18 December 2013

What do we know about design and health?

The Atlantic has a nice piece today emphasizing that despite some strong beliefs, "We Don't Know Nearly As Much About the Link Between Public Health and Urban Planning As We Think We Do."The impetus for the piece is a report on The State of Health + Urbanism by MIT's 10 year long Health and Urbanism Initiative. The more we study it, the more we see that we need to study it. And yet, what we do know, tends to be more about specific American cities. Imagine how little we know about the new megacities in other parts of the world.

15 December 2013

Smart Campus folks

Last week in Santa Barbara, I met some very interesting folks that I either didn't know or didn't as well as I do now:

Of course there were plenty of folks that I already knew too, but we'll save that for another day.

Old trees, watch out!

There has been a change in the world's old tree standings. The Senator, a pond cypress in Florida, has moved off the Top Ten oldest living trees making room for one of the younger trees to move up on the list. Someone better check on The President.

06 December 2013

Great Networking Opportunity

MAC URISA's Fall meeting is just a few days away!
Data Sharing and Transparency: Using the Cloud to Manage Transportation GIS Data
Tuesday December 10, 2013 8am-3pm
Presentations Include: 
UPlan:“Utah’s Open Transportation Data in the Cloud”  by Mr. Frank Pisani
PennDOT’s Pennshare platform by Mr. Patrick Kielty

Who Should Attend:
GIS Professionals
Transportation Professionals
Regional Planners
Metropolitan Planning Organizations
Chief Information Officers
State and Local Government Agencies
Venue Address:
RUTGERS EcoComplex
Environmental Research and Extension Center
1200 Florence-Columbus Rd.
Bordentown, NJ 08505-4200

05 December 2013

Is the Sandy recovery is in the details?

The Star-Ledger seems to think that the details aren't working out as well as they ought. They offer this interesting piece of evidence, "A full 75 percent (of Sandy victims) now say they feel forgotten by the administration’s Sandy relief efforts."

Garden toilet

Last year when a Japanese designer named Sou Fujimoto built a garden space toilet, it might have seemed like a gag. After all, the video hardly makes it look like a garden. But this fall's garden toilet, also by Fujimoto, looks like a game changer. And before you write off Fujimoto as a Bansky-type provocateur, check out his extensive record as a serious architect.

03 December 2013

The coming impact of climate change on forests

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune ran a 4-page feature on the impact that climate change is anticipated to have on the forests of Minnesota's famed Northwoods. Check out the slider bar that allows you to compare a map of the current forest and the anticipated changes.


01 December 2013

Laurie Olin oral history

The Cultural Landscape Foundation has posted an amazing record of the career of landscape architect Laurie Olin with both video and transcripts. While you have a few hours of the holiday weekend left, it would be a great time to watch and reflect.

30 November 2013

Mapping out football migration

Slate has figured out that map addicts will look at and share maps of almost anything. On a weekend that is traditionally dominated by football, they have posted an interactive map for fans of European football. It shows the migration of talent from any country in the world or to any country in the world. Amazingly, the US seems to have a balanced import and export.

27 November 2013

NJ's best cities: A methodology

Movoto blog has "developed" a methodology for rating cities in NJ. They have come up with a list of the top scoring cities that includes Edison at #2.

25 November 2013

New Sea Level Rise projections

Real Climate comments on a recent expert panel that has described the best understanding of what sea level rise is expected to bring to our shores. The fascinating thing that it includes are 2 different measures of what to expect depending on the human response to climate change:
With successful, strong mitigation measures, the experts expect a likely rise of 40-60 cm in this century and 60-100 cm by the year 2300. With unmitigated warming, however, the likely range is 70-120 cm by 2100 and two to three meters by the year 2300.
The difference between the strong mitigation and unmitigated is nearly double. It really speaks to both the inevitability of impacts and the value of intervention. The commenters are more interesting than on many blogs. Check out comment #40 which speaks to design responses. BTW, The original paper on the panel is written by Rutgers' Ben Horton. 

22 November 2013

GIS Day follow-up

As a follow-up to my "short" presentation at GIS Day I wanted to post some links for readers interested in learning more about our work mapping the food and physical activity environments.

