30 November 2011

The Art of Ecology

There are only a few days left to see the GROUND WATER: OUT OF SIGHT/SITE OUT OF MIND exhibit at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland, which includes work by Rutger's Jean Marie Hartman. If, like me, you can't make the trip then you can just enjoy some of Dr. Hartman's photography and blogging on it.

Public Farm 1

This Friday at 12:35 in Blake Hall Room 152, Dan Wood and Amale Andraos of WORK Architecture Company, NYC will be presenting their urban ag project that was built for MoMA Queen, Public Farm 1.  It's a fresh look at community-building and agriculture in the City.  All are welcome.

The cost of cool computers

2 DEC | 3PM (Reception to follow) | Lucy Stone Hall, RM B115, LC
Mapping the real informal economy: global circuits of electronic waste (e-waste) in the Millennium City of Accra, Ghana
Richard Grant Professor and Director of Urban Studies, Department of Geography and Regional Studies | University of Miami

28 November 2011

Landscape Architecture and Ecological Restoration: Designing for the Other 99.9%

LA Fall Lecture Series presents Jason Husveth
Recipient of the 2011 Department of Landscape Architecture Alumni Award

Wednesday, 11/30 at 4:00 pm
Cook/Douglas Lecture Hall
3 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ

Landscape Architecture and Ecological Restoration: Designing for the Other 99.9%

Landscape Architecture is defined by the American Society of Landscape Architects as: the science and art of design, planning, management and stewardship of the land. Landscape Architecture involves natural and built elements, cultural and scientific knowledge, and concern for resource conservation to the end that the resulting environment serves a useful and enjoyable purpose. Successful landscape architecture maximizes use of the land, adds value to a project and minimizes costs, all with minimum disruption to nature (ASLA, 2011).

The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) promotes Ecological Restoration as a means of sustaining the diversity of life on Earth and reestablishing an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture (SER, 2011).

Jason Husveth is a professional ecologist charged with the responsibility of planning, designing, and restoring diverse, complex, ecologically functioning, and sustainable natural landscapes within the Upper Midwest. While these landscapes are often used passively by and for the human population, their primary purpose is often to restore ecological structure and function for the sustained benefit of native flora and fauna. This lecture will present project examples of Mr. Husveth’s work to demonstrate the process of applying biological and ecological research to design and implement ecological restoration projects for a diverse array of native plant and animal species at various spatial scales.

Jason Husveth is Principal Ecologist and founder of Critical Connections Ecological Services, an ecological consulting firm based in the Minneapolis / St. Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota. A native of Somerset County, New Jersey, Jason earned his Bachelor of Science from the Rutgers University’s Landscape Architecture program in 1995. He received his Master of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota in 1999, where he assisted in the development of biological indicators to assess the quality of Minnesota wetlands, and investigated the relationships between watershed urbanization, stormwater runoff, and associated impacts to wetland biological communities. As a professional, Jason works at the nexus of landscape architecture and ecological/environmental sciences; always seeking to better understand the structure, function, and natural history of biological systems and the often complex relationships among their biotic and abiotic components. With this information, Jason strives to design, create, and restore complex natural systems for use by a diverse array of native plant and animal species within rural, urban, and developing landscapes of the Upper Midwest.

In addition to his professional practice, Mr. Husveth has served as board member and past President of the Minnesota Native Plant Society, is a lifetime member of the Society of Wetland Scientists, helped to establish the Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), and currently serves as an appointed Manager of the Carnelian Marine St. Croix Watershed District and the Superior Hiking Trial Association.

NJ DOT job

The NJ DOT is looking to fill an entry level landscape design position.

Euclid v Ambler turns 85

Celebrating the 85th anniversary of Euclid v Ambler, Urban Land has a great post exploring the relevance of zoning in today's world.

23 November 2011

An altered sense of perspective

"The common belief that we gain ‘historical perspective’ with increasing distance seems to me to utterly misrepresent the actual situation. What we gain is merely confidence in generalization that we would never dare to make if we had access to the real wealth of contemporary evidence."
- Otto Neugebauer

22 November 2011

What's a good H for someone like me?

