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Kickstart Foodprint LA
Foodprint Project

Sarah Rich and Nicola Twilley are taking The Foodprint Project to Los Angeles. And they need your help.

Rich and Twilley:

As with the last two events, we'll host an afternoon of panels on numerous topics, including school lunch, city food policy, restaurant entrepreneurship, community meals as public art, and the future of urban farming and food distribution.

For Foodprint LA we're also adding some exciting social and interactive events, including an urban food map walking tour and a VIP party for supporters of the project.

To raise money for these upcoming events, the co-founders started a campaign on the online crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. They're more than halfway towards their goal of $5000, but as with every Kickstarter project, Foodprint LA will only be funded if they reach that target.

Any amount will definitely bring them closer to their goal. You can contribute as little as $1, though you'll get some goodies if you donate more. Whatever amount you decide to give, just be sure to make your pledge before Thursday, August 26, which is only 11 days away!

Foodprint Toronto
Prunings LIX

1) Go check out BIG's beautiful proposal for a forest crematorium at the famed Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm.

2) Also go check out what InfraNet Lab has been up to this summer. You'll find out that Bracket #1 will be available this October and that the call for submissions for #2 is imminent. The grapevine earlier told us what the chosen theme is for the next issue, and it is awesome. Repeat: AWESOME!

3) Chicago Magazine takes an illustrated look back at an interesting civic project: “Mid-19th-century Chicago was an emerging titan of agribusiness, a burgeoning transit hub, a potential star of the Midwest—and a disease-infested swamp in danger of being reclaimed by Lake Michigan. By 1855, with roads knee deep in sludge, city hall faced a massive undertaking: hoisting Chicago out of the muck by raising the streets and structures as much as 14 feet.” You can read more about the raising of Chicago here.

4) “Paris is fast becoming the urban beekeeping capital of the world,” reports the BBC.

5)Parasite is an independent projection-system that can be attached to subways and other trains with suction pads. Parasite projects films inside a tunnel. These tunnels bear something mystic – most people usually have never made a step inside any of those tunnels. Confusing the routine of your train-travelling-journey, your habits and perception the projections parallel worlds – making use of parasite – allow you a glimpse into a different world full of surrealist imagery.”
Levee Farm
Levee Farm
Flutter Field
Paisajes Emergentes & Lateral Office

Lateral Office and Paisajes Emergentes have teamed up together to design a “shape-shifting energy generation park” in Abu Dhabi for the Land Art Generator Initiative competition.

Paisajes Emergentes & Lateral Office

The team's project statement is worth quoting at length:

Unlike current renewable energy fields where technologies are publicly inaccessible, static, and always on, WeatherField offers a range of public engagement dependent upon wind, sun, and moisture. Energy generation becomes a public performance, dynamic, reactive, and interactive. The park is active when weather events are active, and calm when weather is calm, in each instance offering the public a compatible experiences.

The park is organized and designed to respond efficiently and creatively to climate. The intention is that the park serve as a barometer of regional weather events. WeatherField is simultaneously a public space, a dynamic energy icon, and a public weather service. The field is a registration of daily weather events including weather events such as Shamals winds, dense fog, and sandstorms, among others.

The Yas Island energy park is comprised of a field of 200 “Para-kites,” each is equipped with a base station of two flexible posts. Except for the posts that tether the para-kites, the ground and aquatic ecology is undisturbed. The para-kites use a parafoil system to remain aloft and a Windbelt™ system to harvest “flutter” energy from the wind.

At the Yas Island test site, the 200 para-kites extend across the site in a 60 meter grid that marks the tide levels. Each para-kite is capable of 6,220 kwh annually. Preliminary calculations generate approximately 21.6 kwh/month for each cell of the para-kite. With 24 cells per para-kite, that yields 518.4 kwh/month for each para-kite. Across the WeatherField, we calculate 1.24 GW annually, or about 620 energy-efficient homes. Or, more colloquially, each para-kite is able to power three homes for a year.

Whether these calculations are accurate or not, it should be noted that the competition is an art competition, and entrants were briefed to conceive their installations as art first and power plants second. The goal was not to design and engineer a device that provides cost effective renewable energy generation. Rather, the proposal should function primarily on a conceptual and aesthetic level.

