31 May 2008

Ridgewood Reservoir

New York City has an unusual, and nearly secret, environmental oasis in the City. Ridgewood Reservoir has turned into a hidden natural spot teeming with wildlife, but that is at risk. NYC is looking at a $50 million plan to convert the reservoir into playfields. The Times published an opinion piece that questioned the plan:
The parks commissioner has said the city needs the athletic fields to combat childhood obesity. This is an important objective, but the money that would be used to destroy this extraordinary natural habitat could be better spent improving Highland Park, next to Ridgewood Reservoir. Highland Park has plenty of ball fields to serve its neighborhood, but they are in such deplorable condition that few people use them.
There is even a blog (how cheesy are those?) kept by supporters.

30 May 2008

Prairie grass restoration

The AP reports on a Native American project in Minnesota to restore native prairie grass fields. The tribal leaders are studying their old maps and other historic sources of information to figure out the right plants to put in the right places. It isn't a trivial matter, since the seeds can cost a little more than your average home depot seed packs:

"Some of these seeds are worth more than their weight in precious metals," said Mike Whitt, an environmental specialist for the Mdewakanton tribe. He said the tribe has spent about $600 an acre just to buy the seed mix needed to create prairie.

More bad than strange

Strange Maps usually just focuses attention on creative or odd maps, but their recent example of a Swiss Air map showed some truly bad cartography.

29 May 2008

Piscataway to appeal eminent domain decision

Faced with a nearly $18 million bill for the 75-acre condemned Halper farm, Piscataway is filing an appeal contesting the amount of the pricetag. The Home News and Tribune sums up some of the history of this storied process dating back to 1999, from the forced removal to the conflict of interest to the use of eminent domain for open space preservation. Stay tuned.

Hoboken Secret Garden Tour

Sunday morning is your special chance to see the secret gardens (or is it garden secrets?) of Hoboken. The Hoboken Secret Garden Tour will let you visit 12 different gardens scattered throughout the One Mile City. And maybe it'll take long enough that you can stop at Benny Tudino's for a slice afterwards.

28 May 2008

How to place plants properly

Bill Hlubik posted recently explaining how to place plants properly.

Will the housing decline allow a change in development?

In the Lehigh Valley, just across the Delaware from us, the planners are seeing the change in housing market as a potential lever for making larger zoning changes. In particular, the Morning Call reports, they hope that they can stop allowing (or is it requiring?) the development of so many large lots and McMansions.
''We're not looking to eliminate big homes, we just think there should be a balance,'' said Planning Commission Executive Director Michael Kaiser. ''Most of what we see now is a 3,000-square-foot home with giant rooms and a cathedral ceiling. The typical firefighter, policeman or medical workers can't afford it. We'd like to provide more options.''
The developers are saying that the current situation isn't their fault, but is the fault of the planning boards.
''Don't blame us, we're just building what the current zoning laws allow,'' said Chuck Hamilton, executive officer of the Lehigh Valley Builders Association. ''If a township requires 1-acre lots, no one wants to put a small house on that. If these planners allow smaller lots, we'll be happy to build smaller homes, if people want them.''
(h/t Eschaton)

27 May 2008

Suburbia art at RU-Newark

This seems like a timely parallel to the Sprawl exhibit in Jersey City.


Insights into Suburbia: art exhibition
Reception - Thurs. June 5th

Members of the Rutgers community and the general public are invited to attend a reception for the art exhibition, Insights into Suburbia, at the John Cotton Dana Library on the Rutgers-Newark campus on Thursday June 5th, 5:00 - 7:00 pm. Exhibition curator Esther Thyssen, PhD, Associate Professor of Art History, Sage College will speak at the reception.

The exhibition features selections from an exhibit of 55 works by 27 artists which was organized by NAWA, the oldest professional women's fine arts organization in the United States. Works were solicited from women artists across the nation to describe their physical social, and cultural perceptions of contemporary American suburbia. The pieces in the exhibit include paintings, photographs, drawings, and mixed media.

