28 February 2009

Federal money for College Ave redesign

The Home News and Tribune reports, Congress approved a new $410 billion spending bill this week that included $950,000 for the redesign of College Avenue.

Free museums in NYC

Maybe next time you take that trip into the City, you could squeeze in a free musuem. GridSkipper has developed a map of 7 museums that are either free or have special opportunities for free admission. And they left off the great, free Museum at the Hispanic Society.

27 February 2009

Changing Times Square

The NY Times reports that Mayor Bloomberg wants to clean up Times Square. No, he isn't pushing out undesirable businesses or fighting against litter there. Mayor Bloomberg wants to get rid of the traffic, at least on the Broadway side. The Times found a New Jerseyan wh didn't like the idea:

“I like the happy hubbub,” said Melissa Gasparis, of Upper Saddle River, N.J., who was strolling through Times Square on Thursday. She said she was afraid the mayor’s plan would make the place less vibrant, because the sidewalks would be less crowded and the streets more free-flowing.

“I like to drive through Times Square,” Ms. Gasparis said. “It cheers me up. It’s big, bright and fun.”

Clearly chaos is a positive attribute in Times Square. But is it enough to preserve the traffic on just one side? If it lessens the "frenzy," is the added safety and move away from cars still worth it?

25 February 2009

Liveblog: Bayonne Golf Club

Dr. Richard Hurley
The Bayonne Golf Club (New Jersey): A Case Study for Building a World-Class Golf Course on a Land Fill in New Jersey.

The talk focused on an interesting site on the Hudson that is built on fill dreged from the Hudson and on an old municipal landfill.  The Bayonne Golf Club was developed, designed and constructed by Eric Bergstol.  As often happens, the project has a lengthy history on paper, and this one also has a lengthy history in the reclamation of the site.  
 1996 - negotiations for ownership
 2004 - shaping
 2005 - seeding
 2006 - open
 2008 - clubhouse opens
This project had to address countless legal and policy issues, which required a large team ranging from attorneys to plants folks (like Stephen Kristoff) to wetlands experts (like Princeton Hydro) to landscape architects (like Margie Ruddick). Even when the site passed health standards, conditions (like Ph) were still insufficient for the growing conditions that Hurley sought. 3.5 million cubic yards of topsoil had to be brought in to cap the site. 80,000 yards of sand were brought in for fairways and tees. Kristoff brought in over 50,000 plants, many of which needed to be salt tolerant.

Right now Live.com has before and after photos available in its birds-eye views.

More funding for Green Job Training Partnership Program

Green job training in NJ has gotten some new funding. According to BusinessWire:
New Jersey Resources (NJR) today announced the formation of the Conserve to Preserve Foundation and presented its first grant of $300,000 to the state’s Green Job Training Partnership Program.
That could sure help some folks transition from old economy jobs into new economy opportunities. It is interesting to see that the Conserve to Preserve Foundation appears to be a charitable wing of one of the local gas companies.

24 February 2009

HIstoric preservation video

Historic preservation can be hard. When I taught in Barcelona, I was consistently impressed with how well the Spaniards had done in holding together 2000 year old Roman ruins and how great the 500 year old churches and plazas looked. (It is worth noting that the banks in Spain are obligated to engaged in community outreach, and their work on everything from Gaudi's buildings to art exhibits makes a huge difference)

There has also been a movement to preserve more modern buildings and plazas, but with less public recognition of their importance or the difficulties involved. As a great example, Cincinnati's Union Terminal has a video of damage to this beautiful, historic art deco building. You can clearly see that, although it isn't as old as the Segovia aqueduct or Mt. Vernon, it is going to be an enormous task to save one America's top 50 buildings. (h/t Metafilter)

23 February 2009

Looking around NYC

Last week, WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show had a guest that works as a location scout for films. But he has also created a blog that highlights interesting things he sees as he combs the city. WNYC includes a slideshow of a few of their favorite funds from his blog.