Here are some links to recent work on mapping the food environment:

The Food Trust Report on Supermarkets in NJ

Physical Activity Chart Book for Trenton

Food Environment Chart Book for Newark

The full CSHP list of Chart Books from the NJ Childhood Obesity Study

Two of our recent peer review papers are:
Neighborhood Perceptions and Active School Commuting in Low-Income Cities

A Closer Examination of the Relationship between Children's Weight Status and the Food and Physical Activity Environment

The latter established a clear link between BMI and the density of convenience stores within 1/4 mile of children's homes and also found a significant relationship between BMI and large parks (more than an acre) within 1/2 mile.

JFK Memorials from around the world

View Larger Map

With this view from the JFK Memorial Bridge in Longport, NJ pause to recognize the 50th anniversary of that tragic day. Slate.com took the day to publish a map illustrating the spatial array of "all" the different JFK memorial schools, streets, plazas, etc. from around the world.

Finally I offer a couple photos of Kennedy's burial site in Arlington National Cemetery taken on Memorial Day Weekend.

Another class for Spring 2014

An SAS honors seminar is being offered this spring on ‘Climate change and justice.’ The instructor is looking for a diverse and lively group, including qualified students not in the honors program – meteorologists, political scientists, geographers, earth scientists, activists, undecided freshmen, etc! So if you advise or work with any students you think might be interested, please let them know about this 3-credit offering (that also satisfies the ‘WCd’ SAS Core writing requirement). They should email the instructor, Melanie McDermott so she can help them with the process of getting into the class. 

The details:
 01:090:295:03 Climate Change, Justice and Equity: from the Tropical Rainforest to the Jersey Shore
T 02:15-05:15PM, Hickman Hall Room 129

The initial premises of this course are that climate change poses a grave threat to humanity, and that those who have contributed least to generating the problem -- i.e., the global poor, future generations, and non-human species, are the most vulnerable to its impact. This interdisciplinary seminar will explore the implications this challenge raises for notions of justice and equity.

We begin by examining the fundamental question, ‘what is justice?’ Our understanding shifts when we focus first on injustice and how it is produced and reproduced in social relationships.  In what ways are inequities among nations and social classes related to the drivers of fossil fuel and forest combustion? How might inequity be exacerbated not only by the impacts of climate change, but by policies designed to combat or adapt to them?

Our discussion will be focused by in-depth consideration of two major case studies. The first concerns the various paying-poor-people-not-to-cut-trees policies under the rubric of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (or REDD), and the second looks at Hurricane Sandy impacts and responses on the Jersey Shore.  Finally, through the lens of literature and performance art we will examine how this crisis makes us feel, and the course as a whole will lead us to confront what we – as individuals and as Rutgers University, can do about it.

20 November 2013

GIS Day 2013

May all your GIS dreams come true.

Another great GIS Day.

GIS Day Common Lecture Live Blog: Erika Svendson

Visualizing the Social: Understanding and Mapping Urban Environmental Stewardship
Erika Svendsen, Research Social Scientist
People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy
NYC Urban Field Station, Northern Research Station, US Forest Service

Cultivating more places of places of social meaning - a little green or a lot
Different research types
...Intensive-Extensive + Social-Biophysical
Inspired by Prof. Bill Burch at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Human Ecosystem Framework (HEF)
Virtuous vs. Viscous Cycles - Disturbance can be useful

Stewards as first responders.- adaptive/polycentric
Gardeners as first responders - urban fiscal crisis 
...Strengthening social cohesion and fostering new forms of governance
Resilience cycles
Giuliani and community gardens

Book/blog: Greening in the Red Zone - this isn't just for wealthy urban enclaves

Joplin Tornado Memorial - USFS still has a forester there, helping the city recover - extending the recovery timeline - already planted over 5000 trees

Nature: As asset and a threat

Stewardship mapping
STEW-MAP Project
Online and mail-in survey
initial n=5861
final n=2517

NYC Oasis map  Mapping stewardship "turf" like it was gang turf

Network analysis identified the individuals/groups that served as nodes within the massive stewardship network in NYC- bridge, broker, and bi-modal governing

Timeless threads and places of Social Meaning
Jamaica Bay neighborhoods after Superstorm Sandy
zone mapping for each of the parks - a new social layer for NYC Parks
found lots of 'mad love' for parks
Example: Frank Charles Memorial Park
Example: Sea Song Memorial

Tree planting helps strengthen democracy

Stewardship is a restorative mechanism, it is a part of our social infrastructure

See also: Stewardship, learning, and memory in disaster resilience (paper)
See also: Integrating grey and green infrastructure to improve the health and well-being of urban populations
And myriad other papers

19 November 2013

Exciting class for Spring 2014

If you have already taken an ecology class and are ready for more, check out Myla Aronson's Urban Ecology 11:704:487.

