31 January 2014

How Should Climate Change Affect Land Conservation Strategies?

Ecology & Evolution Graduate Program Seminar
Dr. Morgan Tingley
 David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow
Princeton University

"How Should Climate Change Affect Land Conservation Strategies?"

Thursday, February 6, 2014
4:00 p.m. Alampi Room
Marine and Coastal Sciences

30 January 2014

Biomimicry and geodesign

Janine Benyus gave a fascinating and moving talk at the Geodesign Summit today. Her firm, Biomimicry 3.8, looks for new ways that design can be informed by natural processes and forms.  This isn't as much about look like nature as it is functioning like nature, especially in measurable ways.

To help others take a step forward, Benyus has developed a non-profit that is populating  AskNature.org with information and guidance.

Since the Geodesign Summit video might not get posted immediately, you could instead go back and watch one of her old TED videos on biomimicry.

27 January 2014

The worst place in the world?

A new geospatial competition for students has them trying to map out where the best or worst places in the world would be for different purposes. The Where in the World Challenge, from NGA, describes it like this:
The Intent for “Where in the World” challenge is to develop anticipatory spatiotemporal analytic skills to create and report “from the future” on the five best and five worst places to live on earth in the year 2025 based on ONE of the following criteria:
  • Overall best and worst places for all combined factors
  • Overall best and worst places for Water Resources
  • Overall best and worst places for Energy Resources
  • Overall best and worst places for Food Security
  • Overall best and worst places for Health
  • Overall best and worst places for Risk for Natural Disaster
A “place” could be a region, a country, a region within a country, or a large city.
 The deadline for registration is soon, so look into ASAP.

26 January 2014

Public lecture on coastal habitat restoration

Wednesday, January 29 at 4pm
Cook/Douglass Lecture Hall, Room 110, Cook Campus     
Carl Alderson is a Marine Resource Specialist with the NOAA Restoration Center, located at the Sandy Hook JJ Howard Marine Science Lab in Highlands, NJ. Carl provides oversight of coastal habitat restoration projects through NOAA’s Damage Assessment Remedial and Restoration Program (DARRP) and Community-based Restoration Grants Program (CRP) in the mid-Atlantic region. He is a graduate of Rutgers University, and is a Licensed Landscape Architect in NJ. Before joining NOAA, Carl worked for the City of New York and led a decade long effort to restore tidal wetlands, marine bird and fish habitat as compensation for natural resources damages resulting from oil spills in NY Harbor. Carl is recognized as a national leader in restoration of coastal wetlands and bay habitats.

The rest of the schedule looks great too:

23 January 2014

Environmental Planning 2014

As a quick guide to resources for Fundamentals of Environmental Planning, here are some links to explore and enjoy on this wintry afternoon:

On research in landscape architecture

As we launch a semester on research in landscape architecture, I would like to encourage readers to look over two very different resources.

The first the standardbearing journal in the field, the Landscape Journal. Take some time to look over the journal's overview and explore how it presents itself. A different lens through which to look at the Journal is Google Scholar's list of most cited papers.

The second resource to explore is the Landscape Architecture Body of Knowledge (LABoK). This document was developed as an initial stab at describing the specialized knowledge that comprises the intellectual content of our field. A close reading of the document will show that the authors understood that this as a flawed first attempt. Unfortunately, it is now 10 years old and still without a 2nd edition, despite a decade of rapid change in landscape architecture.

A critical fork in the road

"The profession of landscape architecture and the schools perpetuating it stand at a critical fork in the road.  One fork leads to a significant field of endeavor contributing to the betterment of human environment, while the other points to a subordinate field of superficial embellishment.  The question the profession and the schools must answer i s which road shall be followed and what adjustments may be made adequately to prepare landscape architects to solve the rising problems.  The need for comprehensive landscape architectural planning is not diminishing; on the contrary it is increasing.  The expansion of population and increase in complexity of environmental organization make the need greater today than ever before in history."

Hideo Sasaki, 1950
"Thoughts on education in landscape architecture"
in Landscape Architecture Magazine

22 January 2014

It is about time

Twenty years ago this winter I made a presentation at a meeting of the Wisconsin Land Information Association showing clearly that government could be cheaper and more efficient through the use of geospatial technologies. But through the efforts of the Wisconsin Land Information Program and individual county leaders (usually LIOs) efforts could be coordinated to create further savings. We went on to document how a consortium of counties saved on image acquisition, how agencies coordinated to reduce duplication and how cooperation was improving outcomes.

