Urban Greenways

The Gotham Gazette published a look at how New York City could jumpstart its Greenways network. The picture above is of Ocean Parkway shows that there are already some interesting linkages that exist. I have to say, it makes me want to take another really long walk in New York. The one below is the West Manhattan Greenway just below Riverbank State Park.

22 April 2008

Ice photo

The melting ice caps are scary enough. But the Times story on the big thaw included an extra uncomfortable photo of scientists being escorted across the ice by the Coast Guard. Happy Earth Day!

State Parks at risk while they lose money

While it sounds like the state has probably ruled out closing some state parks as a response to the impending budget crisis, PEER reports that they aren't collecting revenue already due to them.
“Collecting rents is basic management 101, but that is a course our top folks evidently failed,” stated New Jersey PEER Director Bill Wolfe, a former state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) analyst, noting that utilities, oil companies and other big corporate players are not paying current market rates for use of state lands, facilities and right-of-ways. “Our parks can no longer afford corporate welfare.”
It certainly doesn't seem fair that NJ residents should lose their parks because of such basic mismanagement. On the other hand, a community that doesn't actively hold its government accountable will usually deserve the outcomes.

GIS Job at RPA

Regional Plan Association is looking for a Geographic Information System (GIS) Specialist to work in our New York office.

Regional Plan Association (http://www.rpa.org/) is an independent, not-for-profit regional planning organization that improves the quality of life and the economic competitiveness of the 31-county New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region through research, planning, and advocacy. For more than 80 years, RPA has been shaping transportation systems, protecting open spaces, and promoting better community design for the region's continued growth. We anticipate the challenges the region will face in the years to come, and we mobilize the region's civic, business, and government sectors to take action.

The nation's most influential independent regional planning organization since 1922, RPA has a storied history but is more relevant than ever in the 21st Century. RPA's First Plan in 1929 provided the blueprint for the transportation and open space networks that we take for granted
today. The Second Plan, completed in 1968, was instrumental in restoring our deteriorated mass transit system, preserving threatened natural resources and revitalizing our urban centers. Released in 1996, RPA's Third Regional Plan, "A Region at Risk," warned that new global trends
had fundamentally altered New York's national and global position. The plan called for building a seamless 21st century mass transit system, creating a three-million acre Greensward network of protected natural resource systems, maintaining half the region's employment in urban centers, and assisting minority and immigrant communities to fully participate in the economic mainstream.

RPA's current work is aimed largely at implementing the ideas put forth in the Third Regional Plan, with efforts focused in five project areas: community design, open space, transportation, workforce and the economy, and housing.

* Responsible for collecting, creating, analyzing, storing and maintaining regional spatial data, maps, and metadata.
* Responsible for the design and maintenance of the GIS hardware and software
* Develops a strategic workplan addressing user needs and projecting future system enhancements.
* Serves as a liaison with project managers.
* Provides technical advice to project managers, analyzes project requests, better defines user needs and develops solutions based on those needs.
* Prepares maps and other graphic products. Handles requests from the public for maps and GIS data.

Thorough knowledge of
o ESRI software, specifically ArcGIS ArcView and ArcInfo products.
o GIS principles such as projections, coordinate systems, scale, etc.
o GIS as a tool in reaching solutions to municipal and regional planning problems.

Good knowledge of
o Cartographic principles and utilizing maps for storyboards/storytelling.
o Database management, application, design, implementation and maintenance.
o Statistics, photogrammetry, surveying, commuter aided drafting and design (CADD), and remote sensing.

Ability to
o communicate effectively with project managers as well as outside agencies.
o coordinate multiple projects simultaneously and streamline quick requests.
o integrate and Geo-statistical Software (SPSS/GEODA), Google Earth, Sketch-up, and other programs with GIS.

Excellent oral and written communication skills and strong project management skills

B.A. in Geography, Urban Planning, or a closely related field must have fifteen (15) credit hours in GIS.
Five (5) years of professional level work experience using ESRI products including creating and modifying GIS data.

1 year experience using ArcGIS Extensions, ArcSDE, and ArcServer, Microsoft Access, Adobe Creative Suite.

Submit a cover letter, resume and written GIS project sample to resumes@rpa.org.