For design students, I think it is really important to learn how to explore a city or landscape and find things hidden in plain sight. This is at the heart of John Stilgoe's Outside Lies Magic. It is also at the heart of the Manhattan hikes.

21 February 2009

Stimulating fast trains

The NY Times reports on the part of the stimulus package that will be contributing towards building a series of high-speed train linkages around the country. I love taking the Acela to DC even though it only goes a little faster than the cars on the Turnpike:
The Acela is the United States’ fastest train. But because the tracks it runs on are curvy, and are shared with many other trains, it is only able to reach its top speed of 150 m.p.h. on about 35 miles of track in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Its average speed is 84 m.p.h. between New York and Washington. Still, Amtrak has captured 62 percent of the combined air and rail market between New York and Washington, company officials said
While it is disappointing to see what passes for high-speed here, it is nice to see step forward. In Spain we were able to get to Madrid in about 4 hours, which saves at least 2 hours over driving. And, at 30 minutes, the high-speed link between Madrid and Toledo is a tourist's dream and has served the many businesses there quite well. Plus, these trains look cool.

20 February 2009

No one reads the interpretive material anymore

Found this old photo while searching for something else this morning. Consider it a full substitute for real news or information.

The Spring 2009 Landscape Industry Lecture

The Spring 2009 Landscape Industry Lecture

Wednesday, February 25th

The Bayonne Golf Club (New Jersey): A Case Study for Building a World-Class Golf Course on a Land Fill in New Jersey.

Dr. Richard Hurley
Adjunct Professor in Turfgrass Management

Dr. Hurley is an an internationally recognized specialist in the area of turfgrass breeding and golf course management. He will be looking at a cutting-edge use of turfgrass in the urban reuse of a severely degrade site. Prior to the lecture you should look at the web site http://www.bayonnegolfclub.com and take thehelicopter tour of the facility.

19 February 2009

National Parks jobs

Geomatics students and alums who are found of National Parks might be particularly interested in the National Parks Service's Geoscientists-in-the-Parks program. This program helps connect GIS volunteers with special projects.  It could be a fun summer project or a great chance to use your weekends to explore one of America's great landscapes.

ASLA on Climate Change

About a year ago (2/15) the ASLA made a public statement on climate change that affirmed their desire to work towards solutions.

"Based on the scientific findings and evidence about the causes and impacts of climate change, the American Society of Landscape Architects recognizes that global climate change presents a serious threat to humans and our environments."

"If steps are not taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that by the year 2100 the Earth’s surface temperature could increase by 4°C, resulting in devastating effects on the planet. However, there are various land-use policies and best practices that can reduce GHG emissions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the planet and its inhabitants. Through sustainable site planning, innovative stormwater management practices, and the development of smart growth communities, landscape architects can serve society in a multifaceted strategy to contend with global climate change."

18 February 2009

Liveblog: On global grounds: Urban change and globalization

On global grounds: Urban change and globalization
Dr. Julia Nevárez
Sociology and Anthropology Department at Kean University

Based, in part, on the book On Global Grounds.

As we reflect on global perspectives, we see post-modern critiques of the failings of modernization, as expressed in Bruno Latour's We Have Never Been Modern.
there is no there left

New relationships emerge in the intersections of digital and built worlds. At this intersection are technologies like digital tracking of individual movements. Modernizations' homogenizing effects (see: McDonald's and Starbucks) are further complicated by development issues.


Parks, sidewalks and advertising often go upscale before the housing does. Urban changes are leading to changing patterns of social relations. Urban people can be defined by their relationships outside the city (or lack thereof) as much as by those relationships within the city. Rapid gentrification came to Barcelona as part of the 1992 Olympics - but can the temporary modern change last?

There are political effects of globalization as well. We need to know what globalization is about. And we need to take a global perspective to solve the larger problems. For instance, as someone complains about losing their job here due to outsourcing, we need to think about the need for that job elsewhere (India, Mexico?). I don't think she means that we simply favor the outsourced job, but that we can't address the problem if we don't understand the larger context.

