16 December 2014

Crime and trees

 Since at least 2001, when Kuo and Sullivan wrote about trees in urban housing developments in Chicago, it has been clear that trees and crime are related. But later studies have muddied the waters a bit. Recent studies in Baltimore have clarified things a bit more and CityLab has posted a summary that reduces the relationship between crime and trees down to basics, like: "While low dense brush seems to increase it, tall broad canopies seem to decrease it."

12 December 2014

Crowdsourcing for Open Government

Is crowdsourcing just a fad or is it something that is getting built into an increasing array of activities? This post from WhiteHouse.gov provides evidence of the latter. The post lists several major projects within the Federal government that leverage volunteerism. They cover weather and nature, but also include a link to an effort I had previously overlooked at the National Archives.

09 December 2014

"2014 From Above"

Has remote sensing gone mainstream? Slate has posted a feature on the top satellite photos of the year. Seems like a strong indication that the technology has become widely accepted and understood.

A geodesign dissertation

How many geodesign dissertations have been completed? I don't have an answer. But I can account for at least one.

Former Arizona State University student, Melinda Shimizu, has completed a dissertation titled, The Development and Assessment of A Spatial Decision Support System for Watershed Management in the Niantic River Watershed: A Geodesign Approach. It is exciting to see the ideas of geodesign getting tested. When I hear concerns raised, it is good to know that some are trying to reduce the uncertainty in the field by creating this foundation of literature.

08 December 2014

The Hub

Changes are coming to New Brunswick. The replacement for the old Penn Plaza is a towering development called the The Hub. New York YIMBY blog has posted renderings of the new development which will dramatically change the area across from New Brunswick's Penn Station.

What do you think?

04 December 2014

Essays on Geography and GIS

Esri has released its latest online issue of Essays on Geography and GIS. For fans of geodesign it includes articles by Shannon McElvaney and for VGI fans it has a Matt Artz essay on citizen science.

03 December 2014

Nothing new left to see

A student, working on designs along the edges of a coastal zone, recently said to me that they felt like there were no new coastal projects left to see. Well, the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon by LDA Design seems like something new to me. If you haven't see this £1bn project yet, check out the links.

02 December 2014

1WTC review

Here in New Jersey we will be looking at the new 1 World Trade Center a lot. We see it from Jersey City, West Orange, and Hoboken as well as every time we fly into Newark. So this review of the new building from the Chicago Tribune is of interest to us, too.

The spire, on the other hand, has regressed.

Skidmore's plan called for One World Trade Center's communications mast to be sheathed in a tapering fiberglass and steel enclosure, known as a radome, which would have provided a sculptural flourish to the sculpted tower.

Yet when the skyscraper's developers, the Durst Organization and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, eliminated the radome, claiming it would be impossible to maintain, they saddled the tower's top with an exposed mast ringed by circular maintenance platforms. It's all prose, no poetry. Libeskind, in contrast, envisioned an off-center spire filled with gardens spiraling toward the heavens. The gardens, he said memorably, would serve as "an affirmation of life."

01 December 2014

A serial atlas as crowdsourced mapping

Does every cultural craze get its own volunteered geographic information now? I don't know, but now that the Serial podcast has achieved 'phenomenon' status (fastest to reach 5 million downloads and streams in iTunes history) it has its own crowdsourced maps.

The /r/serialpodcast subreddit has created an arena for the development of maps exploring the story. This atlas of serial maps has generated more than just basic VGI, but also some elegantly designed maps requiring cartographic skill. Some are basic treatments of bing or google maps, others are conceptual, or temporal. And then there are the strictly topological representations.

The atlas also links to the already existing (and jaw-dropping) effort mapping all of the bodies found in Baltimore's Leakin Park. It is bleak stuff, but deserves more attention than it was receiving before this unusual phenomenon emerged.

In many cases the Serial fans are people hoping to better understand the case with an eye to actually solving the murder definitively. For them, the move towards a crowdsourced atlas demonstrates a real appreciation of the importance of space as the connective tissue for what are otherwise difficult to connect facts.