30 November 2010

Student project in the news

The Voorhees Sun reports that people are anticipating something special from our students' and CUES' efforts to transform the Buzby Landfill into the the Voorhees Environmental Park.

Laurelwood Arboretum

An open space grant is going to help get Wayne's Laurelwood Arboretum cleaned up and expanded in ways that should help get it back on the map.  Now I just have to remember to put it on the map.

29 November 2010

LA Fall Lecture Series presents Ray Mims
Applying the SITES rating System: Lessons from Pilot Projects

Wednesday, 12/1 at 4:00 pm
Cook/Douglas Lecture Hall
New Brunswick, NJ

Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is in the midst of becoming a functioning rating sy stem and is now receiving feedback from real projects. SITES, an interdisciplinary effort that has created national guidelines and a rating system encourages integrated, systems-based approaches to sustainable landscape” design, construction and maintenance. SITES will work at all landscape scales, with or without buildings. The goal is renew and restore places and move from conservation to regeneration through landscapes that mimic natural systems. SITES should also be used to “restore degraded ecosystem services” found in brownfields and greyfields, creating new economic value in the process.

Ray Mims has been the United States Botanic Garden staff member working on the development of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) since 2006, participating in both the SITES steering Committee as well as the Vegetat ion Technical Committee. At the United States Botanic Garden, Ray oversees the ongoing development and implementation of sustainability efforts, conservation partnerships, and threatened plant collections at the United States Botanic Garden. Prior to joining USBG, Ray served as the Director of Horticulture at Denver Botanic Gardens, Director of Horticulture and Grounds at the Washington National Cathedral, and Horticulturist at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

For more information please visit:


28 November 2010

African plants

Rutgers Program in History of Science, Technology, Environment and Health

Judith Carney (Geography, UCLA)
Fri 3 December, 11.30am

"Seeds of Memory: Africa's Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World"

This talk examines the ways that African food and animal species circulated in the tropical Atlantic world between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Emphasis is on their role in the transatlantic slave trade, the means by which they arrived in the New World, and the sites where they were established in plantation societies. An examination of the African components of the Columbian Exchange draws attention to the significance of subsistence and the agency of enslaved Africans in instigating the cultivation of longstanding dietary preference

Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis
88 College Avenue, New Brunswick

24 November 2010

Bike sharing

WNYC reports that New York is looking to get a bike share program started by 2012.  These seem to work well in places like Barcelona and Minneapolis, so it may be a surprise that it is taking this long for NY to sign on.  Until you read about the opposition to bike lanes in the City.  Then again, maybe NYC got interested only when Boston announced they were doing it too.

You can see from the map below that Minneapolis has lots of stations. That's part of what makes it work.

Wireless and trees

Could wi-fi and wireless phones really be killing the trees?

23 November 2010

Tree vs. train

A 10-story redwood tree (named El Palo Alto)  at Stanford U is blocking a new high-speed rail line.  It is the tree that their mascot emulates.  What will they do?

22 November 2010

Princeton Junction hearing

If you are under the impression that no work gets done, then you'll find West Windsor an instructive lesson tonight. The Princeton Packet reports that the Town Council will be making a big decision about one of the properties on its "Main Street" at Princeton Junction station.  While it will bring in new revenue, some are questioning the current design.

20 November 2010

Don't forget that DIRT's Julie Bargmann is speaking at Princeton Monday night November 29th.  They've also posted an impressive Spring Schedule with Bruno Latour, Elizabeth Diller, Jeff Koons, and Thom Mayne.

19 November 2010

Digital Map of NYC

Government Technology has a feature on NYC's digital map.  While the tool has been around a while, I hadn't realized how many different features had been added., especially the historic aerial photographs.

18 November 2010

Cool class for everyone: Architectural Design

In the past our architectural design class/studio has only been open to juniors and seniors in the Landscape Architecture program. but this year we are opening it up with no pre-reqs.

