31 May 2009

Front porches as academic metaphor

Since urban designers frequently talk about the front porch as an important element in design, this quote from today's NY Times really caught my eye...

"Athletics are the front porch of the university. It's not the most important room in the house, but it is the most visible."
- SCOTT BARNES, the athletic director at Utah State.

So, are research centers the alleyways of the University? The mother-in-law apartment over the garage is like the satellite campus? The whole thing works unless it is a new urbanist community, since they don't have dead ends and universities clearly do.

29 May 2009

International Map Exhibition - call for entries


The U.S. National Committee of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) invites you to submit your current publications of maps, atlases, and other cartographic products to the Cartographic Exhibition at the 2009 International Cartographic Conference in Santiago, Chile. The 24th International Cartographic Conference will convene in Santiago the week of
15-21 November 2009.

The ICC Cartographic Exhibition is the premier international forum for displaying maps, atlases, and other cartographic products. It provides an excel lent opportunity to feature the superior quality diverse range of American cartography. Awards will be given by an international panel of judges to products exemplifying excellence in cartography. We encourage you to contribute to this exhibit.

Entry Forms must be submitted to US Cartographic Exhibition coordinator no later than June 24th to reserve space for your entry. A separate Entry Form should be submitted for each item. The information on these forms will be included in a printed catalog of exhibit items for conference participants.

US Map Exhibit items must be received by June 30th, 2009. Please provide two (2) copies of any maps or panel displays, and one copy of any table display (atlases, globes, etc.) or digital products (see right). After completing the online Entry Form, send exhibit items to the US Map Exhibit coordinator at the address found at bottom of this web page.

Digital map entries may be submitted on a CD/DVD (or via FTP option) to the US Map Exhibit coordinator. Each CD or DVD must be labeled with the map titles, and simple, explicit directions on how to view the map. FTP instructions will be provided to map authors as required.

Although we are encouraging all entries, space allotted to the United States at the Santiago exhibit is restricted. Therefore, please limit your choices to your most outstanding products. Any item produced after January 2005 that was not exhibited at the A Coruña or Moscow conferences is eligible for the exhibit. All items selected for display will be donated to university libraries in Santiago following the conference.

28 May 2009

A more pedestrian-friendly Times Square

As Times Square has continued to grow in both fame and traffic, New York City has decided to make more room for the visitors who come on foot. The planning is done and construction has begun on NYC DOT's Green Light for Midtown which significantly reduces vehicular traffic and makes it a better place for people.

With video and photos, the NY Times reports on the first day without traffic:
On Sunday, the city sealed off Broadway to traffic at Times Square and at Herald Square, from 35th to 33rd Streets, where it intersects with the Avenue of Americas. On Monday, which was Memorial Day, the Times Square Alliance, a group that represents local businesses, set out 350 lawn chairs and 26 chaise longues where cars had previously held sway.
It is such a dramatic turn that Playbill has also posted a photo gallery. But this is going to require some changes to the virtual versions of Times Square in virtual worlds like Google Earth:

27 May 2009

Bridging the gap between design and health

The American Academy of Pediatrics came out with an important policy statement yesterday reaffirming the critically important role that design plays in the health of youngsters. They do a good job of pointing out a variety of landscape patterns that contribute to the problem, from school siting to unsafe streets to dead-end neighborhoods:
An estimated 32% of American children are overweight, and physical inactivity contributes to this high prevalence of overweight. This policy statement highlights how the built environment of a community affects children's opportunities for physical activity. Neighborhoods and communities can provide opportunities for recreational physical activity with parks and open spaces, and policies must support this capacity. Children can engage in physical activity as a part of their daily lives, such as on their travel to school. Factors such as school location have played a significant role in the decreased rates of walking to school, and changes in policy may help to increase the number of children who are able to walk to school. Environment modification that addresses risks associated with automobile traffic is likely to be conducive to more walking and biking among children. Actions that reduce parental perception and fear of crime may promote outdoor physical activity. Policies that promote more active lifestyles among children and adolescents will enable them to achieve the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. By working with community partners, pediatricians can participate in establishing communities designed for activity and health.
The statement is accompanied by a graphic from DPZ illustrating the role of neighborhood design in walkability. The ASLA has already responded with a supporting comment that urges strong support of Complete Streets legislation.

