31 October 2008

Roosevelt NJ

In studio we talked about Roosevelt and how we largely missed it in our first round of studying the regional landscape. Here are a few interesting links:

Roosevelt is home to the quietly famous Ben Shahn mural.

The NY Times Real Estate section took a look for "If You're Thinking of Living In Roosevelt" (If the link doesn't work, you could search on the author's name: Jerry Cheslow). They described it unique position in history:

The only town in New Jersey on both the National and State Registers of Historic Places in its entirety, Roosevelt was originally named Jersey Homesteads. It was one of 34 municipalities started by the federal Subsistence Homesteads program, an experiment that gave workers cooperative ownership over local farms and factories. In 1945, after President Roosevelt's death and long after the government had sold off the factory and farms, the borough renamed itself Roosevelt to honor F.D.R.

These historic photos are also pretty amazing.

30 October 2008

US 1 is a dangerous place for a walk

I know this will be a surprise for some folks, but the Home News and Tribune reports that it is dangerous to walk on Routes 1 and 9. Of course, the problem is that the highways cut off a fair amount of lower to mid-income housing from the basic jobs and service that their residents rely on. And, since some of them can't afford to buy multiple cars, they find themselves needing make dangerous crossings just to get to work when their spouse is already away in the car. We've built the outer edges of our cities in ways that are so car dependent, even though many people can't afford that lifestyle.

Cool Class: The Yucatan Peninsula

11:015:437 COLLOQUIUM: Cultural and Ecological Landscapes of the YUCATAN


Jason Husveth will be instructor for the class. He is a very well known ecologist with excellent understanding of cultural aspects of landscapes. If you want to learn more about him see:

A review of past years is also available online as a PDF.

Thoreau still helping research today

It turns out that Henry David Thoreau is helping researchers today as they try to track specific changes associated with climate change. The NYTimes reports on how researchers are using his detailed accounts of when local plants bloomed to establish that the seasons have changed by as much as about 7 days, due to warming. But the species present in his woods at Walden Ponds have changed as well:
Of the 21 species of orchids Thoreau observed in Concord, “we could only find 7,” Dr. Primack said.
The researchers are also looking at thorough listings by other area residents. They sound like they really appreciate a former shopkeeper from the area, not just for his knowledge of plants, but his pennmenship makes his notes far more readable than Thoreau's. Maybe his refusal to write neatly was part of his larger plan for Civil Disobedience.

29 October 2008

Live Blog: Connecting Fragments: Notes on a Collective Landscape

Richard Alomar, formerly of di Domenico + Partners, LLP
Connecting Fragments: Notes on a Collective Landscape
Wednesday 4:00-4:55 PM
Cook Douglass Lecture Hall 110

Richard is
In transition to a new position Stantec
Another MLA from LSU, Geaux Tigers!
Keeper of The Landscape blog


He started with a discussion of a specific plant that is closely linked to a landscape:

This led to a review of his entry in the Crossing the Drive Competition which referenced the old Burnham Plan for Chicago while building its own system of referencing the contemporary landscape of the city. They emphasized movement patterns, natural patterns, and walking distance to the park.

He used House and Home as a transition into a description of his work on the Dulles Corridor outside of DC and the Gun Hill Road Intermodal Project in the Bronx (check out these great 1973 photos of the neighborhood).

Finally he drew on some experiences with Co-op City where greenways and open space were proposed, but only after a community approval process. The history of the site was fascinating since it starts with Native Americans and (much later) Freedomland and most recently the original 1970s project required construction on fill and pilings. Today there are 7 schools in this isolated corner of the Bronx.

Cool Class: Environment and Society

David Hughes is teaching a course that sounds very interesting:

New Course for Spring 2009
Environment and Society

taught by
Professor David M. Hughes

Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior 105 (11:374:105)
Anthropology 293 and 294 (01:070:293 and 01:070:294)

