Ubud Hanging Gardens Hotel in Bali has one of the nicest pools I’ve ever seen. Image source here.
I’m becoming increasingly impressed with phone cameras. For me, it’s the correct mix of low-fi quality and accessibility that I have come to cherish. Here are a few pictures of the North Carolina State Fair. I hope there’s an anthropologist out there somewhere researching state fairs and interviewing the people who make them work.
The Truth About the Economy
Is that a run, a kill or a fork? Or is it actually just a regular old stream? When it comes to naming waterways, it all seems to depend on your geography.
This map, created by designer Derek Watkins, color-codes the waterways of the U.S. by names they’re given. As Watkins explains, these names have their own name: toponyms, which are general descriptions of geographic features. The degree of geographical concentration of certain name types is pretty striking. Brooks tend to stay in New England, and bayous are primarily in the Louisiana-Mississippi area. Cañadas, rios and arroyos are concentrated in the Southwest. Branches seem to have the widest territory, covering much of the southeastern corner of the country.
Metropolis by Rob Carter
“Metropolis is a quirky and very abridged narrative history of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. It uses stop motion video animation to physically manipulate aerial still images of the city (both real and fictional), creating a landscape in constant motion. Starting around 1755 on a Native American trading path, the viewer is presented with the building of the first house in Charlotte. From there we see the town develop through the historic dismissal of the English, to the prosperity made by the discovery of gold and the subsequent roots of the building of the multitude of churches that the city is famous for. Now the landscape turns white with cotton, and the modern city is ‘born’, with a more detailed re-creation of the economic boom and surprising architectural transformation that has occurred in the past 20 years.”
Triangle Life Science Center
My first abandoned spaces expedition in RTP, NC landed me at the now demolished Triangle Life Science Center. These photos are from February 2010. The building was demolished shortly after. There are plenty more photos here. I hope you enjoy.
HEALTHY HUMAN ENVIRONMENTS?
“Dr. Howard Frumkin, dean, School of Public Health, University of Washington, asked the audience at the National Building Museum’s Intelligent Cities forum to imagine they were zookeepers and just received a shipment of hundreds of frogs. Immediately, the zookeepers would need to create a habitat with the correct temperature, humidity, water and plants to ensure the frogs are healthy and live long lives. Cities are really just habitats for humans and our zookeepers are our elected officials, urban planners, and designers. However, Frumkin wondered if the ideal habitat is now being created for people - one that offers a healthy environment for all?
For Christine Green, National Complete Streets Coalition, a healthy human environment offers streets “where it’s safe and convenient to be physically active.”Patrick Kinney, professor of Environmental Health and director of the Climate and Health Program at Columbia University, it’s about offering “healthy amenities in healthy ways.” William Lucy, professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, University of Virginia, believes that “a safe environment for walking really is the key.” He also explained his research into how suburban cul-de-sacs are actually far more dangerous than dense downtown streets for children, largely because in these seemingly safe suburban environments, children aren’t “well educated or exposed to the dangers” of cars.”
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xgrendelx/4836544426/
Europe’s Grass-Lined Tram Tracks
There’s something quite magical about watching trams in Barcelona, Strasbourg or Frankfurt glide silently along beds of grass as they do their city circuit. Where possible, this attractive combination of efficient public transport and inspired landscaping should be standard as part of the urban fabric. - Monocle Magazine
The Hole: a neighborhood in Brooklyn that sits at 30 feet below grade, which makes city sewage connections impossible (houses empty into cesspools). Roosters roam the green spaces, and some of the Federation of Black Cowboys keep their horses at a stable there. The verdant land also offers an attractively dense cover: The Hole is a notorious dumping ground for dead bodies.
Meet Google Bike, a Google Earth hack courtesy of Instructables. With some tweaking the bike computer’s sensor detects tire rotation, which is read by Arduino (along with information about the turning angle provided from a joystick) and sent to the computer via USB cable. The result can be used to navigate a virtual bike inside Google Earth.
This is a must watch citizen mapping project, which was picked up by Google. Cheap cameras were strung from balloons and kites, and maps of polluted sites were created at high resolution. The resolution is higher than that of NOAA and NASA, which is why Google Maps published the maps online.
First used during th BP leak to map environmental damage not being reported or recorded. The technique is now being used in places like Lima, Peru and the West Bank, for housing projects.
The name of the project is, A Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science by MIT. Urban planners, architects, anthropologists, and artists are collaborating on the project. PLOT even holds workshops to teach people how to do their own mapping project with balloons and a cheap camera. Fantastic grassroots planning project.
“Some 1,200 feet beneath the streets of Detroit, under the north end of Allen Park, Dearborn’s Rouge complex and most of Melvindale, runs 100 miles of subterranean roads over an area of more than 1,500 acres. It is the Detroit Salt Mine and as a Detroit industry it is older then automobiles. As a geological entity, this salt deposit is older even than the dinosaurs.” (Via Atlas Obscura)
According to John D. Nystuen at the University of Michigan, “The Detroit salt mine was started 1906 and finally closed operations in 1985 after millions of tons of salt had been removed. The work created extensive man-made caverns under the city that remain today. The Detroit mine has a rather complex shape that is intriguing to geographers and that calls for some explanation.” The map below shows the complex shape of the mine.
I highly recommend reading all of Metropolitan Mining: Institutional and Scale Effects on the Salt Mines of Detroit, which gives a good history to an industry unknown to most people. Whether it’s salt mining, underground transportation or public space, I’m fascinated with subterranean activity. In fact, these salt mines remind me a lot of a recent post of mine on speleotherapy - the therapeutic use of salt mines, caves or other forms of exposure to salt air.
Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen.
According to the chief planner, Ma Xiangming:
“The idea is that when the cities are integrated, the residents can travel around freely and use the health care and other facilities in the different areas.”
He further added,
“It will help spread industry and jobs more evenly across the region and public services will also be distributed more fairly.”
I think this idea is undeveloped and ultimately disadvantageous. As the blog Climate Adaptation correctly notes, this means nine cities will no longer exist…. and it’s likely that people will lose their identities within a generation or three.
Chief planner Xiangming’s proposition of allowing 42 million people to “traveling around freely” will most likely not end well. Frankly, I think most people are smart enough to realize that when speaking of 42 MILLION people, you probably don’t want to bring up transportation at all. If you do bring it up, you should be honest and say, hey, it’s likely going to be a clusterfuck. Without going into too much detail, I think it will ultimately create many socio-economic injustices and honestly, be an uncomfortable place to live, not to mention probably one of the worst ecological disasters in the world. I love cities and in the end I think urban life is the best choice, but this is not a city. This looks like a mess that would result in a situation where the normal benefits of a city are not possible. Basically, I can’t imagine a citizen of this yet-to-be named city being happy.