The exhibition is available for viewing in the Dana Gallery and Dana Room, on the fourth floor of the library, until June 30th.

More stadium expansion news

The Home News looks more at the impact of the Rutgers stadium expansion on the neighbors who are concerned about all of the concerts and noise and traffic. The article, which includes a fairly recent photo of the progress, also delves into the funding concerns but with little new information.

A treehouse festival

At Tyler Arboretum in Media, PA there is a summer-long festival of treehouses. On May 31st the Totally Terrific Treehouses at Tyler Arboretum opens up with 17 treehouses and will last all summer.

New Urbanism coldly received in Canada

OK, so the headline New Urbanism coldly received in Canada was less accurate then it was fun. But there really does seem to be an active debate breaking out over Duany's plans for a more agriculturally oriented New Urbanist community in British Columbia.

And the criticisms have followed quite quickly:
But even in the hands of designers as talented as all of these, New Urbanism is a dead letter.

Protest of transit village

A recent public meeting in Edison drew crowds to protest a proposed development adjacent to Edison Station. One of the big concerns is about the costs the development will incur in new schools and road system improvements. The project proposes a TIF for handling the costs, but residents (and the school superintendent) remain skeptical. No one seems to be asking whether this means there is no acceptable plan for densifying the area around their station.

26 May 2008

New Dean at Penn

The University of Pennsylvania has named Marilyn Jordan Taylor as their new Dean of Design. UPenn reports on her credentials:
Taylor, partner in charge of the Urban Design and Planning Practice at Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP and the first woman to serve as chairman of the firm, is internationally known for her involvement in the design of large-scale urban projects and civic initiatives. During a 35-year career with Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Taylor has led many of the firm’s largest and most complex projects around the world.

Cincy grows

The Ground Floor has a report on the growth the Cincinnati is experiencing.

25 May 2008

Interesting internship

(Remember, Gaithersburg is home to The Kentlands)

Internship Level Position

Company / Agency: City of Gaithersburg
Job Category: Community Development and Redevelopment
Salary Range: $10-$12 per hour
Experience: Not Required

Job Description
Seeking a motivated college graduate with a BA/BS in Urban and/or Regional Planning, Architecture, or Geography (or other related degree field) and with coursework in geographic information systems for an intern position of approximately 20 to 30 hours per week.

The City of Gaithersburg is well-known for projects such as the neo-traditional development of Kentlands and Lakelands, revitalization of Olde Towne Gaithersburg, Washingtonian Center, and the use of many other progressive urban planning principles. The City is also a leader in the
Smart Growth arena. The planning office provides an inviting environment to learn about planning and GIS through hands-on tasks in a small city planning department. The intern would be working side-by-side with City planners and GIS staff.

Tasks to be performed include: reviewing minor site plan applications, answering general planning questions from the public, performing general research, updating various GIS layers, field visits and data collection using GPS, mapping using ArcInfo and ArcView GIS, presenting plans at staff meetings and Planning Commission meetings, and other administrative tasks
(photocopying, faxing, digital photographing of sites/buildings, telephone answering, etc.) as assigned.

Contact Information
Contact Name: Human Resources
Phone: 301-258-6327
Fax: 301-258-6414
E-mail Address: hrjobs@gaithersburgmd.gov
Website www.gaithersburgmd.gov/jobs

Postal Address
31 S. Summit Avenue
Gaithersburg MD 20877

23 May 2008

Commenced!


On this date in 1483, Joan of Arc was captured.

On this date in 1934, Bonne and Clyde were gunned down in Louisiana.

On this date in 2008, the Cook College class of 2008 graduated with much fanfare and sunshine.
  • A record number of Environmental Geomatics Certificates were conferred.
  • 8 Patels walked.
  • Dr. Eva Pell of Penn State addressed the graduating class.
  • At 12:02 Craig ZAGATA walked across the stage completing the parade of new Cook College graduates.

