Sunday, May 31, 2009

Insight into the digital textscape

Dave Pollard's recent Salon blogpost on implementing Web 2.0 tools in an organization has some of the best insights I've read/heard on the topic. While I think about texts and spaces, my context is more often the physical, not the digital world. Yet I can see how Pollard's perspective sketches out the textscape in the digital realm.

Friday, May 29, 2009

National Geographic features green roofs

NYT writer and nature essayist/writer, Verlyn Klinkenborg, has published a good wrap-up on urban green roofs in the National Geographic: "A lofty idea is blossoming in cities around the world, where acres of potential green space lie overhead."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Preserving landscape

Fast Company's blog has an interesting take on preserving landscape: "Why do Americans value buildings, but not landscapes? For whatever reason, we tend to see open space as a blank spot waiting for development."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Disappointing NY Photo Festival

The quality of the photography at the 2nd New York Photo Festival in DUMBO this weekend was really disappointing. And the surprisingly small crowd on a Saturday afternoon with good weather also wasn't encouraging -- especially since last year the DUMBO sidewalks along with the galleries were quite mobbed. I don't know why the curators/promoters can't find/leverage the photo talent that exists in NYC to create a more exciting/important event. I'd argue that their definition of photography is, though purportedly quite progressive/contemporary, quite very narrow and parochial. The festival has no inclusion of the fashion photography world. No inclusion of the nature/geographical photo world. No inclusion of the scientific/medical/etc photo world. No inlcusion of the mainstream photojournalism community. I saw a few really beautiful, provocative images. But most of the exhibits were were quite ordinary and derivative. A big disappointment.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Atlantic Yards wins key legal victory

Good news for Atlantic Yards just reported in Crain's.

Definitions of sustainability

The Forum for Urban Design in NYC concluded its spring conference last night, "The 21st Century Park and the Contemporary City" with a panel discussion at the Century Club. Speaking were Marion Weiss (Weiss/Manfredi) John Campbell (Waterfront Toronto), David Karem (Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation) and Alex Garvin (Alex Garvin & Assocs, previously with NYC2012 and Lower Manhatten Development Corporation). Alex asserted that most people think of "sustainability" too narrowly. He posited 6 dimensions of sustainability for a park (and, by implication, any major development): 1) Environmental. 2) Functional (uses of the park). 3) Economic. 4) Social. 5) Aesthetic. and 6) Political. Major takeaway from the discussion: a park is not just a phyical place; a park is a web of collaborating/competing interests, people, and organizations along with the physical/spatial/environmental attributes all evolving over time. I'd say, a park is a textscape.

Storm King Wavefield -- not the whole story

Maya Lin's "Storm King Wavefield" has been getting some very nice, and well-deserved attention, such as this NYT review. But a big piece of the story isn't being told -- and that's the planting philosophy and strategy. The planting plan and oversight of the installation was done by Darrell Morrison, one of nation's most influential landscape architects for his promotion of planting design with native species. Darrell is professor emeritus at University of Georgia, currently teaches at Columbia University's program in Landscape Design, and works with some very high profile private and public clients, including several aspects of the field/grasses planting at Storm King. I visited Lin's Wavefield with Darrell last summer before the official opening and as he was managing the initial planting. Darrell should really be getting acknowledgement as a collaborator on Lin's very beautiful work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I've just started reading Eric Sanderson's and Markley Boyer's Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City. It seems worth the burden of adding a physical book to the physical bookshelf, but it's the kind of book that even the larger format Kindle can't really do justice to. Book is an outgrowth of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Mannahatta Project on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Dutch settlement.

Monday, May 11, 2009


I've been a total Kindle fan from day 2. Can't imagine not having one. It's a daily part of my reading routine. The variations and future formats are, of course, evolving. But the debate about e-books is over. Here to stay. See On the Media.

Seattle: Fast Company's city of the year

And less rain / year than NYC. See here.

Twitter vs WSJ vs NYT

Just what do we make of this? Twitter getting more hits than WSJ and NYT.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Green Thoughts -- Text/Writing and Landscape

I don't know whether Eleanor Perenyi would have approved, or not, of the notion of "textscape." But her book, Green Thoughts, is one of the best, ever captures of great writing and great perception/understanding of the landscape (her Connecticut garden). If there were an Academy Award for Textscape, Perenyi would get the lifetime achievement award. If you haven't read Green Thoughts -- no excuse. Read it now. You will feel -- and be -- better for having read it. Here is the NYT obit. But look her up. Read the book.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yet even another textscape

Architecture/buildings and landscapes mapped on Google provies another way to read the environment. See Design Under Sky