Earth Day photos

(Photo locations: Cannon Beach, OR; Cook Campus, NJ; Monterey Peninsula; Tuckerton, NJ; Little San Bernardino Mountains, CA?; Bedminster, NJ; Mt. St. Helens, WA; Monmouth Battlefield, NJ; Bedminster and Bedminster)

19 April 2008

Best Jobs from Outside

The latest issue of Outside Magazine has chosen Landscape Architecture as one of the Hot Jobs for its readers. (h/t/ The DIRT)

Landscape Architecture at Ag Field Day

Every year, Rutgers closes down the Cook and Douglass campuses on the last Saturday in April for the Ag Field Day and the NJ Folk Festival. This year it falls on April 26th and promises to be a great time for all.

At CRSSA we hold a morning open house where visitors can learn about the glories of spatial literacy and the toys we use to explore them. This year we hope to have our Interactive Learning Station in service.

In Landscape Architecture we hold an open house at Blake Hall, with the student chapter selling t-shirts out on the front walk. If you would like a tour, just ask the students at the table to help you find one of the faculty. There are usually several around.

18 April 2008

Summer Internship at Civil Solutions

GIS Intern (part – full time position)

Organization:................................ Civil Solutions, a division of ARH

Corporate Address:................... 850 S. White Horse Pike
Hammonton, NJ 08037

Job Location:............................... 1250 Route 28 – Suite 201
Branchburg, NJ 08876

Contact:......................................... Thomas W. Tiner, CP
Director of Business Development
P - 908.231.9040
F - 908.231.9042

Position Description:

Civil Solutions is seeking an energetic and enthusiastic individual to add to our team which focuses its efforts primarily in the government, utility, and A/E/C markets in the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania areas. Civil Solutions is the GIS division of Adams, Rehmann & Heggan Associates, Inc., a mid-sized, Hammonton (NJ) based consulting engineering, planning, surveying and environmental science firm. Civil Solutions is an ESRI Business Partner and an active member in the local GIS community with projects extending across our market area.

The current opportunity is for an intern to entry level GIS position with responsibilities to include; software installation, technical support, technical data development/analysis, map creation, meta data development and marketing/sales support. Position will require an individual that is motivated and eager to learn quickly in a multidimensional business development environment. Problem solving and communication skills are extremely valuable.

Technical experience with cartography and confidence in ESRI’s ArcView 9.x is a plus, but training will be provided as required. This position requires the ability and initiative to work independently and on a team. Effective communication skills and an outgoing disposition are required since the position includes participation with our internal team, interaction with clients, and technical support for end users.

Salary range will be based on qualifications with a variety of opportunities for continued professional and personal growth. Civil Solutions offers a comprehensive benefits package and an excellent opportunity for increased responsibilities, compensation and advancement. Civil Solutions is an equal opportunity employer.
Interested candidates should e-mail a cover letter, resume, references and other relevant background information to ttine@arh-us.com .

New York Since Guernica

One of the great things about living so close to New York is access to all of the exhibits and talks. The down side is that you have to learn to turn down about 80% of them. Next Friday there will be a great talk, called "New York Since Guernica," and a panel. The lecture will be at The Cooper Union, known outside of architecture and design circles for talks by Lincoln and Obama, and promises to be a great one.

Memories of Earth Day's past

In 2002 CNN honored Earth Day by visiting a Superfund Site in Edison, NJ.

Redevelopment Agency for Edison

Edison's Mayor Choi wants a municipal redevelopment corporation. The Home News says they agree.

17 April 2008

Rutgers Eco-Preserve Trail day

Discover the Rutgers Eco-Preserve & Natural Teaching Area!
Come out for a
Activities which will include:
- Clean-up/Litter Removal 10:00-12:00
- BBQ Lunch Break
- Guided Birds & Wildlife Hike including Spring Warbler Watch
- Guided Hike on History and Forest Communities of the Preserve
- Orienteering/GPS Geo-Cache
- Freestyle Hiking, Biking, Photography or whatever else you are interested in!
Everyone attending will receive an informative brochure about the
Eco-Preserve including a detailed trail map.
WHEN: Saturday, May 3rd from 10am - 2pm (Rain or Shine)
WHERE: Rutgers Eco-Preserve on Livingston Campus
Hikes will start from the Preserve parking Lot

Old zoning maps

The New York Public Library has some old NYC zoning maps online. You can contrast the 1916 maps with one of today's NYC zoning maps online (pdf).