The faculty were ready to go.Taking full advantage of one of the only remaining benefits of serving on the faculty, Dr. Steven Handel got to award the diploma to his son Ethan.Our alum, Bob Sneickus, was honored and sat on the platform.Cheryl Corr and Rich Bartolone knew to stay in the shade.
Jessica Booth never dressed like this in Spain.
Christina Reimer graduated with the highest honors.
This will probably be one of my last candid photos of Zachary Caruolo.
Stephanie Blaser was ready to take notes during the Commencement Address.
Stan Brand took the stage with great energy.
Zack posed for a faculty photo.Celebrations ensued and then suddenly...The fun was over and the graduates were ready to go.More photos should appear online at http://landarch.rutgers.edu/ early next week.

Celebrating our students

Commencement and Field Day are probably the two best days on the George H. Cook Campus. And since today is commencement it seems a particularly special time to celebrate our crew.

Today's graduates include Suzanne Pilaar. As if having her picture on the billboard in downtown New Brunswick wasn't enough, now one of our students alumnae has a feature on the SEBS website. That's making it big! Oh, she also got one those Bill and Melinda Gates Scholarships to go to Cambridge.

I had the pleasure of taking several members of the Class of '08 to Barcelona. Truly one of the great experiences for me as a teacher.

There were also around 3 members of the class of '08 that helped make the award winning Advanced Geomatics Revolutionary War Map. Cool stuff and a great (albeit exhausting) experience.

Best of luck to the Class of 2008. Today is your day. Please grab your diplomas and saplings quickly.

22 May 2008

Frelinghusen mansion

According to the AP, AAA is anticipating a drop in Memorial Day traffic, the first since 9/11. Maybe Garden Staters staying closer to home will want to visit local homes like the Freylinghuysen Mansion (not yet open for tours) or the James Rose Center.

Lecture: Impact of Religion & Ethics on the Population Growth of India

Just because it is summer doesn't mean there aren't interesting talks to attend. Dr. Girija Nandan Singh, University Professor & Head of Geography, T M Bhagalpur University, Bhagalpur, Bihar, India will be visiting Rutgers' geography department Wednesday, May 28.
Dr. Singh will give a presentation at 1PM in B120 entitled "Impact of Religion & Ethics on the Population Growth of India".


Impact of Religion & Ethics on the Population Growth of India
By Dr. Girija Nandan Singh, Ph.D., Professor of Geography, T M Bhagalpur
University, Bhagalpur, Bihar, India.

Abstract: India is the second most populous country in the world with a population over 1.1 billion. This paper explores the role religion and ethics play in impacting the Indian population growth. The 2 major religions in India, Hinduism (81.4%) and Islam (12.4%) had a growth rate of 20% and 29.3% respectively during 1991-2001. Hindus believe that cremation by a son leads to the salvation of the soul, which greatly increases the demand for a male child but results in the
increase of unwanted girl children. In Islam, procreation is a blessing from God and birth control is a sin. There are important differences between the modern and traditional values of Hinduism and Islam. Islam allows easy divorce and polygamy which in turn increases the risk of
woman pregnancy. As the modernization process is unfolding in India, differentials in fertility across different religion are declining but unsafe abortion is creating a bigger problem in terms of double death syndrome. The government is also using unethical ways such as coercion
and unfairness to limit population growth.

Dr. Girija Nandan Singh is the University Professor & Head of Geography at R. D. & D. J. College Munger, Bihar, India (T M Bhagalpur University, Bhagalpur). He has worked as a University Professor for the past 18 years. He has more than 37 years of teaching & research experience with over 50 research publications. 14 PhD scholars have obtained their degrees under the guidance of Dr. Singh. He has represented T. M. Bhagalpur University at the International Geography Congress in Washington D.C, USA (1992), Seoul, South Korea (2000) & Glasgow, United Kingdom (2004). His primary area of specialization is Physical Geography, Population Geography, Environmental Geography & Resource Management. Besides his teaching activities Dr. Singh currently serves as a Judge in the People’s Court of Munger District of India. Munger is one the oldest district of state of Bihar in India with a population of more than 1.1 million.