Course Description
Urban landscapes are rapidly expanding globally and over 50% of the human population now lives in urban areas. Because the majority of human settlements are in areas of high biodiversity, the rapid urbanization of the world has profound effects on global biodiversity.
Urban Ecology is a seminar course, with a mix of lecture and discussion, where we will focus on the processes determining patterns of abundance and distribution of organisms in urban ecosystems, the
interactions among organisms in the urban environment, the interactions between humans (and  societies) and nature in urban environments, and some aspects of urban planning as it relates to
ecology and the environment. 
Pre-requisites: Principles of Ecology (11:704:351), or Plant Ecology (11:704:332), or equivalent.
No pre-requisites for graduate students.

14 November 2013

Maps are powerful

 Saturday morning at 8am Jack Dangermond will be speaking at the ASLA conference in Boston. I am sure that he will include some mentions of how GIS can affect change in the world at large. In anticipation of that, here are 5 outstanding examples of how maps could "solve some of the world's most daunting problems."

HT: @petermickulas


Geeks vs. Nerds: The Inforgraphic

As the geeks vs. nerds debate continues, there is now an infographic to help novices navigate these dangerous waters.

12 November 2013

Harvard University on MVV

Harvard Magazine has published a cover story on Michael Van Valkenburgh. Since we are hearing about ecology at his Brooklyn Bridge Park tomorrow, it would be a good time to read it.
Van Valkenburgh’s resistive independence is described well by Alan [sic] Shearer, M.L.A. ’94, Ph.D. ’03, a professor at the University of Texas and former MVVA employee: “Others at the GSD in the 1980s and ’90s turned to varieties of art—abstract minimalism, pop art, and land art—as a way to infuse the profession with new ideas. In contrast, Michael’s thinking—about gardens, plants, ephemeral states in natural processes, and precedents of landscape architecture—was trying to reclaim the profession’s core.”

08 November 2013

Lecture: Forest Transitions and the Global Carbon Sink

The Human Ecology Brown Bag Series Presents
“Forest Transitions and the Global Carbon Sink”

Dr. Pekka Kauppi
Department of Environmental Sciences
University of Helsinki

Date: November 13th, 2013
Time: 12:30 to 2:00 pm
Location: Blake 131, Cook Campus

Dr. Pekka Kauppi is a world renown expert on the carbon density of forests. His research on forest cover change and carbon budgets has been published in Science, PNAS, and other high profile journals. He is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

To see additional events, please visit our website: http://www.humanecology.rutgers.edu/events.asp

07 November 2013

Rising Waters exhibition

The Museum of New York City has opened an exhibition of photography from Superstorm Sandy called Rising Waters. The photos are both eerie and, photographically, beautiful. Digital Photography Review has posted some images online that incredibly powerful. But I imagine that seeing them on a wall, printed pretty large, could be much more emotional.

05 November 2013

Old SCOTUS case in Florida

In a case of reliving past glories, I am encouraging our studio students to go back to this old NY Times Sunday Magazine piece on a case known as Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida. Since it was published before the decision was issued, it focused on the issues rather than the outcome. And you can see how it is going to come up again.

03 November 2013

Lecture on urban agriculture

Matthew Smith 
Sabedo Argueta 
Mark Robson 

Rutgers University will present a seminar entitled 
“Case Studies: Urban Agriculture in Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee” 

Friday – November 8, 2013 
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. 
Foran Hall Room 138A Cook Campus 

01 November 2013

Leopold quote

Individual thinkers since the days of Ezekiel and Isaiah have asserted that the despoliation of land is not only inexpedient but wrong.  Society, however, has not yet affirmed their belief.

— Aldo Leopold

30 October 2013

“When, Not If”

ULI's CEO, Patrick Phillips, writes that we are in a new era for waterfront development and we need to recognize that with a change in our approaches to planning and design of the waterfronts. Included in that was this recommendation:
"Jurisdictions should identify local land use typologies to realistically and accurately assess a region’s capacity for resiliency."
Sound familiar?

Lecture: The State of History in the National Parks

Scholarship and Partnerships: The State of History in the National Parks: November 6, Camden
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, Rutgers–Camden, and the National Park Service (Northeast Region) cosponsor a conference on November 6 from 1:30 to 5 p.m. in the Camden Campus Center, Rutgers–Camden. This conference explores how the presentation of history is changing in national parks. This event is free and open to the public. Learn more and register here.