Q: Where is there an example of a just city?
A: Reykjavik, Iceland or Curitiba, Brazil where the transit system progressively improves justice
But both still favor some forms of segregation as a means of addressing social relationships
Brasilia was a dream for a perfect city, but they didn't include the workers in that dream

(As usual, I apologize for the sloppy misrepresentations, but hope the links help you track back to 1 or 2 interesting points)

GeoVisualization links

Election "maps"
Strange Maps
NYC Subway "Map"
Map links

Chicago plan

This year is the 100th anniversary of Daniel Burnham's Plan for Chicago and the locals are trying to make the most of it.

World Trade Trees

The trees for the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site are ready for their 60 mile trip to lower Manhattan.  This short video shows you how.

Aldo Leopold Quote

“Hemispheric solidarity is new among statesmen, but not among the feathered navies of the sky.”

--Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

16 February 2009

Lecture: On global grounds: Urban change and globalization

Dr. Julia Nevárez
Sociology and Anthropology Department at Kean University

On global grounds: Urban change and globalization

Urban development in contemporary cities is lead by globalization’s priorities. Patterns in the way cities develop show similarities and differences among locales. This presentation will explore some of the main conceptual and applied components of urban change as they help better understand contemporary urban form. Some of the specific changes produced by globalization in contemporary cities and human settlements are: gentrification, competition among cities to attract capital, changing patterns in the networks of social relations, juxtaposed modernism and postmodernism in developing cities, the crisis of public space, spectacular events as machines of urban growth, and postcolonial landscapes inserted in the competitive logic of capital, among others. Converging at different levels of development, cities face a constant impact of global forces that make incisions in the materiality of local environments. Conceptualized by some as in flux, the relationship between the local and the global might not be accurately described with the dichotomy global/local. Likewise, there is a political effect to the changes globalization has incited. Researchers interested in the urban condition will find in this presentation and the book in which it is based -- “On Global Grounds: Urban change and
Globalization”edited by Julia Nevárez and Gabriel Moser -- insights into how urban areas develop, how they are planned, designed, and represented within globalization.

Dr. Julia Nevárez obtained her Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology, currently Assistant Professor in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Kean University, New Jersey and Past-Chair of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA). Her interdisciplinary approach an research interests focus on urban issues, globalization, urban development, public space and techno culture.

Time: 4:00-5:15 PM

Location: <http://maps.rutgers.edu/building.aspx?1079> Cook Douglass Lecture Hall 110.

GIS into Google Earth

after john Hasse's stimulating presentation last week, some students have asked how to convert their ArcGIS data into layers that can be easily viewed in Google Earth. Their are at least two ways these days. One is to download some simple programming tools like this SHP2KML program at SourceForge. The other is that ArcGIS 9.3 now has conversion tools that will do much of the hard work for you. Fortunately, since we covered it in Intermediate last week, you can just look at that lab for instructions (About 2/3 of the way through).

15 February 2009

Stamp Out Carbon Emissions at Rutgers

Contest to Stamp Out Carbon Emissions at Rutgers 

The Rutgers Energy Institute will offer four awards ($2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place, $1,000 for third place, and a $1,000 for the Video category) to students or teams who develop the best plans to reduce student energy consumption and promote eco-friendly practices throughout the New Brunswick Campus.

For more information, visit the official contest website.

RU EP&D at the NJ Garden and Flower Show

This year's NJ Garden and Flower Show is nearly over and once again our students have brought home an impressive set of awards:
  • 2nd Place in Low Maintenance/High Success
  • 3rd Place in Best Use of Structural Elements
  • 2nd Place in Most Creative
  • 1st Place in Most Creative Water Feature
  • 3rd Place in Best Interpretation of Theme
  • 2nd Place in Most Educational

Here is a special guest photo from Ian...