Abandoned mines

It is a surprise to some that NJ was an old mining state. in fact, mining in New Jersey has been linked by some to the American success in the Revolutionary War. I stumbled into a great website that photographically catalogs old abandoned mines throughout New Jersey.

Just as an example is their page about one of Thomas Edison's copper mines up in Sparta. There is even a book about Edison's mining efforts (PDF). And several years ago we took a field trip (pictured above) through the Highlands where we stopped at several mines including the Hibernia mine, famous for its bats.

Toyota Children's Learning Garden

Michael Van Valkenburgh just saw another project opened in New York City. The Toyota Children's Learning Garden is not a playground or arena for imagination so much as it is designed to help children learn about plants.
There doesn’t seem to be any place for children to climb, he was told. “It’s a garden for learning about plants, not a playground,” he said.
Don't worry, they still made sure that the structures were sturdy enough to handle New York's roughest. And MVV has done children's work before, so we'll trust he knows what they like. I know our boys loved his sliding board in Teardrop Park.

21 May 2008

Soaring oil prices

The DIRT posted a note about rising transit ridership and they included a link to a stunning graphic from Forbes that tracks the changes in oil prices over the last few decades.

19 May 2008

Yet another Flight 93 Memorial design controversy

The Flight 93 National Memorial planned for Shanksville, PA has hit yet another snag. Following on the heels of the red crescent controversy, a variety of faculty are now creating a new hubbub about the authorship of the actual design for the site.

Today's NY Times reports that 2 professors, Madis Philak and Lisa Austin, are contesting Paul Murdoch's claims of exclusive authorship for his winning entry in the design competition. And, to spice things up a bit, the co-chair of the design solicitation committee is Tim Baird, a colleague Madis' at Penn State. (Tim is also an LSU grad - Geuax Tigers!) At the heart of the challenge is the concern expressed over how much Murdioch's initial proposal changed going into the second design phase. The Times reports:

“What’s interesting is if you look at his Phase I proposal and compare it to what his proposal is now,” Ms. Austin said, “our design is a closer match to his final design than his first is.”

Among the ideas they believe were taken from their plan are a tracing of United Flight 93’s path rendered by a break in two walls, the inclusion of buildings used by investigators in the wake of the crash, the use of abandoned mining machinery in the design, and the planting of September-blooming coneflowers.

As these plagiaristic charges became increasingly public, Philak and Austin submitted a paper to a national parks conference, “Designing the Parks”, where they thought that their paper was temporarily removed from the agenda because of Murdoch's manipulations. But, tomorrow they will be presenting their paper and the audience can decide whether or not this is a design catastrophe or classic coincidence.

Inholdings

One of the more important casualties of the Park Service budget woes is the growing inability to purchase land called inholdings. These are privately owned properties that are surrounded by the federally-owned parkland. Since it is private property, it could be developed in ways that are inconsistent with the park's plan. Imagine a private hotel popping up inside Valley Forge. And who knows what could happen on the 3,100 acres of private land inside Zion. The most recent issue of National Parks Magazine takes a closer look at this problem.

18 May 2008

Yet another MLK Memorial controversy

For some time now the proposed MLK Memorial in Washington has been meeting some resistance. It isn't that people think there shouldn't be a memorial, or that people are objecting to the moderately prominent location near the FDR. Instead, some are objecting to the style of the sculpture that is being proposed as a centerpiece of the memorial.

Back in December, NPR ran a great piece on the brewing controversy, but we mentioned it even earlier. It even seems to change a little every time it comes up. First the problem was the size. Then it was the nationality of the artist (Chinese) and the material (Chinese granite). Now it is the style of the representation (Social Realist).

