Some of the Watershed Association’s many suggestions included creating a network of trails that extend into other municipalities, adopting ordinances that limit pesticides and fertilizers, reducing the density of development in recharge areas, requiring native plant species in landscape design, inventorying plant and wildlife species and their habitats, adopting standards and incentives to promote green buildings and using the township’s Web site to inform and receive public input.Of course, the Township could take it personally, but the quotes suggest that while they have to point out they they are already working towards much of this, they appreciated the review by an outsider.
31 August 2008
A man after my own heart, Tom Turner's GardenVisit is trying hard to help you find the very best landscape and garden experiences around the world.
I don't how I have not gotten around to mentioning or linking to Spatially Adjusted (maybe I have and forgot?) but is a pretty big one out there.
How about a look into the profession at the Planning Commissioner's Blog?
A nurseryman in California maintains a very active blog that reflects on his perspective on the industry.
While it hasn't been so active, I saw that Rutgers' Joe Seneca and Dean Hughes have posted something again on their NJ.com NJ Voices blog.
30 August 2008
As the school year gets going, this could be a great resource for students working on projects but with limited GIS access or skills.
28 August 2008
The top search categories have been, in order:
I know, no big surprises there.
The most visited postings have been these:
A few of these rely heavily on links to other sources, but I do wish there was a little more traffic on unique items like the Citation Rankings for LA Scholarship or the student work from Design Week or our recent visit to Dig It! You'll notice that the posting about Jarad Patko is very recent and is also already very high on the list. I suspect that it will quickly move into first.
The top sources of referrals are (by far) Google, then various Rutgers pages, then Google Image searches.
Top search terms in external search engines (like Google) that land visitors here:
david tulloch blog
henry arnold associates
jinhua architecture park
best neighborhoods in america
opposite side of the world
25% of the blog's traffic is International coming from 134 Countries
The most frequent international visits are the 2.7% from the United Kingdom and 2.6% from Canada
30% is from New Jersey
53% of all visits have been through Firefox.
39% have been through MS Internet Explorer.
6% through Safari.
Then you've got Opera, and Camino and AvantGo. Huh? Someone has been visiting on Playstation 3? This is BFG-free zone guys.
27 August 2008
26 August 2008
For instance, if you look into how people pronounce the word Pecan, residents of the low country of South Carolina say PEE-can pie. But the maps show that to be a more widespread usage than you might have thought. Living near Route 1 I will admit to struggling with the multiple ways I say route, this map shows that it is different here than where I grew up. But I wasn't nearly as aware of how many choices there were for your old fashioned tennis shoes. Did I miss the map for nucular vs. nuclear?
25 August 2008
For instance, while I have no particular complaints with the design, I think that the delays at the World Trade Center site might help the various parties find an increasing of areas for agreement. It might also create additional opportunities for someone to ask how this thing will look in 100 years. One of the reasons that I worry is that some of the memorials that have been rushed, have resulted in design decisions that might not stand the test of time. Will some of the smaller 9/11 memorials be moved or removed in the next few decades? Could the controversial WWII Memorial in Washington DC eventually be moved or removed? It sounds unlikely today, but in another 50 years the Mall and the sacred spaces there may be viewed differently. It isn't that WWII didn't deserve a big memorial, or that we didn't wait long enough after the war, but the design approvals process was rushed and the result was a level of contention that is unfortunate for veterans and their survivors who have sacrificed so much.
The thing that brings this up is a news item I saw recently on the Flight 5191 Memorial Design process in Lexington, KY. While I think some families may be questioning the cautious approach being taken, I found it refreshing to see that they were be very deliberate about the values they want captured and reflected in the design. For the memorial to have a lasting impact, the built landscpae needs to be something of lasting value. Otherwise, it may provide small comfort to a group who still needs comfort, but it will provide little more and quickly end up forgotten and abused. I wish the memorial's mission and values were more focused on celebrating the lives of the lost than comforting the families, but that might change as this process moves forward without the rush that we have seen elsewhere. And their response demonstrates how tightly connected the famlies and the community are when a tragedy like this strikes.
24 August 2008
A much simpler issue is the design of each basic GIS map that we make. It is still a form of visualization that often compresses large amounts of information into a pretty tight capsule.
But for a first time summary this is great: Slate.com has posted a slidehow on InfoViz that includes a Radiohead video.
23 August 2008
22 August 2008
So, how can you get around these limitations that zoning and public policy impose? You could create a private setting with private rules and private roads where there is not public property and more of the control lies with a private organization like the developer or a homeowners organization. But then, who do you go to when you want to oppose a change? Do you have any say in the matter at all?
That is at the heart of a planning dispute described in the Home News and Tribune. Jack Morris is proposing a commercial development next to a higher density residential area where the residents are worried about the increased traffic. But, one of the problems is that since their road is private, Edison Township doesn't have the usual control over whether Morris' project, Beechwood Plaza, can connect to that road. They all signed up for a multi-use project, but didn't realize that this is how it would turn out. Here is the Home News quote:
For a planning story, this one has some great elements. The photo has many many neighbors all posing together standing in the street - it stands out compared to most planning stories which lack good visuals and it shows that they present a unified front (unlike other stories where the opposition turns out to be one or two cranks). The fact that they knew it would be a multi-use project is interesting. Is it like suburbanites who buy into rural sub-divisions but then fight to prevent other rural subdivisions? Or did they not look at the plans before they bought? Is the developer forced into this situation against his will (did he sign on to an existing site plan)? Is he fighting the change?