29 October 2013

GIS Day at Burlington County College in Mount Laurel, NJ

Join us for
GIS Day at Burlington County College in Mount Laurel, NJ
Wednesday, November 13th 9-4:30
The event is FREE (including Breakfast and Lunch)
Registration is requested but walk-ins will be accepted.
This event should have something for everyone; from analysis, transit mapping, planning, and crowdsourcing, to balloon mapping plus interactive GPS and GIS workshops as well a MAGTUG seminar focusing on Superstorm Sandy: 
9-11:40 Speakers
11:40-12:30 Lunch
12:30-1:00 Balloon Mapping Demo
1-2:15 GPS Activity
1:30-4:30 MAGTUG presentations (open to the public)
2:30-4:30 GIS Lab
Please see the attached preliminary Agenda for currently scheduled speakers.  (A more detailed agenda will be sent once speakers are finalized.)

 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 showcase 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 12th or bring it with you on the 13th.
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).

Thank you and we hope to see you there!

Brought to you by; the County of Burlington NJ, Burlington County College and MAGTUG

28 October 2013

Wetlands matter

The Star-Ledger has a feature today, as part of the Sandy one year anniversary, on the value of wetlands. The Department of Interior just announced an extra $15 million for protection of wetlands along the Jersey Shore, especially in areas like Forsythe. Still, the state says that it shouldn't be a priority even though the wetlands provide an important buffer against storm damage:

"We are aware of the need to care for those [wetland] areas along the shore to provide resiliency for the future," said Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. "You also have to live in the real world, and one of the things the Governor is trying to do is rebuild a state that has developed in some coastal areas. People live there. His goal is to get them back in business and back to their lives."

 The wetlands don't just help during hurricanes, but even in small coastal storms, so a little urgency could pay off sooner rather than later.

Preserve and protect

Charles Birnbaum gives an update on landscape preservation. In the interview with PlaNetizen he talks about the challenge of preserving designs that are still relatively recent. But he also discusses the "ascendency of landscape architecture" which is suddenly a hot topic in magazines and papers. But Birnbaum reminds is that there is work left to be done"
"So the way you have to teach people to see modern art, you have to teach them to see modern architecture and landscape architecture. It's like any other discipline; you have to build the appreciation."

16 October 2013

Live Blog: Ilonka Angalet on Airport Landscapes

Airport Landscapes
Ilonka Angalet (RULA '73) - RU LA Outstanding Alumni
2013 NY/NJ Port Authority

6 Airports:
JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia
Stewart, Atlantic City, Teterboro
   total acreage of 15,176 Acres

Lots of lawn, scrub, and pavement

Started with a 1960's court case that found the airport liable for bird strikes caused by water pools near the JFK Airport Chapel
By 1979 legislation required airports to develop plans to address the danger to public safety

Bird strikes has a surprisingly lengthy entry in Wikipedia

(Bonus link: Bird Strike Myths. Don't read this if you are about to fly.)

Different plants are more (or less) attractive to birds than others - FAA advisory circular tells them that they must not use plants that attract birds
If a neighbor (within 5 miles) attracts birds that are the cause of the flight, they are liable.

"Lawns should consist of select Tall Fescue seed cultivars that thrive on low nutrient, low water availability and that are a 90% endophyte enhanced variety."

Lawn areas should include trees like the English Oak and Hornbeam that produce fruit that do attract problem birds. Fruit seasonality is also an issue, since non-migratory roosting birds are often attracted to winter fruits.

Alternative practices include placing nursery containers around site.

The areas around airports have great potential for sustainable biomass production for a biomass power generation station on NYNJPA property.

The airports currently get compost from off site, but as much as 80% is not up to standards. An on-site composting process could contribute to a healthier landscape and allow the PA to monitor the quality closer.

Animal tracks

View Larger Map

Book: The Everglades: River of Grass

In class today we heard how River of Grass impacted on researcher's life. Published in 1947,
Marjory Stoneman Douglas' The Everglades: River of Grass presented an eloquent argument for considering the Everglades as both a precious and endangered natural place. Her vivid descriptions of the amazing landscape still ring true. Proof? How about a recent NY Times travel piece that was compelled to quote Douglas' book demonstrate the extraordinary beauty of the area.