Nature - as places and processes independent of human will - is dead. This alarming proposition launches the course and guides its progress. Society and the environment, in other words, make each other in ways that are creative, dangerous, and often both at the same time. To substantiate this complex argument, a multiplex reading list draws from sources as diverse as social theory, environmental history, anthropology, activist writing, and political memoir. The first segment of the course deals with the ways in which people simplify nature for the sake of production - notably through agriculture and water engineering. These systems then spread across the globe. The second segment of the course considers historical trends of expansion and dispersal, such as, European conquest and colonialism and contemporary globalization. The course then turns to the consequences of radical and pervasive simplification. Under a notion of over-expansion and collapse, this last segment explores modern forms of social exclusion and expulsion. Industrial systems rely upon zones of sacrifice for the disposal of waste, and they increasingly identify and segregate surplus, sacrifice people. Tropical and subtropical urban populations, for instance, suffer from over-strained infrastructure and - as is becoming apparent - from an unforgiving, artificial climate as well. (Close to home, one need only remember Katrina.) What standards of fairness, justice, and power apply to such unprecedented conditions? On the threshold of disaster, how does one live an ethical life?

Lectures are held MW 4* (Mondays and Wednesdays 2:30-3:25) in Cook/Douglass Lecture Hall Room 103
Recitations are held T2*,T3*, and T4* (Tuesdays 11:10-12:05, 12:50-1:45, and
2:30-3:25) in Waller Hall room 203

(DT: I took this photo above the NJ Meadowlands where the Turnpike splits and thought it captured the human/environment conflict on enough different levels to warrant inclusion)

28 October 2008

Green districts and green curriculum in Middlesex County

Middlesex County announced a plan to create special districts with financial incentives for green businesses. These Green Environmental Development Zones are an attempt to attract environmentally-focused businesses to empty warehouses. They also hope to support the development of more green education at area schools, including Rutgers.

Rebuilding Galveston, or not

After my recent visit to New Orleans, it is interesting to see the contrast with Galveston. A reporter who grew up there writes this interesting feature on "The city that isn't coming back."

27 October 2008

Plants rights

Switzerland has been moving towards a growing recognition of plants rights. The same article also reports on Ecuador's new constitutional recognition of "ecosystem rights enforceable in a court of law."

EDA: Visiting Memorials

During Friday's EDA lecture I asked which memorials the students had already visited. Here is a summary of the answers:

Vietnam Memorial 41%
Korean War Memorial 33%
WWII 32%
FDR Memorial 24%
Irish Famine Memorial 8%

At the end of the lecture I asked the class to vote for their overall favorite Washington DC memorial. Here are the results:
Lincoln 28%
Vietnam 22%
WWII 17%
Jefferson 7%
Holocaust 25%

All questions have an n of around 250.

26 October 2008

Surely 2 graphs are better than 1

We could blame Jeff Sagarin for this cruelty, but it is really just an integral part of intercollegiate football. After some tough slides, UW and RU bounce back. After some exuberance, UK and LSU are getting are tough dose of reality. Suddenly, 3 of the 4 are clustered together. RU has jumped to 58, which is where UW sat going into the weekend. Check it out...

This second graph is the actual RATING of the team that is used to help sort the teams for the rankings. The bar graph is ugly and hard to read, but that'll have to do for this advertisement-free blog. Today they predict that if the defending National Champion LSU Fighting Tigers came to Rutgers, they'd only win by about 6.

24 October 2008

For/From EDA

Today, after my lecture on Memorials in Environmental Design Analysis, I was asked some interesting questions about places learn more. Follow these links and you can find more about memorials or more about Washington DC or more things that I have posted for past EDA classes.

And, with some lucky timing, Landscape Architecture Magazine's editor Bill Thompson just posted some comments about his first visit to the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon.

Reverse address lookup on Google Maps

WebMonkey @ Wired reports on Google Maps new reverse address look-up. More interesting is how they relate it to the larger trending towards providing Lat Longs for a lot of purposes.

Frank Gehry joke in The Onion

The reposted Frank Gehry joke in The Onion this week was pretty good. (h/t puk)

23 October 2008

Katrina Memorial in the Lower Ninth Ward

Some memorials rely on the fanciest and most expensive materials to show the seriousness of their intent. This memorial may have succeeded in using cheaper pavers in a way that achieved just that - something more elegant would have looked like a well-funded token, while this looks a bit more like a less well-funded work of heart. It obviously has a lot more polish than the makeshift memorials that popped up after the storm. It is designed by David Lee, FAIA and sits right at the bottom of the bridge as you enter the Lower Ninth Ward.

I read somewhere that the blue columns represented the different levels of water during the storm.
Since it is situated in the middle of a street, it is more of a piece on a pedastal than a place to visit and contemplate. But since it is still surrounded by one of the most devastated urban places in the US, there are plenty of other places nearby to dwell on the negative. This colorful offering tries to do something different than some other memorials.

