30 May 2012

Instructor in Landscape Architecture

Instructor in Landscape Architecture

The Department of Landscape Architecture of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, invites applications for a 10-month Instructor position for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Department and Program: The Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers offers undergraduate studies in Landscape Architecture (accredited), Environmental Planning, Geomatics, and Landscape Industry and graduate studies in Landscape Architecture (currently in candidacy and expected to be fully accredited in 2013). The Department is within the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), which focuses on the environmental, agricultural and life sciences programs and provides the land grant component of the university. The Department consists of eleven full-time faculty, several part-time lecturers and approximately 120 undergraduate students. The University’s location within the most densely populated state in the nation, the ease of accessibility to major urban centers (New York, Washington, DC, Philadelphia), and the diversity of landscapes within the state provide an excellent learning laboratory for land-planning, site design and environmental management issues.

Qualifications: Candidates must have at least one accredited degree in landscape architecture and a terminal professional degree in landscape architecture or related discipline. Professional practice, teaching experience, professional licensure and evidence of, or potential for, peer reviewed scholarship or creative work are desired. Preference will be given to candidates who can teach computer applications and digital technology as design and planning tools in landscape architecture and/or construction and materials technology.

Responsibilities: Teaching responsibilities include instruction in beginning and advanced design seminars and studios and the following areas: construction courses and design. Instructors are expected to engage in student advising and departmental committee responsibilities.

Application: For full consideration, candidates should provide the following by June 11, 2012:
1. Letter including brief description of teaching philosophy and specific teaching interests.
2. Curriculum vita.
3. Names, addresses and phone numbers of three professional and /or academic references.
4. A portfolio will be required at time of interview.
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status or veteran status in any student program or activity administered by the University, or with regard to admission or employment.

Applications should be addressed to: Wolfram Hoefer, Search Committee Chair
Department of Landscape Architecture
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
93 Lipman Drive, Blake Hall
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8524

23 May 2012

Punctuation matters

For our grad students who are beginning to launch into some more serious writing, I offer this recent NY Times column by Ben Yagoda, The Most Comma Mistakes. You might also enjoy his Fanfare for the Comma Man. He does a great job illustrating how punctuation matters, with examples like this:

"a Federal District Court ruling invalidating the District of Columbia’s gun ban (subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court) held that “the second comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one ‘prefatory’ and the other ‘operative.’"

Be careful.

21 May 2012

Mercer County Internship

Mercer County Highways Division is looking to fill:
one (1) summer paid internship
to help with traffic sign inventory and other GPS data collection.

Candidates must be:
- a GIS student or recent graduate  AND
- a resident of Mercer County.

The position requires:
- daily fieldwork along roadways,
- a current valid driver' license and reliable transportation to the office, and
- experience with GPS equipment, GIS applications, databases, or inventory consistency.

The internship pays $10 throughout the summer months and can be flexible around class or other work schedules.
However, the intern will be supporting a crew and must be able to carry out the schedule established each week after taking into account individual availability and projected weather.

An interview, background check and physical will be conducted before internship begins.

Resumes/CVs will be accepted via email at jbisacquino@mercercounty.org through 5/31/2012.

18 May 2012

I wish I had found this quote back during the semester:

Moving between social organization and technical infrastructure is like crossing the Northwest Passage: seasonal shifts in ice mean that the voyage can be made, but never the same way twice. Under such conditions, what is needed are not rigid maps, but flexible and creative principles of navigation.

-Paul N. Edwards, Steven J. Jackson, Geoffrey C. Bowker, and Cory P. Knobel, 2007, Understanding Infrastructure: Dynamics, Tensions, and Design. Ann Arbor: DeepBlue, as quoted in Zorica Nedovic-Budic, Joep Crompvoets, Yola Georgiadou.2012. Spatial Data Infrastructures in Context: North and South:

Urban forestry in the news

The NY Times took a closer look at what can be done before all of the City's trees start dropping their limbs.  The legal issues are profound and the science of prevention is well understood.