The American Society of Landscape Architects applauds the addition of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to the growing chorus of advocates recognizing the connections between human health and the design of our built world. Outdoor spaces that encourage physical activity, increase human interaction and offer beautiful, secure environments increase our physical and mental health.
In the meantime, take a kid to a playground and in just 30 years they'll tell their therapist that they wish they could thank you.

Geospatial Technology as an emerging industry

The Department of Labor has a reasonably well organized page explaining career paths in the "emerging industry" of Geospatial Technology. It separates GIS from Remote Sensing career paths and also includes links to videos, customized academic paths, and answers about certification. The emerging industry list is pretty short, so this is a fairly notable distinction (even if it took me a while to catch on).

25 May 2009

The Pentagon Memorial

The 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon is open 24/7 which makes dusk an interesting time for a visit.
Regrettably, the last lines of Witold Rybczynski's Slate piece on the memorial rang very true. Some of trees are already failing and a few light bulbs were temporarily out. Hopefully these can be addressed, because this is an important memorial at an important place.

23 May 2009

The GPS satellites are starting to reach an age where the network isn't as robust and reliable as it used to be. But these satellites, property of the United States that is shared freely with the world, aren't free. And now some are failing.

Wired Epicenter looks at the matter and points out that a) we can lose a few sats and still have a complete network, but b) a GPS tax might be the best thing for GPS.

In any case, after you read their short piece and the longer GAO review, you should come up with a solution, or pretty soon the only GPS receivers we'll be looking at will be museum pieces like this one from the Smithsonian.

Slashdot takes a look at the bigger picture and suggests that the overall satellite constellations will be changing towards larger but fewer sats. That just doesn't work for GPS right now.

22 May 2009

Great day for graduation

Beautiful weather. Con'grad'ulations Class of 2009!

Step-by-step instructions for better streets

The DIRT reports that NYC has published its new street design guide. But I don't see the guide online. Does anyone have a link to it?

Arthur Erickson, RIP

Architect Arthur Erickson has passed away, the Vancouver Sun reports. Some of his notable buildings include Robson Square, the Canadian pavillion at the 1967 Expo, the Anthropology museum in Vancouver, and the Museum of Glass. This morning's NY Times talks about how his buildings worked with the landscape and created great outdoor spaces:

“His work always came out of the earth,” Ms. Lambert said. “He didn’t start the way most architects started. He actually started off with the earth, the landscape, and made something that inhabited the land.”


Eric Sanderson, a former Geomatics Speaker and friend of CRSSA, has a book out called Mannahatta that explores the pre-settlemt history of Manhattan. This week he was on the Leonard Lopate Show talking about Mannahatta. The podcast is online - enjoy.

National Geographic Map Awards

As proud as we are of our recent award winning map designers, I can only imagine how proud the Wisconsin graduate program of geography must be. Their student entries just took 1st and 2nd place in the National Geographic Society's map contest.

21 May 2009

NJ's 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites

Preservation NJ has revealed their 2009 list of the 10 most endangered historic sites in the Garden State. Particularly interesting is the inclusion of the landscape at Liberty Hall. These historic gardens provide a critical link between the well-preserved Kean family mansion and the Elizabeth River, but that nexus is threatened by encraochment from Kean University (the owner of the property).

The Star-Ledger points out that with NJ's Garden State Trust (another Endangered feature on the list) running low on funding, these endangered sites may need help from other sources. They pointed a finger at the Institute for Advanced Studies where they plan to build housing on 35 acres of the Princeton Battlefield, still aden with artifacts.

The Home News Tribune focused on Plainfield's Lampkin House which may have been built as early as 1690. But since the owner passed away last year, the property has become encumbered with more than $100,000 of debt.

"People don't realize how historic and how neat that house is, what an asset it is," Garrett said. "It's just so damn old and there's so much inside the house hidden amongst not just the junk, the furniture and old clothing that was left laying around, but inside remodeling that was done over the years. You can get down into the skeleton of that house and find that original building, and that's irreplaceable."

