31 August 2009

Creative mapping

Sunday's NY Times included a creative map of scents or odors around the city. That, combined with the psychogeography maps, reminded me of other creative maps I have seen recently, but not yet shared including a beautifully made map of the heart of America. But one worth setting aside some serious time to surf through is Visual Complexity which has amassed a collection of nearly 700 notable graphic displays including this unusual nationwide transit map, Paula Scher's Maps series, and one of many maps of the Internet and Chris Yates' simplified Interstate Map (shown here).

While we talk about it a little in my geomatics course, we dig in and do it my landscape architecture studio. Last year's class did a particularly strong job in reaching beyond the basic limitations of GIS.

Psychogeography maps

Over at Making Maps blog, John Krygier posted some great student examples of psychogeography maps from a summer camp/class. This isn't very different than some creative explorations that we see in landscape architecture, and emphasize the personal opinion over the factual or spatially precise. Some would argue that may may, in fact, be more truthful if they capture the real truth of the place. But in any case, they may help you think in new ways about your next cartographic effort.

End of summer photos IV

Valley Forge, Pennsylvania Veterans Memorial, Williamsburg, Staten Island.

28 August 2009

End of summer photos

First, some photos from the Grand Canyon.

The recommended reading for this site is Stephen Pyne's How the Canyon Became Grand which acknowledges social processes beyond the geology.

26 August 2009

Advising notes and Fall 2009 schedule

This is just for our students...

As I keep getting requests for advising and other meetings, let me point out that I have already posted a sign-up sheet for appointments on my office door at Blake Hall. And, I will remind you that while ENR 133 serves as my primary office in the Spring, for the Fall I spend as much time in Blake 227 as possible.

Also, it would be smart to check your Degree Navigator records for accuracy before you get back.

22 August 2009

MVV's Princeton space

The Chronicle's Building and Grounds Blog looked into Princeton's Butler College "with ingenious landscaping by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates." If you haven't heard about it, it means you've been skipping the common lectures.

Heritage Park in Lawrence

The Trenton Times published a nice piece describing a community really benefiting from a park, with help from someone at Rutgers.

Emerald ash borer

A foreign invader threatens, in Grinch-like manner, to take the bats away from America's past time - the emerald ash borer. Today's Star-Ledger has a report on New Jersey's efforts to monitor and control the invasion. Since the ash trees threatened by this horrid beast make such great bats, Louisville Slugger has set up a special alert page to keep fans up-to-date. Save America, fight the borers.

21 August 2009

Tracking people and things with GPS

The NY Times' David Pogue files one of his patented video reviews of a consumer-grade GPS tracker called Zoombak. It makes the technology seem like it has really arrived, even if so much of the data we all want is still actually hard to get.


Rutgers University - New Brunswick/Piscataway

Associate/Full Professor of Landscape Architecture

The Department of Landscape Architecture, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey invites applications for an Associate/Full Professor of Landscape Architecture, to begin September 1, 2010. We seek a faculty colleague who will take leadership in developing the department, contribute in meaningful ways to the interdisciplinary teaching, research and service mission of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and create links across collaborative opportunities at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The scholarly record of the candidate must be of the caliber typically expected for tenure at an AAU University.

Minimum Qualifications:
1) Capacity to lead the Department of Landscape Architecture as Department Chair.
2) Evidence of peer reviewed scholarly work such as peer reviewed published works, competitive grants, clearly articulated scholarly agenda, critically reviewed built works, national or international design awards.
3) Experience in teaching undergraduate and graduate courses.
4) Eagerness to engage with the scientific community.
5) Evidence of Administrative ability.

Preferred Qualifications
1) One or more of the following:
a. an accredited degree in landscape architecture;
b. a Ph.D. in landscape architecture or a related subject;
c. professional design experience;
d. licensure in landscape architecture.
2) Evidence of successful multidisciplinary collaboration.
3) Eagerness to engage with the scientific, as well as arts and humanities, community

Position: We envision that the successful candidate will provide leadership in setting the tone and creating the platform for broad discourse of the role of design in solving contemporary problems. The successful candidate will be responsible for the administrative and program development functions of the department. The successful candidate will also be expected to teach at least one course in each of the graduate and the undergraduate curricula. Preference will be given to candidates whose scholarly activities complement the long-term direction of the Department, support the mission-oriented research programs of the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station, and are supportive and consistent with the growth of both the graduate and undergraduate programs. Participation in multidisciplinary research programs to address relevant NJ problems and opportunities may be expected. Active engagement in service to the department, university and community is expected.

