Thursday, April 29, 2010

More on the master plan for Governors Island

ASLA email newsletter, The Dirt, expands upon the earlier reports of the West 8 master plan for Governors Island. See my post, below, April 13.

The value of urban parks

More perspective on my post on April 13th -- see below. ASLA reports: "The U.S. House Urban Caucus’ Urban Parks Taskforce organized a briefing on urban parks and their role in creating green spaces which can revitalize neighborhoods, improve health, and create jobs. Parks also play a major role in fighting childhood obesity, providing safe and healthy places to play. Caucus members heard from Joe Hughes, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology; Susan Wachter, Professor of Financial Management, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania; Eddie George, ASLA, former NFL player and landscape architect; and Salin Geevarghese, Senior Advisor, Office of Sustainable Housing & Communities, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and ASLA played key roles in putting the panel together." See their full post at their email newsletter, The Dirt.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Authority coming from the social world . . .

Interesting blog post from David Weinberger (Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard Law School) that reflects on "Authority . . . increasingly coming from the social world in which the work is embedded."

Reinventing the roles for landscape architects

A story on today reflects on the evolution of the landscape design department at Harvard and, more broadly, on the increasing roles and responsibilities of landscape architects in sustainability, urban development, and planning.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Parks: the next era in New York City's public realm

Nicholai Ourousoff is right about the renaissance of the urban park experience in New York City under the Bloomberg administraion in his review today of the West 8 plan for Governor's Island. Developments on Governor's Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park -- along with the evolving High Line and Hudson River Park -- definitely demonstrate a new era for the public realm in New York.

But Ourousoff writes, "On the one hand they [these new parks] are genuinely democratic, creating valuable public space that can be shared by all New Yorkers. On the other, they are a savvy way to raise property values, which ends up pushing the poor and middle classes farther and farther out from the city's center." I think you really have to view these new parks through the an Olmsted perspective. Olmsted's classic work in New York (Central and Prospect Parks) raised property values on their perimeter. In fact, it would seem to me that a park that didn't do that would be something of a failure. History shows us that achieving that one public benefit is not incompatible with those same public spaces being healthful and beneficial for all. Just walk the High Line or go to the open section of Brooklyn Bridge Park on a Sunday afternoon or to Central, Prospect, or Fort Greene Parks -- there seems to be scant evidence that these sites "push out" anyone. They are magnets attracting the kind of mix of the citizenry that Olmsted envisioned.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Major milestone for Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Pier One portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park is now open -- to rave reviews all round for both design and sustainability. It's another impressive project and success for Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tupper Thomas retires

The Prospect Park Alliance and the New York City Parks Dept announced today Tupper Thomas' resignation as Administrator of the park/President of the Prospect Park Alliance. This New York Times article suggests just part of Tupper's accomplishments and the amazing last generation of Prospect Park.

April life form of the month

I'm with Olivia Judson of The New York Times. A nice, concise blog on trees today.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Sundays at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden are some of the most diverse and wonderful New York City experiences. The Japanese Garden attracts lots of our Asian neighbors. Also, there are regularly lots of Russian-speaking Brooklyites. African-American and Caribbean-American families are always there. And on Sundays, lots of Hassidim.

I look forward to New York Magazine or somebody to catch on to the fact that the Brooklyn Botanic Garden may be the most diverse, civilized place in the whole city.

And that's not a surprise. After all, it's a GARDEN.

Friday, April 2, 2010

iPad lust. Need. Curiosity.

I absolutely do not need an iPad. I've got a computer, multiple laptops, a netbook, an iPhone, a Blackberry, a Kindle. The iPad seems like such a great idea/concept. But the cost. And what can it deliver to me that I don't already get? AFTER the recession, when spending is OK again, maybe iPad will make sense.

In any case. I'm not going to be lining up Saturday at the Apple stores. But I'll be following closely the issues.

David Pogue in the NYT captured too much of the issue.

Planting more trees can't be bad . . . .

Struggling through understanding the tree planting issues for New York City. Working towards a million trees.

Don't underestimate the ginkgo

Check it out here.