15 October 2013

Common Lecture: Ilonka Angalet

RULA Common Lecture – 3:55 pm          October 16, 2013
Today at the Port Authority’s six airports, there are 1.3 million flights and 109 million passengers, annually.  The six airports have a combine total acreage of 15,176 Acres.  The NY/NJ Regional Airports are located on relatively flat, low, lying areas and former wetlands along our regions coastal shores and waterways.  The Airports are all located within the Atlantic flyway.  The Atlantic flyway is a major migration route for over 300 species of birds.

Ilonka Angalet, ASLA LEED BD+C, Rutgers - CAES ’73 and Landscape Architect for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will present: Landscape Architecture and Preventing Wildlife Hazards to Aviation- Rethinking airport land-cover paradigms.  The presentation will focus on how and why the landscapes at our regional airports are attractive to birds, the consequences of bird strikes, airport wildlife management and how airport landscapes have changed over the last 35 years.

If you need more information or directions, please reply or call 848-932-9311.

14 October 2013

Whyte Quote: Do you agree?

The fundamental lesson, to summarize, is that open space has to have a positive function. It will not remain open if it does not. People must be able to things on it or with it - at the very least, to be able to look at it.

- William Whyte
The Last Landscape

11 October 2013

Land Use notes from EDA

Some random notes from today's EDA lecture:
Hope you enjoyed it.

10 October 2013

Land Use in EDA

A quick note to our regular readers, I will be giving my guest lecture on Land Use and Home Rule tomorrow morning in Environmental Design Analysis. Since the class meets in the unusually large Hickman 138, there will probably be plenty of room for guests. Stop by if you can.

09 October 2013

Regional design explained

xkcd's Time had a few frames that felt like they perfectly summarized the uncertainty of dipping our toes into regional design.

Rutgers Grad School Open House

If you are thinking about graduate studies in landscape architecture, you should mark your calendar for Saturday, November 2 when Rutgers' program will be hosting an open house. It is a great chance to see some recent work, tour the studios and meet faculty and students.


01 October 2013

Shutdown II

The headline says it all:  Yosemite National Park closed for its own birthday

Visitors to Jockey Hollow are disappointed

Arizona's National Parks shutdown could cost the state millions
  "Visitors at Grand Canyon National Park alone spend $1.2 million per day, the association said."

National Parks during the shutdown

UPDATE 11am 10/1/13

As of Midnight, the government has gone into shutdown.

A government shutdown certainly makes teaching a class about National Parks more interesting. What does it mean for the parks? For starters, National Parks Traveler reports the NPS will furlough over 20,000 employees.

Yellowstone Insider blog reports that, "In the event there is a government shutdown tonight, visitors will be immediately asked to leave Yellowstone National Park, and those staying overnight will be asked to leave in the next few days."

USA Today says that Sandy Hook has already removed the goats that eat their poison ivy.

The Argus Leader reports that the governor of South Dakota has offered to use state funds and workers to keep Mount Rushmore open.

The Ku Klux Klan will need to find someplace other than the Gettysburg Battlefield for their rally this weekend.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, which usually gets 2 million leaf-peeping visitors in October, will still be open for driving but facilities like campgrounds will be closed. I am guessing that many of the bathrooms along the parkway will also be closed too.

In Utah a private river rafting company will have to shutdown because they need to use parklands to access the river, explains CNNMoney.

Public access will be closed, but oil drilling in parklands will continue.

With the NPS closing the park roads, the city of Estes Park is left with just one road in and out, according to KUSA.

Of course, our class field trip can't happen until the shutdown is reversed. Sorry.

29 September 2013

All the Trees of the Forest


Dr. Alon Tal

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 4:00 pm, Alampi Room
Marine and Coastal Sciences Building, Cook Campus

Dr. Tal is a professor in the Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology at Israel's Ben Gurion University, and is currently a visiting professor in the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University.  He has a law degree from Hebrew University and a doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health.  He is the author of several books, including Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel, (U. Cal. Press, Berkeley), and most recently All the Trees of the Forest: Israel's Woodlands From the Bible to the Present (Yale U. Press, Agrarian Studies Series).  From 2010 to 2013, Dr. Tal served as co-chairman of Israel's green party, the Green Movement.  He has been chairman of Life and Environment, an umbrella group for 80 environmental organizations in Israel, and was the founding director of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, a leading public interest law group.  Dr. Tal founded the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a graduate studies center in which Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian students join environmental scientists from around the world in an advanced interdisciplinary research program concerning ecology, pollution, and water management. 

