28 April 2009

GIS Internships at the Highlands Council

Not one, but two unpaid GIS internships at the Highlands Council up in Chester, NJ. It could be a great opportunity to advance your skills, build professional contacts, contribute to a key area of New Jersey and and learn about the real world.

Review Days

This Spring we are starting a new tradition here at Rutgers - Review Days. Our Landscape Architecture design studios will be holding their juries over a two day period on Thursday and Friday, April 30 and May 1. Professionals and alumni are welcome to attend, but asked to attend an entire session rather than popping in and out for the sake of the students. Please check the schedule online for details.

Idaho LA student work

Elizabeth Graff, an Idaho professor who previously taught here at Rutgers, had her students implement an environmental exploration on the Moscow campus that caught the eye of the campus paper, the Argonaut:
Graff said both projects encourage students to think outside the box and use the skills they are learning in class.

“It is experimental learning, taking everything we normally study in textbooks and actually doing it,” Graff said.
The article has a photo too.

26 April 2009

Remembering past Margeret Cekada Memorial Lectures

2001. Marilyn Clemens
2003. Niall Kirkwood
2004. Jim Sipes
2005. Linda Jewell
2006. John Stilgoe
2007. Michael van Valkenburgh
2008. Andrea Cochran
2009. Steve Martino

24 April 2009

Yet another special observation

Between Landscape Architecture month, Earth Day, Arbor Day, National Trail Volunteer Week, and Ag Field Day, it turns out that this week is also National Parks Week. The photo is from Grand Teton National Park.

Almost ready for Ag Field Day

The tables are out and the posters are up for Ag Field Day 2009.

Landscape Architecture Open House
Blake Hall 9:30 - 3

CRSSA Open House
Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis
Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences Building
10 - Noon

GPS on school buses

New York is debating whether they should invest in the technology to track their school buses. It turns out to be a tiny bit more complicated than they first thought.

23 April 2009

National Trail Volunteer Week


Aside from Landscape Architecture Month, Earth Day and Ag Field Day, this is week is also National Trail Volunteer Week. Even though it will be over soon, it doesn't mean you can't get out and volunteer as soon as you finish finals.

What made Burnham's plan work

As promised, the centennial of the Burnham plan for Chicago has brought lots of new commentary and reporting on the plan. Continuing the celebration, Urbanophile has written up an 8-point list of what made Brunham's plan work.

Toxic maps

MapEcos has mashed-up the TRI pollution data with Google Maps to make a useful interactive pollution map that might be a bit more intuitive than some of the others out there.
H/t MapEcos through Lifehacker

22 April 2009

3 Landscapes: Steve Martino

Cosanti by Paolo Soleri
Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright
Stowe by many including Kent and Brown

World Digital Library

UNESCO, the agency that helped created the World Heritage Sites system, has now created a World Digital Library that hosts digital versions of ancient documents that are of global significance.

The library includes links to things like an original map of St. Augustine, Florida, the picture (above) of Lincoln at Antietam with McClelland and Pinkerton, William Blake's Book of Urizen, a German Modern Geographic Table of Geography, Aucarete du Biscay's An account of a voyage up the river de la Plata, and thence over land to Peru, a recording of Amazing Grace played by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, an 1833 Japanese painting of Peony and Canary, and a 1550 manuscript of the Persian Munajat.

Maps of the recession

Did you ever see the movie War Games? This animated map of unemployment is like watching NORAD's WOPR simulate thermonuclear war, but without Matthew Broderick to bail us out.

There are lots of interactive online maps of poverty, unemployment and socioeconomic woes these days, and one of the better lists of sites is at MetaFilter.

Included in their list is a page that maps out income inequality and compares individual states to third world countries. The comparison between NJ and Uganda would be hard to ignore if you knew where Uganda was...

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day

21 April 2009

High speed rail

It can be a little hard to read between the lines, but it sounds like James Kunstler has doubts about Obama's proposal for high speed rail.

