12 June 2017

Catching up

The NY Times critics have published their list of the 25 best movies of the new century. While I have made a substantial dent in the list (I read the reviews often enough that I am not surprised by much of the list) I think I need to take a few days off to catch up. This heat wave seems like the perfect time to start.

Central Park news

Amazing to see how much notable news emanates from Central Park.

There is a proposal to build a more accessible inclined path to Belvedere Castle. Opponents say that it would be out character for the park. The article interviews Theodore Grunewald, who misrepresents the work of FLW:
Walking along the path, Mr. Grunewald said the same access could be provided by a subtler regrading. He said the planned walkway would tie Belvedere Castle to the land “in a way Frank Lloyd Wright would have done.”
“It’s a modern idea, the opposite of Vaux,” he said, shaking his head. “There has to be a better way to do this.”
 Wright loved surprises, too.

 Of course, the recent Shakespeare in the Park drama has made national news, too.

Most importantly, Doug Blonsky is retiring after leading the Central Park Conservancy for 32 years. The Rutgers alum has been credited with bringing the park back from the doldrums (if not death's door).

05 June 2017

Expert advice: Picking a major

Each summer Places and Spaces gets discovered by a whole new group of students looking at majors like landscape architecture or environmental planning and design. While many of our readers are well those pre-career days, some will appreciate this bit of help.

A few years ago the NY Times published a helpful piece on Four Steps to Choosing  Major. (It should also include a minor with that)  I like the section on why you should ignore people telling you to follow your passion. But also the quote from Veronica Belmont saying: “If you’re really passionate about a topic, and you want to work in that field, you should already be doing it.”

31 May 2017

Landscape Project 3.3

If you want to understand ecological landscapes in New Jersey, one of the important tools you need to be using is the data/information from the NJDEP's Landscape Project. The new version (3.3) of the Landscape Project has been released, and you'll want to check it out for any regional habitat or wildlife studies.

23 May 2017

Iowa Data Bike

In GIS we know about data banks. But maybe it is time get to know the data bike. It will help collect data and even images that can be posted on Google Street View.

18 May 2017

02 May 2017

Source code

At Rutgers we are currently celebrating Reading Days. For those looking for something short to read, these histories of NYC zoning would be a great investment of a few minutes of your time.

For starters, the Institute of Public Administration at Baruch has posted a helpful overview of the history. New York City has an official page on city planning and the historic 1916 zoning code. The trigger for the whole thing was the Equitable Building, as explained by the Gotham Observer.

But if you get hooked, the original code is online from NYC Planning.

Most visitors will agree, the city has turned out alright.


Even though they are mostly dealing with things like depleted uranium, the Argonne National Lab has a nice explanation of Environmental Impact Statements and the EIS process.

The PDF of a DEIS is available for the expansion of a marine sanctuary. The carefully crafted graphics make it clear that the document was meant for a broad public audience.

24 April 2017

Kelo video

This video visits Suzette Kelo 10 years after the original court case. It is interesting to hear her say that she has not returned to the Fort Trumbull neighborhood since she (and her house) left. That is remarkable considering how small New London is. Clearly the emotions are still strong. Note: the video is an advocacy video, so filter accordingly.

Duke's Law School presents a more explanatory video. It still interviews some key players. It also has a more academic discussion. The video incorporates some graphics I could not get for class.

21 April 2017

Martha Schwartz

In last night's Cekada Memorial Lecture, Martha Schwartz mentioned some notable projects worth looking at more if you don't know them yet.

The 1994 Village of Yorkville Park


Manchester Exchange

Grand Canal Square in Dublin

20 April 2017

Musical weekend on Campus

This weekend the LTC is performing Oklahoma! at the Livingston Campus Center. Definitely worth some time for a classic American musical.

More about Curitiba

Jaime Lerner was the architect and mayor who oversaw the rapid transformation of Curitiba. After he had returned to private practice, he sat down for an interview with the American Society of Landscape Architects.

More importantly (since our DVD had a bad sector) You can see more about the BRT (Bus rapid Transit) system in his Ted Talk video. You can also see a recent update on this innovative system from The Guardian.

18 April 2017

Spatial learning

Our Geohealth Workshops are reaching more people than I had imagined, when we first started. A recent morning with some high school students in Elizabeth, NJ gave me a chance to share more about geohealth while we talked about the challenges of spatial learning.

One of the tools we used to spark a discussion about spatial cognition, was a seemingly simple 21 piece wood puzzle. How hard is 21 pieces? Plus, we made it based on a county map of New Jersey. We've all seen the counties of New Jersey, right? How hard could it be? Pretty hard it turns out.

Wanna' try? Come to the CRSSA Open House on April 29th at part of Rutgers Day. We'll have several of the puzzles for you to try out and test your skills. Plus, you can learn more about Geohealth

Still a state university?

If schools like New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico don't get any state funding, are they still state universities? Should NMSU go ahead and drop the S and sell its naming rights? Since Governor Martinez is not an obscure figure (she is chair of the Republican Governors Association), it is worth asking whether any other states might follow suit and abruptly end all state funding for state schools.

07 April 2017

Guest Lecture

LaGuardia Design Group
“Landscape Architecture in the Hamptons: the work and processes of The LaGuardia Design Group

Christopher LaGuardia FASLA founded the LaGuardia Design Group in 1993 and has received numerous awards and accolades including the ASLA Award of Excellence in Residential Design, The ASLA Honor Award, and Several NYASLA Merit Awards.

The LaGuardia Design group works at designing Landscapes that are sustainable and sensitive to the highly varied natural and manmade landscapes that constitute the Hamptons resort community.

Additionally, LaGuardia has lectured on his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the ASLA National Conference, The New York Center for Architecture and the Parish Art Museum.

Please see our schedule for other lectures.

06 April 2017

Newsweek interview with Martha Schwartz

Martha Schwartz is coming to town this month. Start preparing by reading her interview in Newsweek. Although it is relatively short, she squeezes in quite a bit:
"We  design places where people can interact and connect with each other. We plan so that people can live in a healthy, walkable environment and enjoy public spaces. We work in an integrative, collaborative and fluid process in order to design unique places that create memory, identity, and move the spirit."

04 April 2017

Tent City

A few years ago we had a common lecture on the informal housing of tent cities. At the time we were told that Lakewood was trying to get rid of theirs. It sounds like it is still there, but the Star-Ledger went down and visited one or two in Howell. This is not just a few dozen people, but a substantial informal community that planners and designers should be aware of.

03 April 2017

Nearby lecture

Recent Work: Diller Scofidio + Renfro

A lecture from Elizabeth Diller (Founding Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Professor of Architecture, Princeton University School of Architecture)

Monday, April 10th, 6:00pm
Betts Auditorium, School of Architecture
Some past projects in our region include:

  • Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2006)
  • Lincoln Center Public Spaces, New York, NY (2010)
  • High Line, New York, NY, Phases 1, 2, 3 (2009, 2011, 2014)