13 February 2009

Rutgers Gardens Sustainable Building Design Competition


The Rutgers Energy Institute will offer an award of $750 to the team of students who design the best environmentally  sustainable visitor's center at the Rutgers Gardens. 

Teams of enrolled undergraduate students in the specified discipline area on the New Brunswick Campus are eligible. Students are encouraged to consult with faculty advisers in various departments to help form teams and develop designs.

For more information, visit
the official competition website.

11 February 2009

3 Landscapes: John Hasse

Central Park
Fairmount Park
Parc Guell

For background, go here: http://hahawall.rutgers.edu/tulloch/Candidates.html

Live Blog: Potential for LEED-ND to Curb Sprawl in NJ

Exploring the Potential for LEED-ND to Curb Sprawl in New Jersey
The Spring 2009 Environmental Geomatics Lecture
John Hasse, PhD
Rowan University

Part I: Patterns of Land Development in NJ
How do you know sprawl when you see it?
One person's sprawl is another person's American Dream.
Most densely populated state
Still increasing population, but the rate is slowing down a little
Does that mean that development is slowing down?
Using Google Earth, Dr. Hasse illustrated land use change patterns and showed that new development in a 16 year period was equal to the total land area of Bergen, Hudson, Passaic and Essex Counties combined.

He projects that in August 2008 we crossed the line where forest was the largest land use in NJ, to where Urban is now the largest!

The basic numbers on loss of forests and wetlands and gains in development are on the CRSSA Landscape Change web page.

He encouraged students to go to the NJ State Atlas website to get some other ways to look at the landscapes of New Jersey.

Part II: Can LEED-ND help with NJ Sprawl?

LEED-ND is the USGNC's new LEED measure for Neighborhood Development. While LEED has been around for buildings (like the Comcast building in Philly - the world's tallest green building) it is pretty new for developments. It includes firm requirements, like not building on wetlands, and some things you can do to get points, like affordable rental housing. It also requires at least 7 houses per acre and rewards transit, energy efficient buildings.

Dr. Hasse used Rowan Boulevard in Glassboro as a case study. This is a redevelopment of a deteriorating town center driven by the school, meant to help the town. Technically it would be ineligible because of an existing stream. But he proceeded to explore some other measures. The site avoided T&E species habitat, had more than 55% of front doors within a walking distance of a bus stop, connected to a bike path, and had dwelling units close to schools.

New novel about FLW

Monday's Leonard Lopate show included an interview with the author of a new novel about Frank Lloyd Wright. T. C. Boyle's The Women explores Wright's life by looking at him through the eyes of 4 women who loved him. Wright's personal life was almost always a mess, but it was in part due to how he tried to live as creatively as he designed. like his design work, it may have also reflected an inability to unerstand the perspectives of others around him.

