26 July 2013

Friday photos

With the threatened reduction of arts funding, today seemed like a good day to see some photos of different kinds of public art.

25 July 2013

Defunding the arts and sciences?

The House Appropriations Committee has passed a budget that would cut the National Endowment for the Arts budget next year by 49%, and the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution by 19%. Here are some photos from past trips to the Smithsonian and NGA.

23 July 2013

A mapping app for your phone

Quadstreaker is a fascinating new iPhone app that has really caught my attention. It is essentially a game for exploring the real world. As you run errands or bike a new path, it runs in the background mapping your movements. As you visit more quads, cities, or states, you can move up levels or climb the countless leaderboards.

AllTHingsD quotes Quadstreaker founder Scott Kendall describing the appeal: “I’ve designed Quadstreaker for me and people like me: Explorer-achievers who like maps, collecting — and a sense of completion.”

Geekwire reports how far he was willing to go for that last quad:
To streak one last, particularly difficult quad in Pioneer Square made inaccessible by fences and train yards, he had to not only walk to the end of a big CenturyLink parking garage, but stick his phone out the side of the building. If he couldn’t have shared the accomplishment, he said, he might have felt just a little more … well, weird.
Are there enough completists and competitive explorers out there to make the app a success? Time will tell. But the potential audiences for it could be interesting.

As an explorer, I can't imagine that an app or a game could get me to explore more than I already do. But, for younger urbanites who haven't been bit by the wanderlust bug, the app could have the effect of encouraging more wandering. In the Vimeo video below, Quadstreaker quotes one if its users as saying, that it "challenges me to get out more and see more of the city that I live in." Think about the impact if we could get overweight or obese urban youth inspired to explore their city more.

17 July 2013

PlaNetizen on Laurie Olin

Laurie Olin is clearly one of the most notable landscape architects practicing today. Mark Hough has written a short feature in PlaNatizen on Laurie Olin's accomplished career, as he is about to receive the National Medal for the Arts from President Obama.

15 July 2013

The end of Miami?

Jeff Goodell writes in Rolling Stone that Miami is a doomed city.  He writes about an imagined Hurricane that hits the city in 2030 and an ultimate demise of the city that leaves it as an unusual tourist destination. "And still, the waters kept rising, nearly a foot each decade. By the latter end of the 21st century, Miami became something else entirely: a popular snorkeling spot where people could swim with sharks and sea turtles and explore the wreckage of a great American city." after the future scenarios,  he analyzes the overall situation making it clear how many different factors contribute to the problem in Miami: rising sea level, more intense storms, high water table, nuclear reactors on the coast (with more proposed), and startlingly flat terrain (half of the land, he reports, surrounding Miami is less than 5 feet above sea level). With only modest inundation, Miami starts getting cut off from the rest of Florida. And, writes Goodell, those reactors get isolated from the mainland with only three feet of sea level rise:
"I went out there anyway. I was denied access to the inner workings, but I got a very nice view of two aging 40-year-old reactors perched on the edge of a rising sea with millions of people living within a few miles of the plant. It was as clear a picture of the insanity of modern life as I've ever seen."

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Coupled with the Bill McKibben piece in Rolling Stone last year that distills the latest depressing science on climate change, things seem stark for South Beach. Here are his three numbers that should scare you:
  • 2° Celsius 
  • 565 Gigatons 
  • 2,795 Gigatons 
This isn't exactly news. The NY Times  mapped out scenarios for a variety of cities last year and Miami instantly stood out. But together these two Rolling Stone pieces get a strong Places and Spaces recommendation. And we recommend readers visit the beaches around Miami and the Everglades now, while they can.

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09 July 2013

Sandy Shore news

According to the Star-Ledger, the NJ Supreme Court has ruled that Harvey Cedars couple does not have to be reimbursed for a lost view that is blocked the the state's rebuilding of a dune that will protect them and their neighbors. If the decision seems obvious to you, make sure you read the comments after the article.

The Star-Ledger also reports that many shore homeowners are finally realizing that they can't repair the damage and will have to remove their old houses and rebuild. It isn't clear whether they will get help from their banks or will rebuild in new ways, like modular construction.