It seems likely that other local papers will also feature their favorite entries on this list in the coming days. Keep your eyes open, and visit these special places while you still can.

20 May 2009

Philadelphia's answer to the Piazza Novona

The Schmidt's Brewery in Philadelphia is being replaced by an urban development that claims to be modeling its central space after the Piazza Novona. The Philadelphia Inquirer has posted a slide show that may intrigue or upset you.

Research assistantships at Iowa

This sounds like a perfect opportunity for the kinds of people who regularly read Places and Spaces:
The Department of Geography at the University of Iowa is accepting applications for graduate student research positions. These positions are available beginning as early as the Fall of 2009 and offer a unique opportunity to participate in large interdisciplinary NSF funded projects focused on the application of agent-based models to land use decision-making. Skills in geographic information science and computer programming are required.

Research assistantship stipends start at >$19K for a 12 month appointment, with health benefits and tuition scholarships.

For more information please contact, David Bennett, david-bennett@uiowa.edu, Department of Geography, The University of Iowa, 319.335.0158.

19 May 2009

Economic improvement for landscape architects

ASLA is reporting early signs of a recovery for landscape architects, with reason to believe more is on the way. In particular LAND Online cites both the stimulus bill and the new budget as sources for increased activity. Hopefully there is more than just federal monies to look towards.

Can you lose your World Heritage status?

If a site is important enough to merit inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list, can it be modified in a way that makes it unimportant for the world? There is a concern that a proposed bridge in Germany could do that to the Lorelei Valley.

18 May 2009

Global warming is different in Juneau

Global warming is having a different effect on Juneau, Alaska where, the NY Times reports, is it actually lifting the land and creating new land areas. The local golf course already has 9 holes on "new land" and is considering another 9 on even newer land.

Should you take a year off while you can?

The job market isn't what it used to be (although some reports suggest that the LA market isn't as bad as some others), but our new graduates may be wondering what to do. While you should certainly be trying to get job, Tammy Erickson points out that a gap year is the trendy ting for Gen Y's. She encourages a long-term perspective:
Beyond 2009, the reality of the past 20 years of falling birth rates, coupled with the inexorable shift to a higher percentage of knowledge-based jobs, means that there will be good jobs coming available over the next 2-4 years, particularly for the college classes of 2009.

17 May 2009

Ecocasting videos

This spring Rutgers' School of Environmental and Biological Sciences featured a pilot class "Blogging and Podcasting for the Environment 11:374:493," taught by Caron Chess and Jesse Schibilia. It wasn't just about the technique of how to post some information or make a video, but it was more about how to use these technologies in a way that actually changes the audience's mind.

The blog and videos are online at RU Ecocasting.

16 May 2009

NJ's new media?

After the buyouts at the Star-Ledger last year, some of the former staffers formed their own new news outlet for New Jersey, NJ News Room. But will they cover planning board meetings?

15 May 2009

What to see: California

A frequent reader asked what to see between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I waited a bit late to post them so these are rushed. Some are old favorites and some are things I haven't yet visited.

No warranty is implied by these recommendations

Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences

M.H. de Young Memorial Museum by Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog

Panhandle Bandshell

The Berkeley Campus

Muir Woods and the Mountain Theater on Mount Tamalpais

The Stanford campus

The 17-mile Drive has its own Wikipedia page

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Hearst Castle

Santa Barbara

The Getty

Santa Monica and Venice Beach

The Gamble House

LA's Union Station

A show at Walt Disney Concert Hall?

Urth Cafe (if Entourage hasn't ruined it)

If you are willing to overshoot LA and hist Orange County I would add

Noguchi's California Scenario in Costa Mesa

Whatever is finished at the Great Park of Orange County

Our readers are both tasteful and well traveled, what would you recommend?

Spatial Decision Support Systems in Environmental Tourism Planning

I feel like I have so much left to learn.