17 May 2012

Networking opportunity

Volunteers Wanted for Landscape Conservation Conference June 19 New York City On June 19, about one hundred conservation leaders will gather in New York City for an important conversation on advancing landscape conservation in the Northeast Megaregion. This by-invitation event will take place at the National Museum of the American Indian. "Landscapes: Improving Conservation Practice in the Northeast Megaregion" is presented by Regional Plan Association and our national planning program, America 2050. The conference is sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; the US Forest Service Northeastern Area; and the National Park Service Northeast Office. Co-sponsors include the US Fish and Wildlife Service North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Piedmont Environmental Council; and Practitioners' Network for Large Landscape Conservation.

Volunteers are asked to record discussions at two 75 minute workshop breakout sessions, essential for the final published summary of the conference. The organizers will waive the registration fee, and participants are free to attend the rest of the conference. Interested participants are asked to send an email to Corey Piasecki at Regional Plan Association corey@RPA.ORG<mailto:corey@RPA.ORG>.

As documented in RPA's recent report<http://www.rpa.org/library/pdf/RPA-Northeast-Landscapes.pdf>, landscape conservation is proving to be a valuable tool for addressing the critical challenges of the 21st century, such as shifting land uses, climate change, large scale energy and transportation projects, and limited public funding. This is especially true in the 13 state Northeast Megaregion from Maine to West Virginia, where complex geography and fragmented land ownership make working across boundaries especially important.

The goal of the conference is to provide participants with access to technical and financial resources that can help accelerate the pace of landscape conservation in the northeast. Plenary presentations and interactive workshops led by national experts will make connections between civic leaders, agency officials, and funders interested in this growing field. The conference program<http://www.rpa.org/pdf/NE_Landscape_Conference_Prelim_Agenda.pdf> will feature many opportunities to improve skills while helping advance best practices and policies in collaboration with others.


A significant chunk of the GIS cartography work that we admire is really a spatially-oriented form of data visualization. So these recent visualizations all stood out as something you might like looking at:

16 May 2012

Recent projects in Community Mapping

 The students in Rick Lathrop's Advanced Environmental Geomatics have created online mapping tools for Rutgers' Eco-preserve.  Some are broad, but they include specific tools like the Tree Tracker and the Frog Tracker.

Dr. Im also ran a class with mostly Bloustein and geography students that looked at mapping the water crisis in Africa. It has been a semester for community mapping.

15 May 2012

Old Olmsted photos

While digging through some historic records, I stumbled onto these old Library of Congress lantern slides of Olmsted's Biltmore Estate. They are labeled as capturing the Estate in 1895 while it was still squeeky new. I don't know how they got such a clean air photo in 1895, but the lack of mature trees (and the LOC's reputation for details) makes me believe that date is accurate.

Our local readers might also be interested in tracking down a few historic photos of New Jersey landscapes.

14 May 2012

Not necessarily the best idea

For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius!

12 May 2012

EO Wilson Quote

If there ever was a reason for bring the humanities and science closer together, it is the need to understand the true nature of the human sensory world, as contrasted with that seen by the rest of life.

- E.O. Wilson, The Social Conquest of the Earth

11 May 2012

Interactive map of sports championships

Slate has posted an interactive map of major US sports championships over time.  Aside from the Yankees' impact on the map, what do you think of the patterns, colors and design?  Is this a good way to present spatio-temporal data? 

08 May 2012

Map Joke

What better way to start summer than with a map joke...

I have a map of the United States... Actual size. It says, "Scale: 1 mile = 1 mile." I spent last summer folding it. I also have a full-size map of the world. I hardly ever unroll it. People ask me where I live, and I say, "E6".
-Steven Wright

Bear season

Although it seems like it is off to a late start, New Jersey's bear season is now fully underway with conflicts in Union and Ogdensburg (although it is always bear season in Ogdensburg).  Will this be the year for New Brunswick?

06 May 2012

Creativity quote

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while." 

05 May 2012

Getting the map right

It took a 13 year old to find the errors in a Met map of the Byzantine Empire.  Maybe Benjamin Lerman Coady will be in our geomatics program in a few more years (and worrying about 13 year olds correcting his work).

04 May 2012

FAQ: Summer Reading

Q. I have some extra time this summer/semester/winter and would like to read an extra book or two. Can you suggest anything good?

