30 April 2010

Save the Frogs Day

Today is Save the Frogs DayMichelle Byers says we should focus on places like vernal pools.  CRSSA already has.  Michelle also points out this great factoid:
And did you know that 10 percent of the Nobel prizes awarded in physiology and medicine have resulted from research involving amphibians?

A summer at the Eastern Shore?

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is looking for both a planning and a GIS intern this summer. In fact, all told they have four internships advertised and each could appeal to a different subset of the Places and Spaces readership.
  • Education/Rural Heritage Day Planner
  • Land Steward Intern
  • Planning/Design Education
  • GIS Intern

Here is the description of the GIS internship:
GIS Intern Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is looking for a summer GIS intern to assist our Land Conservation and Planning programs with map production. The successful candidate will help to bridge the gap between agricultural software and surveying software. The position will support ongoing GIS data development in creating and preparing maps using existing data sources as well as creating or obtaining any necessary project data.  The Applicant should be proficient working with and maintaining geodatabases and project folders in a shared network environment. In depth knowledge of ArcGIS 9.2 and general GIS theory is essential, as well as general computer aptitude. The Internship would be partnered with the University of Maryland’s Wye Research and Education Center (WREC). The WREC seeks someone to bridge the gap between their existing agricultural and surveying software. They are trying to build a sub inch map of their research farm using a handheld GPS with RTK correction and need a candidate with precision mapping tools to provide the necessary sub inch accuracy because the surveying side will not let for easy merging of agricultural records. All equipment needed to build an accurate history of the farm to the accuracy is provided but need successful candidate to put it all together to work as a single unit. Housing option available. Please send letter of interest and resumé ASAP to Megan D’arcy, ESLC’s Stewardship Manager, mdarcy@eslc.org.

29 April 2010

DIY air photos

This demonstration project would be great for next year's Ag Field Day. We could take pictures of the crowds and estimate which times of day have the shortest wait for the Thai sate versus the fruit smoothies.

Could SCOTUS weigh in on the Highlands?

Probably not.  The Supreme Court gets many petitions every year and can only hear a few. 

But some farmers in the Highlands have asked the court to consider their plea.  They think that just being able to farm  (or the equivalent) on what sounds like good farmland, is not a sufficient use of the land.  So, when the Highlands prevented them from further development as a measure towards protection of drinking water, that it was an illegal taking.   

Was it a taking?  Only if the court says it was.  Some are balls and some are strikes...

28 April 2010

School budget maps

The recent controversial round of budget votes in New Jersey have been noted with ample coverage of how over 50% of the state's districts voted down their proposed budgets.  Maybe I missed it, but I've heard much less about where it happened.  After poking around I found the results, district by district, on the NJ Department of Education website.  Mapping them was a bit tricky because some places are in more than one district - maybe one for grammar schools and another for high schools.  We didn't have to worry about the VoTech districts, which have also complicated some other mapping projects, because they weren't on the election results list.

Here is a quick map made from the data.  Whenever there was a large district that contained (or overlapped) several smaller districts, I dropped the larger in favor of the smaller - that gave us more results to look at.  But if you like the larger districts (like Lenape Regional), you might want to hit the DoE site for the details.

It looks like a fair number of the middle suburbs (Mendham, Chatham, West Windsor) passed while outer suburbs (Hillsborough, Jefferson, and Rockaway) and rural towns generally rejected the budgets. 

That first map treated a town that passed by one vote (Tewksbury) the same as a town that passed by hundreds.  The next one looks instead at strength of passage, comparing the Yes/No votes as a ratio.  Strength of passage didn't have as obvious a spatial pattern; no bands of strength or weakness seemed obvious.  Hammonton passed it strongly while its next door neighbor, Washington rejected it very strongly (5448-659).  It is interesting to see how
But it looks like size might matter.  Districts whose jurisdiction are less than 5 sq mi tended to pass the budgets while larger districts didn't.  So maybe, in this case, size really matters.  Is it possible that in a smaller town people are more familiar with the school?  Or that in larger towns budgets include some noticeable bureaucratic inefficiencies? 