This stone, which looks a lot like a cemetery headstone, seemed a little out of place. But it also quickly turned a colorful plaza into a serious space.
What do you think? Does it strike you as having the impact of a Vietnam Memorial or a WWII? Should it? What is being memorialized here?

22 October 2008

Skillman redevelopment

It shouldn't be particularly surprising that the Skillman Village redevelopment plans become such a hot topic just weeks before election day. It is interesting to see in today's Home News account how the site is understood as an opportunity, but with the disagreement being over how to capitalize on that opportunity:

Dyer said he wants Somerset County to buy the land as open space and transform it into a south county park, noting it would relieve the township of its debt load. To date, the township's total debt is nearly $63 million. About 43 percent, or $27 million, of that debt was incurred as a result of the Skillman Village project, Committeeman Mark Caliguire has said.

Another proposal is to see the former psychiatric treatment facility "transformed with public lawns, plazas and an amphitheater, as well as shops and restaurants." How many of these opportunities do you think they are in the watershed? Should they be of greater interest to the larger community?

Hackensack Waterworks ar Oradell: An Interdisciplinary Approach on Adaptive Reuse

Presents a Seminar by:


DATE: Friday, October 24, 2008
TIME: 2:15 pm (Refreshments at 2:00pm)
PLACE: Dept. of Environmental Sciences - Room 223
(Environmental and Natural Resources Bld. - Cook Campus)
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Host: Dr. Lily Young, 732-932-8165 X312, lyoung@aesop.rutgers.edu
Dept. Environmental Sciences Seminar Website:

The Hackensack Water Company operated continuously from 1882 until 1990 on a man-made island in the upper Hackensack River. In 1993 United Water of NJ donated the 18-acre island and its historic buildings to Bergen County for use as public open space. However, adaptive reuse and public access to the site has been stymied for 14 years as a result of conflicting environmental, ecologic, historic, and government agency visions for utilization of this space.
In our effort to develop a consensus plan that would allow public access to the site, Rutgers University landscape architects, hydrologic engineers, and environmental scientists undertook the challenge of producing a restoration design plan that the various constituents would support. The presentation will focus on the interdisciplinary character of the project and how the cooperation between engineers, scientists and designers can create innovative solutions for the environment.

21 October 2008

Trail speakers

Ever since our Appalachian Trail project I have had a heightened appreciation for folks like Larry Luxenburg who maintain a passion for the same trail year after year. Here is a chance to hear from two speakers as part of the NYNJTC speaker series at Campmor...

Trail Conference Speaker Series at Campmor
Join the Trail Conference Wednesday evenings in October when we host a series of speakers at Campmor on RT. 17N in Paramus NJ. Guest presenters will begin at 7:00PM and run approximately 1 hour. Authors will be available to sign their books and plenty of copies will be on hand to purchase and be autographed. Seating will be limited, so arrive early. (For directions, click on Campmor link above.)

October 22, 2008
Larry Luxenburg, AT Thru-hiker and author of Walking The Appalachian Trail

October 29, 2008
Dan Chazin, syndicated Hike of the Week author in The Record and a local hiking authority and maven

Economy hits LA

ASLA reports on how the economic "dip" is impacting landscape architects.

Regional Design Studio

Yea! Our studio turned an important corner and are moving towards making some meaning out of it. However, over the next few days we need to sort out the following issues:
Catch your breath. The downtime is going to be minimal.

Rafael Viñoly

Largely by chance, I briefly visited two very different buildings by Rafael Viñoly in the last few weeks. In both cases I would have liked to settle in to wander and explore and photograph. But even the few pictures that I did capture are interesting. The first is the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, where I have been wanting to attend an event for years (and still want to).

The second is Princeton Stadium. It is basically a stadium surrounded by a separate building/wall. The outer building is thick enough to contain halls or rooms, but by not touching the stadium (much) it is structurally very clean and simple. It was also made with a large number of pre-cast concrete panels. As far as I can tell, it is the highest seating capacity structure in the entire Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed.It also had an interesting function in that the stadium space spilled over into the track and field venue, efficiently sharing some functions. The photo below shows the walk south of the endzone - the fence on the right is the back of the bleachers.You can learn more about Viñoly from sources as divergent as Charlie Rose, Wikipedia, and LinkedIn.