I have no idea.  But Google Scholar Citations makes it easier to find out.  They've added a feature called Google Scholar Citations that allows scholars to create their own scholar citations page that includes an H-index, which is a citation index that measures a mix of productivity and popularity in citations.  It also includes other index scores and a timeline of when they were cited.  I wouldn't want it used in my promotion evaluations, but it is fun to play around with. 

21 November 2011

When does Coney Island get one?

Have you seen the roller coaster track for pedestrians?  The loops have a walkability problem, but I love the idea of trying to turn walking into a thrilling experience.

18 November 2011

Cool class: Environmental Law

The new and improved Environmental Law class (11:374:460) will help you gain skills for variety of careers.   Many environmental positions require background in the major environmental laws.  This class not only gives you such understanding but also teaches you to find a law, read a regulation, and write a citizen comment.

A 300 level law class will no longer be offered by any department
This class is being offered by Human Ecology’s new faculty member Dr. Cymie Payne, who has worked on California state climate change policy and coastal resource management in New England and California.  Her experience includes both government positions and private practice.    She specializes in international law and recently appeared in a proceeding before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on behalf of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.   

In addition, she has also taught in law schools and can provide insight into the application process and the job market.  On top of all this, she is also very down to earth and interested in teaching.  

Friday fun video

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space | Fly Over | Nasa, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo.

17 November 2011

Al Boeke

The NY Times has a lengthy obituary for the architect Al Boeke, which tells some of the story of Sea Ranch.  As much as we've heard about it in recent lectures, it really hits home in this piece.

16 November 2011

LiveBlog: Reconceptualizing "Home" Through the Lens of Tent Cities."

Abby Harmon
“We're Only Borrowing Time [on this earth] Anyway...": Reconceptualizing "Home" Through the Lens of Tent Cities."

While many of these residents reject the label of homeless, these communities often called names like: Hobo camps, Bum camps, Homeless cities. While these aren't new, cities of more than 50 residents didn't become common until the late 1990s.

Internally some have structure (like mayors or voting structures) while others remain flexible and informal. In Nickelsville, WA she heard how being appointed or elected to positions within the communities could transform the individual and their self-esteem.

Informal housing is perceived as legitimate by those dwelling in it. The very notion of homelessness is a relatively new one, since 100 years ago Americans often went long periods without a house to call a home. By the 1950s, suburbs were such idealized housing that "substandard" housing was obliterated by efforts like urban renewal.

For many cities, the common solution is to frame this as a land use issue. Destroying a tent city is not described by the cities as destroying homes. It comes back to questions about what is a home.

The harsh Illinois winter created an interest in hardened shelters or huts.  But the City didn't recognize these more humane alternatives, so it left the homeless in tents.  "Tent cities are an unacceptable standard of living" and "A home is a residence" were key challenges that Abby spoke to.

Being with a group, or a spouse made people feel more at home.  For many, the tent city is something they choose over a shelter.  One resident said that if you can sit down in comfort and exhale, it is a start.  Access seemed more important than ownership. 

Dignity Village, Portland OR is city-recognized and big enough to be in Wikipedia and clearly visible on air photosTent City in Lakewood NJ has pictures on their web site but they are hidden in the trees.

Big questions: If building codes and zoning don't work, what is an appropriate standard of living?  Do regulations make things worse rather than better?  If it isn't urban blight, what is it?  If Americans support single family residences as a standard, are tent cities closer to the American dream than group shelters?

The NYTimes just published a series of maps that show that suburbanization has resulted in a pattern that dramatizes the spatial patterns of separation between rich and poor.

Harvest the Goodness of GIS

The ghosts of GIS Days past have brought back a few of the graphic reminders of the early years:

A special thanks to Caroline Phillipuk, whose GIS Day posters outlived the celebrations.

GIS Day Moment of Silence

One of the best and nicest PPGIS guys I know anywhere is Mark Bosworth from Portland Metro's GIS office. Sadly, he has gone missing and hasn't been found, despite the best efforts of local authorities and Lance Armstrong.

