31 December 2018

The intersection of art and the Lower Raritan

TaeHo Lee has posted a great interview with artist, Olga Bautista. Her work exploring natural materials and trash, will be displayed later in January at Kim's Bike Shop. I am looking forward to seeing the work because it sounds like she has found a way to connect personal or intimate interactions with plants and streams, with larger expressions about the forces nature.

The opening reception for Windows of Understanding is at the Zimmerli Art Museum on January 22nd. Olga’s art installation will be exhibited at Kim’s Bike Shop, 111 French St., starting on January 21st. From 10-noon on January 21 the Olga and the LRWP will participate in walking tours of the art installations and seed plantings at 10am and 2pm.

03 December 2018

Free Webinar

WEBINAR #4: Co-designing sustainable land systems with spatial analysis and mapping tools

TOMORROW! Tuesday, 4 December, 2018 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM EST 
Attendance is free!
The GLP working group on co-production is pleased to invite you to the fourth webinar of the webinar series on co-production in the field of land-system science.

The webinar is open to people already engaged in co-production, as well as to newcomers to the topic, who are not currently engaged in this exciting work. The webinar will focus on co-designing sustainable land systems with spatial analysis and mapping tools.
Land systems are inherently spatial. This means that participatory land use planning and management involve negotiation and decision-making processes on issues such as the location of things, activities, and responsibilities, or the connections and complementarities of functions among different areas. Therefore, tools that help visualising past and current, or modelling future states, extents, and interactions of spatial elements, can play a crucial role for the co-production of sustainable land systems.

The three speakers will provide examples on how various types of mapping and spatial analysis tools can be used in participatory processes:
Joan Bastide (Senior Research Scientist, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland. Coordinator of OneMap Myanmar project): In Myanmar, the allocation of land to large-scale palm oil plantations have generated severe conflicts between local communities, government, private companies and ethnic armed groups. In order to address the complex land disputes, stakeholders are now collaborating towards the co-production of land use assessment data and tools by mobilising drones, interactive web mapping, participatory data collection and validation, and multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms. Based on this process, unused land will be redistributed to landless communities and internally displaced populations.
Michael Uwemedimo (Project Director, CMAP, Nigeria). Michael’s project endeavours to give excluded communities in Port Harcourt (Nigeria) the power to put themselves on the map, to identify and analyse key problems and potentials, in view of giving focus to future planning interventions. Youth-led participatory mapping teams are leading the citywide data collection component. Their efforts have ensured that informal settlements across the city are now included in the most ambitious water and sanitation infrastructure project in Nigeria. In his presentation, Michael, will provide insights into this project, which will form the foundation of an inclusive City Development Strategy.
Giacomo Rambaldi (Senior Programme Coordinator, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, Netherlands). For the past 20 years, Giacomo has been animating a large community of practitioners engaged in the conduct of participatory mapping, later on dubbed as participatory GIS (PGIS). He will illustrate the diversity of PGIS practices with practical examples and then focus on the use of participatory 3D modelling and on case studies in the Pacific region where the participatory process and follow-up actions have led to profound positive change.
You can also view recordings of the first three webinars and download supplementary materials on the working group's homepage.

Registration Information
Registration is open to 1,000 people, but attendance is limited to the first 100 participants who join the meeting the day of the event, regardless of registration order. 
If you would like to receive copies of all presentations as well as a meeting recording link please register for the event even if you cannot attend.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

29 November 2018

Finally fixing up that dump

LA+ JOURNAL has a published the winning redesigns for Central Park. It is about time. When NYC first laid it out, they hired a guy that had never designed anything. Maybe this time they can get a licensed professional.

Plus, it looks like some of the winners finally take care of the uneven terrain that makes the park so difficult to get around.

28 November 2018

Interesting talk

'Is There Really a New Economy?' A Sociologist Tries to Understand New York's Innovation Complex
Sharon Zukin, Professor of Sociology
Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center

Friday, November 30, 2018
Academic Building West 6051
15 Seminary Place
New Brunswick

18 November 2018

Johnny Quispe lecture

The week of Thanksgiving can be a slow time, but this year it is loaded with opportunities. For readers of Places and Spaces, one stands out. Blake Hall's own Johnny Quispe will be speaking at the Lawrence Brook Watershed Partnership Membership Meeting, Tuesday, November 20th, at 7:30PM. The meeting is at the Milltown Senior Center.

The talk will provide an overview of sea level rise, its effects on coastal ecosystems, his research, and impacts on NJ.

Maplewood Memorial Park

Shout out to Rutgers alum Jennifer Ryan for her work helping restore the Olmsted Bros' Maplewood Memorial Park.

07 November 2018

New Imperative

Doug Richardson's latest ArcNews column is worth a minute of your time. In The New Imperative: Spatializing Health Research and Practice, he describes how the International Geospatial Health Research Network (IGHRN) is leading the way on issues at the intersection of health and mapping.