"Spatial Decision Support Systems in Environmental Tourism Planning- Summer School in Tourism, Rimini (Italy), September 7th-11th, 2009"

This Summer School is at its 4th edition and has been developed as a very practical training course aiming at providing the students with an operational knowledge of the tools to build spatial decision support systems (SDSS) for tourism planning using geographic information systems (GIS).

Further info is online.

14 May 2009

Expedition Race maps job

Some jobs are simply too cool not to post:
Nómadas Outdoor Services is seeking a GIS/cartography intern to design cartography for the 2010 edition of the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race. The candidate must be able to independently design maps of Patagonia that racers will use to navigate for mountain-biking, kayaking, and trekking in a 10-day adventure race. The successful candidate must be able to work independently with a diverse staff including many non-English speakers.

More than a simple internship, this project will provide the applicant with a rewarding experience at the end of the world in a multicultural and dynamic team.
More details at the GIS Jobs Clearinghouse.

Designated Centers

Just as a quick review, a recent list of the State Plan's Designated Centers can be found online (PDF).

For those fixated on Cap May County, here are the Designated Centers there:
Cape May
Cape May Point
Stone Harbor
The Wildwoods

Simulated Portland

Andy at Digital Urban posted this impressive video of an entirely computer modeled Portland, OR that is so realistic that is is hard to tell that it isn't real. Ah, but you ask, how can I tell it isn't real? The sun is shining.

13 May 2009

While you wait

Q. I am unhappy with my FINAL grade and would like to see it changed. What can I do?

A. Unfortunately, you have waited until too late for most remedies. Now that the grades are final I will NOT:
* Offer additional extra credit opportunities;
* Change the break point between letter grades;
* Reconsider subjective grades (like a paper or a studio project) unless they were returned so late that you did not have the opportunity to review the paper until after the end of classes; or
* Accept late assignments or offer make-up exams without excused absences (as approved by Martin Hall).
You should understand that these are not fair to the students who worked so hard to come to class on time, take good notes, get their work in on time, complete the extra credit, and take advantage of office hours and test review sessions.

However, there are some appropriate reasons for which I would consider a grade change. If you are requesting that I reconsider your grade, you should suggest which of the following reasons applies:
a) there seems to be a computational error in calculating your grade;
b) there seems to be a reporting error in calculating your grade;
c) you believe there was a scoring error on one of your exams;
d) you believe that you showed significant consistent improvement over the course of the semester (65%->75%->85%) and should receive special consideration; or
e) you want to submit late work under an excused absence.

If you are going to argue your case on a subjective grade, you certainly should focus on the SPECIFIC element of the grade (like "Test #2", or "the graphics grade on the final studio project") that you think should be reconsidered, not the overall final grade.

If you are close to the next grade and don't see any justifiable reason to request a change, you should at least try to get a copy of your final (by the first week of classes of the next semester) and check that there was no scoring error.

You certainly should EXPLAIN why a change of grades would be appropriate. I won't even respond to vague general requests to reconsider.

Ask yourself this simple question, is there some strong evidence that clearly demonstrates that your ability and knowledge are superior to your performance on the measures used in class? Is there a specific and appropriate reason that your test scores were not as high as they should have been considering your level of knowledge and ability?

Your grade is YOUR grade. Please do not ask me to change it because of someone else's (e.g., "I worked harder than him but didn't get as good a grade". If I erred and gave him a higher grade than he deserved, it doesn't mean that you deserve it too.) Instead, show me how your grade would be wrong even if you were the only person in the class.

Try not to insult me in your requests. Telling me that I am not FAIR is a really good way to make me feel less like helping. Plus, if I am really unfair, you should probably be discussing the matter directly with the department chair.

Try to avoid obvious lies. Students shouldn't tell me that they never missed a class when they know that I called on them 6 times and they answered twice.

Urbanism vs. cars

The NY Times has a discussion about the possibility (or lack thereof) of making more places in the US carfree. While Witold Rybczynski points out that only 6 downtowns have enough density for real car-free mass transit lifestyles, Marc Schlossberg (a PPGISer) points out the error in zoning ordinances requiring more parking:
Driving makes sense if there is an easy place to park your car. So reducing the available parking is key.
Some of them are trying out how to get our current world to work better, while others are trying look past new urbanism for the next planning approach to livable neighborhoods.