Some proponents of public participatory design look at these processes and see them improving the nature of the dialogue and potentially the final outcome. I tend to agree in principal, but the outcomes of previous debates leave me quite concerned. Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial survived pretty well but had a set of sculptures tacked on in a way that remains awkward decades later. The Korean didn't fare nearly as well through the process. And, as the MLK Memorial weblog points out, even the WWII was greeted coldly by critics. But they don't point out that the controversy was resolved by building something that many still consider an eyesore and that might age so inelegantly as to leave it at risk in a generation. Let's hope that the MLK memorial becomes something solid and memorable and treasured instead of an interesting relic.

17 May 2008

Can Duke Gardens be saved?

I'll be honest. I thought that the grassroots efforts to save Duke Gardens was going to end up as an unnoticed group of people trying to shape something beyond their control. I mean, it isn't a state park or a public property of any sort - so what good would a petition or small protest be? Based on the most recent emails and news stories, I'd raise their odds from infinitesimal to small. But this morning's news is that they are at least being heard.

16 May 2008

Catching Up

Since I've been pretty busy cleaning up some grading and other details, I've fallen behind on some news that seemed worth sharing.

15 May 2008

Great Freshman Seminars

Rutgers has started to offer one credit seminars for first year students, and some of them sound absolutely great. Check out some of these options:
It is almost enough to make me want to be a Freshman again. Almost.

Planner writes novel

A central New Jersey municipal planner has written a suspense novel. I can't wait until I find out if the serial killer gets his variance approved!

A local planner has written a novel, set on the West Coast but based on the Edison gas main explosion of 1994. Scarlett Doyle told the Home News and Tribune that writing her first novel, There's No Such Thing as Closure, required a real change in her writing style:
The tougher part came in the five-year ""polishing'' process, when Doyle ""embellished'' the story by developing the characters and becoming more realistic. No longer was she writing the stilted legalese of municipal master plans, zoning reports or resolutions for planning boards.

"I had to write how people talk,'' she said. ""No more, "be it resolved.'‚''

14 May 2008

Where 2.0 nearly live

The web-mappy future-looking confernece, Where 2.0, is well underway out in Cali. Since you probably weren't able to make the trip, you'll probably have to settle for some blog reports at the end of each session. This is fully into the neogeography, VGI, LBS, PPGIS hipster scene. Don Cooke says they don't even tuck in their shirts.

Expensive eminent domain

The Home News is reporting that a NJ appeals court has upheld a $17.9 million decision costing Piscataway about 4 times as much as their original $4.3 million pricetag. This was a locally-notable eminent domain case because:
a) it was a visible and early effort to condemn a farm as a means for preserving the farmland as open space,
b) the owners really, really didn't want to sell to the government which made for good news coverage,
c) Jim McGreevey said "Machiavelli", and
d) (maybe) because it was a very visible property on a busy highway.
I'll be interested to see a little about how this decision was made.

David Byrne in NY


David Byrne is turning the Battery Maritime Building in lower Manhattan into a giant musical instrument as an interactive exhibit he calls Playing the Building. He already did this to the Färgfabriken in Stockholm, Sweden in 2005.

Wired provides some interesting coverage of the exhibit, due to open at the end of May:
"I'm not suggesting people abandon musical instruments and start playing their cars and apartments," he adds, "but I do think the reign of music as a commodity made only by professionals might be winding down. The imminent demise of the large record companies as gatekeepers of the world's popular music is a good thing, for the most part."
While you are there you could just cross the street and see Ken Smith's work at 55 Water.

Koyaanisqatsi

Now that finals are over, maybe you can spare a few minutes to watch a movie.
Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance
If you lack some time and just want to think about cities you could jump to about the 45 minute mark. If you just want to relax, don't jump to the 55 minute mark.

11 May 2008

Tanner Fountain

The 2008 winner of the Landmark Award is Peter Walker's Tanner Fountain at Harvard University. It is a classic example of "less is more" creating a memorable experience and a landmark that is studied at LA programs around the country. Built in 1984, it is less than 25 years old and yet it is still treated as a permanent fixture in the American constellation of landscape architectural icons.