We're on a road to nowhere

In 2007 the Commonweatlh of Virginia passed the Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements which will soon make it much harder for communities to build dead-end streets. This should be greeted with plenty of punny headlines, like the Winchester Star's Dead End for Cul-de-Sacs? The Richmond BizSense reports that Home builders call cul-de-sac rules a dead end. The Virginian-Pilot has a column saying that Effort to sack cul-de-sacs should come to a dead end. And while other communities and states are considering copying this model, The Architects Newspaper, with the headline Cul-de-Sacked! points out that this isn't a done deal, just because the law was passed and signed:

Meanwhile, the Virginia Home Builders Association has vowed to continue to challenge the new rules. “We only have one-term governors in Virginia,” Tolson said. “We’ll push to have it revisited.”

The sad part is that in these already tough time for newspapers, the best that the Washington Post could come up with was, In Va., Vision of Suburbia at a Crossroads: Targeting Cul-de-Sacs, Rules Now Require Through Streets in New Subdivisions. Really? And do we wonder why print is dying?

BTW - the Random House dictionary is clear that the plural is culs-de-sac.

20 April 2009

No new open space

The DEP has announced that they won't be funding new open space acquisitions or farmland preservation.

Opinions about opinions

Witold Rybczynski has a new Slate slideshow about the new building trend towards buildings that look like they were made of Jenga sets. But just as interesting are the early comments that critque his critique.

FEMA map update

With 100 year floods happening every few years around here, it is good to hear that FEMA is updating their maps for Middlesex County. It isn't just a change in flood patterns, but an improvement in the terrain modeling, now that they are collecting their data with LiDAR. According to the Home News and Tribune, their update moved another 1,000 residences into the floodplain.

Catching up

Lots of news from the weekend:
Big fire in the Pinelands
BBC's Planet Earth for hip Earth Day preparations
Ten cool things about John Muir
Egypt has lifted its ban on GPS (h/t Ogle Earth)
UMich looks into serious Google Earth application
s
Map-a-day picked up Sarah Williams' buzz maps

17 April 2009

Storm Surge Climatology and Modeling for the New York City Metropolitan Region

For the RU sophomores in Landscape Architecture, who will spend some of their fall exploring design responses to sea level change, this talk may be a good chance to peek ahead:

April 24
Storm Surge Climatology and Modeling for the New York City Metropolitan Region
Brian A. Colle, Stony Brook University (Friday, 2:15 seminar)
Environmental and Resource Sciences Building, Room 223, Cook Campus (Environmental Sciences)

Internship in the Highlands

There is a GIS internship up at the Highlands Council. A great summer opportunity for someone. Apply early, apply often.

Shortened Description: The New Jersey Highlands Council is accepting applications to fill internship positions to assist in the development of the Council’s Geographic Information Systems. The position is a part time internship position with compensation ranging between $10 and $14 per hour depending upon qualifications/education. The position is geared towards students of GIS who are looking to advance their academic or applied knowledge of location based technology in a regional planning context. The position is best suited for someone who has a background in the natural resources and/or planning disciplines with GIS experience and/or coursework. The internship will provide excellent exposure and practical experience in applied resource management and regional planning. Work hours as well as start and end dates of employment are flexible. Summer only interns are encouraged to apply as well. The New Jersey Highlands Council office is located in Chester Township, Morris County, New Jersey.

Oldenburg's Third Place

In Dr. Beidler's talk on Wednesday, he mentioned Ray Oldeburg's coining of the term The Third Place to described social spaces on neutral ground where people can engage in community interaction. In new urbanism this is often adressed with a desire to design spaces - from front porches to mainstreets to public squares - that will change public life. It occurred to me that some readers might only be familiar with Dr. Oldenburg's work through the use of Third Place as a reference to Starbucks.

The Project for Public Spaces has created a web page dedicated to Dr. Oldenburg including some quotes that highlight how his work fits into their work. Here is one:
Totally unlike Main Street, the shopping mall is populated by strangers. As people circulate about in the constant, monotonous flow of mall pedestrian traffic, their eyes do not cast about for familiar faces, for the chance of seeing one is small. That is not part of what one expects there. The reason is simple. The mall is centrally located to serve the multitudes from a number of outlying developments within its region. There is little acquaintance between these developments and not much more within them. Most of them lack focal points or core settings and, as a result, people are not widely known to one another, even in their own neighborhoods, and their neighborhood is only a minority portion of the mall’s clientele.