Well, the US GAO has finally caught wind of these radical ideas. Their new report's title says it all, Geospatial Information: OMB and Agencies can reduce duplication by making coordination a priority. An interesting twist came in the section where they call out the FGDC for not making agency coordination a higher priority. There were some other interesting findings for GIS policy geeks, so head over and read it.

17 January 2014

Rebuild by Design for NJ

The Star-Ledger looks at four of the post-Sandy designs from the Rebuild by Design competition. As the day goes on the comments could become revealing. The designs aren't finalized yet, so the this is a set of preview images. Still worth a peek.

16 January 2014

Grand Canyon quote #2

"Wherever we look there is but a wilderness of rocks; deep gorges, where the rivers are lost below cliffs and towers and pinnacles; and ten thousand strangely carved forms in every direction, and beyond them mountains blending with the clouds."
- John Wesley Powell

14 January 2014

Big day at SCOTUS for Rails to Rails?

Today is a big day at the Supreme Court for those who are tired of seeing underutilized railroad corridors converted in popular, public trail systems that encourage physical activity and connections with the environment.

The argument calendar says that today the Court will hear arguments in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States. Acording to the SCOTUS Blog, the issue at hand will be "Whether the United States retained an implied reversionary interest in rights-of-way created by the General Railroad Right of Way Act of 1875 after the underlying lands were patented into private ownership."

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says that the stakes are high. An adverse decision "could also threaten existing rail-trails across America that utilize federally-granted rights-of-way."

13 January 2014

Can you imagine a city without cars? Hamburg can. Hamburg's Green Network Plan is designed to eliminate the need for cars in the city in 20 years.

Grand Canyon quote

"We are three quarters of a mile in the depths of the earth, and the great river shrinks into insignificance as it dashes its angry waves against the walls and cliffs that rise to the world above; the waves are but puny ripples, and we but pigmies, running up and down the sands or lost among the boulders."

"We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not. Ah, well! We may conjecture many things. The men talk as cheerfully as ever; jests are bandied about freely this morning; but to me the cheer is somber and the jests are ghastly."

 - John Wesley Powell

08 January 2014

GIS history quote

“When conferences end, of course, most cartographers have to come down to earth and return to all the familiar problems of the map factory and its inexorable schedules. Perhaps an encouraging first step would be a cost reduction in automated cartography of an order of magnitude - but in itself even that is not enough, we have to try and look further ahead. Many of the surveyor/cartographers who came to our seminar believed that their function was to "get the geometry right" and everything else would fall into place. Some of them left also believing that it was important to get the topology, the taxonomy and the structure right as well.” 

- David Bickmore, Royal College of Art
at Auto-Carto 5 (1982)

07 January 2014

Not fans of FEMA

NJ Spotlight has posted a profile of the leader of Stop FEMA Now, George Kasimos. The group is described as "an online group of residents opposed to the the new requirements to elevate their homes in accordance with the FEMA flood maps or else pay dramatically higher flood insurance premiums."

Kasimos moved into a lagoon community because he wanted to live close to the water, describing it to NJ Spotlight as living "the American dream." But the storm has changed all of that. While he thinks insurance has gotten too high, he is reported as conceding that people who live in flood-prone areas should pay more for flood insurance than people who don't. It remains unclear how much he thinks that people should pay for flood insurance if they don't need it.

In an area sometimes considered more politically conservative, it will be interesting to see how Stop FEMA Now fares as the call for the government to build protective sand dunes and subsidize insurance, potentially at a rate of tens of thousands of dollars per house per year. Meanwhile, outside groups on the right are upset at the scale of government dependency that flood insurance is creating.

The politics of the shore remain confused/confusing/jumbled/fascinating. Undertones of populism continue to bubble up on both sides of the aisle. We see is sometimes characterized as government-favoring liberals wanting less government support for home owners while some of their more conservative neighbors are suddenly hoping that government can step in to preserve their way of life.

There will be some who will see all of this as competing hypocrisy or self-serving political movements. But whatever it looks like to you, it looks to me like something that is going to remain interesting for quite some time.

03 January 2014

Seniors shifting after storm

It is no secret that the Jersey shore has a lot of seniors, but the Star-Ledger reports that Hurricane Sandy had the effect of forcing a lot of seniors into senior housing. The story focuses on examples from Little Egg Harbor.