Our sincerest GIS Day wish is for his safe return.

Google Map mystery

Celebrate GIS Day with another Google Map mystery, what could it be? It is bigger than a 1/2 mile by a mile.

View Larger Map

There are more at Gizmodo, but I think the others are less mysterious than this.

What do you do when the map is wrong?

One of the big changes in cartography is the ease with which corrections can be made, as is now being shown in the corrections to Greenland that are being made in the Times Atlas of the World in response to the recent climate change cartocontroversy.

15 November 2011

Tshidvizhe community mapping video

GIS does things that hand drawn maps cannot. But as GIS Day approaches, it is important to recognize that sometimes hand drawn maps accomplish things that GIS cannot. This video shows the Tshidvizhe community coming together to create a hand drawn map the places that matter to them.

Reviving our culture, Mapping our future from CTA on Vimeo.

If so, trying to find a more public park?

If so, you might want to check it on this interactive map from New York World.  It could be helpful this morning in avoiding a repeat of Zucotti Park.

The Emergent Forest of the Future

Ecology & Evolution Graduate Program Seminar

Dr. Peter Del Tredici

Senior Research Scientist
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

"Deeply Disturbed: The Emergent Forest of the Future"

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011

4:00 p.m.
Alampi Room, Marine and Coastal Sciences
Refreshments at 3:30

Along the Raritan

We've been following news about the Raritan River all semester, and you never know what the next story will be.  But I was still surprised by seeing the Home News and Tribune report that "an inert bomb was discovered on Oct. 13 during a parking lot excavation at a distribution center for the AriZona Beverage Co. in Raritan Center." The Raritan Center are is the site of the army's old Nixon Nitration Works, so maybe it shouldn't be a as much of a surprise.  But a bomb is still a shocker, even in times of war.

14 November 2011

Geographry Awareness Week

To celebrate Geography Awareness Week, ESRI's Education Community blog is supposed to have a special series of posts.  There is also an effort to step up political engagement.  And, of course, Wednesday is GIS Day.

Tent cities

LA Fall Lecture Series presents Abbilyn Harmon

Wednesday, 11/16 at 4:00 pm,
Cook/Douglas Lecture Hall
We're Only Borrowing Time [on this earth] Anyway...": Reconceptualizing "Home" Through the Lens of Tent Cities."

Harmon presents a critical analysis of dominant American meaning(s) of ‘home’ through an eamination of ‘home’ in the context of tent cities.  Drawing on empirical research conducted with residents of a tent city in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, as well as media coverage of tent cities across the U.S., she weaves the silenced perspectives of tent city residents into a broader discussion about land, private property, ‘home’ and legitimacy.  Harmon employs an interdisciplinary approach to her study of tent cities, bringing together the fields of critical geography, urban planning, political theory and social history.  In privileging the perspectives of tent city residents, Harmon presents a trenchant critique directed by those who are most negatively impacted by the effects of dominant perspectives of ‘home.’ Workshop Title: “Making “Home” in the Void: Materialities and Realities of Homelessness.”

Abbilyn Harmon is a PhD candidate in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.  Harmon brings an activist paradigm to her work, fluidly merging her scholarship and teaching with her work in the community.  During her time as a PhD student, she has worked for the East St. Louis Action Research Project, an interdisciplinary service learning and community engagement program, where she developed an Action Research seminar focused on improving conditions of homelessness in the community.  From 2009-2010, she organized with a local tent community, using her research to assist the group in meeting their goals, while gaining a more complete understanding of the role of tent cities as a form of housing.  Harmon’s scholarship approaches landscape as a construction that is both born of, and in turn shapes social relations.  Particularly for her dissertation work, titled Determining Critical Factors in Community-Level Planning of Homeless Service Projects, Harmon attempts to understand community landscapes in terms of social accessibility—of the spaces themselves and of the planning processes that create them—and how this accessibility is impacted by normative beliefs about home and homelessness.  Her work has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with a 2010-2012 Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant. 