New Urbanist communities

A little more pre-exam review...

That we talked about:
That we didn't talk about:
But remember, while they photograph well, not everyone likes this stuff.

12 May 2009


Getting Community Buy-In on School Planning Means Including Your Community in the Planning

The title says it all.

Take an iMap break

If you are tired of reviewing the textbook and need something different to do, why not spend 20 minutes trying out the NJ DEP's iMap. Look at the wetlands in the Pinelands or the land uses in the Meadowlands or Sites on the Known Contaminated Sites List near your home or school.

Final Exam at Noon in CDL 102

The Final Exam for Fundamentals of Environmental Planning is at 12 NOON tomorrow in our usual room in the Cook Douglass Lecture Hall Room 102.

You can check it online yourself to confirm.

Takings review

For some reason I am suddenly getting several questions about takings law. You might want to review some old cases.

Environmental Impact Statement

A few students have been asking about the different parts of an EIS. This article from Cleveland's The Plain Dealer lays out some useful elements. But you might compare this journalistic description with the more academic one in Steiner's Living Landscape and ask yourself why they seem different. Can you find hints about things that we talked about like the scoping or alternatives, and does the outcome seem reasonable?

Water and sustainability

At TED, Steve Johnson spoke about the role of water and cholera (and Dr. Snow's famous map) in shaping a more sustainable 19th Century London. But it might also be something to think about if you are interested in the H209 competition (below).

h/t NJGeo

H209 competition

At a time when paid internships are a bit scarce, this sounds like a potentially good investment of your time...

In commemoration of the 400th anniversary this year of Henry Hudson's voyage to our shores, the Henry Hudson 400 New York Foundation is holding the international H209 Forum on September 9-10 at Liberty Science Center where Dutch and American environmental, planning and engineering experts, and decision and policy makers will explore how the 21st century water challenges facing today's cities can be tackled for a sustainable future.
The centerpiece of this forum is our New Generation Competition that invites undergraduates, including 2009 graduates, in marine and environmental studies, engineering, oceanography, urban design and planning, policy planning, and public health, to come up with innovative solutions to the issues involved with Sustainability for Coastal Cities.
The winners will receive cash prizes, internships at major water companies, and be invited, all expenses paid, to attend H209 where they will present their solutions and have terrific networking

Details are on our website at www.henryhudson400.com.

GIS is changing government

A sign of how big GIS has become is the cover story in Government Technology on ESRI's Jack Dangermond. It includes videos and some interesting comments about how GIS can change the way that government works.

11 May 2009

Donovan speaks on HUD's future

The Urban Land Institute heard from the new HUD secretary,Shaun Donovan. His background is pretty interesting, having studied public administration at the Kennedy School of Government and architecture at Harvard GSD with work at the FHA, NYU, and NYC. But his vision for HUD is also pretty interesting since he wants to enliven the federal role in urban development. Here are his comments to the ULI crowd.

10 May 2009

Maya Lin's Wavefield is open

They told you it was coming, but now the NY Times reviews Maya Lin's Storm King Wavefield at Storm King. The landform sculpture is 240,000 square feet and reaches up as high as about 15 feet. I am pretty sure that violates the proposed Sustainable Sites Initiative standards.

The reviewer at the Times isn't hiding their feelings very well either:
But the piece is already a classic. It has the gravity of Ms. Lin’s commemorative sculptures and the sociability of the earlier “wave” pieces, which lent themselves to picnics, play and privacy. And, more immediately than almost any of her other outdoor projects, it is inextricable from nature, which is where, as I say, all her art starts.
The opening of the new sculpture is accompanied with a special exhibit called Maya Lin: Bodies of Water that will last until November. (Mapped)

08 May 2009

New Jersey's moment in world history

OK, so maybe this isn't New Jersey's ONLY big moment on the world stage, but it is on the short list.

There is going to be a public NJN RECEPTION AND SPECIAL SCREENING of Bonaparte’s Retreat a new film by Eric Schultz Friday, May 15th at 5
pm. Bordentown Branch Library, 18 East Union St., Bordentown, NJ.