16 April 2008

Green Roofs on MSNBC

MSNBC has a fairly lengthy piece on greenroofs.

2008 ASLA Design Awards

Once again, there are some great project getting recognized by the ASLA Design Awards jury. The 2008 ASLA Awards recognize some familiar names as well as new ones. We are particularly proud to note that RU alum (and tonight's speaker) Andrea Cochran has gotten yet another. Gustafson, Oehme Van Sweden, MVV (x2), and Olin are all repeat visitors.

Highrise on the Highline

The decision to redesign the Highline in New York was based, in part, on the thought that it would spark new development in the neighborhoods around the Highline. It turns out that that might be happening, based on this report in the NY Times, as plans move ahead for a highrise by the designer of the Prudential Center in Newark.

15 April 2008

Good times for LAs

The ASLA reports that Landscape Architecture remains on strong footing economically. Their first quarter business survey found that a majority of firms were billing at levels that were "average" to "well above average" with 40% of the firms surveyed reporting that they were hiring new employees. 52% thought that new inquiries were at least as good this year as last.

Commercial landscapes in the foreclosure economy

As the economy slows, the impact on commercial landscapes is becoming an issue of concern, reports the NY Times. In some cases, it is simply that there will be less new commercial development - Home Depot has decided to open 75 stores instead of 150. But some big chains like Fortunoff and Bombay have already files bankruptcy and the Times suggests that some stores, like Linens ’n Things, are scrambling to survive. They describe Foot Locker, Zanes, and Ann Taylor as each planning to close at least 100 stores.

For me, I wonder what this will mean for many of the strip malls in our area. Ten years ago Routes 1 and 18 each had a few highly underused strip malls that really made those neighborhoods look pretty awful. Today the area seems dramatically improved, but would we feel that way for long if the landscape was littered with some abandoned shopping centers? Interboro Partners has already shared some great ideas for looking at new uses for dead malls. But their designs are of little comfort to me as I try to reimagine Route 1.

14 April 2008

Save the elms

Slippery elms are known for their home medicinal value, as the bark can be used to salve a sore throat. In Kentucky the foresters have had to ask locals to stop stripping so much bark off the trees. More than 100 trees have been damaged in this spring hay fever epidemic.

Raritan Clean Up on Earth Day

For our students, there are usually several opportunities to participate in Earth Day activities on or close to campus. One is the Raritan River Cleanup over by the Lowe's Cinemas on Route 1, on Saturday April 19th at 9:30.

On Tuesday April 22nd, RCRE will be hosting Earth Day at the EARTH Center in South Brunswick.

13 April 2008

The Game of Life

As part of our discussion of modeling in IntGeo, we are going to look at The Game of Life, which is a raster game with the very simplest of rules and very complex outcomes. Math.com has posted a fairly simple explanation to get you started and has pre-set models for you to run as applets. RPI has posted an amazingly complex version here.

11 April 2008

News Digest

Too much news piling up before the weekend. I'll have to just offer a quick list and will admit to not having read it all thoroughly:

As Muir Woods celebrates its 100th anniversary, CNN stopped by to see the celebrations. On April 21st the park will waive its already low admission fee. (Photo by Tonya, h/t to Mom)

A judge in Superior Court has found that a large greenhouse complex would be a violation of the farmland preservation status of a farm in Hunterdon County.

The Star-Ledger tags along as the NJ Main Street program drops in on a few towns for makeovers that sound more like something from HGTV than professional practice:

Along the Church Street promenade, the team admired such architecture as the Spanish Revival of the block-long landmark Hinck buildings but stopped in front of the Montclair Antiques Center, which was missing a few Art Deco enamel glass panels from its fa├žade.

Ted Lippincott of Montclair's Historic Preservation Commission tells the team the owner has appeared before the commission with a suggested remedy.

"He has been back to us 10 times. He wants stucco," Lippin cott said.

"No. No. No. No," the design team said in a loud chorus.

The NY Times has a great piece in the sports section about hiking the Batona Trail down in the Pinelands. While it is no AT, the flat trail sounds like a great long trip. Here is all you need to know about the author:
I, too, was a broken man. Worst of all, this was an adventure I had devised and persuaded my wife, Jen, to take. Now, it was she who was surging ahead, growing stronger the farther we hiked.
Busy news day.