Paisajes Emergentes & Lateral Office

Paisajes Emergentes & Lateral Office

Quoting the brief again at length:

As a park, visitors or residents can witness and experience their commitment to renewable energy field in many different ways. They can be stake holders, investing in a single generator para-kite. The investor receives energy equivalent to that harvested by that generator, as well as a live feed view of the landscape from the para-kite into their home. This in house artwork serves a weather gauge and a ‘living’ landscape painting. Visitors to the energy park can also approach the support posts and have a ‘periscope’ view from the ground of the para-kite’s view. And finally, a visitor, may elect—with managed permission—to ride up in a para-kite. This allows the economic models for the implementation of the project to be distributed either before, through residential stakeholders, or after capital costs, through tourism. The project has an entrepreneurial spirit.

The park generates other phenomenal events such as playful shadows on the ground and dynamic patterns in the sky. These geometries could be commissioned to environmental artists, or could be coordinated with regional events or seasonal holidays.

Unlike large-scale energy infrastructures that are out-of-scale, off-site, and off-limits, WeatherField is interactive, and its energy capacity is scalable to the size of a single-home. In other words, energy use is quantifiable and qualitative at the scale of a single user, promoting energy efficiency and energy consciousness.

Be sure to check the Land Art Generator Initiative website for other entries, which are being posted one by one on their blog until the winner is announced in January 2011 at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dbahi.

Paisajes Emergentes & Lateral Office

Parque del Lago
Rainwater Harvesting in Quito
A Proposal for an Aquatics Complex
Four Plazas and A Street

See also:
Balloon Park
(Im)possible Chicago #5

Beneath the city is the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator, interlocking or in tangents with the next dozen on the list of the highest-energy accelerators.

Everyday they collide particles to produce a steady supply of Higgs bosons, which are stabilized, concentrated and routed as a beam to one of the many gantries located throughout the city. Able to rotate 360º, each three-story gantry can shoot the subatomic particle beam in the correct angle at the cancer patient lying inside its treatment chamber. Precisely calibrated, the Higgs bosons decay the moment they hit the tumor, and in the process of decaying or escaping into other dimensions, they degrade the mutant cells.

This super-machine, then, is one giant medical device, the most expensive in the history of medicine. A second under its therapeutic beam can bankrupt a small nation. In the aftermath of the repeal of health care reform acts, treatment regimes have leapfrogged into mindboggling territory.

Practically everyone in the metropolitan area is employed to support these machines, either as administrators, research scientists, the army of engineers who maintain and repair the thousands of complex parts strewn throughout the city, the security staff who police the miles of tunnels and profile saboteurs, or the cooks who feed them all.

The infrastructure to generate their massive energy requirements might as well be another city, complete with its own support staff.

An urban legend most likely but it is often said that so powerful and so many are the magnets used in the machines that Chicago is slightly out of phased with the space-time continuum of the rest of the country.

What isn't an urban legend though are the rocks levitating in some neighborhoods.

Dune Field
Rietveld Landscape

Rietveld Landscape's Interaction between elements is a set of flexible strategies for dealing with sea level rise on Terschelling, one of the West Frisian Islands off the coast of the Netherlands.

The Wadden See and the south side of the Boschplaat [a nature reserve] will grow with the rising of the sea level because of sand replenishments in front of the coast. The northern part of the Boschplaat is unable to grow in this way. There, the existing drift dike will be activated by removing the current vegetation. A huge drifting sand dune will consequently develop. A grid of old mooring bollards ensures that the processes of sand drift and dune formation are readable through time. After years of heightening, a series of perforations in the drift dike is now proposed. These carefully selected perforations will bring about new wash-overs. In this way, an exciting interaction between the power of the seawater, the bollard grid and the dune formation process is created. The Boschplaat will grow with the rising of the sea level and will become ecologically more valuable because of the wash-overs. Both the role of human intervention and the dynamics of the interaction between the elements are made visible by Rietveld Landscape’s design.

Worth comparing this lo-fi accretionary strategy with that of Fabrizio Matillana's parametric Marsh Condenser.

Rietveld Landscape
Rietveld Landscape
Rietveld Landscape
Rietveld Landscape
Rietveld Landscape

Recycled fishing nets hung between some of the bollards might quicken the pace of dune building.
Embassy of the Drowned Nations
Embassy of Drowned Nations

A co-winner in the Sea Change 2030+ ideas competition, the Embassy of the Drowned Nations is a proposal by the Sydney-based landscape architecture office OCULUS for an inverted Ellis Island sunk in the middle of Sydney Harbour.

Here, in this “blend of Atlantis and Eden,” refugees from former island nations are welcomed and “given the opportunity to grieve, to rest, to recuperate, to learn and to eventually rise up and join Australian society.”

Apart from temporary housing, the embassy will also host a research and cultural center devoted to climate change.