10 February 2009

Making the most of Places and Spaces

With the new semester well underway, people are starting to get a little more serious about using this blog as a resource. So, this seemed like a good time to rehash an old posting offering a few quick thoughts about how to take advantage of the Places and Spaces blog:
  • Archival materials - I use the blog as a place to drop materials that are meant to be useful resources for quite some time. Plus, after last year's soils lecture I probably posted something that might still be helpful this year. To help you find them, there is a search bar in the upper left corner and I also tag some long-term Resource of the Day type materials as Resources.
  • Places and Spaces Map - One of the more unusual features of the blog is that I try to map some of the places I write about. You will sometimes see a note at the end of a post that actually labels it as (Mapped) which is one way that I let you know it is mapped. But, if you hop straight into the map you'll often find links back to the blog posts, so that it is like a two-way street.
  • Lecture reports - For many of our guest lectures I am essentially live blogging the presentations. It isn't meant as lecture notes, but random thoughts that may or may not accurately reflect on what was said. I often seek out online graphics that I wanted to study more than I could during the lecture, or additional reference materials on the topic. Many of them (but not all) are tagged Common Lecture, which is the RU LA Department's weekly lecture. Recent examples include: Tom Woltz, Mason White, and Richard Alomar.
  • 3 Landscapes - both a silly parlor game and a serious list to consider. We ask many of our guests this simple question: please name your 3 favorite examples of landscape architecture that you have ever visited. They get posted individually, mapped, and eventually added to a composite list.
  • Options - Environmental Planning and Design is a major that is comprised of 4 distinct Options or degree paths: Landscape Architecture, Landscape Industry, Environmental Planning and Environmental Geomatics. Many posts are tagged with one of the 4 labels so that students can quickly seek out posts of interest to their specific Option.
  • Class lectures and test hints - Both for my classes (like JrStudio, IntGeo, EnvPlan, AdvGeo) and the classes with which I interact (like EnvGeo and EDA) I like to drop links, news, follow-up, notes, and test hints on the blog so that students can use this as a meaningful supplement to the class materials.
I know that we have visitors from all around the planet. But since the blog is kept more as resource for our current students that anyone else, I apologize if some of the features seem a little parochial. I entertain any suggestions for changes (easy changes) that make a difference.

USGS maps to cost more

No sooner do I tell the students how cheap the maps are, then the USGS goes and raises the prices on their maps. Well, they'll still be a good deal. But not outrageously good.

09 February 2009

Free Movie on Tuesday

The Reel Africa 2008-2009 Film Festival at Rutgers is delighted to present:

DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE (Austria/Belgium/Tanzania et al; 2004) Directed
by Hubert Sauper in English, Swahili and Russian
This documentary tracks the profound impact of the Nile perch fishing industry in Lake Victoria (mapped). The voracious fish have wiped out local species; while the prized fillets are flown out to European
supermarkets, Tanzanians experiences famine. What do the planes that transport the fish to Europe bring in to the African continent?

International Critics Award, Sydney Film Festival; Best Documentary, European Film Awards; Audience Award, Mexico City Contemporary Film Festival; Best First Work, César Awards, France; Audience Award, Entrevues Film Festival; Vienna Film Award, Viennale; Europa Cinemas Label Award, Venice Film Festival; European Jury Award, Angers European First Film Festival;Nominee, Academy Award, Best Documentary Feature

Presented by RICK SCHROEDER, Department of Geography
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10 at 7 P.M. in the Graduate Student Lounge, CAC

For a copy of the DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE flyer:

For a copy of the full Reel Africa Film Festival line up:
For more festival information: http://www.cinemastudies.rutgers.edu

Sponsors: Center for African Studies; Cinema Studies Program; International Programs; Transliteratures Program; Institute for Research on Women; Department of French; Department of Spanish and Portuguese; Graduate Student Association; Honors Program

08 February 2009

Looking for work

With the down economy, we know an increasing number of out of work professionals. Peter Bregman at the Harvard Business Review has posted a nice blog entry with some nice tips about job searches. He says that you should spend less time reading ads and working on resumes and more time meeting people:
Spend all your hunting time with people: at lunch, on the phone, going for walks. Finding a job or new clients is all about human relationships.
It's highly unlikely, with all the people who are looking, that someone will hire someone they don't already know (or someone they know doesn't already know).
I am not yet fully convinced by the technology, but we have created a RU LA group on LinkedIn that may help you build a network more quickly. But, be careful. As the HBR note points out, it isn't about shallow networks, but building real relationships. And the harder you work at finding a job, the harder it can get to find one.

06 February 2009

National Red Day

In honor of National Red Day we looked at how Red is doing in Google Trends.

Recovering from DC

I had a very long day in DC yesterday, with my train being delayed 2+ hours going down and 2+ hours coming back. Tiring stuff.

Most of the day was spent with the UCGIS in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.