16 April 2009

Reading about Steve Martino

With Steve Martino visiting next week, now might be a good time to read up on his work.

In 2006 ASLA honored his Quartz Mountain Residence project with the Residential Design Award of Residential Excellence.

The site was limited in size:
A narrow 40-year house needed to be updated and enlarged for a growing family. Automobiles and asphalt dominated the arrival and outdoor experience. A drive-thru carport and a cul-de-sac sized asphalt parking area (4,300 square foot) were located at the ‘front’ door. The house was one lot away from the constant noise of a major roadway and lacked any outdoor shaded areas.
The solution is described in detail on the ASLA awards site. The description makes clear how much change was achieved on the site:
This project illustrates how new design work can be artful and at the same time responsible to the natural environment. The house celebrates where we live rather make apologies for it. The house strives to be in harmony with the site. A 6,600 square foot asphalt driveway and parking area has been replaced with porous decomposed granite paving. The entry courtyard with Palo Verde trees replaces the guest parking area outside the front door.
The jury was pretty impressed saying:
"Transforming. The landscape architect's ability to combine architectural elements with dramatic plant materials make this such a welcoming space. Great lesson value on sustainability in residential design, this garden emphasizes innovations in the use of native plants and shade trees."
And, since he has won several other ASLA design awards, our students and alums are welcome to stop by the Blake Hall reading room to read about them in our colection of Landscape Architecture Magazines.

15 April 2009

Cool Class: Open Space Planning and Management

For the latest installment of Cool Class, we have a brand new class that could count as an advisor-approved Planning class for the Environmental Planning Certificate or Option.

11:372:413 Open Space Planning and Management

This class is being taught by Dr. Frank Gallagher, who was recently described by the Star-Ledger as an administrator for the state Division of Parks and Forestry, who is managing the future development of Liberty State Park.

3 Landscapes: Stu Appel

Piazza San Marco, Venice
Villa Montefiore in Tuscany
Yosemite Park


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


Liveblog: Stu Appel - Greetings from Dubai

Stu Appel - Wells Appel

Greetings from Dubai: Design, Environment and Impressions of a New Middle East

Rather than talk about his own work, Mr. Appel talked about the larger context of this important place.
We are all temporary stewards and we try to learn lessons from the past. But here is a place with no lessons from the past, no history, no grounding to identify what is important. The Bedouin history is limited, there was a little pearl industry and a small port city.

Dubai
3:1 Male:Female ratio
83% of the city residents are expatriates – they can’t own property
Home to the iconic Burj Al-Arab hotel and the tallest building ever, the Burj Dubai
In 2006 the population had grown to about 1.4 million (over 1 million men)
The Palm Islands will have 4000 villas, 1000 water homes, 5000 apartments


View Larger Map

Other notable features of the city included the Mall of the Emirates, with its indoor ski slope, and the district of Dubailand. Stu described Dubailand as Orlando times 2.5.

The world financial crisis has impacted the place as well, with hundreds of billions in construction that has halted.


Qatar
45 minutes by plane from Dubai, but a very different approach
Doha is taking down its embassies to create green space along the water
Less than half a million residents, more expats than not
Has protected older places and created other quality spaces - Souk marketplace
It is a place of contrasts - Fishing ships cross in front of modern structures
The heat still requires better indoor spaces like at the Sidra Medical and Reserach Centre

They are not immune to the dramatic - check out this video of their island complex called The Pearl...


The environmental impact may not get discussed as much, but the opportunity to participate in some of these unparalleled experiences is a trade off that some designers won't make. And the cultural conflicts are tough, so guides have emerged. But this is an important place and different people and groups are dealing with it in different ways - ULI has a new magazine called Urban Land Middle East.

Summary: Not a travelogue, not a design presentation, but a serious and thoughtful discussion about this emerging world center.
This Friday's MaGrann Conference includes James Wescoat, former chair of landscape architecture at Illinois and currently the Aga Kahn Professor of Architecture at MIT. The whole thing is a short walk from Blake or ENR and Friday looks like a great day for a walk. Just click on the banner for details.