Residents were told by township attorney Jeff Lehrer at the Council meeting that, as a matter of law, this is a private community and there is not much the Council can do other than write a letter to the Planning Board.
Lehrer said this is an internal configuration approved by the Planning Board in conjunction with the site plan approval. "If this were a public roadway, it would be a different issue," he said.
Private roads are on the rise and make for an interesting twist to planning problems.
21 August 2008
Ms. Cochran helped describe the changes she has seen in client responses:
But after two years of drought, the worst in California’s history, Ms. Cochran can sense that attitudes are changing. “These days, everybody’s talking about green issues and sustainability,” said Ms. Cochran, who has run her own firm for 10 years. “I find my clients really want to engage in a more meaningful way. They want to think holistically about their property."
This tortured middle way has effectively become the law of the land, and for various reasons — including the need to conduct laborious, case-by-case investigations into hydrological linkages among water bodies — it has led to regulatory paralysis.They supported the proposed legislation that Congress is now considering called the Clean Water Restoration Act.
20 August 2008
19 August 2008
No surprise that the magazine picks New Jersey's own Princeton #1. After all, they have a college within PU called Forbes College. Maybe we should try a US News and World Report School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.
In the list of public schools, there system seems to have strongly favored smaller schools and military institutions. The service academies seem to be ranked higher here than in almost any other listing I see. I don't really have a problem with that, but it demonstrates how unique their ranking system must be. Rutgers ranking also suggests it is a different system than US News.
Any such ranking is ultimately a little silly, at best. But, I appreciate the more serious articles that accompanied the ranking.
18 August 2008
If you are going to try to blend in, you'd better check out the soda map first.
The NY Times' Freakonomics crew asked several different notable individuals about the future of Suburbia. While a few of the responses are a bit unrestrained, the mosaic that these diverse opinions form is still one that demonstrates that:
- this landscape-type is probably not nearly as stable is it looks when we drive through it; and,
- the future of this landscape is not well understood.
So what is the future of the suburban landscape? I encourage our regular readers (and, especially, my 331 students for the fall) to read and respond to this.
15 August 2008
14 August 2008
A Google Map has been posted showing the boundaries of the Highland Park and New Brunswick Eruv. As I understand it, the boundary represents the walkable limits of the area for sabbaths and holidays - walking further would be work, not rest. There is also a very thin wire that is strung around town that shows this boundary to those are observant enough to see it.
Yet another very interesting mash-up.
13 August 2008
(Disclaimer: I am claiming to have deliberately posted a less attractive map of the watershed, to leave more options for my students to freely design attractive ones this fall)
For example, Monroe Township just approved a new village-style town center that sounds like the smart growth that planners have been pushing for throughout New Jersey. The developer says the village along the banks of the Millstone River will be small and dense (possibly limiting impervious surface) and it will be tree-heavy. According to the Star-Ledger, the Township thinks of the developer as environmentally-friendly:
In 2003, the Verde Group started work on a residential development in Monroe, named Windhaven, building around existing farmland and preserving it without using state preservation funds.And maybe that is an accurate reflection of the matter. If development is inevitable, this sounds far preferable to someone more controversial. But even if the stormwater rules do limit downstream impact, should we keep making decisions impacting Manville without their participation? Of course, Manville residents are welcome to attend the planning meetings in Monroe, Millstone, East Windsor, West Windsor, Princeton, Plainsboro, Hightstown, Cranbury, Hopewll, Montgomery, Franklin and Rocky Hill. Is that fair? That is a lot to ask of a small group of citizens from a small borough on the receiving end of some big floods.
"He is the most environmentally conscious developer we have," said Riggs. "He understands all the environmental regulations better than anyone I know."
The buildings in the shopping center would be situated to maximize natural light and minimize energy consumption, said Ochsner. The center also would have underground stormwater drainage systems.
"We plan projects around the environment, not through it," he said.
An interesting twist would be to consider how the isolated view might be a more American perspective. In a very recent NY Times column, David Brooks mentioned some sociological research that highlights how this might connect with a difference between Americans and Asians:
If you show an American an image of a fish tank, the American will usually describe the biggest fish in the tank and what it is doing. If you ask a Chinese person to describe a fish tank, the Chinese will usually describe the context in which the fish swim.While Brooks applies this to larger geopolitical perspectives, I think we can really see it play out in local decision-making. It is easier for us to see how the economics of Monroe connect with the open space of Monroe with the policies of Monroe with the voters of Monroe. It is harder for us to see how the headwaters connect with the floodplain. Some of that is just an interesting phenomenon. But some of it is a lack of awareness that is costly and keeps getting us in trouble.