A. It depends on your interest.

A) An easy avenue to consider as a start would be to get some recent issues of Landscape Architecture Magazine which is published by the American Society of Landscape Architecture and is meant as their semi-official portrayal of the state of the profession.
B) For environmental planning students I frequently recommend the following (although some are recommended as examples of trends that I may or may not fully endorse):

Ian McHarg's Design With Nature and A Quest for Life.

Anything written by Wendell Berry. My favorite was Home Economics, but that was a while ago.

Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck's Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream.

James Howard Kunstler's Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape.

Oh, what the heck. Maybe you should just pick from Planetizen's Top 20 Planning Books list for this stuff.

C) For those who are trying to move up from entry level students to serious students of landscape architecture, here is an edited version of the list Dr. Shearer has prepared for his design students:
There are several books by John R. Stilgoe that are well worth reading. He is an historian, not a designer, and holds a joint appointment between the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Visual & Environmental Studies Department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Also worth mentioning, he writes a bi-monthly column in the Sunday Boston Globe--South Shore Edition. You can find these by searching his name on Google News.
John Stilgoe, Common Landscapes of North America. His first major work, this book examines how North America has been intentionally shaped from the colonial era through the early nineteenth century by non-designers. Topics include measures taken by government--such as the Ordering of Towns which was penned before the Puritans stepped off the Arabella, the Spanish Law of the Indies, and the Jefferson-era Northwest Ordinance; by farmers--how northerners made fences to keep things in vs. how southerners made fences to keep things out and why barns are red; and by what might be considered visionary industrialists--such as the people who funded the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the Erie Canal. As one might expect, this book is chock full of historical facts, but its real strength is that demonstrates how "traditional" practices for shaping the landscape are not conventions to be followed uncritically. Instead, they are based on a complex combination of ideals and practicalities. At a minimum, this book would complement your landscape history class in that it describes the "non-art" shaping of the environment. But separate from that potential, I think this book would be of interest to everyone, regardless of whether you are in the landscape architecture, landscape industry, or environmental planning & management programs.

John Stilgoe, Outside Lies Magic. Relatively short and very approachable, this book was written for a broad audience and intended to get everyone to go outside, look around, and think about the implications of what they see. For example, how does the US Post Office organize space and how, in turn, do we--in part--live by that organization?

John Stilgoe, Landscape and Images. This book is a compilation of some of JRS' articles and essays. Topics include the role of photography in shaping our understanding of the landscape (for better and worse), the specter of hobgoblins in suburbia, and bikinis. This book came out last year through the University of Virginia Press and I do not know if it is available as a paperback yet.

Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory. Schama is another historian, but unlike Stilgoe does not focus on the environment. (For example, a previous book was on Dutch painting and he has recently been compiling a multivolume history of the Britain.) As a result of his range, he is not as insightful on particular points about landscape change, but his breadth makes connections that a more specialized mind might miss. Some of the places described in Landscape and Memory will be familiar to you from your landscape history class; others--like Mount Rushmore--you will know from elsewhere. What I think is useful about this book is its organization: Rather than go through a discussion of these sites by time or by location, it is arranged in three parts by material: wood, water, and rock. This perspective can help you re-think not only what you learned in your history class, but how you might apply design themes based on materials in studio.

William Cronan, Natures Metropolis. If you are looking for patterns in this list, Cronan is also an historian. If he has a fault, it would be that he occasionally sentimentalizes some activities associated with shaping the environment. That particular problem is not so evident in this history of Chicago in which he describes how the idea (the promise?) of "progress," natural resources, and technology combined to create a new kind of urban condition. I recommend this book not because I think everyone should know about America's second city, but because it lays out, in clear language, how possibilities can be combined to create something bigger than most people can imagine. Whether or not such things should be built is another question, but it is happening at a rapid clip in China as you read. Admittedly, this book will be of more obvious interest to those in the environmental planning & management program, but it could help everyone think about the built environment.