Go see a Congressman

Representative Rush Holt, the only scientist in Congress, will be speaking
to our next-generation scientists.

7-8 pm Nov 21 Cook Campus Center MPR

Trees down at area gardens

Area arboreta have been impacted by the recent storms.  Even Rutgers Gardens.

10 November 2011

08 November 2011

RU Students talk about the LA Summer Program Germany

Wednesday, 11/9at 4:00 pm,
Cook/Douglas Lecture Hall
3 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ

RU Students talk about the LA Summer Program Germany

This past summer undergraduate and graduate landscape architecture students from Rutgers as well as graduate students from Chatham University Pittsburgh, PA went to Germany.

We explored a country where the cultural interpretation of nature and landscape has supported the creation of a strong environmental movement, fostering innovative solutions in Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Urban Planning. We studied such solutions and their cultural context. Our discussions were also related to planning and design challenges we face in the US. Visiting Berlin, the Ruhr area and the Munich region we learned that Germany is more than Autobahn and Oktoberfest. A special highlight was the design workshop in landscape architecture in cooperation with our partner school Technische Universität München.

They would like to share our experiences with you and hope that you might enjoy some of the images as they enjoyed the trip.

National Park Passports

We were just talking in studio about environmental and historic education, an area in which the National Park Service has some expertise.  One of the programs the used to get people to settle into a park and take it seriously is the Junior Ranger program.  To get their badge, junior rangers often have to complete a series of activities, attend a ranger-led talk/hike, answer questions, etc.  For some families, it forces them to see and experience parts of the parks they wouldn't have otherwise.

The other is the National Parks Passports program, which let's you stamp your passport booklet at each park you visit.   This program gets visitors to go to more parks, and more obscure parks.  Some passport junkies have posted their stories and and nearly complete collections of passport stamps.Maybe these don't translate well to our local parks.  But what is the equivalent?  What would get people more engaged here?

Touch the water

A report on river access points on the Banks of the Old Raritan shows lots of opportunities, but they are well hidden and sometimes not easy to use.

04 November 2011

Should Princeton merge?

Will Princeton Borough and Princeton Township finally set aside their few remaining differences and become one?  Voters will decide (yet again)on Tuesday.  The Star-Ledger offers a preview that reminds us of some past efforts:
Consolidation can’t move forward unless a majority of voters in both the township and the borough say yes. Residents of the township, which wraps around the borough like a doughnut, approved a merger by a three-to-one margin in 1996, but it died when 55 percent of borough residents voted no. The measure was also rejected in 1953 and 1979.
But the article also includes a list of all 22 of New Jersey's doughnut towns.

03 November 2011

Job in Newark

If parks and community design are you thing, you might want to check out this job in Newark with the Trust for Public Lands.

Cool class: Art and the City

If you need an elective, you might want to check out Art and the City (762:496:03) which works to give students an understanding of the ways in which art is used in civic design.  It is being taught at Bloustein and is recruiting students from Mason Gross.  It also includes a guided Mural Arts Tour of West Philadelphia.

02 November 2011

Tim Marshall follow-up

Rather than a live blog, I simply offer a list of links related to the places we heard about today in lecture.  Most are official link, since it was really about organizations not images:

EDA's land use images

After talking about some municipal patterns of land use in EDA yesterday, I wanted to share a few of the lists:

Cool class: Blogging and Podcasting for the Environment

Not many classes have a YouTube video to advertise their work. Here is one that does.

9:15-12:15 Thursdays. Blake 131.

Want to make videos? Enhance your resume?

The goal of the environmental communication clinic is to give students problem-solving skills and hands-on experience to help them in the job market.

Working in groups, students in the Spring 2012 class will develop audio and video podcasts to promote environmentally responsible behavior on campus. To do so, students will first determine their communication goals (Increase recycling at RU football games? Reduce bottled water use in the student centers? Reduce carbon footprint of the dorms? Or? Next, they will identify appropriate target audiences (dorm residents, SEBs faculty, football fans, etc.) After conducting research and developing concepts for narratives, students will learn how to use equipment and begin production.

01 November 2011