13 April 2009

Design your street

Good Magazine is holding a street redesign contest where you take a photo of a street that isn't working and photoshop it to make it work. Livable streets should be that hard, right? May 1st deadline, so get it in gear.

Greetings from Dubai: Design, Environment, and Impressions of a New Middle East

This upcoming Wednesday 04/15 we will be honored to welcome:

Stuart D. Appel, ASLA, RLA, , wellsappel. Planning, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design

Greetings from Dubai: Design, Environment, and Impressions of a New Middle East

Dubai and Doha are major cities in the Persian Gulf whose historic importance as port towns has been modest for centuries. Traditionally nomadic tribes, the people of this sparsely populated desert region have oral traditions, which leave little history to print, and few building traditions which express their culture or environment.

The relatively recent discovery of oil and natural gas has however, changed all of this. With the creation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971 and the Gulf Cooperation Council soon thereafter, the modest cities of Dubai and Doha have grown in profoundly different ways. They share however a regional and international influence, which in less then twenty years has been remarkable.

The pace and scale of development in both cities has occurred at a rate unprecedented in world history. Some of it is thoughtful and embracing the best lessons of design and sustainability that the international design community has to offer. Much of it unfortunately is not. The absence of
historical context, building traditions, urban experience, and ecological priority has resulted (in my humble opinion) in a search for design identity. While this exploration is healthy and necessary, the rush to build has not afforded the time required to find the "self".

"Greetings from Dubai" will present an overview of what has occurred, what is planned and some of the challenges and opportunities facing the local population, the international community and the environment.

As the senior principal of Wells Appel, Stuart Appel's unique approach to his work seeks to merge the logic of planning, the art of design and the science of ecology. His practice requires a regional understanding of context, culture, and natural systems in the creation of landscapes, which are sustainable and compelling. His three decades of work suggest that great places, which are noteworthy and memorable, are designed and sustained, through a genuine understanding of and respect for the community's values, history and context. http://www.wellsappel.com/

Time: 4:00-5:15 PM
Location: Cook Douglass Lecture Hall 110.

Beidler: Sense of Place and New Urbanism

SEMINAR

Sense of Place and New Urbanism: Towards a Holistic Understanding of Place & Form
Kyle Beidler, Ph.D.

Wednesday 12:35
Room 131 Blake Hall

Co-Hosted By: Department of Human Ecology and Department of Landscape Architecture

Abstract: New Urbanism is an all-encompassing term that refers to an increasingly popular set of design tenets that draw upon traditional urban forms in the creation or redevelopment of residential communities. Although design professionals are increasingly adopting these design tenets in the creation of new communities, there is no research that either supports or rejects New Urbanism's underlying assumption that neotraditional design tenets are capable of fostering a "sense of place." This assumption is essentially a normative claim that presumes the principles of the New Urbanism can have a measurably positive effect on sense of place (Kelbaugh 2002; Congress for the New Urbanism 2000).

This research project employs an existential-phenomenological approach to understand two specific people-place relationships. The project first explores how a "sense of place" arises for residents of a neotraditional neighborhood located in Blacksburg, Virginia. The methodology then investigates the influence of physical form in the development of a sense of place.

Analysis indicates that social interaction in the form of un-structured chance encounters with neighbors heavily influences the transformation of mere space into place. Further analysis indicates that such encounters are not directly related to density. Rather, the spatial quality, the
relationship between the built and un-built environment and the design of the public/private realm emerge as key factors in encouraging such residential experiences. The results are discussed in the context of the New Urbanism design tenets.

Another Katrina casualty?

LSU (Geaux Tigers!) has a hurricane expert on staff who PBS says warned officials of the potential for disaster in a Katrina-like event:
"A slow-moving Category 3 hurricane or larger will flood the city. There will be between 17 and 20 feet of standing water, and New Orleans as we now know it will no longer exist."
Ivor van Heerden, October 29, 2004
The Times-Picayune reports that he has been fired and the resulting letters are interesting.

