21 December 2017

Foto Favorites

In lieu of real blog posts, I offer this. I took a lot of photos this year, these are a few favorites. Not the best, just personal favorites.

21 November 2017

Permable pavers

The Dutch are trying out these beautiful new permeable pavers. Do you think that the American concern about liability would keep these from getting used in public spaces here? Have we move past worrying about a person using crutches or a cane, a woman with heels, or a toddler with small feet?

13 November 2017

GIS Day at Rutgers

GIS Day is almost here.

This Wedensday we will be celebrating that goodness of all things GIS from 7-9pm on the Cook Campus.

27 October 2017

GIS Day at Rowan College at Burlington County

Registration is OPEN
GIS Day at Rowan College at Burlington County
(formerly GIS Day at Burlington County College)
900 College Circle, Mount Laurel, NJ
Wednesday, November 15th , 8:30-4:30

We are pleased to announce that a full-day GIS Day event will once again be held at Rowan College at Burlington County (formerly Burlington County College) on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.   This event will consist of a morning of speaker presentations and an afternoon of GPS and GIS activities.  This year, the afternoon will once again include an opportunity to visit Palmyra Nature Cove’s Mobile Geoscience and Remote Sensing Lab.  There will also be an afternoon symposium hosted by MAGTUG, the Mid-Atlantic Geospatial Transportation Users Group (www.magtug.wordpress.com), which will focus on Geospatial Data Management for Local Agencies.

Morning topics will include how GIS is being used for:
·         Flood preparedness
·         Solar Siting
·         Inventorying historic architecture
·         Prioritizing land preservation

The afternoon will include:
·         Palmyra Nature Cove’s Mobile Geoscience and Remote Sensing Lab
·         MAGTUG symposium on Geospatial Data Management for Local Agencies with presentations covering
o   File/folder naming conventions and protocols/management tips
o   Web GIS & LiDAR as a platform for guide rail assessment
o   & more
·         GPS field activity
·         Self-paced GIS lab exercises

Registration is open at www.co.burlington.nj.us/gisdayatrcbc

We are also still accepting map submissions for the map gallery/contest for GIS Day.  More info is attached and at available at the link above.  

16 October 2017

Greening the Hunt

Are "darting safaris" an improvement over traditional safaris? Rick Schroeder will present a fascinating look at the topic on October 27.

11 October 2017

UAV/GPS Workshop at Rutgers

 Are you interested in learning how to use your smartphone or tablet as a GPS or GIS data collector while you’re out in the field? Are you curious about Drone Mapping? Join us on Monday, December 11th and Tuesday, December 12th for informative and interactive day long workshops.
To register, please visit http://gps-mapping.com/workshops/.

On December 11th, the workshop will explore the growing trend of using smartphones and tablets in the field as GPS/GIS data collection devices (BYOD – Bring Your Own Device). Carrying a specialized “GPS handheld” is no longer necessary to collect high-accuracy, feature-rich data. How accurate is the GPS chip inside your iPad? How can you get sub- meter or centimeter accuracy using your iPad, iPhone or Android device? Which software should you use on your smartphone/tablet to collect GPS/GIS data?

On December 12th, learn about how you no longer need a traditional FAA Pilot license or a $50,000 drone to start using UAVs for mapping and inspection. The FAA rules changed last summer so it’s much easier to start flying now.  Consumer drones are getting better, faster, less expensive and easier to fly.  The workshop will explore the current FAA rules for flying drones and what it takes to obtain a drone pilot certificate. It will also offer a discussion about different types of drones, costs, and capabilities. By attending you will learn about examples of products and data you can produce with an inexpensive drone.

Registration questions? Call Eric at (541) 829-3443 or ericpg@gps-mapping.com
Click here to see a flyer for more information and for a mail in registration form.

10 October 2017

The real cost of invasive plants

New Brunswick Today reports that the City of New Brunswick has been forced to raise its water and sewer rates because of invasive plants growing in its water supply system. The infestation is miles away from New Brunswick, but the cost of invasives is real for Hub City residents.

09 October 2017

01 October 2017

MVV at the NY Times

The NY Times has posted a very short video of Michael Van Valkenburg. It feels like a telling sign of where landscape architecture is today. The highest-profile LAs are increasingly treated with a seriousness that parallels artists and scientists.

28 September 2017

Island recovery

The coverage of hurricane damage to the islands is still slowly leaking out.

While Puerto Rico's crisis is clearly the largest, Rutgers has developed a relationship with St Croix over the last several years, so is has been particularly tough watching the stories from that island.

Local news has been very hit and miss. The St Croix Source is understandably more focused on recovery (the virtue of the week was gentleness). The VI Daily News has included some interesting updates.  A station in Tampa posted a few photos.

