31 August 2011

Coming like a freight train

Here comes the Fall semester. And here are some key dates to remember:

First Day of classes - Sept 1
On Thurs Sept 8 we'll hold Mon Classes
Last day to drop without a W grade – Sept. 9
Last Day to Add a Class – Sept. 12
Last Day to Drop with a W grade - Oct. 26
On-line schedule available for students - October 24
Registration begins November 6
On Mon Nov 21 we'll hold Wed Classes
Last Day for complete withdrawal from school – Nov. 23.
Last Day of classes - Dec 13
Final Exams - Dec 16-23

30 August 2011


A critical faculty is a terrible thing. When I was eleven there were no bad films, just films that I didn’t want to see, there was no bad food, just Brussels sprouts and cabbage, and there were no bad books - everything I read was great. Then suddenly, I woke up in the morning and all that had changed. How could my sister not hear that David Cassidy was not in the same class as Black Sabbath? Why on earth would my English teacher think that The History of Mr Polly was better than Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie? And from that moment on, enjoyment has been a much more elusive quality.

- Nick Hornby
Fever Pitch

Why do we need more walkable streets and trails?

Families are spending more and more of their income on transportation.

29 August 2011

Fighting against real deserts

People who live in deserts have been making a slow change towards xeriscaping or other approaches to drought tolerant, limited native plantings.  But places like Austin, Texas, where a change in climate is affecting their entire landscape, have rather suddenly found themselves in this situation and are getting help in adjusting from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  Outstanding slideshow.

Fighitng against food deserts

Michelle Obama has worked with the USDA getting some food chains to commit to opening grocery stores in areas currently identified as food deserts.  But this partnership is also being greeted with some criticism because of the chains that were included.

26 August 2011

What does a good urban place look like?

Chuck Wolfe posted photos from Italy that he thought captured
the answer to that question. But does his Italian answer translate to the urban Northeast?

Mapping out Hurricane Irene

ESRI has created an online map of storm data as well as a list of links to other resources to help you track Hurricane Irene in all of its gory details.  StormPulse has its own online app that is pretty amazing.  Here in New Jersey you'll want to watch the online river gages, like this one at Keansburg, especially to see if they stay online:

Stay dry.

Working at the water's edge

One of the challenges for envisioning better pedestrian and bike linkages in the Raritan Basin is to make meaningful linkages with the Raritan River and other key waters in our area. So it if informative to peek at solutions that others have tried on bodies of water that admittedly behave differently and feel differently too.

Canadian Landscape Architect Claude Cormier has some urban waterfront projects that are different than what we see around here: Quai de l'Horloge and Sugar Beach.

And while Washington DC's new National Harbor project may be a bit cheesy, it includes some basic ingredients to consider.

25 August 2011

Trails near New Brunswick and beyond

Keep Middlesex Moving has created an online map built on Google Maps that includes an impressive array of bike paths. While I question a few, you can see a clear effort to capture the paved bike paths within parks. It isn't clear where they got them, but these bike paths (which extend far beyond NJ) seem similar to those on the android version of Google Maps.

If you zoom out, do you notice that our area almost seems bare compared to other parts of the state?

Storm surge tool

New Jersey could use this tool this weekend.

23 August 2011

Garden State Greeways

Sometimes it feels like New Jersey is so built out that trail connections are either improbable or impossible.  But the NJ Conservation Foundation teamed up with the NJ Green Acres program and CRSSA to create a statewide map that combines existing trails with potential future greenways in an interactive map called the Garden State Greenways

22 August 2011

As governments fall...

With the changing political winds in Libya, Google Maps has changed the name of Tripoli's central public space from Green Square to Martyr's Square.  That is as close as you get to the official recognition of change today.  Or so it seems.

21 August 2011

Was that really there?

In 1880, this aero-perspective representation of New Brunswick was drawn, with incredible detail of buildings and features that still holds up today (Click on the image to see more detail). But an interesting twist is the promenade on the Highland Park side of the Raritan. There is no ruins or remnants today that would indicate that this really existed. And I've never seen a photo. But it would serve as a much needed connection for 2 county parks if it hadn't been developed. 

How many pedestrian linkages have we lost over the years?