But on the way to the train I stopped for 15 minutes to see Foster + Partners new Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery. It was great.
On the floor of the courtyard is this "fountain" which just has water sheeting across the granite. The drains on are the left side of the photo. (Mapped)While there I saw their newest addition, the iconic but controversial portrait of Obama by Shepard Fairey.

05 February 2009

A map to keep you up at night

If you are tired, maybe you are just in the wrong place.

Mural Farm

After our recent Philly field trip, I suspect that some of our readers have a new fondness for the City of Brotherly Love. On their next exploration of the city, they may want to tap into the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program's new application called Mural Farm. They developed a photographic database of over 650 murals around Philadlphia and geolocated them, then put them on a searchable interactive map interface. Philly.com gives a quick overview. It runs on Avencia's Sajara and was built with help from Penn's CML.

04 February 2009

DeBoer prize presentations

Rather than live blogging today's lecture, I am linking to a few related websites for readers who want to explore the places.
Start working on those applications for the 2009 DeBoer Travel Prize - the forms are outside Blake 113.

Let them track you

How is this not creepy?

Flower bulbs

The Plant Biology Seminar Series is pleased to announce:

Flower bulbs

William Miller , Ph.D.
Department of Horticulture
Cornell University

Friday, February 6, 2009
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Foran Hall, Room 138A, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick

Professor Miller's research focuses on floriculture and ornamental crop physiology, especially carbohydrate metabolism, partitioning, and utilization of stored reserves in flower bulbs. He also conducts near-market research on flower bulbs and perennials, including uses for both forcing, dry sales, and landscape use. Examples of such work include cultivar trials, use of growth regulators, and post-harvest physiology and handling practices.

03 February 2009

Summer Internship in Chicago

Hitchcock Design Group has announced their summer internship program. The deadline is on February 20th, so you need to hurry up a little already.

Google Ocean

Until now, Google Earth let you explore the land but had no real content for the oceans, even though they cover 70% of the planet's surface. Now they have added more rocust ocean content by teaming up with the National Geographic Society, reports the Telegraph.

ASLA on Capitol Hill

ASLA reports on a notable legislative issue:

Senator Maria Cantwell (WA) introduced the Clean Energy Stimulus and Investment Assurance Act of 2009 (S.320), legislation geared toward creating high-wage green-collar jobs and revitalizing the economy through clean energy investments. ASLA worked with Senator Cantwell's office to ensure that a section of the bill was dedicated to green roof tax incentives.

Section 506 of the bill gives a 30% tax credit for qualified green roof property expenditures on residential and commercial buildings. The language puts the cap at $5000 on residential buildings, and no cap for commercial buildings. The bill outlines specific, ASLA-recommended
language, defining 'qualified green roofs' to mean any green roof at least 50 percent of which is a vegetated green roof system. The credit applies to any retrofit or new construction green roof.

In addition to the substantial input ASLA received from its expert green roof practitioner members, ASLA also received technical support from the non-profit organization Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. The legislation was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

02 February 2009

01 February 2009

The Spring 2009 Lecture Series

The Spring 2009 Lecture Series looks great. We are already off to a great start, with 2 provocative lectures, and now we have an impressive poster too.

Lecture: From Middle to Upper Class Sprawl

The Human Ecology Department Presents
From Middle to Upper Class Sprawl: Land Use Controls, Changing Patterns of Suburbanization, and Smart Growth in NJ

Dr. Thomas Rudel, Professor
Departments of Human Ecology & Sociology
Date: Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
Time: 12:35 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Blake Hall, Room 131, Cook Campus

Tom Rudel conducts research on land use change. He has researched the driving forces behind tropical deforestation both through case studies in the Ecuadorian Amazon and through quantitative analyses at the global scale. The latter set of studies has included work on 'the forest transition'. He has also done research on the forces that have driven suburban sprawl, primarily through field studies in the northeastern United States. Currently, he is working through the implications of these processes for global warming and writing a book about how environmentally friendly behaviors in localities can in some instances have global scale effects.