Walton Ford

It's time for another self-link-o-rama!

1) How to rewild patches of North America with lions, cheetahs, camels, elephants and other modern-day cousins of extinct Pleistocene megafauna.

2) Beautiful photos of ice fishing shacks.

3) Faunal and floral videographers bound for Sundance.

4) Woof!

5) The future farms of disembodied livestock.

6) Visit the Transgenic Zoo again.

7) An air-conditioned landscape-within-architecture-within-landscape architecture-monument-landscape as proposed by the engineer Charles-François Ribart for the site where Paris' Arch of Triumph now stands.

8) When Hal the Coyote paid a visit to Central Park, crazy happened.

9) This is gorgeous beyond compare.

10) #aquaculture: a) retro-futuristic flying saucers migrating perpetually through the world's oceans; b) Fish Works; c) Aquapod®; d) Oceansphere™; and e) AAquaculture.


11) Tune in to The Forest Freak Show.

12) An aviary by Edouard François.

13) These pigeons collect and distribute information about air quality conditions to the general public.

14) How to retrofit Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House for the “coming survivalist era of radical sustainability.”

15) Landscapes as organs of extended physiology.


17) It turns and returns and turns and returns.

18) A camera trap captures sublime scenes of wildlife escaping a wildfire and then returning to a devastated landscape. Also captures the firestorm itself.

19) The Animal Messaging Service is an alternative form of communication whereby Extreme Green Guerrillas “send messages internationally by hacking into the animal migration system.”

20) From the American Museum of Natural History, photographs of landscape facsimiles in various stages of recreation; creatures undressed or nearly dressed; ethology imprinted on a three-dimensional canvas; and exterior habitats crammed into architectural spaces.


21) In Small Food Nation, miniature pigs, miniature spring lambs, miniature deer, miniature cattle and miniature other are reared alongside chickens in the backyard.

22) Take a toxic tour through Maryland's industrial poultry landscape.

23) It's the City upon a Chicken yet again.

24) A zoo in Vienna.

25) We're still waiting for Natalie Jeremijenko to design an interface for the living topiary sky garden.

26) A goat that produces spider milk is a former Postnatural Organism of the Month.

27) On bovine subways.

28) Connected by flexible tubing to ports in a perimeter wall, the interior volumes of Chair I and Chair II are literally part of the outdoors, making them inhabitable by insects.

29) On conflict zoos.

30) Yellowstone National Parks's fantamagical wayfinding infrastructure of networked cyborg fauna.

To be continued...
Prunings LVIII
Three Gorges Dam

1) An ecological succession of sorts: from the pioneer turf of the Endless Pasture to the arboreal climax of the Endless Forest.

2) “Thousands of tons of garbage washed down by recent torrential rain are threatening to jam the locks of China's massive Three Gorges Dam, and is in places so thick people can stand on it,” reports Reuters.

Pictures showed a huge swathe of the waters by the dam crammed full of debris, with cranes brought in to fish out a tangled mess, including shoes, bottles, branches and Styrofoam.

Some 50,000 square meters of water (more than half a million square feet) had been covered by trash washed down since the start of the rainy season in July, [state media] said. The trash is around 60 centimeters (two feet) deep, and in some parts so compacted people can walk on it.

3) Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (S.W.I.M.) is “a coalition dedicated to ensuring swimmable waters around New York City through natural, sustainable stormwater management practices in our neighborhoods. This approach is environmentally and fiscally responsible because it utilizes stormwater, currently viewed as waste, as a resource.” Related: Urban swimming in Bern, Switzerland.

4) “A genetically modified (GM) crop has been found thriving in the wild for the first time in the United States,” reports Nature.

5) New York's Department of City Planning recently unveiled an interactive map of all 200 miles of the city's publicly-accessible waterfront: beaches, wetlands, wildlife habitats, parks, esplanades, piers, street ends, vistas and waterways.
Augmented Ethology
Augmented Ethology

You're lost deep inside Yellowstone National Park.

You've no map, no compass and no whistle to attract other backpackers. You could triangulate your location using familiar landmarks, but you aren't well versed in the arts of bushcraft. If only you didn't have to boycott Bear Grylls' wilderness stunt show because of your impossibly high standards of authenticity.

But there's not a drop of worry in you. Before you set out on your hike, you downloaded a fantamagical iPhone app that allows you to access the park's fantamagical wayfinding infrastructure of networked cyborg fauna. In fact, you purposefully went way off the trails just to test them out.