20 October 2008


During last week's lecture, Sarah Williams mentioned LBS games. Wired has posted a short video of a game of PacManhattan from Portland, Oregon.

Looking back, looking ahead

ESPN calls this Week 8 of the season. It is a time to look back and see that LSU and Rutgers are both below where we expected. After sneaking past Arkansas, UK is definitely ahead - 2 wins from a bowl? But it is hard to believe that only one of the four teams is in the Sagarin Top 25.

Looking ahead it is still possible for LSU to defend their National Championship, but they'll need some help and some better play. Looking ahead, even Wisconsin has a chance at a bowl, statistically speaking.

Free movie

Who doesn't like a free movie? Well, other than movie critics.
Reel Africa at Rutgers presents:
Sisters in Law (Cameroon; 2005) directed by Florence Ayisi and Kim Longinotto; in English, Pidgin and Hausa with English subtitles
In the little town of Kumba, Cameroon, there have been no convictions in spousal abuse cases for 17 years. But State Prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba are determined to change that, as they help women and girls to fight cases of battering, despite pressures from family and their community to remain silent.
Presented by Professor Ousseina Alidou, Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures
Tuesday, October 21 at 7 PM in the Graduate Student Lounge, College Avenue Campus
While I haven't seen this, I know that I have seen some increasingly good movies from Africa recently. I find the unfamiliar settings and customs help me question my own assumptions and force an awareness of place that changes my contextualization of the problems pretty significantly. The diversity in the movies has also struck me as being very rich, making it hard to stereotype the output.

19 October 2008


With a rather strong East Coast bias, I suspect that many of our readers are not in a position to pick up and head to Irvine on short notice. But reviewing the ACM conference program might be pretty interesting, especially with things like PhD showcases and Vinton Cerf speaking. The sessions looking at algorithms and modeling look most compelling to me.

We would like to bring the upcoming 16th ACM SIGSPATIAL
International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information
Systems (ACM GIS 2008). It will be held in Irvine, CA, in
November 5-7, 2008. This year's Conference builds on the great
success of last year's Symposium where more than 180 people
attended, and on being the premier annual conference of the newly
established ACM Special Interest Group on Spatial Information
(ACM SIGSPATIAL http://www.sigspatial.org/). The invited
speakers include Jack Dangermond, Founder and President of ESRI,
and Vinton Cerf, VP of Google and 2004 ACM Turing Award Winner.
This year we will also have for the first time a Ph.D. showcase track
and a demo track. The information can be found at
http://acmgis08.cs.umn.edu/ and the program is there as well. The
program is also repeated below. There is also a pre conference
workshop on November 4, 2008 called SPRINGL2008 on Security
and Privacy in GIS and LBS. We hope that you are able to come
and look forward to seeing you there.
(Registration site: http://www.cse.unt.edu/~huangyan/acmgis08/)

Hanan Samet Cyrus Shahabi Ouri Wolfson
Co-general Chair Co-general Chair Co-general Chair

Walid Aref Mohamed Mokbel Markus Schneider
Program Chair Co-program Chair Co-program Chair

16th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on
Advances in Geographic Information Systems
(ACM GIS 2008)

Call for Participation


November 5-7, 2008
Irvine, California, USA

Corporate Sponsorship by
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic
Information Systems 2008 (ACM GIS 2008) is the sixteenth event of a
series of symposia and workshops that began in 1993 with the aim of
bringing together researchers, developers, users, and practitioners
carrying out research and development in novel systems based on
geo-spatial data and knowledge, and fostering interdisciplinary
discussions and research in all aspects of geographicinformation
systems. The conference provides a forum for original research
contributions covering all conceptual, design, and implementation
aspects of GIS ranging from applications, user interface considerations,
and visualization down to storage management and indexing issues.
This year's conference builds on last year's conference great success
and on being the premier annual conference of the newly formed ACM
Special Interest Group on Spatial Information (ACM SIGSPATIAL). ACM
GIS will have two invited speakers, 38 full papers, 37 poster papers,
8 Ph.D. showcases, and 12 demos. (see below)

Invited Lectures
* Vinton Cerf, VP of Google, USA and 2004 ACM Turing Award Winner
* Jack Dangermond, Founder and President of ESRI, USA

18 October 2008

Free landscaping that ain't free

Mississippi State's now interim president is reported to have directed University staff to provide landscaping (particularly, 13 magnolia trees) for the private residence of the state commissioner of Higher Ed. According to the Clarion Ledger, the effort to make it right by repaying to cost isn't cutting it:
State Auditor Stacey Pickering said Thursday that Watson had repaid $12,333 for the landscaping, interest and investigative costs following an investigation by his office.
The paper reported that a grand jury was going to look further into the allegations. Aside from the basic dollar value, it is simply interesting to see that something often treated as trivial, like landscaping, is being treated here as something of such value that it has sparked a mildly notable scandal.

17 October 2008

Sarah Williams lecture slides

A few students who enjoyed the Geomatics lecture this week were asking about some of the individual images. An older lecture that she gave last December is available online and includes many of the same images from the first two examples she used. Needless to say, the December 2007 slides do not include the Beijing Olympics.

Mark your academic calendars

  • Wednesday, October 22nd - The on-line Schedule of Classes for Spring 2009 will be available at http://scheduling.rutgers.edu/
  • Sunday, November 9th - Registration will begin
I'll be posing an advising sign-up sheet at Blake 227.


MAC URISA Fall Meeting and LiDAR Symposium
Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008
8:00 am - 4:00 pm (check-in starts at 7:30 am)
Rutgers EcoComplex, Bordentown/Mansfield, NJ

Register at www.acteva.com/go/macurisa

This symposium will present a number of perspectives on the use of LiDAR data in the Mid Atlantic Region. You will note from the attached agenda that the speakers are recognized LiDAR experts from the academic, government and private sectors.

The registration fee is $10, and includes continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon coffee. Attendance also qualifies for points towards GIS certification, and allows you to catch up with your MAC URISA colleagues.

16 October 2008

Urban healing gardens

Today's New York Times explored the impact that some urban gardens are having on their community. It is important to see how gardening can be much more impactful than just as an avocation.

Brad Pitt's houses in NOLA

The Lower 9th Ward has some new houses being built by Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation.

The solar panels and materials scream sustainability, but the long levee wall in the background of this photo says something different to me.

15 October 2008

Live Blog: Sarah Willams Data Traces

Sarah Williams gave today's Fall 2008 Environmental Geomatics Lecture, Data Traces.
She is the Director of Columbia's Spatial information Design Lab which she described as a think-and action-tank.

As an example of the work done at her center, she showed Million Dollar Blocks from the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit at MoMA. This mapped out where in Brooklyn people lived before they were convicted and sent to prison. The map, which was contrasted of a map showing where crimes tend to occur, was used to try to find ways to reduce recidivism. Million dollar blocks referred to the 11 blocks in Brooklyn where more than $1,000,000 was spent on sending people to prison in 2003. While the analysis is useful, the images provoke conversations that help resolve issues at the community level. Their map of Brownsville (below) shows how he pattern develops.
This brought up a notion of Spatial Data Traces. a simple connection was with Kevin Lynch and his ideas about mapping a place. When you drive over a traffic indicator and mark how congested a roadway is, you have left a small data traces. When you use your mobile GPS-enabled phone, you leave a more traceable trace.

In Milan they mapped cellular phone usage throughout the city. Since many of the phones didn't have active GPS, they used triangulation between Vodaphone's cell towers to estimate the location of callers within 50m. We all know that people move into the city for the day and back out again. But we often lack any detailed understanding of the timing and spatial specifics. It can identify areas for particular high-density development or LBS. It can also help us identify time-specific hangout areas or successful urban spaces. A similar project they are starting in Nairobi will have a slightly different set of applications.

The Spatial information Design Lab worked with the Associated Press to measure the Beijing Air Quality Footprint. Particulate matter (PM10), ground level ozone, nitrogen, sulfer dioxide and carbon monoxide all combined to raise the airborne health problems in Beijing. Each is different - particulate matter can have regional causes, while CO is more of a localized effect. To measure the air quality they supplied air quality monitors to the AP who collected samples around town, but particulalry at the site. They found limited PM10 improvements that could be linked to the closing of the factories, but better improvements in CO because CO is a more localized phenomenon. But the fairly vague data trace results are really just a reflection of the complex reality of air conditions in Beijing.

Other projects include mapping Getty photos to create a Fashion map. In Williamsburg, NY they have developed a history system where people text in to get details. The map of calls for information show places of traffic and interest.

Hillshade Toolbox

The ESRI Mapping Center has a very useful posting about the Hillshade Toolbox.

Re-imagining Cities at UPenn

It is exciting to see more and more thought going into the reshaping the landscapes of America and the World, especially as we have become an urban planet. An example of the thought and energy is the symposium at Penn on Re-imagining Cities: Urban Design after the Age of Oil. The speakers list is impressive and the list of blogs providing coverage is pretty solid (with one notable absence). While registration is very cheap, it closes tomorrow.

Not a good one for the rankings

Well, it was a rough weekend for my schools - LSU lost to Florida, Rutgers lost to Cincy, UK lost to South Carolina, and UW lost to Penn St. The Sagarin rankings actually rewarded Rutgers.

I sought comfort in the newly painted scoreboard at Tiger Stadium. It reminds us that they are the only team to have won 2 BCS National Championships.

We are also reminded that they play in an old dorm. That is how Huey Long got the funds to expand the stadium back in the 1930s. It is too good to be made up.

14 October 2008

I wish I had seen this earlier


Advanced Geomatics

If you turn to the front page for the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, you will see well deserved recognition for the Advanced Geomatics students from this past Spring. I don't know how long the high profile headline will last, but I assume that the news article will be posted for quite a while to come; Spotlight on Mapping Our Natural Resources, The Advanced Environmental Geomatics Class Studies the Rutgers Ecological Preserve on Livingston Campus.

Lower 9th Ward

While the Lower 9th Ward looked like this for just a few weeks, it is going to look like the following photos for some time to come. The first one shows how high the Industrial Canal is on a low day compared to the residential neighborhood down below (click on the photo to see it enlarged a little).
This empty road best represents what I saw. But how many half empty or completely empty road photos can I include? Don't let the photos of a few surviving houses trick you into thinking that things were OK.

One thing that the photos can't capture is the scale of the devastation - these are just pictures of houses that weren't damaged enough to tear down. This was an expansive area and I could have taken photos almost indefinitely. The scale of the damage is hard to grasp even after walking around some. And I remain pretty unconvinced about the solutions (examples coming soon).

National politics meets local zoning

Finally! Someone has managed to dig deep enough to connect one of the major party candidates to municipal zoning. The Boston Globe has tracked down one of Sarah Palin's early political career moves, opposing zoning:
Days after Sarah Palin became Mayor John Stein's only serious challenger in 1996, the 32-year-old city councilwoman stood and cast a proud, dissenting vote against one of Stein's greatest achievements: the first zoning plan in Wasilla's history.
In Wasilla that may have been a sensitive move that comes from listening to the people:

"That probably was the reason she was elected mayor," said David Chappel, who joined Palin as the only two of six council members to vote against the city plan and later became her deputy mayor.

I don't whether it means anything compared to economic or International policies, but it sure shows how something as seemingly innocuous as zoning can connect with some much larger philosophical perspectives. Or maybe it is just a way to get another nasty comment or two on the blog. Time will tell.

13 October 2008

Earth from Above

The Big Picture already has some great photographs previewing next year's Earth From Above exhibit that will be at Battery Park City. We'll have more to announce later, but the exhibit of Yann Arthus-Bertrand's photographs will have heavy participation from Rutgers' SEBS.

Per diem

Despite the increased cost of fuel and food, Rutgers' per diem is still less than $1/day for Guinea pigs until next summer.

12 October 2008


During my visit to Louisiana I got to serve as a guest critic on a design jury at the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture. The student project was undertaken with guidance from EDSA and explored solutions for a central corridor open space on Dubai's Jumeirah Palm island. It was a great jury and I enjoyed the work I saw, and the conversations really kept it engaging despite the 5-hour length.

Upon my return to New Jersey I was surprised to see that Thom Mayne is coming out swinging at what he calls Dubai's future as an "ecological disaster". Dubai sounds like a fascinating place with some serious natural limitations but exceptional financial resources.

Levitt's gift horse for New Jersey

As the "inventor" of Levittown, William J. Levitt helped America discover sprawl. He gave the Garden State the third Levittown in the country, which is now 50 years old. It helped relieve housing pressures, but it also helped gobble up farmland. Like it or not, these development patterns started in Levittowns like Willingsboro, NJ and have emanated out to much of the country. That is why he is one of the Top 10 Shapers of the American Landscape.

10 October 2008

Big weekend

With some big games this weekend, it is a shame to rush this. But here is what you get...

If Rutger faced Florida International on a neutral field, they'd be an underdog. But their ranking is higher now than last week. So we'll score one for improvement.

08 October 2008

"I don't go out much any more"

That simple line is part of a larger warning about the addictiveness of neogeography.

2009 National Geographic Award in Mapping

Undergraduate students and master's-degree candidates are invited to apply for the National Geographic Award in Mapping. This award recognizes student achievement in the art, science, and technology of mapping and seeks to encourage student research. The first place award consists of a cash prize of $900 (U.S.) and the second place award is $300 (U.S.). Both winners will also receive National Geographic map products.

Submissions may take a variety of forms, but must focus specifically on maps and mapping. The following types of submissions are welcome: map products in digital and paper format; web-based maps or cartographic services; dynamic, animated, and/or interactive geovisualization software environments; or other cartographic projects.

This award is administered through the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Cartography Specialty Group (CSG). Judging will be by the National Geographic Award in Mapping committee of the AAG CSG and will be based on the technical, aesthetic, and overall quality of the submission. The award winner, or winners, will be announced at the CSG meeting at the Annual Meeting of the AAG in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 22-27, 2009. Applying students do not need to be members of the AAG.


We encourage submissions in standard digital formats (e.g. .pdf, .html, submissions accessible through conventional web browsers, etc.). Please include the following items with your submission:
* A cover page that includes your name, institutional affiliation, degree program (e.g. M.A.), address, phone number, email, and cartography/GIS instructor's name.
* A one page statement that provides some context of the submission, i.e. its purpose, how it may be used, how it was created, its limitations, etc.
* A one page statement of how this award would help you with your educational plans.

Submissions must be received by February 15, 2009.

Please apply by sending all digital materials to Jeremy Mennis, Academic Director of the AAG Cartography Specialty Group, at jmennis@temple.edu. For more information contact Jeremy Mennis or David Miller of National Geographic Maps (dmiller@ngs.org). For more information on National Geographic Maps visit www.natgeomaps.com <http://www.natgeomaps.com/> .


Some Neutra fans are trying to stop the NPS from destroying Gettysburg's Cyclorama.

06 October 2008


Slate has a nice analysis of some recent news about blogging, particularly about the business and diversity of the activity. Most staggering may be the volume: "Bloggers create 900,000 blog posts a day worldwide" Business Week reported on some financial successes in blogging, but as a non-commercial blog Places and Spaces is a bit different.

Still, it raises an interesting question. Should we consider adding some adwords, or Google ads if we can funnel all of the revenue into something like Rutgers' Steve Strom Landscape Architecture Development Fund? Sounds like a possible poll.

Fall Field Trip to Philly

We took out students to the former capital of the US. This first picture is a view out Laurie Olin's office window. Not bad.

Rafael Viñoly's Kimmel Center gave us a nice break.
The Schuylkill River gave Dr. Hoefer a chance to talk about public infrastructure.
The greenway along the river was a good example of modern green infrastructure.
Even something simple, like railings, was of great interest.

04 October 2008

Encyclopedia of GIS

A few months ago Sage published the Karen Kemp edited Encyclopedia of GIS. I was honored to contribute a piece on PPGIS, but now that I see the other authors listed, I am even more humbled. Here are a few highlights:

Object Orientation (OO) by Sean Ahearn
Spatialization by Andre Skupin
Metadata, Geospatial by Lynda Wayne
ESRI by David Maguire
Ethics by Will Craig
Geographic Information Law by Harlan Onsrud
SDIs by Ian Masser
Data Access Policies by Max Craglia
Sampling and Spatial Analysis by David Unwin
Needs Analysis and Life Cycle by Bill Huxhold
Image Processing and ERDAS by Nick Faust
Spatial Interaction by Mike Batty
Cartographic Modeling by C. Dana Tomlin
The Harvard Lab and Geometric Primatives and Scales of Measurement by Nick Chrisman

That is a seriously incomplete list, since this is a 550 page tome and I am still just getting to know my way around in it. But it is already clear that this is really one of the 5 or so key GIS reference books that I would encourage every serious GIScientist to keep handy.

