Thursday, July 30, 2009


Upcoming conference in NYC about one of my favorite things: walkable cities -- and how and why more cities/living environments should be "walkable." And, by the way, which book or essay by Bruce Chatwin was it where he defined a human being as "human walking"? (I agree with him.)

Green roofs. White roofs.

I attended a very useful and realistic presentation on green roofs last night at The Horticultural Society of New York. Amy Norquist, president of Greensulate, gave a really balanced presentation about the practicalities of installing and maintaining a green roof in the NYC metropolitan area. Good info about the realities and limitations of the tax incentives. Coincidentally, The New York Times ran a major feature today about white roofs. According to Amy Norquist last night, the benefits of a white roof are limited -- after a few years their reflective properties are compromised; whereas, the green roof (European experience cited) have life cycles far beyond the typical warranty of traditional roofs along with consideration of the sustainability benefits. See my earlier post of getting green roofs out of the hands of starchitects, July 21. Interesting discussion.

Teardrop Park

Good overview of Teardrop Park at Battery Park City in NYC.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Journalism - blogging - evolving

This feature in The New York Review of Books, “The News About the Internet,” by Michael Massing (a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review), examines in detail the emergence of a hybrid between “journalist” and “blogger” in light of the changes in the news industry we all know about. Several paragraphs detail the serious bloggers that cover Wall Street, the banks, and the relationships between Wall Street and Washington. Lots of examples of how major MSM features use these serious, focused bloggers as sources. This kind of blogger is more like an investigative reporter than a Mat Drudge or a teenager on MySpace. The article concludes with echoing Pew on “Power shifting to the individual journalists and away . . . from journalistic institutions . . . . consumers are gravitating to the work of individual writers and voices, and away somewhat from institutional brand . . . “

ROIs of street design

This article on PLANETizen is a really good overview of the various returns on investment -- property values, investment, environmental quality, civic engagement, etc. -- that come from good street design. Implicit here, also, is the idea that "design" includes the infrastructural considerations, environmental quality, social analysis, and aesthetics.

Next act for WTC

The dithering and contentions over the WTC site are really disheartening to us watching from the outside. See this Gotham Gazette article by Tom Agnotti from Hunter College.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Moving green roofs beyond starchitects

I think a lot of us have been thinking what Bill Thompson's column finally stated. The "exhibition" green roofs -- that require maintenance, water, fertilizers, etc. -- may be the green roof movement's worst enemy.

Coney Island project moving toward approval

So many major projects in NYC have either been killed, stalled or maimed -- Atlantic Yards, Convention Center, much of the WTC site -- despite some understandable misgivings about the Coney Island project, at least it's good to see something move forward.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Two views on the future of journalism

One view from Arianna Huffingon on what it means today to "bear witness" -- by both "the elite few" and the rest of us. A second view from Jim Spanfeller at who describes a continuing, if changing, role for professional journalists in future content sites that deal with news.

10 cities worth another look

Nice top 10 list from The Architect's Journal: list of the most compelling comic book cities.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The whales

I don't know what to make of this. But since this blog is about what "we" communicate and the "spaces" in which "we" communicate -- well, maybe "we" includes trans-species communications. (Not that this makes anything easier or feel more "normal.") Check out the NYT magazine and NPR.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ecological landscape architecture

Good overview of the landscape architecture profession -- its renaissance and integration with the environmental movement and engineered systems.

The "Conversational Era"

Interesting post from Shel Israel on social media and public relations -- and how the "Conversational Era" has replaced the "Broadcast Era."