12 April 2009

Many of our undergrads have never seen a grad-level presentation. Here is one that might be particularly interesting to our landscape industry students:
Plant Biology Graduate program announces a non-thesis MS defense seminar.
"Best Management of irrigation Practices and the Physiological Effects Associated with the Use of Reclaimed Water in Golf Turf Management"
Tim Sibicky, MS candidate
2:30 - 3:30 PM, Monday (April 13)
Room 138A Foran Hall

Favorite question format

The results of our informal poll on test question format is done. Multiple choice is the clear winner. I promise a significant chunk of MC questions on the final of both Spring classes.

True/false
4%
Multiple choice
47%
Fill in the blank
4%
Short answer
34%
Essay questions
8%


Keep an eye out for another poll before the semester is over.

11 April 2009

Parc del Auditoris or South East Coastal Park

Since Alejandro Zaera-Polo will be speaking at Princeton on Monday, I thought this might be a good chance to post some photos of Foreign Office Architects' park in Barcelona that is called either South East Coastal Park or Auditoria Park (map). The park is a slice of an architecturally rich area that includes Herzog de Meuron's Forum, Torres & Lapena's giant solar panels, a Beth Galli pier, another park, and a port area. One of the key design elements in the park is the simple concrete moon shaped block that is both paver and wall unit. The repetition makes the blocks simultaneously common and exotic.















Elsewhere online, I have some additional photos of the same park from a previous trip, with children added for scale.

10 April 2009

Italian gardens class and tour

Today's Targum included a feature on Ari Novy's summer class in Italy, Gardens and Landscapes.

We also like seeing some of our students quoted - Jenna Gatto and Sarah Nitchman got a little more famous today. Hopefully, it won't be their last chance to be in the Targum (I am thinking..."Major alumni donors propel LA Department").

It isn't too late to sign up! Just write Ari at arinovy@rci.rutgers.edu.

09 April 2009

A lot to see and do around here

Being close to Princeton University has its advantages. One is that they can afford some great speakers and conferences. If you are going to live, study or practice here, it is worth keeping an eye on what happens down in Mercer County.

For example:
MONDAY 13 APRIL
LECTURE, 6 pm, Betts Auditorium
no frills, no brand: building the global bare life
Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Principal, Foreign Office Architects, London

When I taught in Barcelona, one of the absolute highlights was visiting their recent design for South East Coastal Park, which was also part of the Groundswell exhibition at MoMA. But you may know some of FOA's work dating back as early as the Yokohama Port Terminal (map).

But wait, there's more!
On April 18th they are holding a conference called 'Landform Building: Architecture's New Terrain.' The speaker list is pretty hot and includes Barcelona's Vicente Guallart who designed the Master Plan for Valencia's Sociopolis.

GIS Buzz

Columbia's Sarah Williams (the Fall 2008 Environmental Geomatics Lecturer) got a great feature in the NY Times on her spatial research looking at the location of Buzz. This also represent an important link into some of the questions being asked about VGI:
For Ms. Williams the geo-tagging represents a new wave of information that can be culled from sites like Flickr and Twitter. “We’re going to see more research that’s using these types of finer-grained data sets, what I call data shadows, the traces that we leave behind as we go through the city,” she said. “They’re going to be important in uncovering what makes cities so dynamic.”
You should read the whole article, because this isn't going away.

Seminar today

Ecology & Evolution Graduate Program Seminar

Dr. Leah Horowitz
DEENR, Rutgers University

How can ecology be political? Definitions, critiques, and some examples of "political ecology".

4:00 p.m., Alampi Room, Marine and Coastal Sciences
Thursday April 9, 2009

Big publicity for Landscape Architecture

The NJ ASLA and Rutgers Department of Landscape Architecture were in yesterday's Home News and Tribune as part of an advertisement of Landscape Architecture Month. Aside from our lecture series, they also mentioned other ways to celebrate including Ag Field Day and an Elaine Mills historic tree tour of the Lawrenceville School campus.



08 April 2009

Fold.It

In one of the ultimate examples of enlisting citizen scientists to help advance research, University of Washington researchers have produced a science game, called Fold.It, that could help cure cancer or HIV. Players have to manipulate proteins in a way that applies creativity and competitive spirit to complex problems. Studio 360 reported that a 13 year old was doing so well that he was actually helping with the project.