Anticipated Review of Applicants: Review will begin on December 15, 2009 and continue until a suitable candidate is selected.

Please contact: Search Committee
Department of Landscape Architecture
Blake Hall, 93 Lipman Drive
Rutgers The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901 8524
Phone: 732.932.9317 Fax: 732.932.1940

Rutgers University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer committed to diversity. Women, minorities, and members of under-represented groups are encouraged to apply.

20 August 2009


Storm kills trees in Central Park

The storm that rolled through Tuesday night did more damage to the trees in Central Park than any in the last 30 years, reports the NY Times. Many of the ancient elms on the Great Hill appear to be lost. Adding insult to injury, WNYC points out all that damage came without a relief in the weather: "The swift, brief storms did nothing to reduce the heat and humidity." Stupid storms!

GPS as paintbrush and exercise coach

The NYTimes published a lengthy piece on GPS as a tool for running. I know that if I am ever going to get back into running it is going to take something more than GPS. But the Times talks to an artist who runs in the shape of drawings - he draws with GPS. This isn't a new phenomenon (gpsdrawing.com has been online for years), but the ubiquity of GPS is changing things.

For instance, one runner used it to raise money for charity. And the article points to Arizona researchers fighting childhood obesity with GPS:
As part of a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Agriculture, the researchers plan to use GPS drawing to help fight obesity by luring children into fitness with technology.
But one ne'er-do-well turned Ft McHenry into a big flower.

2010 U rankings

The 2010 US News and World Report rankings are out and Rutgers is listed at #66 (a small drop from 64 in 2009). USNWR says that they added new ways to measure undergraduate teaching. And, for test geeks, they altered their balancing of the SAT and ACT scores.

19 August 2009

Light Blue Line

The Light Blue Line is a community activist project to paint a line across our cities. This line would show the level that sea-level would rise to if the Greenland ice sheet completely melted - 7m of rise. The idea is that seeing this worst case, but predictable, indicator in a city like Santa Barbara or New York City forces the residents to confront the reality of our situation. Or should we be worried that people living at 8m will just lazy?

18 August 2009

Re-Burbia finalists

The Re-Burbia Competition has winnowed the field down 20 finalists. I am as impressed with the diversity as I am with the solutions of the individual entries.

Revisioning Chinatown

Good Magazine has a short article and video showing a participatory exercise in LA led by James Rojas. One of the things that sets it apart is the use of common household objects. Another is the heavy emphasis on the artistic.

(h/t PlaNetizen)

14 August 2009

"Digging in" in Camden

Places and Spaces has written before about great efforts to help Camden as well as some of the complications of trying to improve the city. Now Rutgers has some new efforts geared towards greening North Camden that are getting some attention:
Dean J. Cardasis, a professor at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences in New Brunswick, is launching a graduate program in landscape architecture this fall. With two of his students, seniors Charles Oropollo of Audubon and James Brosius of New Brunswick, he will work with residents and community leaders to develop a blueprint using ornamental plantings, gardens, and stone pathways to unite the now-vacant Camden lots in a common theme.

And we expect more in the coming months. Stay tuned...

Build 'em up

Again with the NJ developers/politicians.

13 August 2009

urbanSHED international design competition

[Note: Edited on 8/17/09]

Here is another design competition announcement:
The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and the New York City Buildings Department are thrilled to announce the launch of urbanSHED, an international design competition that challenges the global design community to rethink the current sidewalk shed standard and create a prototype worthy of today's New York City. Details on this exciting competition are in the press release pasted below, and the website is now live: www.urbanshed.org.

We're trying to spread the word about urbanSHED far and wide into the design blogosphere. We hope to reach possible entrants, and to inform the public about this important urban design and safety issue. We're encouraging multidisciplinary teams, and would love landscape architects to participate in the competition. If you or any of your writers are around New York, please send them by the Center for Architecture!

We'll be kicking off the competition tonight, as NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri formally announces the competition at a joint launch with the Alliance for Downtown New York's Re:Construction 2009 program (Cipriani's, 55 Wall Street, Aug 13 6-8pm, RSVP enemens@aiany.org?subject=urbanSHED> ).

Next Wednesday, August 19 AIANY will have another launch event at the Center for Architecture. Comm. LiMandri, Department of Transportation Comm. Jeanette Sadik-Kahn, and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell will speak at our Not Business As Usual <http://aiany.aiany.org/index.php?section=nbau> series, a free lunch-and-lecture program aimed at addressing the special needs of architects affected by the economic downturn. They will discuss the details of urbanSHED competition, and why reimaging the New York City streetscape during the recession is a great opportunity for designers and the city. It promises to be an informative overview of the competition, and an inspiring discussion of how safety, sustainability and streetscape concerns can be incorporated into the next generation of sidewalk sheds. I sincerely hope you can attend! (Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, Wednesday Aug 19, 12-2pm, RSVP enemens@aiany.org?subject=urbanSHED> ).