The New York Times has a compelling set of images and stories from the American Virgin Islands that are heartbreaking. They go inside the main hospital on St Thomas and report that it will most likely have to be torn down and rebuilt.

"Reinforcing the sense of despair, St. Croix was hit especially hard by Maria after being spared the worst of Irma’s ferocity. And what had been a staging ground there for relief operations for St. Thomas and St. John was suddenly thrown into a state of emergency."

BTW, over the last month there have been so many different NPS parks and parkland impacted, that they keep their news on a separate website: https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/severe-weather-response.htm  The news ranges from Kitty Hawk to De Soto to Buck Island. Although for several properties, the current status is little more than "All employees have been accounted for."

13 September 2017

Strategies for Protecting the Navesink River

Turning Data Into Action 
Strategies for Protecting the Navesink River

Monday, September 18
6:30 pm-8:30pm
(Registration begins at 6:00 pm)
Huber Wood Environmental Center
25 Brown's Dock Road
(Locust) Middletown Township

Join the professional staff from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Water Resources Program and ANJEC Staff:
  • Ensure new development is in compliance with stormwater management regulations.
  • Review checklists for site plan applications and training on the 
    E-Tool: Asking Right Questions in Stormwater Review.
  • Learn to take data from collection tools such as Navesink River pathogen pollution reports or  Rutgers's Impervious Coverage Assessment Action and implement changes through ordinances.
  • Township staff, officials, planning board/environmental commission members and interested public invited.
Please register by September 12: 
Registration fee: $20 (includes light supper and workshop materials)
If your commission/committee is on the ANJEC Workshop Plan, there is no charge to attend.  To register: email ANJEC or call 973-539-7547.
Funding for this program is provided by 
The Mary Owen Borden Founation

24 July 2017

The manholes of Prospect Park

In a wonderful bit of writing, Karrie Jacobs turns the mundane discovery of a manhole into an exploration of the greatness of Olmsted's Prospect Park. The story wraps around to talk to Christian Zimmerman who is helping keep the park faithful to the original Olmstedian vision. Finally, Jacobs revisits something Olmsted worked to explain to the city - is it an urban park or a rural landscape?

Olmsted’s answer, in short, is that it’s a “special type of rural landscape,” one made specifically to be used by an unusually large number of people—in 2017, about 10 million a year. As Olmsted argued, “to permanently secure a high degree of rural charm in the public ground of a large city, special preparations are required.” Indeed they are.

Take a quick visit to Curbed to read the story.

17 July 2017

innovative projects

The Architect's Newspaper recently published a list of "Six innovative American projects you should know about." The most subtle solution (by Joan Nassauer) seems to be the one that is most likely to accomplish its goals. A couple seem so grand as to improve their chances at eventual (or near future) failure. Time well tell.

14 July 2017

The bobcat economy

According to the Washington Post, one wild bobcat in Yellowstone has been estimated to generate more than $300,000 of economic activity. This does not mean that he could be sold for his pelt, which has a market value of $315. instead, as the article explains, he gets people to spend real money:

"By crunching costs, from filling up a gas tank and guide fees to gear purchases and revenue earned from photo sales, Elbroch and his colleagues found that the Madison River bobcat brings in well over a quarter of a million dollars each year."

What is your cat doing for you?

(BTW, NJ fans will note that they slip in a reference to Island Beach State Park)

12 July 2017

New parks tool

The Greenprint system now has a major hub supporting park efforts in a variety of settings. Next City reports on the Greenprint Resources Hub which has been developed through combined efforts of the Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land and the Conservation Fund. The site is focused on the benefits of parks, and offers to help "Make the case for conservation with a greenprint".
The Greenprint Resource Hub allows interested parties to explore case studies (like the one in Hawaii), locate greenprints by geography, review best practices, and, perhaps most importantly, explore various funding strategies and policies that help enable greenprints.
While it seems like it is targeted towards park departments and NGOs, students will find it very helpful for projects, too.

10 July 2017

the dry fountains of DC

The Washington Post took a look at the problem with designers' heavy use of fountains in their designs.
Almost half of the Park Service water features in the District are in need of repair, including damaged grates at the cauldron-like spout on Theodore Roosevelt Island and the strainers and impeller motors at the U.S. Navy Memorial. The towering Dupont Circle fountain is tilting, its huge top basin inching off-kilter and slowly spoiling the flow from its three scuppers. 
As they point out, some have been off for a decade, like the Columbus fountain in front of Union Station. (BTW, be sure to follow the link inside the quote for more on the DuPont Circle Fountain)

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

Mapping the moving forest

 Climate change should cause tree species to move North, right? Well, it seems that (by one measure) they are moving West more than North. The Atlantic has a fascinating report that includes a killer map.

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.