18 August 2011

Mapping the London Riots and rioters

Much of the recent rioting in London appears to have occurred in large cluster with a couple of outlying occurrences, not a terribly spatially complex problem.  While I am sure the police needed maps of these, it didn't seem like it would make a compelling interactive map.  But someone at The Guardian added in points for the home addresses of "suspects" in the riots.  And then they overlaid all of that on a layer they called Indices of Multiple deprivation.  That turns out to be compelling.  And if you zoom out you can compare the pattern in London with the patterns in other areas like Liverpool or Manchester.

(H/T Amann) 

Parks quote

Parks are volatile places.  They tend to run to extremes of popularity and unpopularity.  Their behavior is far from simple.  They can be delightful features of city districts, and economic assets to their surroundings as well, but pitifully few are.  They can grow more beloved and valuable with the years, but pitifully few show this staying power.  Foe every Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, or Rockefeller Plaza or Washington Square in New York, or Boston Common, or their loved equivalents in other cities, there are dozens of dispirited city vacuums called parks, eaten around with decay, little used, unloved.
-Jane Jacobs
The Death and Life of Great American Cities

16 August 2011

University Websites

XKCD offers a comic perspective on the horrible front pages of most universities.

Human Geography position

School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy
University College Dublin
Lecturer in Human Geography

(5 year post)
Salary Scale: €35,355 - €81,452 per annum
2011 Salary Scale: €31,820 - €73,307 per annum
(Subject to all new entrants to public sector as of 01 January 2011)
Applications are invited for the position of Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy (GPEP). Applications are sought from outstanding scholars with substantive research interests in any area of human geography that would enhance the School's research profile. Candidates with interests in quantitative methods, spatial analysis or geographical information systems (GIS) applications would be particularly encouraged.
The successful applicant will contribute significantly to the quality expansion of research in the School by undertaking and publishing high quality research and scholarship in her/his field of expertise within human geography. In addition, the successful candidate will participate effectively in the School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.
University College Dublin (UCD) is a large and diverse University whose origin dates back to 1854. There are over 22,000 students including 2,500 international students from more than 80 countries. The University is situated on a large modern campus about 4km to the south of the centre of
While I know many of our readers around the world can't easily attend a workshop in Southern California, this one seemed worth mention as a representation of different directions in GIS.  Next month's Geomorphometry Tools Workshop is shows how far some of the technical tools have come in advancing our abilities to measure and describe the Earth's surface.

14 August 2011

Community gardens at risk

The News and Observer has a nice article on community gardens.  In particular they quote national expert, Rutgers' chair of Landscape Architecture Laura Lawson, who explained potential threats to the community garden movement.

UPDATE:  And up in Newark, the Star-Ledger reports that even successful actors are getting into competitive gardening.

Is the a 60 year old fork?

"The profession of landscape architecture and the schools perpetuating it stand at a critical fork in the road.  One fork leads to a significant field of endeavor contributing to the betterment of human environment, while the other points to a subordinate field of superficial embellishment.  The question the profession and the schools must answer i s which road shall be followed and what adjustments may be made adequately to prepare landscape architects to solve the rising problems.  The need for comprehensive landscape architectural planning is not diminishing; on the contrary it is increasing.  The expansion of population and increase in complexity of environmental organization make the need greater today than ever before in history."

Hideo Sasaki, 1950
"Thoughts on education in landscape architecture"
in Landscape Architecture Magazine

A more dynamic approach to public art

This video provides a different way to look at public art.

MÖBIUS from ENESS on Vimeo.

13 August 2011

The double crossover diamond

Traffic designers are excited about a new traffic interchange/intersection called the diverging diamond or double crossover diamond interchange.  For a short distance of a major road, it switches the left and right sides, but then switches them back again.  It is advertised as preventing dangerous left turns that cross oncoming traffic.

This weekend one is being implemented in Lexington KY. Check out the plans for it. And here is one from Missouri that has been implemented long enough to be photographed:

View Larger Map

While I don't know how well these really work, they make me wonder how many other daily urban and suburban problems we encounter that deserve create spatial solutions to lesson the conflict.

12 August 2011

Happy birthday PC!

Celebrate the 30th birthday of the PC with Wired, TIME, and ZDNET.

