27 January 2016

A new life for Pershing Park

The NY  Times reports that the National Park Service is reviewing a proposal to turn Washington DC's downtrodden Pershing Park into a new National World War I Memorial. The current park was a notable late modernist example of the work of M. Paul Freidberg built in the early 1980s with plantings by Oehme van Sweden. The Culutral Landscape Foundation has created a record of the park as it was intended and they note that the park is now eligible to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Watch this story. This could end in a fairly high profile conflict between preservationists and WWI advocates.

23 January 2016

Resilience strategies

This weekend there will be stories about coastal flooding. But The Nature Conservancy reports on three NJ towns that are fighting storms with eologically-powered solutions. How many towns on the shore would have saved money this weekend with more marshes and dunes?

22 January 2016

Friday Fotos: Postindustrial

With a long weekend ahead, I thought I should post an extra long photoset. On Wednesday, Dr. Wolfram Hoefer talked with  our students about the post industrial landscapes of Germany's Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord (mapped). This is an old industrial site that has been converted into a pretty amazing park.  The design by Latz + Partner is both an icon of brownfields redevelopment and contemporary landscape architecture.Although my photos are from a cloudy day, they give a sense of the large post-industrial site.

Many more photos after the break...

21 January 2016

Changing Ahwahnee

The Ahwahnee Hotel is being forced to change its name. Will the Ahwahnee Principles have to undergo the same change?

Methane map

A very cool example of how digital mapping can help visualize complex environmental problems comes from efforts to show the methane gas around Porter Ranch, CA. The map shows concentrations of the invisible gas, methane. Of course, the map only shows us the conditions, it doesn't clearly dictate the next step.

20 January 2016

Mapping Ebola

 With epidemics, there are different scales of mapping. The cases happen to individuals, but the outbreak happens at regional and national scales. you can see mapping at this scale in the Esri Story Map of Ebola Outbreaks from 1976-2014.

But Esri's Hugh Keegan worked with the UN WHO to map Ebola but was given street addresses of cases. He gave a great talk at Harvard last year about the problems he faced.

Transit planning that works like a videogame?

Governing magazine reports on a new software app called Remix that empowers transit planners. They quote Joshua Poe, a planner in Louisville, as saying, "Transit planners have been lacking a long time in anyone building software with us in mind in terms of our daily needs." The tool really looks like the sort of spatially-enabled information-laden app that is usually talked about at the Geodesign Summit.

15 January 2016


The Porto, Portugal landscape architecture firm, Oh!Land Studio, is getting attention for some interesting projects. Check out their square market of carapinheira park.They have a lot of projects on their website considering that they were founded in 2015.

Friday Fotos: Queens

Yesterday I posted a BBC story praising what they called boring places in Europe. But for those unable to travel to Europe, there are closer places that are mistakenly called boring. Maybe some of these rainy day photos from Queens will help you find a place with which to connect.

Flushing Main Street is a neighborhood that is almost like a trip overseas.

Flushing also has some truly historic areas. The Old Quaker Meeting House is hundreds of years old. But Queens was also home to the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs.

 Olmsted's Forest Hills is a great stop. 

And sprinkled throughout are interesting benches and planters and fences and lions.

It doesn't have to be Queens. Just find a place you don't know well and explore. The world is filled with places, and few are as boring as people like to say.

14 January 2016

Boring places

This is a great time to be thinking about study abroad for the summer. Late last semester we heard about landscape architecture in Croatia. Our department has a class in Germany (There will probably be a full description at our common lecture on Jan 20).

I worry that some students wait for the big opportunities in places like Paris or Rome, but the BBC ran a piece this week called In Praise of Boring Places, that will leave you yearning for smaller alternatives. "They alter our “muscle memory” – our natural inclination to grow accustomed to anything – and, in the process, make us stronger, better. Isn’t that why we travel in the first place?"

Psychogeography for planners

Psychogeography is the term for how our places - our cities, neighborhoods, streets, parks - shape our psychology or "condition the things we do and think." In Ryan Holeywell's interview with neuroscientist Colin Ellard, it is clear that the differences between our cities and their suburbs are linked with the mental well-being of their residents. How much of this should change our designs for our ccities?

13 January 2016


While getting your brain in gear for a new semester, this is a great time to read over Kathryn Shulz's list of the best facts she learned from books in 2015. (#8 on her list has really stuck with me)

11 January 2016

Princeton Battlefield

The Cultural Landscape Foundation has weighed in on one of New Jersey's special landscapes: the Princeton Battlefield. While part of the site is a State Park, part of it is owned by the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS).

TCLF is concerned about the current threat to the IAS portion of the site: "The current IAS proposal calls for construction of fifteen faculty housing units on the very spot where historians believe Washington’s charge struck the British lines." With municipal authorities having given the project permission to begin, the site was cleared in November and December, but legal appeals may still change the course of this plan.