Light refreshments will be served. Space is limited so please reply by May 12th online at njn.net or call (800) 882-6622.

Bonaparte’s Retreat tells the story of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s older brother, who escaped to America after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, and settled in Bordentown, N.J. An influential diplomat, at one time King of Naples and of Spain, and among his brother’s closest advisors, Joseph came to love the freedoms of America but decried its lack of culture. For over 17 years, he lived in a magnificent estate on the Delaware River, where he designed elaborate gardens, entertained the leading figures of the day, surrounded himself with the largest, most important collection of European fine and decorative art in America and helped to shape the cultural tastes of our new country.

Funding for this State of the Arts special was provided by the N.J. State Council on the Arts, the N.J. Council for the Humanities, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Bonaparte’s Retreat airs on NJN Friday May 22 at 8:30 pm. Encore performance Wednesday May 27 at 11:30 pm.

Summer readings

The National Park Service, which is a unit of the Department of Interior, has released two new cultural landscape publications that might make good summer reading. They look at the cultural traces or influences left in our landscapes, and how to find these influences.

Asian Reflections on the American Landscape
This publication "highlights the cultural imprint of Asian groups on the built environment of the United States." Includes an introductory essay that summarizes Asian cultural heritage in the U.S., an annotated list of historic properties related to Asian cultural heritage, examples of historic places that interpret aspects of Asian heritage for the public, and a bibliography. Includes properties in Minnesota, Hawaii, Alaska, California, and other areas. From the National Park Service (NPS).

African Reflections on the American Landscape

African Reflections on the American Landscape/ /summarizes highlights of the scholarship presented at the conference, “Places of Cultural Memory:
African Reflections on the American Landscape,” which was held May 9- 12, 2001 in Atlanta, Georgia. It represents a follow-up to the conference because it illustrates ways in which this scholarship can be applied to historic preservation/cultural resources stewardship work.

(h/t) Jim Palmer

07 May 2009

Crash: A Tale of Two Species

When you need a break from studying, this might be a productive diversion.

Nature on PBS has a great show called Crash: A Tale of Two Species examining the relationship between the horseshoe crab and the red knot, and how the NJ DEP is trying to track the decline of both species across the entire Western Hemisphere. The link above allows you to watch the entire show online.

The NJ DEP and CRSSA are involved because Cape May County is one of the epicenters of this decline. A recent CRSSA report shows, among other things, how spatial the problem is.

ASLA Design Awards

The American Society of Landscape Architects has announced their list of 2009 design award winners and it is an impressive group. Included on the list are well-known designers and firms like RU Alum Andrea Cochran, MVV, SWA, MVV, Ken Smith, MVV, Mia Lehrer, WRT, Ken Smith, WRT, West 8, OLIN, and WRT and a few designers without such high profiles. And, several of the projects are ones that we already saw in our speakers series including:
Rutgers' own Steven Handel is all over this thing, especially with his Research Award. Congrats!

Walking Directions

When Google first introduced walking directions it might have seemed silly. But when you look at their tips for getting the most out of them, I think you can quickly see how they would be both a fun and useful tool in a big city.

05 May 2009

Designers' website

The Madrid-based architecture firm Selgas Cano got featured on TreeHugger for their unusual offices, but I found their firm website (described as "winners of this month's incomprehensible architects website award) to be equally challenging to preconceived notions.

Cinco de Mayo

What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than by looking at some good Mexican work. While you could go back and look at the classic works like Plaza Hidalgo (a PPS Great Space) or works by modernist designers like Luis Barragan, you should really take some time to look forward. Mexico is becoming a hot design spot.

One of the more visible firms working in Mexico these days is Grupo de Diseño Urbano and their principal, Mario Schjetnan, FASLA. GDU got a lot of attention (including an ASLA award) for their large Tezozomoc Park. It is hard to ignore their work on the Fountain Promenade at Chapultepec Park which is described as one of the largest city parks in the world.