But PC Magazine asks if it is already dying.Can't we just enjoy this moment and worry about that on Monday?

Can you ID benthic macroinvertebrates?

For those of you that took a little extra ecology, this part-time job might be interesting...

StreamWatch Program Coordinator

The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association is seeking applicants for our StreamWatch Program Coordinator. The StreamWatch Program was started 1992; through this program, dedicated volunteers assess and document water quality in the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed.

The Coordinator manages the biological, bacterial, chemical, and river assessment volunteer teams. The Coordinator also provides volunteer training, database management, distribution of volunteer supplies, and organization of monthly monitoring events. In addition, the Coordinator writes the StreamWatcher newsletter which is distributed several times a year. Finally, the Coordinator provides support to the Science Department through assistance with grant proposal writing, field work, protocol development, etc.. Experience with benthic macroinvertebrate identification is required. The position is part-time without benefits.

Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to Dr. Amy Soli, Watershed Science Director, via e-mail to asoli@thewatershed.org or by e-mail to the SBMWA, 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, NJ 08534. The Watershed Association is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Getting Ready For School

School is almost here.  Are you ready?  The stores already have their back to school sales going.

You should double check your class schedule.  If you don't want to get your books on campus, you can look into alternative online sources, but you should plan ahead.  Don't forget your basic supplies. And remember to brush up on your honor code.

11 August 2011

See this beautiful old burr oak? At 300 years old, it is older than the state it grows in.

View Larger Map

So you'll be shocked to hear that this tree that is now hemmed in by development may be dying. Zoom out and check it out. According to the article, the developer was required to save the tree as a condition of getting to develop the property. But now, if it dies, do they have to undevelop the property? Or do they at least have to rename the homeowners association to the Blackford Dead Oaks Homeowners Association? No, there is probably nothing that happens if this half white, half burr oak dies. Although maybe someone will plant a dogwood in that nice sunny spot that it leaves.

08 August 2011

Federal LA job

HURRY: The GSA is looking for a Landscape Architect to join the staff of the Office of the Chief Architect until 8/17.

(Details after the jump)

Food deserts in NJ

The federal government has identified 134 food deserts in NJ, reports the Star-Ledger.  Not only do these neighborhoods, lacking sufficient healthy food availability, increase a risk for malnourishment but they also increase the risk for obesity.  The article does a really good job of showing how dependent some residents are on external help for getting access to food.  But solutions like community gardens and better planning need their day too.

05 August 2011

More on Kundra's exit

Outgoing CIO Vivek Kundra warns against the IT cartel. (Computerworld)

New CIO for US Government

Vivek Kundra has been great in jumpstarting the movement of federal government's antiquated IT efforts in to the 21st Century, but he is leaving for a fellowship at Harvard.  His parting quote is telling: "Focus coupled with ruthless execution delivers results - that's the most powerful lesson I've learned."   His replacement is Steven VanRoekel, Bill Gates former assistant and most recently the managing director of the FCC.  This could impact everything from Net Neutrality to open government to integration of geospatial into IT at all agencies.  Even though Congress gutted the Electronic Government Fund by more than 75% last year the Post quotes VanRoekel explaining why we have to move ahead with this, “The productivity gap between where the private sector has gone over the last two decades and where government has gone is ever-widening.”


Landscape + Urbanism has a good post looking back and asking whatever happened to urbanism. I particularly liked the Koolhass quote:
"For urbanists, the belated rediscovery of the virtues of the classical city at the moment of their definitive impossibility many have been the point of no return, [the] fatal moment of disconnection, disqualification."

02 August 2011

Solar Decathlon is moving ahead

With several folks from Environmental Planning and Design participating, it is great to see that the solar decathlon project is moving ahead.  The Star-Ledger just wrote up the project, with photos of the concrete solar house being constructed, and there is both a video walk-through and a Facebook page so you can learn more.

Something new every day

Learned this from LifeHacker. Did you know that "if you middle-click the refresh button on your browser window, it'll clone the current tab so you have a copy."

01 August 2011

A new AT record!

Places and Spaces is a fan of the Appalachian Trail and is excited to report that a through hiker has set a new AT speed record of 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes.  Her blog details the journey and the help she received.