10 April 2008

Green House Exhibit

The Morris Museum has a great exhibit on loan from the National Building Museum about Green Houses. I saw the exhibit in Washington and it was great. The exhibit started with a few grand ideas about sustainable architecture but quickly focused in on changes that could be made to the average house. You'd better rush to see it because it closes on May 4.

Big news for Tulloch

The Bank of Scotland has bought 40% of Tulloch.

Student Assistantship

Region 6 NYSDOT in Hornell, NY is looking for a Student Assistant for the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Services Unit. We will probably teach this person to scope projects, help prepare/ review sediment & erosion control plans, and help out with a region wide sidewalk inventory. GIS/GPS experience would be great but not necessary. Interested applicants should apply to the Office of Human Resources below and send a copy of application to Mary Kay Morsch, Senior Personnel Administration, NYS Dept. of Transportation, 107 Broadway, Hornell, NY 14843.
Office of Human ResourcesProfessional, Scientific and Technical (PS and T) Vacancy Announcement

General Information:
Title: Student AssistantNotice Number: B-08-G225
Salary Grade: NSItem Number: TBD
Appointment Type: TempJurisdictional Class: Non Competitive
Date Issued: April 03, 2008Expiration Date: April 30, 2008

Location: Various Locations
Minimum Qualifications: Applicants must be full time students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program.

Duties: The Department of Transportation is offering challenging internship opportunities to matriculated undergraduate and graduate students. It is the mission of the New York State Department of Transportation to ensure our customers -- those who live, work and travel in New York State -- have a safe, efficient, balanced and environmentally sound transportation system.
The Department of Transportation currently has student assistant positions in engineering, accounting, auditing, legal specialties, surveying, landscape architect, environmental science, planning, traffic signal/electronics, automotive technology, administration and other areas.
Each intern is assigned a supervisor and a mentor. The mentor provides guidance to enhance the intern’s professional growth. The supervisor oversees the intern's performance and is responsible for regular supervision. The Department also provides interns with valuable experience of participating as a member of a diverse staff team as they work alongside engineers, accountants, economists, and staff members from many other disciplines.
For undergraduate students, salaries commensurate with number of credits completed ($12 - $14.70/hr) and students in graduate degree programs will be compensated at $15.50/hr. Credit can also be obtained.
Appointments coincide with school and summer terms, generally three to six months. May vary between 5 and 40 hours per week

To Apply:
Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest and a current resume indicating location preference no later than April 30, 2008 to:
Ms. Shinu Shilesh
NYS Department of Transportation
Personnel Bureau
50 Wolf Road * 1st Floor
Albany, NY 12232
(518) 457-6460
Fax (518) 457-1570

The New York State Department of Transportation is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women, minority group members, disabled persons and Vietnam era veterans are encouraged to apply. Upon request, reasonable accommodations will be provided for the disabled.
In compliance with Public Law 99-603, candidates selected for appointment must provide an original document to prove their citizenship and/or legal right to work in the United States.

09 April 2008

3 Landscapes: Delafosse and Shadel

Ariane Delafosse
Washington DC
Boboli Gardens
Leonard Buck Gardens

Bill Shadel
The campus of Brown University
Blenheim Palace (a World Heritage Site)
Altstadt in Konstanz

For background, go here: http://hahawall.rutgers.edu/tulloch/Candidates.html

Alumni Panel Liveblog

Stewards of the Land II: Advocacy
Ariane Delafosse, Bill Shadel ('91)

The Department invited Ariane and Bill to talk about the types of advocacy in which they are engaged.

Bill works for the American Littoral Society located at Sandy Hook. The ALS is a non-profit focusing on marine habitat, employing science to affect change along throughout a variety of coastal zones. Advocacy issues include a Horseshoe Crab Moratorium for spawning beaches, Global Warming Solutions for tidal wetlands, and the restoration of "Living Shorelines." He explained how the path from our landscape architecture program to a Bill's work at ALS went through the Meadowlands and grad school. One of the difficulties of the work there is the balance between the ideal and a realistic approach that can achieve something on the ground.

Community Green is an organization that works to connect environmentally interested New Jerseyans. It was founded by RU alum Ariane Delafosse as a hub of conversation and discussion activity for area residents interested in living more sustainability. Focusing on Bernards Township, she found herself quickly integrated into several community activities and acting as a conduit for communicating information and resources about sustainability. For example, the Community Green website might help you discover an ecologically-oriented school, like the Willow School in Gladstone, or a movie that could change your view of environmental issues.