Architectural Design Spring 2011 (3) Credits

Joseph M Hyland daedalten@aol.com
Timothy G Weiler tgweiler@embarqmail.com


The course is an introduction to the fundamentals of architectural design and its practice. The course is both a lecture and a studio and lecture topics will coincide with studio projects. The student will learn a working methodology: an understanding of designing built space, an awareness of how to read/interpret architecture through analysis: an understanding of architectural elements, site, history, materials (wood, concrete, glass, steel) and building programs: an understanding of the language of architecture, plan, section and elevation: a knowledge of architects; and the student will be introduced to the LEED process for building.

Studio projects will be both abstract and pragmatic and will last in duration from one to four weeks. Project assignments will increase in complexity over the course of the semester. The projects will be presented in models and drawings; you will design with pens and pencils as well as the computer. The final project will be the design of a building based on the student’s own design methodology.

There will be two or three field trips during class time to visit projects or exhibits. Architectural juries will be brought in to evaluate and critique some of the assigned studio projects.

There are suggested text but none are required and there will be the occasional assigned readings.

The course is open to all students, there are no required prerequisites.

The emphasis will be to have each student formulate a rational design approach to architecture. The course is both a lecture and a studio. Lecture topics will include theories of both the modern and contemporary architectural movements and examples of the buildings. Lectures on sustainability, building technologies, materials and the profession of architecture will also be covered. Studio projects will be both abstract and pragmatic and will last induration from one to four weeks. Format will be models and drawings; you will draw with pens and pencils as well as the computer.

Did you know...

Wikipedia appears to have an entry on Impervious Surface but not Pervious Surface.

Race and transit in Chicago

The Next American City has a somewhat provocative look at the differences between racial patterns on transit vs. in Chicago neighborhoods by Yonah Freemark.  Make sure you read a few of the comments.

17 November 2010

Live Blog: Seiko Goto

Designing Gardens for the Healing Mind
Seiko Goto

This post-sabbatical report comes in three acts.  As usual, liveblogging is sloppy, incomplete and inaccurate.
1) Historic research
 (will be in a film with NHK for Japanese next August and then translated into English and brought to US)

WWII Japanese Interment camps
These controversial facilities were located in inaccessible locations with poor living conditions. 
Photos by Ansel Adams only tell part of the story.
The camp was so large that it had 24 dining halls.
Today it is a NPS National Historic Site.

Gardens were one of the key tools for helping the interred make the experience less painful.

David recommends Kenny Helphand's Defiant Gardens

2) Garden Projects
What if the residents of a senior community had an indoor garden in the winter?
Differnet courtyards were identified (some designed by professionals, some note so much), and then residents were asked to visit each - once in the winter and once in the summer - and review their preferences.
Associations with plants from their childhood were important.
The Japanese garden was the most preferred and the herb garden (professionaly designed) was least preferred.  Comments about the herb garden suggested a problem with the ephemeral nature of herbaceous plants.
At a nearby school, she found that primary school kids also preferred Japanese garden designs.

As an alternative to prefernece surveys, she used synthetic and para-synthetic EKG to monitor patient responses to gardens.  Japanese gardens were found to e better, but the lack of trees in herb gardens might have just made them too hot.
Finally, Alzheimer's patients were studied.  EKG, heart rate, medical report and video tape were used to document responses.  Patients started inside and then moved outside.  They heard crickets, and when they went away, noticed that they were missing.  Since these patients' memories aren't supposed to endure that long, it was a notable finding.  Something is linking memory and gardens.

3) Japanese Garden Workshop
Mark R reported on a small group trip to Kyoto where the students got to do hands-on maintenance with a master japanese gardener.
"If a carp can become a dragon, what can you do?"

One more for EDA

New Brunswick, NJ

Clickers are growing in use

The NY Times takes a brief look at the growth of hand-held student response devices.  While I don't use them in my classes, I have to admit that I enjoy seeing the responses when used during my guest lectures in EDA.  Alas, as a quick tech piece, the author doesn't get to dig in very deep into the effectiveness of these tools. 

What do think? Big brother?  Big pain?  Or Classroom 2.0?