These sorts of experiments have been done over and over again, and the results reveal the same underlying pattern. Americans usually see individuals; Chinese and other Asians see contexts.
When the psychologist Richard Nisbett showed Americans individual pictures of a chicken, a cow and hay and asked the subjects to pick out the two that go together, the Americans would usually pick out the chicken and the cow. They’re both animals. Most Asian people, on the other hand, would pick out the cow and the hay, since cows depend on hay. Americans are more likely to see categories. Asians are more likely to see relationships.
We'll be talking about this watershed this fall, so you can expect to hear more about some of the different upstream and downstream goings ons here.
12 August 2008
His memorial service is on 8/14 Thursday at Temple Sinai, 208 Summit Avenue in Summit, NJ at 2pm. But for those that can't make it, feel free to use the comments here to post remembrances and comments.
UPDATE: The Star-Ledger has published an obituary for Jarad. It said, "He loved sunrises on the beach, sunroofs and all about the universe." Yep. That sounds like Jarad.
One of the honorable mentions went to RU LA alum, Laurel McSherry and her codesigner Fritz Steiner. Congrats guys!
11 August 2008
What does this transformed schoolyard have to do with making landscape architecture a more visible, more influential profession?The online comments at The Dirt show that there is some support, but you can be sure that the line will be much longer at a session on New Urbanism than community design at ASLA this fall.
By itself, probably not much. But suppose this schoolyard was part of a school-system-wide program for transforming most or all of the schoolyards in a large American city, and a landscape architect was the instigator of it all? Would that not give landscape architecture a more powerful role in community affairs and people’s daily lives?
10 August 2008
08 August 2008
You can slide it over to the Paris Olympics in 1900 and see that Belgium got 5 gold medals. What you can't see in the graphic is that one of Belgium's 5 gold medals was for live pigeon shooting.
07 August 2008
- The Renaissance of Geographic Information: Neogeography, Gaming and Second Life
- Fractal Cities by Michael Batty and Paul Longley
06 August 2008
All of the dying cities could be described loosely as rust belt. But I wonder if Springfield MA and Charleston WV really belongs on the same list as the others. Both have things going on which could easily lead one to believe that they aren't dying - while Scranton's shift from Coal to Cool will probably end as soon as NBC cancels The Office.
Forbes mentioned New Orleans, but left it off the list even though it has experienced a serious economic and population setback. I guess it has potential that the others don't have.
05 August 2008
Land8Lounge is a social network site for landscape architects. In a very short few months it has grown to over 1100 members. It includes students, faculty and practitioners from around the world. Topos called it the "premier social network for landscape architects on the web." The web site facilitates the sharing of portfolios, formation of groups (like the LSU alumni group) and hosting of personal spaces. But it is also home to a forum area for conversations about things like graphics (which quickly included people posting their own work), LA tourism, and technical details about things like soil amendments and the LEED exam.
04 August 2008
Their latest example is Mapping Civil War Veterans. The team from Hopeworks used GPS to map out the gravesites in historic Harleigh Cemetery. So? Well, their Google Earth points were linked with photos of the headstones that hlped them connect one woman with the burial site of her great grandfather. Here is the Hopeworks description:
Recently Hopeworks was contacted by a woman looking for information about her great grandfather. He was a Civil War veteran, John Warner Kinsey, buried in Camden. She had various documents that belonged to him including letters, enlistment and discharge papers, and notifications about his government pension. However, she did not know where in Camden he was buried. Seeing our article in the paper about the Civil War veteran project, she contacted us about information on John Kinsey. It turns out he was included in our survey and we were able to provide information on John's location. He served in both the 7th and 37th Regt. NJ Volunteers. Another interesting note was that by viewing the image we took of the headstone, she found that John's wife was also buried there - who also served in the Civil War!
Fast forward to this weekend. While listening to NPR's On The Media, I heard Mark Phillips talk about Quantum Leap (and the Ziggy) and how it resembled the way we can use Blackberry's and iPhones to ask questions online. Focusing on ChaCha, he described new ways of getting information that you know to be unreliable (but you do not necessarily know to be wrong). His closing comment really hit home:
But, I am asked, is golf course design really landscape architecture? Stiles started out as a landscape architect and those experience informed his course design:
"Stiles always found his green sites first, then worked backward from there,” Mendik said. “And as a landscape architect, he knew what the trees on a hole would look like in 60 or 80 years. He saw the picture from the tee.”
03 August 2008
01 August 2008
We visited this past weekend and were duly impressed. One of the highlights was a mock-CSI episode in which the soil scientist wore an expensive pantsuit into a forested dig site and when the lead investigator over-dramatically donned his sunglasses after solving the mystery. Another cool exhibit included a monolith or profile of the state soil from each of the 50 states and a couple territories. Go Antigo! Great stuff.
- Kemet by Philipp R. W. Urech and Antonio Sassano at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) - First Prize
- Landscape Architecture for Need/Slums by Tomas Degenaar, at Wageningen University - Second
- Waving Mat by Li Jingzhu, Zhao Yue, Yuan Shouyou, Ling Chunyang and Chen Jing at the School of Architecture of Tianjin University in China - Merit Award