The other measure of size that might matter is the actual population (or combine them and look at density).  Here at the end of the semester it is hard to squeeze in anything extra, but if I can I hope to try to match up some populations numbers with the districts.  It would be interesting to see if there is a similar trend.  All apologies to our friends in political science, but sometimes it can be hard to let data rest unmapped.

27 April 2010

The 2010 Margaret Cekada Memorial Lecture

The 2010 Margaret Cekada Memorial Lecture
Shane Coen, Coen + Partners
2010 Cekada Memorial Lecture

Thursday, April 29th at 6:30
Cook Student Center

2009 ASLA Design Awards:

    URISA Competition deadline this weekend

    URISA is the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association and has been around longer than almost any other GIS organization. The deadline date for submissions to the 2010 URISA Student Competition is May 1! There are three categories for the competition:

    PAPERS - Students, particularly graduate students, are invited to submit a paper for a special section of the URISA Journal. The papers will undergo a review process under the direction of the Publications Committee, augmented by the Editor of the URISA Journal.

    PRESENTATIONS - Undergraduate students are invited to submit presentations (Powerpoint with narrative). The presentations will undergo a review process under the direction of the URISA Publications Committee.

    POSTERS - Community college and GIS Certificate students are invited to submit posters. The posters will undergo a review process under the direction of the Publications Committee, augmented by community college instructors. (This category is co-sponsored by the National GeoTech Center.)

    Details and submission guidelines are available online.

    Susan Szenasy notes

    Last night's lecture included references to:
    Civil Twilight
    A Necessary Ruin
    Dan Albert's Vertical Farming Eco-Laboratory which will
    be shown at Cooper-Hewitt's 2010 Triennial
    Bruce Goff
    Virginia San Fratello's Hydro Wall
    And, of course, Buckminster Fuller

    She challenged the students to also think about "When 79 million boomers don't want to drive anymore, where are they going to move?"

    26 April 2010

    Special Monday night lecture


    How tech-savvy, environmentally-conscious, community-oriented designers--the Next Generation--are changing the ways and means of our built environment at every scale.
    Susan S. Szenasy is Editor in Chief of METROPOLIS, the award-winning New York City-based magazine of architecture and design. Since 1986 she has lead the magazine through decades of landmark design journalism, achieving domestic and international recognition. She is internationally recognized as
    an authority on sustainability and design.
    Susan sits on the boards of the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, Fashion Institute of Technology's Interior Design department, the Center for Architecture Advisory Board, and the Landscape Architecture Foundation. She has been honored with two IIDA Presidential Commendations, is an honorary member of the ASLA, and the 2008 recipient of the ASID Patron's Prize and Presidential Commendation as well as the SARA/NY medallion of honor. She has received a citation and an honorary membership from NYC AIA. Along with METROPOLIS Publisher Horace Havemeyer III, Susan was a 2007 recipient of the Civitas August Heckscher Award for Community Service and Excellence. Susan holds an MA in Modern European History from Rutgers University, and honorary doctorates from Kendall College of Art and Design, the Art Center College of Design, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She lives in New York's East Village in a small loft designed by Harry Allen, where she moved after 9/11 to reduce her ecological footprint. 


    California's Census

    PlaNetizen explains that it could be +/- about 1.5 million.

    25 April 2010

    When the tests are over...

    46th semi-annual NEW JERSEY COLLEGIATE CAREER DAY:  Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 9:30 - 3:30, RSC & Brower Commons. 150 employers with full-time jobs and internships. Open to the public - bring friends and family members. STUDENT PARKING at the RAC, with buses running continuously. Details, resume submittal, parking instructions, and a list of employers at http://careerservices.rutgers.edu beginning May 1.

    Email njccd@careers.rutgers.edu with questions.

    23 April 2010

    New New York

    The Manhattan hike saw more than just old structures, we managed to see some pretty new stuff too.  Although new is relative, isn't it?

    • Behind the Port Authority.
    • The Irish Famine Memorial
    • The High Line goes underneath one of the neighborhood buildings
    • Battery Park City
    • A new subway station
    • Teardrop Park
    • The Rolling Bench at Grant's Tomb by Pedro Silva and Phillip Danzig are starting to get pretty old.
    • An Olin bench at the new Columbus Circle

    22 April 2010

    Interactive maps of preserved lands

    A new feature from the Land Conservancy of New Jersey shows an interactive map of lands they've helped preserve in North Jersey.  A great new feature on Earth Day.