And I have always thought that Daniel Winterbottom's Design/Build class in Mexico sounded like one of the ultimate field-based learning experiences. and, once this whole flu thing blows over, it could be a great time to visit.


The beautiful photo of World Heritage Site, Chichen Itza, is by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen from the WikiCommons.

03 May 2009

Unpacking My Library

Last Week in class, I mentioned that books are a great resource, but tonight's lecture in NYC really makes the point as does this associated exhibit, Unpacking My Library, at Urban Center Books:

On Monday night, join world-renowned architects Peter Eisenman and Michael Graves for a discussion of their personal book collections and the books that have most influenced their work. Interviewed by MAS Chairman, David Childs, this is sure to be a lively conversation and is a rare opportunity to see and hear these influential architects in person.
The event kicks off Unpacking My Library, an exhibition by the MAS bookstore, Urban Center Books, of New York architects and their books. The first of ten in a series, the exhibition documents Peter Eisenman’s relationship with books by combining an interactive exhibit visually scanning the bookshelves, with a video interview, and more. With a different architect every month, the exhibition continues through 2010 with Michael Graves, Toshiko Mori, Stan Allen, Liz Diller and Ric Scofidio, Michael Sorkin, Henry Cobb, Steven Holl, Bernard Tschumi, and Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.
Support generously provided by Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown.

An Evening with Peter Eisenman and Michael Graves
Monday, May 4, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., at the Municipal Art Society of New York
$25, $15 MAS members. Purchase tickets online or call 212-935-2075.

So Long

And so, as The Texan rides into the sunset, we say farewell. You will be missed. but we appreciate the time you spent with us.

02 May 2009

How can I do better on the Final Exam?

Since this has been a frequent question this Spring, I plan to add this to my FAQ list.

Q. How can I do better on the next exam?

A. Study your old tests. Why did you miss the questions you missed? What can you do to keep it from happening a third time? Was it from lectures you didn't understand? Come to office hours so we can talk about the tougher lectures. Was it on last minute changes on multiple choice questions? Maybe you should plan on spending an extra 15 minutes reviewing the MC questions at then end of the Final to prevent mistakes there. Was it material from the book? Was it a cluster of topics?

How are you doing on the in-class quizzes? Is the material familiar when I ask it? I would encourage you to prepare for the quizzes instead of waiting until the next exam. Try to know the material well enough that you can answer nearly every quiz question, even if you aren't called on.

I would certainly encourage you to find a study partner. That should be someone you could meet with, maybe over lunch, every week and talk through the most recent lectures. Each week you could try to write quiz questions for each other and see if you understand the recent material. You could also swap papers with them and help read each others work before you turn it in. A second pair of eyes goes a long ways.

Every student is different, so different techniques work. But there isn't anything special about the content of this class, so working on this should help you with many other classes you are going to take in college.

Save our historic treasures!

Once again, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced their list of the nation's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The list has been released just in time for May, which is Preservation month. My favorite on the list is Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple, in Oak Park, IL. I've been looking for my old 35mm slides of it, but you can see perfectly fine photos in the NYTimes slideshow.

The lists are valuable since they attract both national attention and local attention, which contributes to national preservation trends while helping save the specific threatened treasures.

New Jersey's list for 2009 will come out in just a few days. While I liked last year's list with Lake Solitude and Speedwell Dam, the best lists usually included something really outstanding like The Stone Pony or Louis Kahn's Bath Houses in Trenton. Let's hope that this year's NJ list includes some exotics and avoids the lame statewide issues like rural farmsteads and teardowns.

01 May 2009

DEP Mapping Contest 2009

Voices of the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed - by Krafcik, Maly, Marino, Siglin
1st Place Most Unique

Inventory and Analysis of the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed - by Brosius, BUSCHHORN, HELLER, KAHN, KOHLER, KRAFCIK, MALY, MARINO, OBARA, OROPALLO, RUNG, SIGLIN, TRIPLETT, UMBACH, VAUGHN
1st Place - Best Overall Non-DEP
1st Place - Best Software Integration
1st Place - Best Newbie
3rd Place - Best Scientific Application by the New Jersey Academy of Science