Hirschhorn

I have long been a fan of the Hirschhorn but was pleasantly surprised to see the Times addressing its secret status. They report that a recent survey found that about 75% of the visitors to the museum first visit because they think it is the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. But, as the Times reports, it is an exciting museum with a lot going on.

10 May 2008

Gotta' see Solitude

I recently mentioned the newly endangered status bestowed upon Lake Solitude. But now I understand some more thanks to the digging of of Bill Wolfe. This looks like an absolutely great place to visit on a Saturday afternoon in late May.

08 May 2008

Special Art/Sprawl Event

Jersey City Museum presents
Mapping SPRAWL: A Convergence of Art and Science
Thursday, May 15, 2008, 6pm-8pm. Free Event

What do a New Media artist, two acclaimed experts on sprawl and a policy maker have in common?

Join Jersey City Museum on Thursday, May 15th at 6pm to explore how the work of an artist interfaces with science and serves to interpret important issues affecting New Jersey communities. The evening will feature a discussion with a panel comprising of an artist from the museum's SPRAWL exhibition and three experts who deal with the issue of sprawl in various
ways through their work.

Inspired by New Jersey's first geological maps created by George Cook in the late 19th Century, and based on studies of land use and land cover of the past three decades, artist Hector Canonge spent several months traveling the state of New Jersey, visiting various counties, and sampling the landscape with a video camera for signs of urban sprawl, smart growth, and new urbanism for his new work "parallel grounds," on view in SPRAWL thru August 2008. More information about his work can be found at www.hectorcanonge.net.


Canonge will be joined by Dr. Richard G. Lathrop, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis, CRSSA, at Rutgers University, and Dr. John E. Hasse, sprawl expert and professor of geography at Rowan University.
Lathrop and Hasse are both well-known scientists involved in the national debate about land use. Rounding out the discussion will be Tim Evans, the director of research at New Jersey Future, a statewide research and policy group advocating smarter ways to grow protecting open lands and natural resources.

Jersey City Museum's gallery hours are Wednesday and Friday from 11am to 5pm, Thursday from 11am to 8pm and weekends from 12pm to 5pm. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for seniors and students, and free for children under 12 and museum members. Admission is free for all on Thursday evenings from 5 to 8pm. Jersey City Museum is located at 350 Montgomery Street at Monmouth in the Historic Downtown District of Jersey City, within walking distance of the Grove Street PATH and Jersey Avenue Light Rail stations. For more information, visit www.jerseycitymuseum.org or call 201-413-0303.

SPRAWL is made possible by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and through the lead sponsorship of JP Morgan Chase.

Founded in 1901, the Jersey City Museum is the major presenter of contemporary art serving the people of Jersey City, Hudson County and the region. The museum organizes many group and solo exhibitions every year, featuring works by culturally diverse, contemporary artists and from its 10,000-piece collection of regional significant art and historical objects.
Through exhibitions, educational initiatives and programs, the museum welcomes over 25,000 visitors each year, including 11,000 school-aged children and youth.

Contact: Rita Salpietro
201.413.0303 x144
rsalpietro@jerseycitymuseum.org

Supreme Court Precedence

This spring we have talked about a number of Supreme Court cases that have established some relevant precedent for takings law and related areas. And, while I'll be the first to stress that Wikipedia is not always a reliable source of detailed and academic information on controversial issues (like eminent domain), you can get a quick overview on many of the cases as a quick check on your lecture notes.

Euclid v Ambler
Penn Central v NYC
Lucas v SC Coastal
Dolan v Tigard

And remember that any of these could get vandalized (briefly) in the next day or two.

