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