Department of Buildings Commissioner LiMandri will announce the
urbanSHED International Design Competition. (The Commissioner's
statement will be made available on the urbanSHED.org website. Questions
about the urbanSHED Competition should be directed to info@urbanSHED.org
and answers will be posted on the urbanSHED.org website. ENYA's biennial
ideas competition officially launches on September 10.) After his
announcement, Rick Bell, Executive Director of AIANY, will give a
presentation about the impetus for this competitions, and designers in
attendance will have the opportunity to meet potential collaborators.

Sorry for the cut and paste, but it seemed like the timely way to handle this.

Stimulus Funds Map

One of my offices is in the district of Congressman Rush Holt. As a Princeton scientist, he has a pretty unusual background for serving in the House, so it is interest to watch his efforts.

His office has created a custom map in Google Maps that shows stimulus projects throughout his district. It is a creative use of grassroots tech by a "high-ranking government official".

12 August 2009

The U.S. Global Change Research Program has released a new report on Global Climate Change Impacts in the US. Maybe you will want to skip right to the specific report on the impacts for the Northeast. But don't miss out on their larger perspective on the Their graphic on insured loss alone illustrates why so many businesses have started paying closer attention.

Or, you can watch the video:

11 August 2009

Changing Midwest

Proximity.com has posted maps of demographic change sweeping across the Midwest from 1940 to the near-present time. You can start to visualize how the Poppers' Buffalo Commons could work out.

Corruption in development

Land use controls and municipal zoning may seem like small issues in a big city, but they are really the meat and potatoes of local politics. If you had any doubt, the recent FBI corruption sting provides new evidence since each of the three arrested mayors are accused of taking bribes linked with allowing development in their cities. The AP ran a lengthy story late last week that highlighted how much of the local planning process, especially along the New Jersey banks of the Hudson, is influenced by the developers themselves. Of course, it isn't that way everywhere, but like steroids in baseball it casts doubt on everyone involved in development and urban planning and urban politics in New Jersey until things gets significantly better.

10 August 2009

Farmland development

In New Jersey, much of the new development in the last few years has been suburban growth on former farmland. Some of that farmland was dosed pretty heavily with chemicals to boost productivity, and the result is that it needs to get cleaned up a bit before developing. But the AP had a story in the Star-Ledger last week pointing out the disasters when neighborhoods find out that no one bothered to test the soils because they didn't have to.

As the article points out, orchards are sometimes thought to be the worst offenders, even though street names like Fruit Farm Road and Apple Grove Lane sound so appealing. But the legal teams are going to have to work out what it means for the homeowners who bought reasonably expensive houses there.

09 August 2009

LInking security and climate

With important implications for GIS, planning and design, the front page of the NY Times acknowledged the significant linkage between climate change and security. It has been around for a while as a notable topic, discussed by scholars but now must be important since it has been featured by the Times.

04 August 2009

NPS Maps video

As part of the Yosemite Nature Notes video series, they have posted a nice little video on maps. It includes interviews with staff, but also outsiders like Ken Burns. After talking about how great maps are and how fun they are to read, they start talking about how to expand the park boundaries. The whole 10 minute conversation may help some readers see how serious maps can become as policy or intellectual representations.

As an aside, the National Park Service appears to be on the verge of having a new director, Jon Jarvis.

An emerging word

Agritainment in the Star-Ledger

in the Economist (who calls them hedge-fun managers)

in Time

03 August 2009

NJASLA 2010 Chapter Awards Program

Mark your calendars now:

NJASLA is issuing the CALL FOR ENTRIES for the 2010 NJASLA CHAPTER
AWARDS PROGRAM. This is an opportunity for Landscape Architects to
proudly exhibit their work and significant accomplishments before their
peers, clients and the general public. Deadline for entries is Friday,
October 23, 2009.

For more information and an entry form, please go to our website
www.njasla.org <http://www.njasla.org/>

Trees as dangers

Trees are great for fun, habitat, shade and air quality, but they are very large dangers in the landscape. Once in a while we get a painful reminder of that. Last week a tree branch fell on a Google engineer in Central Park, leaving him in a coma. Reports emerged later suggesting that he showed early signs of recovery, but I seen anything this week. Keep an eye out for more discussion about what the park should do with/to its trees and watch for notices about the victim's recovery.