28 March 2017

Master Plans

As an assigned reading for Fundamentals of Environmental Planning, students should look over this ANJEC piece on municipal Master Plans in New Jersey.  But they can optionally look over this scan of the 2006 Chatham Borough Master Plan. Does the quality of the scan say more about 2006 technology or the Borough's commitment to engaging the public in their plan? Before you judge, the slides from their 2016 update seem much more engaging.

And, in case you lost the link, this great Steve Strom handout on Suitability Analysis.

27 March 2017

Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills 2014 Reexamination Report of the Master Plan.

In our textbook, the community Master Plan is described as a chart of collective hope. That is a powerful summary of what these official documents (and processes) can represent at their best.

So, take a few minutes to look over this municipal Master Plan from Parsippany, New Jersey. More precisely, it is the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills 2014 Reexamination Report of the Master Plan.

It includes seemingly boring but important things, like the date it was adopted. But it also includes elements from the inventory and analysis process that we studied in class, like the age sex pyramid shown below. And it includes several pages of maps of the Land Use Plan for an area that is pretty representative of much of New Jersey.

21 March 2017

Student-friendly competition

Registration is open for the 30th annual NJDEP GIS Mapping Contest. The event features the best non-commercial mapping in the State of New Jersey. GIS users from federal, state, local government, non-profit agencies, as well as students are eligible to enter the contest.  Attendance is open to all.

Review the rules, categories and register online at the NJDEP GIS web site:

New This Year:
Two Internet mapping categories – Best Story Map and Best Analytical Web Map

For Mapping Contest questions contact the Bureau of GIS Help Desk at 609-777-0672 or mailto:gisnet@dep.state.nj.us.

20 March 2017

More salamanders

A Salamander Movement seems to be emerging to help protect the movement of salamanders. The US Fish and Wildlife Service posted a great piece on efforts in our area to help those little guys safely cross streets. We disturbed their habitat, so we should be helping them cope.

18 March 2017

Design lecture: Public/Private Partnerships


Quennell Rothschild & Partners

“Public/Private Partnerships: Quennell Rothschild & Partners”

Rutgers University - Landscape Architecture Lecture Series

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 | 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Cook/Douglass Lecture Hall, Room 110, Cook Campus

Rutgers Landscape Architecture Alumni

15 March 2017

City quote

“How’s anyone ever going to come up with a book or a painting or a symphony or a sculpture that can compete with a great city? You can’t. When you look around, every street, every boulevard is its own special art form.”
 - Gil in Midnight in Paris

14 March 2017

LAM photo outtakes

Landscape Architecture Magazine keeps a running collection of photos that didn't quite fit into the latest issue, called the Art Director's Cut. The latest is a beautiful evening photo along Chcago's Riverwalk.Take a peek at the entire collection.

13 March 2017

Phones as remote sensing scanners

HawkSpex mobile is a new app (public release later this year) that will turn your smartphone into a multi-spectral scanner. While your iPhone will be limited in range, I imagine this could be a very interesting educational tool for classroom introductions of multi-spectral analysis.

Potentially a very cool app.

09 March 2017

Local planning board meeting

Tonight (Thursday) is the monthly meeting of the Highland Park Planning Board. Based on the agenda posted online, there is a little business to be conducted. But it is hard to tell if it will be very contentious. If you go, the meeting starts at 7:30 at Boro Hall, 221 South Fifth Ave. Highland Park, NJ in the meeting room just inside the front door.

08 March 2017

Jame Rose book

Looking for some Spring Break reading??

New book by Professor Dean Cardasis.

Prof. Cardasis research reintroduced James Rose to the canon of American Twentieth Century Landscape Architecture. Rose was a classmate of Garret Eckbo and Dan Kiley at Harvard. This is the first biography of Rose – an artist who explored his profession with words and built works and fearlessly critiqued the developing patterns of land use he witnessed during a period of rapid suburban development.

06 March 2017

Steve Strom's Suitability Analysis notes

Here are the old handwritten Suitability Analysis notes from when Steve Strom used these techniques in his studio. This four page set of Suitability Analysis notes is online now as a PDF. His description of weighted analysis lacks a graphic, so I created a digital version of both some of his graphics and a new Weight and Rate graphic that should help you work through it all as you look ahead to our next exam:To be clear, each grid shows the very same piece of land but being rated for a different issue (soils, slope, vegetation). Presumably that is fairly objective. But each individual criterion is then weighted based on relative importance. In this case, Slope has rather subjectively been weighted as 5 times more important that Vegetation. If you click on my graphic it will enlarge and be more readable.

03 March 2017

Species extinctions under climate change: prediction, understanding, prevention

Ecology & Evolution Graduate Program Seminar

H. Resit Akcakaya
Stony Brook University

"Species extinctions under climate change: prediction, understanding, prevention"

Thursday March 9, 2017      4:00 p.m.
Alampi Room, Marine and Coastal Sciences

02 March 2017


The world of geomatics is changing fast. And, like Google Maps, it will reach non-technical audiences in their daily lives. Read about Planet's immediate plans in The Atlantic.
“You can use the medium-resolution constellation to scan the planet every day, and then—say you see a plane crash or a flood in a town—you can use the high-resolution satellites to snap those changes,” says Will Marshall, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Planet.

01 March 2017

Design videos

We had a conversation about design and planning today. I tried to find some interesting videos helping people walk through interesting examples.

The first surprise for me was the impressive set of videos from Smarthistory. These are Art History videos from Khan Academy. Two of them featured great designs, walking students through Maya Lin's Vietnam Veteran's Memorial and the timeless zen garden at Ryoan Ji.

Some of the videos I found were more documentary in style. The first one here is an older documentary about Fallingwater. Despite the older video, the content provides some nice insight. The second is a documentary about one of my favorite architects, Fay Jones.

There were also some that were more like visitors' walk throughs. This one of the Seattle Public Library let's you see much of the place.

Not every design gets executed without a hitch. This video reflects on the early problems that Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall experienced. The next video walks through the realities of living in Celebration, FL.