16 November 2010

EDA notes

Some random notes from today's EDA lecture:

Hope you enjoyed it.

Designing Gardens for Healing the Mind

LA Fall Lecture Series presents Seiko Goto

Wednesday, 11/17 at 4:00 pm,
Cook/Douglas Lecture Hall;
3 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ

Designing Gardens for Healing the Mind

Dr. Seiko Goto is Assistant Professor at our department. This presentation is a summary of studies conducted during her sabbatical leave in 2009.

1. Study of Japanese gardens in North America

2. Study of healing effects of Japanese gardens.

In the first part, she will introduce her recent study on Japanese gardens in Manzanar internment camp built by internees during WWII. In the second part, Dr. Goto will introduce four pilot studies on healing effects of Japanese garden. Although each study was a short term in duration and small in sample size, the results showed strong tendencies to say that population suffering from Alzheimer disease could get positive effects from viewing a Japanese garden. Horticulture therapy was developed in the rehabilitative care of hospitalized war veterans because the therapeutic benefits of the gardening have been valued in the US. The main purpose of such a program is to encourage patients to get involved in hands on gardening activities. However, benefits of gardens come not only from gardening but also from viewing. This presentation will give a glimpse that Japanese gardens could help emotional and cognitive improvement of viewers.

15 November 2010

Rutgers water movie/s

This week there is a screening of a wonderful older film starring one of Rutgers' more notbale faculty, Michael Rockland from American Studies:

Members of the Rutgers community and the general public are invited to a screening and discussion of "Three Days on Big City Waters" on Thursday November 18th. The film chronicles a canoe trip from Princeton, New Jersey to New York City taken in fall 1973 by Michael Rockland and Charles Woolfolk of Rutgers University. The film starts at 8:00 pm in the Teleconference Lecture Hall, on the 4th floor of Alexander Library in New Brunswick. A discussion of the film will be led by Professor Michael Rockland.

Michael Aaron Rockland is professor of American Studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of twelve books, three of which have received special recognition. His first book, Sarmiento's Travels in the United States in 1847 (Princeton), was chosen by The Washington Post's Book World as one of the "Fifty Best Books of the Year." His latest books are Stones, a novel (Hansen Publishing Group) and The George Washington Bridge: Poetry in Steel (Rutgers). Rockland has won five major teaching/lecturing awards, including the National Teaching Award in American Studies. He has lectured in some twenty-one countries around the world. A regular contributor to New Jersey Monthly magazine, he has also worked in television and film production, mostly for P.B.S. He is regularly interviewed on N.P.R.

This event is cosponsored by the Rutgers University Libraries, the Byrne First-Year Seminars, and the Ecologies in the Balance? The Way Forward program series, as part of their Water, River, Raritan Film Series. Other film screenings/discussions planned in this series are:

* Thursday March 24, 2011 - "Rivers of Destiny"
Discussion led by Geography Department Professor Trevor Birkenholtz
in the Teleconference Lecture Hall, 4th floor, Alexander Library
* Wednesday April 13, 2011 - "Atlantic Crossing"
Discussion led by Rick Ludescher, Dean, Cook Campus
in the Cook Campus Center

Both films start at 8:00 pm.

For more information on the November 18th film screening/discussion of "Three Days on Big City Waters" or on the Water, River, Raritan film series, please contact Kayo Denda at kdenda@rci.rutgers.edu.

Eating up the Pinelands

The southern pine beetle has chewed its way through 14,000 acres of the Pinelands this year.  The Star-Ledger reports that this is easily the worst year ever. (While this link will go stale fast, you can see that it was front page news).

12 November 2010

Cool Class: Writing about Architecture, Design and Public Space

Rutgers' writing program offers a class called 355:201 Research in the Disciplines.  Doesn't sound entirely compelling?  Each section studies a different topic.  The section of interest to many of our student readers this spring will be Section B2 -  Architecture, Design, and Public Space.   (MW 1:10-2:30PM)  It gives you a chance to explore the field while enhancing your design vocabulary and improving your ability to communicate design processes and products.