Yale's E360

Yale has started an environmental magazine that is published in a blog format, called e360. It is much better funded than Places and Spaces, but better written with original content, too.

07 April 2009

Global Warming Solution Panel

NJPIRG has put together a pretty impressive panel that will be focusing on solutions:
On Wednesday, April 8 in the SAC from 7pm to 9pm NJPIRG will be hosting a Global Warming Solution Panel. Panelists include Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., Professor Anthony Broccoli, Professor Jennifer Francis, Professor Mike Kennish, Professor Oscar Schofield, and Environment NJ Representative Doug O'Mally. We will be discussing the issue of Global Warming, it's impact on the world and environment, legislation that could help address the problem (such as the American Clean Energy and Security Act that Congressmans Waxman and Markey have recently proposed) along with other solutions to the most challenging and important problem that our generation faces. Each panelist will give a short presentation on their field of expertise and then we will open the panel up for discussion and to questions from the audience. All are welcome to attend!

Planting trees to save land

It is amazing what a few trees can do (and I suspect that this might be a good chance for a few students to volunteer if they act quickly).

06 April 2009

Bring #2 pencils

One last thought before today's exam, bring #2 pencils because I won't.

But when you can't quite figure out that tough formula for analysis, you could stare at the pencil and wonder how they get the lead in there. Or you could just watch this video and see for yourself:

Finishing up that paper

Now that EnvPlan's Assignment 1 is nearly due, it might be a good time to think about grammar. Since this is college, it is reasonable to expect that a three page paper should be written in proper English and demonstrates your ability to use your new planning vocabulary eloquently. To help you prepare, you might check out this quick grammar quiz.

But I don't want to see even one misuse of Roll Call. Do not spell it Role Call! (Better still, don't write about it or the Pledge of Allegiance, since neither are an important element in analyzing the outcomes of the meeting)

RotD: Part II

12. Census Data
13. Claritas' Prizm Groups
14. Herbert Smith's Citizens Guides
15. Master Plans
16. Ordinance.com

04 April 2009

How designers fail

The other day I overheard some design students complaining about a tough critique on their first iteration of a project. Designing, changing, redesigning, and changing again is part of the process. Jason Tselentis clearly agrees, as he explains in this essay on Speak-Up.
"The entire creative process requires you to be unsuccessful: failed concepts, long hours, repeated attempts, constant revisions, massaging the details, and patience carving your career."
But for students, the software makes this even more difficult. This story from the essay soounds pretty familiar:

The student exclaims, I just cannot make Photoshop do what I want to!
The instructor replies, This is only the fifth week of class,
to which the student retorts, I know, I should’ve mastered it by now!

02 April 2009

Valuing natural landscapes

If John D'Agostino's guest lecture on Monday left you wanting more, you might check out this related report from NPR's Marketplace and this report on the value of NJ's Natural Capital posted on the DEP website.

Catching up

For our students:
Returning from my latest trip, I found my advising sheet (ENR 133) all filled up, so I have squeezed in a few more spots. Most questions shouldn't be too urgent since you can't add classes until the 12th. Still, if you procastinate signing up, the later slots will be filled as well.
I have also added a little suitability analysis piece to the EnvPlan class materials.

Sim City leads to new urban policy?

I am sorry that I didn't post this yesterday, when it was still a perfect April Fools joke, but here is PlaNetizen's explanation of how a late night game of Sim City reshaped America's urban landscapes. Their acronym poisoning story wasn't too bad either.

01 April 2009

South Pointe Park

Miami Beach has a new Hargreaves waterfront project, South Pointe Park, which just opened a week or two ago. The $22 million project features the usual earth mounds and light towers and fountains. (Mapped)
In the photo above you can see that the white light directed in one direction, for pedestrian safety, while the LED colors were most visible in the other direction. This side view illustrates the footprint of the light.

The light towers kept changing colors, but it was primarily visible from the ocean side.

Photo note: The brightest of these photos were taken at dusk and most were taken later, all without a tripod. I apologize that they are not nearly as good as the ones that will surely appear in LAM and Metropolis, but at least I get in on the game early.