J. Nicholas Entrikin, The Betweenness of Place: Towards a Geography of Modernity. This book is not an easy read: most graduate students need to keep a very good dictionary at hand, and you will want to (or need to) pause and think about what is expressed after each and every page. In essence, Entrikin tries to synthesize two opposing ways we understand the creation of regions. On the one side, there is the German "science of space" view which holds that law-like forces of change operate universally over time. On the other side is the French, "description of place" view which holds that regions emerge from entirely idiosyncratic opportunities and decisions. If you can get through it, it will help you to understand arguments of geographic limitation-determinism.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space. If you pick up Kevin Lynch and Gary Hack's Site Planning, you will be able to start applying what you read very quickly; It's just that kind of book. The Poetics of Space is the opposite in term of easy application, but it is arguably as important. You do not "use" this book. Instead, you live with it, and as you do it infuses your own ideas and makes them richer. Most of the points are made in terms of architecture—and indeed, this book is read by just about every architect at some point in his or her education—but do not let that get in the way of you reading it. (Stilgoe thought it important enough that he wrote an introduction to one of the more recent editions.)
Edward T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension. Hall is an anthropologist who writes on a variety of issues that frequently go unnoticed in daily life because they are so ingrained in a culture. In this book he examines what might be considered the dynamics of personal space and indirectly, what designers might do to influence how social places are designed.

Niall Kirkwood, The Art of Landscape Detail and Weathering and Durability in Landscape Architecture. Kirkwood now deals with bioremediation and other technologies for brown field sites, but his first book and follow-up were careful studies of construction details. On the surface, they are about what combinations of material and forms work, what do not work, and why. However, their underlying premise is that for site scale design to be successful, the ideas of the larger scheme should be expressed in the thoughtful execution of the smallest elements. Admittedly, most books on building details are hopelessly dull and this text might suffer a certain lack of glamour. But if you want to further explore how a curb or a flight of steps might matter and, moreover, how thinking about these things might contribute to a richer design process, then these books are worth a look. Also of note, when I last looked, they were quite expensive.

James Corner [Editor], Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture. Corner was the Chair of the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Some of the essays in this collection are difficult to read, but if you are interested in wrestling with big ideas, it is a good place to start.
Giuliana Bruno, Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film. Another disclaimer: I was GB's teaching fellow for several years. There is "smart," there is "really smart," and there is "scary smart"—so smart that you are glad the person uses their mind for good and not to rule the planet for their own enrichment. Giuliana Bruno is scary smart. This book is about the relationship between seeing and traveling, about the "motion" in emotion. That topic alone makes it engaging, but what I think is even more important about this book is the way it brings together different arts.

Malcolm McCullough, Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand. During pin-ups and reviews we have talked about how the making of drawings and models is a matter of craft—of knowing about the qualities of materials and how they can be shaped for a certain effect. Very soon you will be making representations with a computer in addition to with a lead holder and chipboard and you might be wondering, is there such a thing as "digital craft"? After all, most AutoCad plots look as if they could have been made by anyone any time. McCullough, who was trained as an architect and urban planner, thinks that digital craft does exist, even if the ideas of craft are not discussed or taught in a computer lab. This book places digital media within a larger context of visual arts. It will not teach you how to make the most of the Photoshop magic wand tool, but it will introduce you to a way of thinking about your efforts with keyboard and mouse that will lead to better works.

Douglas Cooper, Drawings and Perceiving: Life Drawings for Students of Architecture and Design. Cooper teaches at Carnegie Mellon and this book might be considered a translation or adaptation of the well known The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicholaides for designers. The instructions and exercises are quite good.

Robert W. Gill, Basic Rendering. This book is all about black and white rendering. Its strength is its discussion of how light behaves on the objects around us. It will help you to become a master of stippling.

02 May 2012

Movies for placemakers

The Project for Public Spaces posted a list of their Top 10 movies for Placemakers.  Several would be good to watch this summer.  But some of them are simply set in walkable settings, which means that The Andy Griffith Show would be just as applicable.

What else would you list?  The Truman Show?  The Sunshine State?  Bladerunner?  Pruned has a longer list from the University of Illinois. Admittedly, it is for a slightly different purpose than the PPS list, so it includes some less pleasant environments to provoke viewers and start dialogues about what doesn't work as much as what works.

01 May 2012

Students get money for mapping

Azavea has announced the winners of their first Summer of Maps competition. These are students getting a stipend for making maps this summer that will help non-profits change the world. Very cool.