TONIGHT: Planning Board Meeting in NB

The New Brunswick Planning Board has a big meeting tonight when they'll be looking at the proposed plans for The Pinnacle.

According to conceptual models, the estimated $650 million, pentagon-shaped development would comprise a 28-story concave building and two other 17-story rectangular towers within and astride the New Street block nearest to the rail tracks.

And, yes, it does count for Assignment 1.

Crumbling infrastructure or fountain of youth?

So why is water bubbling up from the ground in Wawarsing, NY [AP photo Slideshow]? Area residents, living 2 hours from NYC, think that it is a leak in the New York City water supply tunnels. You probably remember seeing the new tunnels under construction in Die Hard III. The AP is reporting that the deeply buried tunnel might be leaking as much as 36 million gallons a day.
Engineers say this is a crucial era for the nation's water systems, especially in older cities like New York, where some pipes and tunnels were built in the 1800s and are now nearing the end of their life expectancies.
It is hard to know how symbolic this could be, but the incredibly rapid growth of the US over the last century and a similarly rapid development of infrastructure has resulted in a potential crisis for everything from water supply to power to bridges to sewers. I had thought that the Minneapolis bridge collapse was going to spark a more serious conversation about infrastructure, but I overestimated the speed at we deal with issues. I am now predicting that the 2010s will be the Decade of Infrastructure and am hoping we can avoid have to expand further to the Infrastructure Generation.

06 April 2008

Foreclosures shaing the landscape

USA Today writes about foreclosures in Denver in a way that emphasizes how quickly the burden could shift to communities who may be left with half vacant neighborhoods and rising rates of homelessness.

NJ State Plan

This week we talked about the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan as an example of Testing Planning Concepts through Design. If you follow the link you'll see that the State Plan is overseen by the NJ Office of Smart Growth which is part of the NJ Department of Community Affairs.

In a strong home rule state like New Jersey, the plan has to represent a strong vision is the communities are going to participate. And, it has have a fair degree of buy-in, which is one reason they take the cross-acceptance process so seriously.

05 April 2008

The Targum on Campus Beautification

A hile back we talked in class about how local papers cover issues of planning and design. This past week, The Daily Targum had a column bemoaning the current state of the campus and its facilities. Rather than focusing on a string of budget crises or questioning financial emphases, the author turned to sociology to begin asking where to begin:
Others may say that the students at Rutgers are inherently more prone to debauchery than Princeton students. I say it's because people at Rutgers see other people at Rutgers not caring. The environment dictates what people do. This all reminded me of New York City and how it got cleaned up. New York went from one of the most dangerous cities in the United States to one of the safest in a span of about a decade. The most prevalent theory on how New York cut its crime and filth so dramatically was the broken windows theory. This theory essentially states that when people see that nothing is done about a small infraction, they are more likely to do it themselves. This leads to greater and greater infractions until it is out of control. If someone sees that a window is broken and it stays that way, that person assumes that no one cares about that building, so why should he or she?
The folks at Scarlet Nation piled on too.

Journal Square

An urban hub can be pretty expensive, even for a larger city like Jersey City. That is why Jersey City is trying to use a "revenue allocation district" (a variation on tax incremental financing) as a way of focusing investment in infrastructure for Journal Square as a way of rebuilding it. As an older urban hub, Journal Square is going to require a different treatment to bounce back. Compare how different the normal view is than how Journal Square is seen by the wonderful photographer at Fading Ads blog. You can also see the future plans from the New Journal Square, but you might want to turn down your speakers.

04 April 2008

The Frames in Spain

When we were in Madrid we saw a slightly similar public art exhibit of Phillip Plisson's Living Sea exhibit. Now it seems like everyone I know is working on something a little like this. Anyway, Maybe these photos will help some of them. They just make me miss Spain.

This last one really shows how they are arranged in patterns more complex than might first be apparent. I wish I had been able to slow down and watched people more. But when you travel with kids, you have to pick your spots.