    Old New York

    Along the way on the Manhattan hike we saw some some wonderful pieces of the old New York, like this bridge in Fort Tryon Park, the Cloisters, Sylvan Terrace, Grant's Tomb and Penn Station.  Everything old is new again.

    Happy Earth Day!

    19 April 2010

    Chris Hellwig

    We are very sad to report the death of Chris Hellwig (RU LA '98).  I knew him only a little as a student, but came to know him more as a practitioner and alum.  His obit is quite accurate in reporting how positive he remained despite a daunting prognosis and his accomplishments speak for themselves.  A real model of living your life despite adversity.

    Portland is weird, or is it?

    The Economist asks "Is Oregon’s metropolis a leader among American cities or just strange?"

    Old Penn meets New Penn

    The other day my class took a brief look at Penn Central v New York City.  I mentioned that the City didn't want to lose Grand Central the way that they had already lost Penn Station.  And then I snapped this photo to show how they remind visitors of the glory days every time they wait for their train.

    18 April 2010

    Manhattan Hike

    Well, another year's Tip-to-tip Hike of Manahattan has come and gone. We 17.7 miles (plus a bit more to get back to the train) mostly along the West side of the island. This map approximates the route:

    I'll try to post some different photos from the trip over the next few days.

    Sylvan Terrace

    As part of the Manhattan Hike, we walked through the quite unique block of houses up in Washington Heights called Sylvan Terrace.It just seems to appear out of nowhere, just when we are getting som momentum and slows us down to a snails pace.

    I wondered what it would cost to buy one and found out from DWELL that we just missed our chance at one for under $900,000.

    17 April 2010

    Lent Space

    On our Manahattan hike today (more photos later) we had the pleasant surprise of stumbling into a 0.5 acre temporary installation by Interboro Architects called Lent Space.  (You may remember a great RU visit a few years ago by principal, Georgeen Theodore)


    It isn't very far from the HighLine so you might swing by after walking the line.

    15 April 2010

    3 Landscapes: RU Alums

    Brian Clemson RULA'87
    • Central Park
    • Denali and other preserved landscapes of Alaska
    • High Line

    Ilonka Angelet RULA'73
    • Blue Ridge Parkway
    • Historic Waterfront in Charleston
    • Biltmore Estate

    13 April 2010

    Free trip to Geneva

    The US Mission in Geneva is looking for a few landscape architecture students to spend some time in Geneva improving their presence in the city.  Think you have what it takes?  Apply for the internship at the ASLA website.

    12 April 2010

    New Reading for 231

    As we get into some discussion of taking law, you should read Andrew Rice's recent piece in the Times Sunday Magazine called "Property Lines - A Stake in the Sand." Rice takes a closer look at the conflict between the state and homeowners who oppose beach nourishment.  If the state brings in sand to rebuild the eroded beach, it will create a public beach that the public could use and potentially diminish the value of these homes.  Is that the government's concern?  We'll see. The Supreme Court will issue a decision, Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, early this summer.

    10 April 2010

    Habitat job

    Some of our former Environmental Planning and Landscape Architecture students might find this to be a particularly interesting position.The Connecticut Fund for the Environment has an opening for the position of Director of Habitat Restoration. The closing date for this position is April 19. The job announcement can be viewed online.

    07 April 2010

    Urban farming on the rise

    PlaNetizen links to yet another urban farming story.  So, is this just a recession-based fad spinning off of Michael Pollan books, or is this really going to last?  Unlike more sophisticated responses, like CSAs which require momentum, you can start and stop many of these examples very quickly.

    06 April 2010

    It isn't too late for Italy!

