Thursday, July 29, 2010

Working the Line

My current (re)fascination with the Center for Land Use Interpretation involves getting up to date on their latest events (as well as tearing through their bookstore and grabbing some gems to dig through - reviews/info coming soon). A recent announcement caught my eye.

The ideas of margins and borders is constantly fascinating, along with the markings we do to delineate these in physical space, so one I wish I could travel for is from 'independent interpreter'... "David Taylor's project "Working the Line" documents 276 obelisks, installed between the years 1892 and 1895, that mark the U.S./Mexico boundary from El Paso/Juarez to San Diego/ Tijuana"

Those in proximity should check it out...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Urban Topographies

From Urban Omnibus, Linda Pollak's simple 'Cuts & Patches' explores remnant disturbances within the urban environment as 'topographies' (which more often than not tend to be coal chute covers from a long-gone infrastructure). Check out the great photos and interview.

:: image via Urban Omnibus

"As traces, these cuts and patches allow us to perceive physical and social dynamics of an urban site over time. Looking at them together, they are like a kind of archaeology without physical excavation: they register different eras of construction and settlement, the movement of water, the movement of pedestrians."

:: image via Urban Omnibus

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alan Berger on Landscape Waste

Via World Landscape Architect a two-part video of Alan Berger: "CUSP Conference organisers recently posted a two part video of Alan Berger’s presentation at the 2009 CUSP Conference on Landscape Waste. An interesting look at landscapes waste resulting from industrial processes."

Check out part 2 here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Beauty of Reading (Books)

The lack of functioning monitor and wonder of summer have given me the opportunity to dive in and complete a few books that have been laying around unfinished. While I am intrigued by the Kindle and my sister espouses the merits of B&Ns' Nook - I still am drawn to the written word - on a page, collected in a binding with a cover. My summer reading has been varied - typically with multiple titles going at once. It's a wide range of titles from theory, planning, digital media, mapping, and food.

:: image via Jaunted

The release from constantly staying on top of the multitude of blogs out there (I have been subscribing to 100 or so...) which just become so much noise after a while. The web of information out there is great, but I'm less convinced of the usefulness of the digital media in landscape architecture - as the message is either: 1) aimed at a selective audience with feedback loops within that same audience, leading to some false concept of relevance; 2) exploring niche content with hyper-specificity that requires significant investment from a reader; 3) blogs regurgitating things from other blogs, etc. [or probably a combination of all of these]

It's amazing to see the explosion of new blogs out there focused on landscape and urbanism - which is a testament to the power of the media in allowing for a multitude of voices. Some have emerged and gone quickly away... others have grown in readership and voice. Whereas traditional media is often lacking (or at least less timely), the web allows easy startup, low-cost, and minimal editorial interference... making everyone their own publisher. While this is great, it's also created a somewhat disconnected conversation depending on your desires... and also creates significant work to maintain a wide net.

Ok, it's impossible - much as I described Twitter in the interview a few months back - a raging torrent of information that one dips their toe in occasionally - the blogosphere - or shall I say 'blogscape' has become similar - rather than a river (linear) it is an ocean that one must troll endlessly and sift through storms of content, vastness of space or more likely a garbage vortex littered with droppings from our day-to-day thought processes.

So this line of thinking (gleaning from the ocean of data) is probably going to change, as I feel less and less inclined to keep up with any of the blogs. Thus the blog (which holy crap is going on 3 years now) will undergo another iteration to be determined. It's always been a means to an end... and now the means perhaps are changing - evolving with a new business and a new focus. It's exciting, although difficult as I ponder what I leave behind in the old way of doing stuff. If reading a book is more exciting than reading a blog - I just have to go with it... productivity speaks for itself.

Anyway... back to summer reading of the physical sort, the good news is some upcoming book reviews/explorations on a few recent (and not so recent) volumes including:

Also on the docket is Topos 71 - Landscape Urbanism which should be a great read for the latest theoretical wanderings of some of the pioneers of the field along with some new voices. On that note, the transformation of LU to (fill in the blank) U continues with more review of the massive (Ecological Urbanism - aka 'The Brick')... building on part 1 and part 2 here...

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Now step away from the laptop, kindle, nook, blackberry, smartphone or whatever.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Building Better Burbs

Check out the finalists for the Build a Better Burb competition. Not that Long Island is your typical burb, but some interesting ideas to chew on. Also available is voting on the finalists for People's Choice Award.