Suitability Analysis Notes

So, when some of you asked for a little more on suitability analysis, I'll admit that I didn't know what I was going to find. After some digging, I found an incredible treat. I found the old handwritten Suitability Analysis notes from when Steve Strom used these techniques in his studio. This four page set of Suitability Analysis notes is online now as a PDF. His description of weighted analysis lacks a graphic, so I created a digital version of both some of his graphics and a new Weight and Rate graphic that should help you work through it all as you look ahead to Monday's exam:To be clear, each grid shows the very same piece of land but being rated for a different issue (soils, slope, vegetation). Presumably that is fairly objective. But each individual criterion is then weighted based on relative importance. In this case, Slope has rather subjectively been weighted as 5 times more important that Vegetation. If you click on my graphic it will enlarge and be more readable.

Job: Assistant Environmental Scientist

Here is a position with Parsons Brinckerhoff in Princeton:


LOCATION: Princeton, NJ


Entry level Environmental Scientist to provide environmental planning and permitting support for highway and other transportation projects. Seeking a candidate who is team-oriented, highly motivated, and with strong communication skills. This position is ideal for scientists who are seeking an opportunity for career development, mentoring and creative challenges with one of the world's premier engineering firms. PB offers very competitive compensation and benefits packages.


General background in applied aquatic science/biology, water quality sampling, fisheries, in-water habitat assessment/restoration, and/or freshwater ecology is preferred. Familiarity with several different methods of collecting aquatic samples, ability to identify local aquatic fauna and identify aquatic algae, plants, inverts, and fish is required. Analysis of technical data using spreadsheet, database, statistical, graphics, and other computer program tools is a plus.

B.S. in aquatic science/biology, freshwater ecology, fisheries biology, environmental science, or natural resource related field

Please send or e-mail resumes to:
Darren Stanker
506 Carnegie Center Blvd., 2nd Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540

cool sounding class

Since the schedules go live this weekend, this is a fun time to look for unexpected course offerings. Here is one I stumbled onto at Art History that is focusing on New Jersey as a state, not just a loose collection of historic sites and places:

Index: 12466
CAC W67 VH104, Hewitt

Architectural historians have generally written about the human-made environment as a story of individuals constructing individual buildings during discrete and separate historical moments. More recently the discipline has turned to a more holistic methodology that emphasizes the cultural and geographical locus or “site” as essential to the understanding of how buildings are designed and constructed. This seminar will explore how the entire “state” of New Jersey,with its diverse landscape and multiple ethnic and cultural actors, has evolved over three centuries. Rather than looking only at individual buildings, we will explore the vernacular and designed environment as a web of human and natural artifacts changing and growing over the course of decades.

03 April 2008

Flooding from Sea Level Rise

There is a web hack online that simulates different levels of sea level rise overlaid on Google Maps. It doesn't integrate sophisticated modeling or describe how each scenario would work, but as a fairly simple graphic tool for exploring an idea, it works great. And it is probably the same basic logic idea that the Star-Ledger used in their map. I tried out a few different places and levels, the blue shading :

Newark Airport at 7 metersLouisiana Coastal Wetlands at 1m

Jakarta at 3m

East London at 2m

Denver looks pretty safe.

RotDs, Part II

Here are our Resources of the Day since the first exam:

11. US Census (TIGER and Social Explorer)
12. Claritas Prizm Groups
13. Newspapers
14. Citizen's Guides to Planning and Zoning
15. Municipal Master Plan (e.g., Bloomington, MN)
16. Ordinance.com
17. E-government

02 April 2008

Lecture: Tom Donnelly

THis is a liveblog for today's lecture by RU alum Tom Donnelly. Tom is President and Chief Operating Officer of ValleyCrest Landscape Development and spoke a little about his career path and how he got from here to there. He describes his path as going from landscape architecture to landscape contracting. ValleyCrest is a 10,000 employee firm that specializes in Commercial Landscaping and tries to remain in control of its destiny by hiring specialists instead of subcontracting services.

He works with landscape architects to help make their ideas real. Projects included work at the Georgia International Horse Park, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Celebration, the Getty Center (pictured above), the new Census Bureau building, and Millennium Park.

A few years ago they acquired 5 landscape architecture studios around the country. A mantra for them is to "narrow down the variability" which makes it easier to address uncertainty.
And VC uses an Iterative Design Process for working from the studio to the project. VC makes new plans for the company all the time, so he challenged our students to make a plan for themselves and where they are going.

Lecture: Growing Grass

The Plant Biology Seminar Series *Special Seminar*

Gary Curl, President of Specialty Products Consultants, Mendham, NJ.