    Experience the cultural landscapes unique to Italy as you take in the sights, sounds
    and tastes of Piedmont and Tuscany with Ari Novy


    Deadline is April 15

    05 April 2010

    Digital Praxis Evolution in the Landscape Studio

    Department of Landscape Architecture | Spring 2010 Lecture Series
    Wednesday, April 7, 3:55 in Cook Douglass Lecture Hall, Room 110

    Scott Carman; Landscape Architect, Principal c2/ studio Landscape Architect; Lecturer, RISD
    Digital Praxis Evolution in the Landscape Studio

    Historically tentative to incorporate new technology into practice, many landscape architecture firms still struggle with defining the role of computer technology and digital media in their work.  Frequently, it has come only as a reactionary and necessary response to the changing demands of interdisciplinary collaborations.  The resulting pervasive compartmentalization of specific functions as 'digital' impedes the greater integrative potential that the technology offers.  Citing examples from his experiences in academia and private practice, Scott Carman traces shifting patterns of engagement with technology and discusses the fertile transformational possibilities that are now emerging.

    Panel on architecture, urbanism and sustainability

    Global Initiatives
    Ecologies in the Balance? Thinking Through The Crises....

    Presentation and Panel Discussion

    Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 4:30 PM
    Alexander Library, Teleconference/Lecture Hall, 4th Floor, CAC

    Event Speakers include:

    Robert W. Lake, Professor, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University
    "Welcome and Introduction"

    Jeffrey Holmes, Principal Architect, Woods Bagot, New York, NY
    The Plight of the Object: Sustainable Design in an Age of Economic Crisis
    How does the current economic crisis affect our built environment? This presentation examines three major themes addressing this question: the decline of overly self-referential, "goofy" architecture; suburban retrenchment due to decreased mobility and misplaced federal stimulus; and the growing imperative for more intelligent, higher density growth to sustain a livable planet. These themes are explored through architectural, suburban and urban examples.

    Leo E. Argiris, Principal, Arup Group, New York, NY
    Towards a Sustainable Infrastructure
    A holistic approach to sustainable development requires us to consider impacts at a number of scales. Much consideration is being given to the energy performance of our existing building stock and the construction of low energy buildings. Equally important in the sustainability puzzle is consideration of the impact of our infrastructure systems. Our transportation networks, resource networks and our planning at the city and region scale have much to contribute towards a more sustainable future. This talk will look at some large scale infrastructure projects and their impact on the sustainability of the neighborhoods they serve.

    Jennifer A. Senick, Executive Director, Rutgers Center for Green Building
    Behaviorally Robust Green Design
    Architectural design is based on assumptions about how a building and its systems will be used. Sometimes those assumptions do not match actual practice. Buildings may fail to perform as planned because operators do not—or cannot—operate the buildings as intended or because occupants sometimes behave differently than designers expect. Post-occupancy evaluation (POE) is the practice of studying a building after it has been occupied to see if the building is meeting its performance objectives, which may be environmental, financial, and social. POE provides valuable feedback on a building's usability and human effects that, in turn, can lead to more behaviorally robust green design. This talk will share examples of the POE work being conducted by the Rutgers Center for Green Building.

    Directions to Alexander Library are available at http://maps.rutgers.edu/directions.aspx?id=17
    For more information, please visit http://ecologies.rutgers.edu/

    Event sponsored by:
    * the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
    * the Office of Undergraduate Education
    * the SAS-Office of International Programs
    * Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

    02 April 2010

    Cool class: Research in the Disciplines

    I know that to many of our students taking that last writing class doesn't always sound so fun, but one of options is Research in the Disciplines which relies on themed sections.  This allows you to shop through some practical and helpful section titles including:
    • Visual Culture
    • The City: Urban Myths and Dreams
    • The Environment
    • Food Feast and Famine
    In each case you get to develop your writing skills, hone your professional vocabulary and focus some thinking about a topic that might be on your mind for much of the next few decades.

    Or you could try something more fun like: The Civil War, Muder and Mayhem, and College!

    Make the most of your 128 credits.

    01 April 2010

    April foolishness

    Google is having some fun with an April Fools' Day story about changing their name to Topeka. (Don't miss the AltaVIsta reference in their proper usage graphic)  Starbucks has announced new sizes for drinks.  And the Las Vegas Sun has s funny piece claiming that 40% of Vegas residents want to leave. Actually, on 2nd read through, I am pretty sure that the Vegas piece isn't a joke.