12 October 2018

ANJEC 2018

Had a good time at ANJEC's Environmental Congress today.

I talked about NJ Geoweb. Check it out if you don't know it. It has a primer and tutorial online. And NJ Map and GeoLab were there too.

Learned more about the Public Health and Our Ports: The Road to Clean Air Conference will be held on Friday, October 26th at Rutgers Center for Law and Justice.

04 October 2018

The Geospatial Data Act is almost law

For a while now, the GIS community has been trying to get the Geospatial Data Act passed by Congress. Yesterday, the bill finally passed out of Congress and headed down Pennsylvania Ave to await the President's signature, which is expected before Sunday.

In addition, the FAA Reauthorization bill asserted greater government authority over drones.

07 September 2018

Top 10 Shapers of the American Landscape

Here is the list of Top 10 Shapers that I am presenting in EDA listed in alphabetic order. For comparison purposes I have linked each one to its entry in Wikipedia, but these are not definitive descriptions. And the Top 10 Shapers tag at the end will find you a few other interesting links...


06 September 2018

Reserach in NJ

New Jersey has released a searchable online database called Research with New Jersey. While focused on STEM, it represents other areas at Rutgers, Rowan and other NJ schools. It helpfully allows visitors to browse by unit. For instance, you can see all of the work it includes for the Department of Landscape Architecture. As it gets updated a little more, it could become pretty useful for discovering potential advisors, collaborators and authors.

04 September 2018

Deer me

Lots of Internety deer references. These links mostly go to generic searches, so I can't promise that they won't include gross, offensive or irrelevant links.

Lifehacker presents some tips to reduce the chance of car-deer conflicts.
The Wikipedia entry on deer is pretty extensive.
Google Scholar has about 129,000 results on white-tailed deer.
Vox news stories that somehow feature deer.
Library of Congress holdings online that include deer.
Deer videos on YouTube

02 September 2018

Get the most

Frank Bruni recently published an essay on how to get the most out of college. It sounds like it is quickly becoming required reading, because it hits such important notes. Make sure, he explains, that  you learn skills that reach beyond your major:
Another of those skills, frequently overlooked, is storytelling. It’s different from communication: a next step. Every successful pitch for a new policy, new product or new company is essentially a story, with a shape and logic intended to stir its audience. So is every successful job interview. The best moment in a workplace meeting belongs to the colleague who tells the best story. So take a course in Greek mythology, British literature, political rhetoric or anything else that exposes you to the structure of narrative and the art of persuasion.
Of course, cartography is another form of storytelling. And some of our students enrich other experiences with that skill, too.

31 August 2018

Deer problems

Deer numbers in NJ are substantially than what is considered appropriate. What are the problems with so many deer?

30 August 2018

Deer NY Times...

Ronda Kaysen writes in the NY Times saying that "deer make the worst neighbors." ONe response included a more appreciative neighbor:
“They’re like these mystical creatures,” she said. “They’re like unicorns.”
But in the past the paper has suggested other responses including:
Deer fences

The NY Times archives even includes a letter from Joyce Carol Oates about the deer hunt in Princeton.

29 August 2018

Top 20 towns for deer-car conflicts

The Star-Ledger produced a list of the 20 NJ municipalities where deer get hit the most. Naturally, Somerset/Franklin made the list. Hillsborough leads the state with 316 "animal-loss claims" last year.

28 August 2018

Local deer news

While gearing up for a fall studio focused on deer in Franklin Township, I have heard a few people dismiss the danger of car accidents involving deer. But the individual stories are compelling. Mark Rodgers' accident in Franklin was a fatal example of the dangers involved. A fatal accident in neighboring Montgomery Township got attention, too. They are a consistent problem, even down near the Shore. Sometimes the deer escapes and only the motorists are harmed.

And whenever a town tries to manage the local deer population, there is a voice of protest.
But the dissenting voices aren't always about whether this is humane.

24 August 2018

A writing tip

Robert Caro says he always starts at the end of the book. He explained this to the New York Review of Books in a recent interview:

Before I start a book, I must know the last line. If I can’t, I can’t do the book. Once I have it, I’ll write toward that last line.
Do you have a closing line for the last volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson?
Yes. Yes.

13 August 2018

Turn up the heat and see what you get

When we were kids we learned to write invisibly with lemon juice and then later we could reveal the secret message by holding it close to a flame. The heat revealed what had been previously hidden.

This summer's British heat wave is doing the same thing. The heat is revealing long lost patterns beneath the surface. Sam Knight digs a little deeper in this New Yorker piece on the visible archaeology. 

06 August 2018

Richard Haag

Richard Haag, one of the great landscape architects (and educators) of the 20th Century has passed. Maybe you could guess he was a Kentucky boy when the Seattle Times quotes him saying:
 “A big peeve of mine is the harsh divorce of children from natural processes,” he says. “We’re beginning to see a revolt against paved schoolyards. Put in a bog instead! Kids want to play in the mud. Every child should have a chance to explore, dig, grow food, find refuge in nature.”

If you don't know his work, TCLF has an impressive memorial online.

Two of his best known works were Bloedel Reserve and Gas Works Park:

19 July 2018

The light of Luis Barragán

Pritzer-winning architect Luis Barragán was a master of seemingly simple forms that manipulated space in beautifully subtle ways. Daily Dose of Architecture presents at a few fascinating examples of how he used color to shape the light that infused those spaces. Any excuse to look at photos of his work should be worth your click.

13 July 2018

Deer-resistant plants

The Internet is filled with lists of plants that deer don't like. Two that stood out were the list from Almanac.com and the list of deer-resistant plants from Rutgers' NJAES.

Of course, there is a big difference between deer-repellent and deer-resistant.

20 June 2018

Domino Park

A new park has opened in Brooklyn, in the shadow (literally) of the Williamsburg Bridge. The new Domino Park is built on the remnants of the old Domino Sugar factory. The waterfront park has gantry cranes, steel beams, rusty walls, and syrup tanks that reference the site's past life. The NY Times recently reviewed the pretty amazing playground. The good folks at Untapped have taken a tour that reveals some interesting features.

If you can't visit in person, then this video might give you a taste.

31 May 2018

Notes from DLA 2018 1

At the Digital Landscape Architecture meeting at Wienhenstephan-Triesdorf, Penn State's Kelleann Foster gave a great keynote lecture. As a good keynote does, it covered lots of ground, which I will not try to summarize. But along the way she referenced some other interesting resources:

Carlo Ratti's idea that designers (especially geodesigners) are 'mutagens'.

APA's Metrics for Healthy Planning Communities


HBR Issue on Design Thinking
Diana Budds' 7 urban design trends

07 May 2018

Another sign of summer

Interchanges is back, providing a daily dose of Interstate highway engineering and design.

All photography generously paid for by the USDA National Agricultural Imagery Program.

01 May 2018

Old news

While talking about eminent domain in class, we skipped over New Jersey's most famous case: Donald Trump v. Vera Coking.

In 1998 the NY Times shared a short news piece stating that Donald Trump had failed in his five year effort to force a woman out of her home for a limo parking park.

Despite reported offers of over a million dollars, Vera Coking wanted to hold on to her boarding house and fought for that right. Eminent domain is a government power, and Trump's casino was a private interest, so he relied on Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) for the condemnation. An advocacy group called the Institute for Justice wrote about this extraordinary situation:
Unlike most developers, Donald Trump doesn’t have to negotiate with a private owner when he wants to buy a piece of property because a governmental agency-the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority or CRDA-will get it for him at a fraction of the market value, even if the current owner refuses to sell. Here is how the process works.
Unsurprisingly, the issue came up again during the 2016 campaign when Ted Cruz used it in a campaign ad where one kids condemned another kid's doll house.
The Coking house was photodocumented by HABS in 1991:

30 April 2018

A little something

Scarfo, R. A. 1986. "Stewardship in the 20th century," Landscape Architectural Review, 7: 2, 13-15.

Scarfo, R. A. 1988. "Stewardship and the Profession of Landscape Architecture," Landscape Journal, 7 (1988): 1, 60-68.

27 April 2018

Entry level LA job

Design Workshop is seeking an entry-level design and planning professional in their Houston office with 0-3 years of experience in a design firm. This position is available in September. For more information, please contact Caroline Heivly, HR Generalist. To apply, please visit: careers-designworkshop.icims.com.

26 April 2018

Tabasco Sauce vs. Coastal Erosion

When I saw the headline "Tabasco Sauce Is in a Battle For Its Very Survival" I had to click through, since I've been to Avery Island where still they make Edmund McIlhenny's unique hot sauce.  I had suspected that it was going to be a story about trade wars or an unexpected increase in the cost of vinegar. Instead, it was a story about coastal erosion.

After the usual background about hurricanes and Louisiana losing several football fields of land every day, the article suggests that a new strategy is underway. Tabasco is putting together a team of landowners to fight against coastal erosion:
 “We were competing against each other for these multi million dollar coastal restoration projects to go on our own property,” Moertl explains. “So we came up with the idea of forming an alliance. Let’s erase our property boundaries, and let’s work together, pool our resources and our expertise, and see if we can’t go after this with a more regional approach.”
“The property boundaries are artificial,” says Osborn. “If your neighbor’s land starts eroding, so will yours.”
The story is absolutely worth a full read.

And if you ever get down there, tour the factory and the "island". The place should be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


25 April 2018

Top 25 Supreme Court cases for planners

Wisconsin APA posted a list of the Top 25 Supreme Court cases for planners (as suggested by one person).  As a fun twist, they marked the 6 cases on that list in which the American Planning Association filed amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs.

24 April 2018

Industry 4.0 and GNSS

While it isn't news that GIScience has become a big industry, it may be a surprise how big the industries inside it are. Geospatial World reports that the GNSS and Positioning market will be over $280 billion in 2020.

As they point out, Global Navigation Satellite System has grown beyond GPS to become a ubiquitous technology. Rapid innovation is a driver of this sector. "In this era of 4th Industrial Revolution (industry 4.0), the new technologies have a crucial role to play in expanding the GNSS and Positioning market."

23 April 2018

States 10,000 years from now

The NYTimes made a graphic of each state as it would appear 10,000 years from now, with substantial sea-level rise.

Presenting it as a quiz makes it fun. But it is really quite serious, especially when you think about the loss of cultural landmarks that could have lasted that long.

03 April 2018

A threat to GPS

Should the FCC let a company use more of the commercial spectrum to support broadband wireless communications even if it potentially compromises GPS? With over 5 billion GPS receivers in use around the world, it is a big issue. Last year that question emerged as Ligado sought permission despite initial opposition. Now an engineering panel has found that indeed it would be a conflict. Remember that your autonomous car or the airplane you are on rely on strong GPS signals, so this isn't just about hikers.

Keep an eye on this one.

28 March 2018

A new Census question

The US Census Bureau is being asked by the current administration to add a question about citizenship for the 2020 Census. ABC News reports on it saying,
Not since 1950 has the census collected citizenship data from the whole population, rather than just a population sample, says the Congressional Research Service. The decision to restore the question after decades prompted an immediate lawsuit from California — already tangling with Washington over immigration — and moves by other states with large immigrant populations to engage in a legal fight.

CityLab treats it as a planning issue, since it is used to allocate Federal funds for lots of programs. But, as they point out, this is not strictly an administrative issue:
There is, however, a legislative check on changes to the census. Article 1, section 2 of the Constitution lists “the actual Enumeration” as a responsibility of Congress. Representative Grace Meng of New York has already said that she will introduce legislation to block the citizenship question.

“Congress should immediately convene hearings to do what the Commerce Department failed to do—truly evaluate the impact that the citizenship questions will have in terms of depressing minority and immigrant community participation,” Clarke said.
I can't find the language, but was told that every new question requires a vote from Congress. That would be an interesting twist, if true.

27 March 2018

Suitability Analysis

[Broken link fixed]
Here is a repost of 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 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.

17 March 2018

eGov - Washington County, OR

I was digging around for some materials to use in class this weekend and found myself back at an old favorite website. It was the official site for Washington County, Oregon. Nearly 20 years after first visiting them, I found the site to still be one of the best examples of local government online. It has both user friendly and detailed materials, allowing visitors to pick what they need.

Just as an example, it presents GIS-related materials as:
  • carefully developed cartographic products (maps),
  • interactive online maps and materials, and
  • downloadable GIS data.
 Dig around, check it out. (Or dig around in Independence, MO, another fascinating example)

09 March 2018

Puerto Rican forest damage map

The NY Times took a fascinating look at research in PR that is investigating the nature and extent of Hurricane Maria's damage to the island's forests. The article includes an amazing map from Columbia U that shows where the damage occurred. In the east is cluster of high damage in El Yunque National Forest. But there is widespread damage all over. The research estimates that as many as 31 million trees were destroyed or severely damaged.

There is more than just the great map. The article goes into detail about how the researchers are ground truthing Landsat imagery to better understand their data. And they begin to speculate on what long-term changes might look like in that forest.

08 March 2018

More Census details

A Rutgers Ph.D. student got a piece published on Huffington Post that says "Black Latinos Are Almost Invisible In The Census. We Can Fix That."

She builds both on her doctoral research project as well as personal experiences. The pull quote of the article is:
"Latino is not a race, it is an ethnicity. Ethnicity describes a person’s culture, language, heritage and geography. Race, on the other hand, is about how others see us. And although most social scientists agree that race is a social construct, they also contend that it does matter; our experiences are undeniably shaped by our race."
 How many more questions have this sort of complexity built into them?

05 March 2018

Geodesign in the news

Forbes has posted a feature on Geodesign today. It is an interesting indicator of how broadly the topic appeals to the general public and the private sector. The examples, while short, demonstrate variety in Geodesign as they range from utility networks, to Chinese sponge cities, to German Autobahn.

01 March 2018

Census update

As a update to an earlier post about the US Census:

25 February 2018

Slope Maps

Here is a basic slope map.
If you discard much of the information, you might get something like this one of some ski slopes.
Since a slope map doesn't show much by itself, here is a way to combine it with something else.