The Business of Growing Grass: A Strategic Analysis of the
U. S. Professional Turf & Ornamental Pesticide Market

*Monday* April 7, 2008 *4:00 p.m.*

Room 138A, Foran Hall Cook Campus

Abstract: This presentation will profile selected turf markets in the US with respect to pesticide usage and major issues confronting professional turf managers. An analysis of disease, insect and weed problems affecting the golf, landscape, sports field and sod industries, and the pesticide use trends in different regions of the country will be addressed. The question of how public/customer demands for more 'environmentally friendly' or 'green' products is shaping the turf and ornamental product markets will also be discussed.

Gary Curl has more than 30 years of experience in product development, marketing and business management in the specialty pesticide industry. He has completed a number of proprietary market assessments in the pest control, turf and ornamental, animal health and aquatic weed management markets. He has also conducted syndicated studies of the U. S. structural pest control market and the professional turf and ornamental market annually since forming Specialty Products Consultants in 2000.

Planning Quote

"Liberal governments can not plan. Planning requires the authoritative use of authority. Planning requires law, choice, priorities, moralities. Liberalism replaces planning with bargaining."

Ted Lowi

The End of Liberalism, 1969

01 April 2008

Closing State Parks

The Star-Ledger has reported on the latest fallout from the budget crisis. New Jersey is talking about closing 9 state parks and laying off 80 employees. Presumably, some of this is about making us all very aware of the severity of the cuts. But you really have to wonder, with billions of dollars on the line, if a handful of jobs at the battlefield bathrooms or a few lifeguards at Round Valley will really help balance the budget.

From the Star-Ledger:

The list of nine state parks that would close:

-- Monmouth Battlefield State Park, 2,928 acres, Monmouth County. Visitor center, restrooms, closed.

-- Stephens State Park, 805 acres, Warren County. Camping area closed.

-- High Point State Park, 15,827 acres, Sussex County. Swimming, camping, interpretive center, office, closed. Trail access limited.

-- Brendan T. Byrne State Forest (formerly Lebanon State Forest), 36,647 acres, Burlington County. Camping, group picnic area, Indian King Tavern, office, closed. Trail access limited.

-- Round Valley Recreation Area, 3,684 acres, Hunterdon County. Swimming, camping, Wallace House, office, closed.

-- Parvin State Park, 1,952 acres, Salem County. Swimming, camping, interpretive center, office, closed.

-- Jenny Jump State Forest, 4,288 acres, Warren County. Camping and office, closed. Trail access limited.

-- Worthington State Forest, 6,584 acres, Warren County. Camping and office, closed. Trail access limited.

-- Fort Mott State Park, 104 acres, Salem County. Hancock House, historic sites, office, closed. Access to ferry service, open.

Career Night 2008

Thursday April 3

Room 202 Cook Campus Center

Over 20 firms will be joining us to share information about careers in
Landscape Architecture and Landscape Industry. This is a great opportunity for students considering these fields to learn more about them from practitioners.

Food will be served. Bring your resume, some questions and your appetite!

Great talk, no joke!

Tom Donnelly, ASLA
Outstanding Alumnae in Landscape Architecture
Notes From The Field
4PM Wednesday, April 2
Room 110, Cook Douglass

Tomorrow's lecture will be given by another Outstanding Alumnae of the Landscape Architecture Program. Thomas C. Donnelly, ASLA, is currently President and Chief Operating Officer of Valley Crest Landscape Development, where he oversees the operations of a national branch network that forms the only landscape development company with the capability to serve customers from coast to coast. Tom is a member of American Society Landscape Architects and the Urban Land Institute, and sits on the Board of Governors for ULI Foundation. Tom will discuss the building of his career and the work of Valley Crest.

April Garden Guide

The New York Botanical Garden has posted their list of garden duties for April. Dig in.

Landscape Architecture Month

April is here! Happy Landscape Architecture Month.

Project Virgle

Google and Virgin Airlines have teamed up on a new effort, called Project Virgle, to develop the first human settlement on Mars. They have a video made by the project team leaders that helps capture the excitement of the project. As the ultimate start-up project, you know it is going to fill quickly, so hurry up and complete the survey for potential participants.

It is pretty amazing when you compare it with their more mundane efforts like wireless broadband in every home and the Google Calender Wake-up Kit.