Dr. Tal's lecture is sponsored by the Executive Dean of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the Rutgers Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution.

27 September 2013

The ground is swalloing up this landscape

The NY Times reports on a sinkhole that is opening up in Southern Louisiana and sucking down the landscape with it. You can watch some of it as it happens:
This isn't the first time that part of Louisiana was sucked into the Earth. Visitors to Jefferson Island can see where a salt dome was dissolved and created a massive whirlpool. The History Channel explains:


This is a great weekend for a trip down to Tuckerton. It might be the biggest weekend of the year for this little town.

James van Sweden

James van Sweden, the renowned landscape architect who used luscious plant materials to create  colorful and dynamic landscapes with his partner Wolfgang Oehme, passed away last Friday. The NY Times has a full obituary.

24 September 2013

People Matter

Environmental “Behavior Change”: Information, Values, or Windows of Opportunity?

Janet Lorenzen
Department of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Date: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Time: 12:30-2:00 pm       
Location: Blake 131, Cook Campus

Please click on the following link to see the flyer:

Different perspectives on behavior change include the assertions that information shapes decision-making (rational choice theory), values influence behavior (drive theory), and habits guide social action (practice theory). This talk draws on data from 45 in-depth interviews and participant observation with three groups: (1) voluntary simplifiers, (2) religious environmentalists, and (3) green home owners. Each of these groups is attempting to go green and transition to a less carbon intensive lifestyle. The main finding supports practice theory, suggesting that changes in life (ie., having children or moving to a new city) which disrupt habits create windows of opportunity for people to re-think problems, change their practices, and set new paths for future action.

Janet is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University. She is primarily interested in strategic action and processes of social change. She studies the micro- and meso-level mechanisms which enable macro-level change. Her dissertation research focuses on the ways in which people reduce their consumption and go green. Her research is funded by a dissertation research grant from the Rutgers Initiative for Climate and Society and a dissertation writing fellowship from the American Association of University Women. Her work has been published in Human Ecology Review, Sociological Forum, and Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change.

To see additional events, please visit our  website: http://www.humanecology.rutgers.edu/events.asp

23 September 2013

Common Lecture: Gowanus Canal Conservancy

RULA Common Lecture – September 25, 2013
Cook/Douglass Lecture Hall, Room 110, Cook Campus

Hans Hesselein graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University in 2004. He has spent time working internationally in Germany as well as at several domestic landscape architecture firms, including his most recent position as an Associate at Dirtworks, PC in Manhattan. Hans joined the Gowanus Canal Conservancy as the Director of Special Projects in December, 2010 and was asked to serve as Executive Director in 2013. Throughout his time at the Conservancy, Hans has been responsible for developing and managing green infrastructure projects, watershed planning initiatives and volunteer stewardship programming. Hans comes to the Conservancy with a strong background in horticulture, construction, community engagement and landscape architecture.

Presentation Summary: Listed as a federal Superfund site in 2010, the Gowanus Canal is one of America's most polluted bodies of water and one of Brooklyn's hottest neighborhoods. Subjected to almost 200 years of industrial pollution and sewage overflows, it is also the subject of local folklore and affection. Join us for a presentation that will illuminate the complex natural history and cultural forces that shaped the Gowanus Canal, a discussion of what contamination exists, where it came from and what is being done to address it. The presentation will also explore the Gowanus Canal Conservancy's open space planning initiatives and volunteer program, which organizes direct-action stewardship events that are focused on cleaning and greening the watershed.

Gowanus Canal Conservancy Overview: 
The Gowanus Canal Conservancy is a community-based non-profit organization that was formed in 2006 to serve as the environmental steward for the Gowanus Canal Watershed. Our vision is an open, clean and alive Gowanus Canal Watershed, which involves the following focus areas:

Making it open: Creating green space and park land along the Canal’s shores. Getting it clean: Ensuring the water, soil and air of the watershed are healthy. Bringing it alive: Fostering ecological, business and cultural activity in the watershed.

Among our most significant current activities include the Conservancy’s Clean & Green Volunteer Program (1,400 volunteers and 5,700 hours served over past 12 months), Green Infrastructure design and construction projects (about $1.6 million), open space planning initiatives (award-winning Sponge Park masterplan) and our compost program which provides rich compost to help restore soil health in public green spaces, parks and tree pits (100 tons processed in 2012).