The class counts towards the SEBS Oral and Written requirement.

11 November 2010

Veterans Day

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we remember those who've served. These photos are from the recent Fall Field Trip to DC in which we studied the WWI, Vietnam and Korean Memorials.


A massive vision for Manhattan

Paul Rudolph's plan for a Manhattan Megastructure would have destroyed so much of what is New York today. So it will be fascinating to visit the current exhibit at Cooper Union until Nov 20 to see whether you look past the Moses-style destruction of Lower Manhattan and still find value in the somewhat playful vision of Rudolph. Or maybe you think this is as brutal as his brutalist architecture.

10 November 2010


While watching videos can be easier than digging through a dense text, they do take time. Sometimes they accumulate past their time of usefulness. So, here are some videos I hope to watch soon.

Ellen Dunham-Jones gave a TedTalk (in Atlanta of all places) in which she talk about the challenge of the next 50 years: retrofitting suburbia.

Another is Duany's address to CNU 18 in which he argues that New Urbanists need to learn from landscape urbanism.

Blogging the dark side of the Garden State

Wolfram Hoefer, this afternoon's speaker, has co-authored part of a recent blog post on the Dodge Foundation's Blog

09 November 2010

Another GIS Day announcement

From our friends at BCC:

TOMORROW: GIS Day at Burlington County College in Mount Laurel, NJ
Wednesday, November 10th 9-4:30
The event is FREE (including Breakfast and Lunch)
Registration is requested but walk-ins will be accepted.
Register at www.co.burlington.nj.us\dit

Didn't register? You can still attend!
Registration closes at 2 PM, today, November 9th, but walk-ins will also be accepted.

This event should have something for everyone; from applications for GPS, crime mapping, transportation and climate change to advanced topics such as the Cloud and how it relates to GIS, plus interactive GPS and GIS workshops.

9-12 Speakers
12-1 Lunch
1-2:15 GPS Activity
2:30-4:30 GIS Lab
Please see the attached flyers for a detailed agenda and directions.

Be a part of GIS Day! --

*** Display your map in the map gallery! ***
In addition to the speakers and workshops, a map gallery will be on display all day. All entries will be accepted from beginner to advanced.

It's easy to enter - Just send your map to Merrilee Torres either as hardcopy (to the mailing address below) or as a PDF or JPEG (to the email address below). Please include your name, organization and a brief abstract about your map (optional). This is a chance to show your work - Maps that show how GIS or GPS was used to answer a question, make a decision or make someone's work easier are especially of interest!

Please send your map by the morning of Tuesday, November 9th or bring it with you on the 10th. All maps submitted for GIS Day will also be included in the Burlington County Map Gallery and Contest the following week (see attachments for details).

Moving maps

GIS isn't always static. Since we are interested in dynamic processes, our maps have to keep up. A great example is David La Puma's Woodcreeper blog which often includes animated radar maps showing overnight bird migrations (see below). It is a busy time of year right now for this former CRSSA inhabitant.

08 November 2010

Designing Across Opportunities for Transdisciplinary Design in a Post-Industrial Situation

LA Fall Lecture Series presents Wolfram Hoefer

Wednesday, 11/10 at 4:00 pm,
Cook/Douglas Lecture Hall;
3 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ

Designing Across Opportunities for Transdisciplinary Design in a Post-Industrial Situation
The discipline of landscape architecture can be a potentially leading force in successfully re-integrating brownfields into the urban pattern, both functionally and aesthetically.  In order for landscape architecture to play this pivotal role in brownfield remediation, it is important to recognize the need for two levels of interdisciplinarity.  On a first level, the field integrates broad aspects of arts, humanities, and sciences.  On a second, site-specific level, landscape architects need to collaborate with professional ecologists, engineers, planners and architects. 
Using the example of the on-going research project Hackensack Water Works at Oradell Cultural Landscape Study, Park Design and Public Outreach Proposal, the presentation will examine how this “double interdisciplinarity” provides an opportunity to take leadership in brownfield remediation if the profession develops appropriate ways to address the difficulties that accompany such a situation.