03 October 2008

John Kuser

John Kuser recently passed away. His path is interesting not only because of his contributions to the field, but because he was well into one career when he made the turn into community or urban forestry and academia.

02 October 2008

Fall 2008 Environmental Geomatics Lecture

On October 15th we will have our Fall 2008 Environmental Geomatics Lecture called Data Traces. It will be given by Sarah Williams, Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. The talk will include a look at some of the ways that modern life leaves traces of spatial data unbeknownst to many of us. The lecture will be in Room 110 of the Cook-Douglass Lecture Hall at 4pm on Wednesday October 15th.

01 October 2008

3 Landscapes: Kurt Culbertson

The 3 Landscapes is back, too.

Without any warning Kurt Culbertson came up with three pretty easy.

Paley Park by NJ's Zion and Breen
Kimble Art Museum in Ft Worth

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

Live Blog: Kurt Culbertson of Design Workshop

Live blogging the common lectures is back! This is a fast moving discussion and this post will be pretty disjointed.

Kurt Culbertson, FASLA began his Beyond Green lecture with a description of Design Workshop and its history.
Founders Joe Porter and Don Ensign - Gave them a sense of courage – try not to take themselves too seriously
Early projects started at the Outer Banks of NC and led them to Jim Rouse.
An important turning point was a proposal for Owl Creek in Snowmass CO that wasn’t successful.
The resort work has been an important foundation for their growth - The Village at Ribbon Creek
In a 29 year career, he has worked as a sub-consultant to an architect only twice: LA is not the stuff around the bottom of the building! LA is the preservation or modification of any part of the surface of the planet.

He also cited the important influence on his career by Doc Reich, founder of LSU’s program, emphasized value-based leadership and taught Kurt that LA is not a profession but a calling.
4 years before the founding of the US Green Building Council, DW was working on similar guidelines for a community in NM. More recently they have worked at planned sustainable communities like Rancho Viejo in Santa Fe.
Les Wexner’s yard in Columbus, OH helped them model how they could grow as a firm taking on smaller residential and larger planning projects simultaneously.
Last year he worked on 4 residences where the average budget was $ 3.5 million.


The discussion turned toward his vision for sustainability.

Social Justice was a serious priority.

At a new project in Salt Lake City they will have NO buried storm drains. – The runoff rate had to match the pre-European settlement conditions.

Agricultural urbanism is another tool for exploring the real impact of the community. He came up with a calorie budget (21 billion calories per year) which suggested that a 5,000 acre community needed a rather unrealistic 35,000 acre farm area. Still, forcing the community to address food as an issue helps with the environmental impact.

Quite importantly, DW has worked to add art to the usual environment, economics and community diagram (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/70/Sustainable_development.svg/300px-Sustainable_development.svg.png).

What are the elements of sustainability? Education is a central element in a civil and stable society. Employment is a major element – are the benefits distributed in a sustainable manner. Housing is important.

One of his heroes is Sam Mockbee whose Rural Studio was one of the inspiration for the DW Foundation. They also use a housing trust to help employees.

If you subscribe to one magazine in life, he says make it The Economist. They ranked quality of life in the US as 13th in the world.

What constitutes success in this process? Is it just something beautiful? Is it a project that includes affordable housing, like the Gates Rubber Factory? Starting in Bolivia they began exploring how to make appropriate housing that can grow. They are now looking at places like Nigeria to see if it works there.

What gets measured, gets done. - Tom Peters

LEED Standards have helped establish metrics for green issues. DW has developed a broader set of metrics for community success. Jones and Jones has developed their Intrinsic Values Index. The reflection and consideration of the impact may be an emerging trend. We'll see.

He described the career path as 3 years to stop hurting yourself and 15 years to get competent.

DT sez: Sorry if it is sloppy - it was a wild ride.

Renewable energy on contaminated lands

Here is a great Google Earth Mash-up of renewable energy on contaminated lands.
h/t Caroline

Eisenman speaking at Princeton

UPDATE: PU reports that the talk has been moved to 6pm

SPECIAL EVENT, 5 pm, Betts Auditorium
Ten Canonical Buildings
A conversation with Peter Eisenman
Princeton School of Architecture

(Sadly, I have been unable to find my pictures of Eisenman's Wexner Center. Here are someone else's.)