07 May 2008

Late Spring RotDs

Here are some more Resources of the Day
18. The Law
19. Greenways/Julius Fabos
20. iMap
21. NGOs
22. State Plan
23. Congress of New Urbanism
24. Books
25. Your faculty, your time

More Celebration

Here some photos I took around Celebration, Florida back in 2000. They break down into two parts:
  • the Celebration you see in magazines (although my version is grayer), and
  • the Celebration you don't.

06 May 2008

Endangered Sites in NJ

Preservation NJ just announced their list of the Top 10 Endangered Sites in New Jersey for 2008. The list includes the Forney House and Clinic in nearby Milltown, Speedwell Avenue in Morristown, and the Lake Solitude Dam in High Bridge.

These listings aren''t just shouting into the wind. Last year they listed the old Bell Labs which is now being studied for appropriate future uses. But some properties don't make it.

Celebration

Here is a link the Michael Pollan 1997 essay on Celebration, Florida, Town-Building is no Mickey Mouse Operation from the NY Times Magazine. While it doesn't have the beautiful eerie photos from the Magazine, it remains one of the most interesting encapsulations of life in the master-planned community.

05 May 2008

Kunstler on Colbert

While it wasn't exactly the best guest ever The Colbert Report, James Howard Kunstler appeared to talk about his new futuristic novel set in a time after peak oil.

Getting crowded

In a rather underpublicized lecture last week Gen. Michael Hayden (CIA Director) said that one of the most important trends of the new Century is the population boom in poor countries. I recently heard George Gallup predict that we will hit 9 million in the next few decades. The problem is that we aren't acting like it. We are worrying about how to feed a few hundred thousand in some corner of the world instead of another 2 billion. What will that mean for planning? Will a few extra lots in South Brunswick suddenly pale in comparison?

04 May 2008

Hummingbirds are here

As this map clearly shows, the 2008 hummingbird migration is well underway.

Phrag research at Rowan

Can an invasive specie have ecological value? Can a native be invasive? Michael Groves' Phragmites research at Rowan isn't treating phrag like the most desirable native specie, but it also isn't trying to eradicate them at all costs. Instead, his research seems to reframe the question.

02 May 2008

Parallel Grounds at Jersey City Museum

Since this is the last weekend for the Green House exhibit at the Morris Museum, you might want to try focusing on a trip to Jersey City. The Jersey City Museum currently has an art exhibit called Sprawl. Within that exhibit is an interactive art set by Hector Canonge called Parallel Grounds. Canonge was inspired by Bar Codes and worked to combine the idea with GIS and other map products with help from CRSSA and Rowan. The exhibit is open through August and sounds worth the visit. (I'll try to report back after I make the trip myself)

01 May 2008

Campus tour at Georgian Court

If you haven't visited the campus of Georgian Court University, there is an opportunity for tours in the next few weeks. While the design isn't exceptional, it is an unusual campus layout and the plant collections is particularly good.

May Day

Happy May Day. (Don't forget to turn your analog watches and calendars ahead)

New cities from scratch

Witold Rybczynski has a new Slate slideshow, this time looking at the edgy new cities being designed and built from scratch on the Persian Gulf. The NY Times has a slideshow on a new city in Inner Mongolia being designed by a mob of hot rising starchitects. As Rybczynski points out, building a designed city from scratch isn't a new idea. But, these cities are definitely going to be filled with new architectural ideas that aren't just straight out of the New Urbanist play book.

As gas prices rise, so does mass transit ridership

This is hardly a surprise, but the higher gas prices seem pretty directly linked to a higher rate of ridership in NJ Transit. If gas reaches $5/gal, they'd better start looking into triple decker train cars.

CO2 Emissions Maps

Purdue's Project Vulcan has been getting some attention for some recent maps maps of carbon dioxide emissions. However, the total emissions map (below) seems to show that cities are just the worst. But, as Wired points out, once you normalize that data with population distribution you get something remarkably different. Rural landscapes like West Texas look like a major contributor. Hopefully our geomatics students aren't too surprised by this. But it is fascinating to read about it in such non-technical outlets.