Dr. Wolfram Hoefer joined  the Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers, the State Universiy of New Jersey as an Assistant Professor in 2006. In 1992 he earned a Diploma in Landscape Architecture from the Technische Universität Berlin and received a doctoral degree from Technische Universtät München in 2000. He is a licensed landscape architect in the State of Bavaria, Germany.
His research and teaching focus is the cultural interpretation of brownfields as potential elements of the public realm. Further he is investigating the different cultural interpretations of landscapes by the general public in North America and Europe and how they have an effect on professional approaches towards planning and design solutions for adaptive re-use of brownfields.

05 November 2010

Cool class: Material Tectonics

Spring 2011
3 Credits
Brian Osborn

This course is an investigation into methods of construction and craft within the environmental design fields and leading to the design and build of a full scale intervention. Weekly readings will outline a contemporary theory of tectonics from the modern 1 to the digital 2. Regular seminar lectures and discussions will provide a foundation for the development of a group design project. Designs will be tested at real scale through iterative prototyping and material testing. Students will address the real consequences of material selection, in terms of their sustainability, through a term research project.

What will they build?

04 November 2010


10 months after the earthquake, many have forgotten Haiti.  To help us be more mindful of that The Big Picture has some amazing photographs of what life is like there now.  But as you see the cities of tents, read today's news that they are bracing for what might be Hurricane Tomas by the time it gets to them.  There is lots that designers could be doing to improve situations in places like these and we've been hearing more and more about it this semester from people like Werthmann and Jelacic.  Add in a current hurricane-prone project in St Croix and a recent look at the coastal zones in Cape May, and it is increasingly clear that there is a call to answer.

03 November 2010

Cool class: Restorative and Empowering Gardens

Restorative and Empowering Gardens
LA 11:550:438(sec 1) “Special Problems in Landscape Architecture”
Spring 2011
Professors Seiko Goto and Laura Lawson
Location: TBD
Wednesday and Friday 10:55 – 12:15

Course Description
This course engages students to explore the complex relationships between people and the environment by focusing on two affective responses: restoration and empowerment. Through readings, discussion, lectures, and student work, seminar participants will examine different places that evoke these responses either intentionally or unintentionally. Students will be encouraged to explore new opportunities to enhance this role of nature in urban spaces, as well as challenged to consider other affective responses and/or places such responses would be inhibited.

The course is divided into two sections. The first section will focus on historic and contemporary examples of gardens that are used for restoration of minds and study their cultural and historical backgrounds that determined their design. The second half of the course will focus on landscapes that have played a role in empowering people toward greater self-actualization in themselves, their communities, and society. The two sections will be taught independently.

The class is open to students of all majors.

01 November 2010

Fall 2010 Environmental Geomatics Lecture

Erle Ellis, Director of the Anthropogenic Landscape Ecology Lab at the
University of Maryland, will be speaking on Wednesday, November 3 at 4pm at
Trayes Hall, 100 George Street in the Douglass Campus Center.

Dr. Ellis maps the human footprint,  a global map of human activity --human
systems with natural systems embedded into them.  Anthromes are biomes that
include this human activity, including farming, forestry, villages, and

Mount Holly's Gardens

Mount Holly has been demolishing a 1950s housing area called The Gardens. There have been plenty of news stories about it over the years, but they've generally been small and ignored.  Places and Spaces wrote about it 2 years ago.

Last week Bill Potter posted an opinion column describing how egregious he considered the latest chapter. Bill Wolfe responded with a comment on Places and Spaces as well as his own recent photos of the Gardens, which he pointed out looked a little like some parts of post-Katrina NOLA.

When we talk about policy solutions to planning problems through tools like eminent domain and COAH, the conversations (whether for or against) are often fairly abstract using numbers and zones and units to describe the policy instead of focusing on the lives of the individuals.  Last year a video was made showing the toll that the process is having on the residents.  It is touching and very personal: