21 February 2018

Closing the Gateway?

The Gateway Project has been seen as possibly the single most important transportation project in the US. But a recent Federal Transit Administration review scored it lower than expected. Coupled with the new administration's Infrastructure Plan, it has people wondering how the project will move forward. It also has some questioning the scoring process:

"In case it wasn't clear before, President Trump today tried to land another death blow to Gateway, by having his Federal Transit Administration vindictively and inexplicably downgrade the project in order to cut off critical federal funding," said U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in a press release.
PlaNetizen offers a pretty good overview of the current situation.  Railway Age writes that the rating of Medium-Low is the second worst possible on the FTA scale and threatens the ability of the 2 neighboring states to get the necessary loans.

13 February 2018

2020 Census woes

The Washington Post recently ran a headline that said The 2020 Census is in deep trouble. And, explained the opinion piece, the stakes could be high:
It is already woefully underfunded, understaffed, underappreciated and behind schedule. But it will determine, in a major way, the future of our political parties, if not our democracy.
The nominee to run the 2020 Census has just been withdrawn.

Recently, more than 160 mayors sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confronting him with the realities of the situation. Citylab reports that the letter raises serious concerns while pointing out that the census is a constitutionally mandated activity that has been proudly undertaken since 1790. Of course, in the dynamic landscape of this administration, there are questions regarding whether Ross will still be around in 2020.

If we wait long, it will simply be too late to fix it. It takes years for Bureau to staff up and build the necessary infrastructure for the decennial census. What can be done? Should states intervene? Or will lawsuits by groups like the NAACP help?  Keep watching.

(In the meantime, explore TIGERweb)

12 February 2018

Lincoln memorials

Vox is celebrating Lincoln's birthday by posting images of many of the failed proposals for the Lincoln Memorial. Had they built Pope's memorial on Meridian Hill, the whole city would be different.

"To hold its own with this monument, a Lincoln Memorial first must possess this vital quality of bigness and of dignity." - John Russell Pope

Architecture of the Olympics

ArchDaily posted a nice introduction to the $100 million stadium that will only be used 4 times. (mapped)

06 February 2018

Mayan LiDAR application

LiDAR is already established as an incredibly useful tool. But National Geographic shows a new application for it. In a remote jungle in Guatemala, LiDAR helped produce a detailed map of an ancient civilization. Jumping past the details, one researcher described the project's impact this way:
“After decades of combing through the forests, no archaeologists had stumbled across these sites. More importantly, we never had the big picture that this data set gives us. It really pulls back the veil and helps us see the civilization as the ancient Maya saw it.”
 Be sure to click over and look at the imagery. Really amazing stuff.

02 February 2018

Mapping the toxic landscape

There are lots of tools out there to help map out the Toxic Release Inventory, but here are a few favorites:




01 February 2018

Park promotion profile

Our Common Lecturer this week, Claire Agre of West 8, mentioned that New Yorker ran a piece on their founder, Adriaan Gueze. While the 2016 piece focuses on NYC's Governor's Island, it expands to a great profile of the dutch designer.

The article closes with some great quotes that sum up the spirit of West 8's approach:

It isn’t just children who need opportunities to run free. New York Harbor offered Geuze a grand borrowed landscape, and a ferry ride that sets this park off from all the others in the city. “There’s no doubt that mass culture has a hundred-per-cent success in making the world programmed,” he told me. “Everything is branded, everything has a name, has a function that you have paid for. That makes a very relevant question for our generation of designers. If we are interfering in public space, should we be part of that, or should we offer a sort of antidote?” His answer, in this spot, is clear: “Maybe we should make an environment where everyone can enjoy the lightness, and you can play.”
Go back and read.