And, despite encouragement to builder smarter and greener and dune-friendly, legislators are considering a bill that would green light new development in high-hazard coastal areas. Remember how well the amusement park on a pier held up? Would it be a good idea to encourage more of that?

08 July 2013

Geomatics Instructor position

Instructor in Geomatics and Geodesign for the Department of Landscape Architecture

With the emergence of geospatial information technologies as a key innovation in the study of changing natural and social systems and their interactions with the overall environment, there is an increased need to expand and enhance the GI Science instruction at the undergraduate and graduate level. The Department of Landscape Architecture of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, invites applications for a 10-month Instructor position for the 2013-2014 academic year.

The successful candidate will advance knowledge and practice in the area of geographic information science and related geospatial technology applications and facilitate an inclusive and interdisciplinary approach to teaching and training students in GIS. The successful candidate will be able to direct instruction to students from multiple disciplines, including Landscape Architecture; Ecology Evolution and Natural Resources; and Human Ecology. The candidate will be expected to not only teach students on the use of GIS technology, but also how to interpret data and results in an environmental and public policy context. The position also requires an organized person who can oversee and expand the undergraduate certificate program in Environmental Geomatics.

Department and Program : The Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers offers two majors: a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (accredited) and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning and Design (three options: Environmental Planning, Environmental Geomatics, and Landscape Industry), as well as a graduate program 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 fourteen full-time faculty, several part-time lecturers, approximately 140 undergraduate students, and 30 graduate students. The Environmental Geomatics program is in collaboration with the Walton Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis ( www.crssa.rutgers.edu ). 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 and ecosystems within the state provide an excellent learning laboratory for land use-planning, policy analysis, site design and environmental management issues.

Qualifications : Candidates will be required to have an advanced knowledge of both geospatial information science and geodesign, with the ideal candidate possessing extensive experience in spatial/geostatistical data analysis and GIS-related programming (e.g., Python). Preference will be given to candidates who have advanced degrees in geospatial sciences, and degrees in planning, geography or ecology, and who have significant experience with practical applications of GIS used to support the analysis and management of significant environmental and social science issues.

Responsibilities : Teaching responsibilities include instruction in beginning and advanced lecture-lab courses and seminars associated with GIS and Geodesign. The position may also include teaching or co-teaching geo-design studios. These courses will serve undergraduate and graduate students in multiple disciplines and therefore will require application of GIS tools and techniques useful for land use-planning, site design, environmental science, and public policy research.

Application : For full consideration, candidates should provide the following by July 31, 2013.
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.

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:
David Tulloch, Search Committee Chair
Department of Landscape Architecture
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
93 Lipman Drive, Blake Hall
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8524

Places to See

Slate ran a piece on the unappreciated Stairway to Heaven on Oahu.

05 July 2013

GIS internship in Southern California

As the entire GIS world descends upon San Diego for the Esri User Conference, it is worth noting that SANDAG is looking for a GIS Intern for up to a year. A good opportunity with a great organization if you can make it work.

Friday photos

Urban plazas get a lot of different uses. This Friday's photos provide a German spin on public use (OK, so the last one is actually Austrian, but only by about 5 miles).

03 July 2013

The ASLA announces the newest Jot D. Carpenter Award Winner

The NOLA Times-Picayune reports that LSU's Max Conrad has been named as the 2013 recipient of the ASLA Jot D. Carpenter Award, the society's highest award for teaching.

If you look at the list of past winners on the ASLA's website, you'll see that LSU appears to be the first school to land 2 Carpenter Awards:
 2013 Max Z. Conrad, FASLA
 2012 Herrick Smith, FASLA
 2011 George Curry, FASLA
 2010 John F. Collins, FASLA
 2009 Dennis J. Day, FASLA
 2008 Linda Jewell, FASLA
 2007 Terence G. Harkness, FASLA
 2006 Donald L. Collins, FASLA
 2005 Robert S. "Doc" Reich, FASLA
 2004 Marvin I. Adleman, FASLA
 2003 Craig W. Johnson, ASLA
 2002 Alton A. Barnes Jr., FASLA
 2000 Roy DeBoer, FASLA

Geaux Tigers!