After a couple more days of aimless rambling, you whip out your iPhone and press a beautifully beveled, sweetly pasteled icon. Immediately it starts to broadcast a persistent electromagnetic hum coded with your coordinates and a few lines of instructions.

Soon a flock of birds appears overhead. They circle a few laps, and then a couple more due to atmospheric turbulence and signal disruption, before finally coalescing into an unmistakable shape: a directional arrow.

Thinking that it's pointing to the nearest trail — which it obviously is — you follow it.

Cyborg Beetles
Cyborg Pigeons and Cyborg Rats
Cyborg Moths

After a while the flock suddenly dissipates. You whip out your iPhone again to see the screen flashing red. Apparently the network is reconfiguring itself, and there's nothing you can do but wait.

In the meantime, you take in the natural beauty of the landscape. Temporarily de-augmented, you inspect some of the native plants, enjoy the warmth of a geothermal pool, eavesdrop on the plaintive howls of the forest, marvel at some distant peaks. An hour later, a jingle snaps you out of your reveries. Systems operation has been normalized.

Seconds later, some of the elks that you were snapping photos of earlier start to make a beeline for you. Despite an ingrained fear of humans, they've got you on their sights. The app has turned you into Snow White whistling a hypnotic electromagnetic melody.

The elks stop just a few feet away. After a few seconds of jostling about, they return to munching on the vegetation as before, except this time they're conspicuously more organized. Their antlers, you noticed, are all pointing in the same direction, towards the nearest trail.

The network appropriates not only migratory and flocking behaviors but also herding and grazing behaviors.

Augmented Ethology

As you make your way through this personalized guided tour of the wilderness, the herd ahead readies the next marker for you while the one in the back begins to disband. If there are no elks around, then the network conscripts other animals in the vicinity.

Augmented Ethology

Just before sunset, you switch off the app and make camp. While munching on power bars that night, you realize that like any other network, this one can be hacked. In fact, there's a jailbreak app that lets you code nonstandard instructions. So with nothing else to do, you program some algorithms, enter this-and-that inputs, debug scripting errors, and check for any other stray codes before finally pressing the send button.

Waggle dance

Set at full blaze, you position your portable stove to spotlight a slight clearing a few feet away. You take out another power bar, snuggle into your sleeping bag, and simply wait until your plein-air avant-garde stagings of Aesop's Fables and The Lion King begin, staring critters infected with your malware. It's a double matinee anticipated by Humphry Repton.

The next morning, you decamp and continue on following the markers being performed for you.

Unbeknownst to you, rogue PETA members have also hacked into the network during the night, and in their unsuccessful attempt to permanently bring down the entire infrastructure, they've only managed to wreak havoc with its translation matrix. As a result, all coordinates, vectors and fixed action patterns get miscalculated.

You are now being led astray further and further away from civilization, and it's gonna be a very long while before you realize this.

POSTSCRIPT #1: Cf. "Instinct Meet New Technology" in GPS penguins.

Conflict Zoo
Conflict Zoo

Last month's arrival at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo of five American white pelicans rescued from the Gulf Coast oil spill had us wondering if there's actually an urban zoo that only exhibits animals affected by man-made disasters. Instead of showcasing the planet's marvelous natural beauty and ecological diversity, it collects living artifacts from sites of disturbances, where culture messily intersects with the wilderness.

If no such zoo exists, it's easy enough to speculate one. In addition to refugees from the Gulf Coast oil spill, it would also house samples of local fauna affected by other large oil spills, including the one in Dalian, China, koalas saved from bushfires, elephants displaced by civil wars, gorillas smuggled out during outbreaks of genocide, and tropical birds caught in the crossfires between loggers, indigenous tribes and the Landless Workers' Movement. In other words, it's not only environmental destruction that's being catalogued here but also its accompanying social violence and human strife.

Of course, the animals needn't be endangered. It could be any common critter as long as it bears witness to a major news story. So if it was rescued from the diamond mine where Naomi Campbell's “dirty stones” were dug out, then it's taken in.

In this way, this animal sanctuary isn't something dreamt up by Jack Hanna or David Attenborough but perhaps by CNN or NPR. Walking around, you don't pass by living dioramas with names like The African Savannah or The Amazon Rainforest. Rather, these simulated environments are headlined as one would a front page news article.

A day at this zoo would be like watching an episode of The PBS NewsHour.

A Zoo in Vienna
Kirill Kuletski

What you're seeing in these photographs isn't an underground refugee camp for people escaping from some surface fracas nor is it a commune for those made homeless by the Great Foreclosure. These people are not card carrying members of the Freegan Establishment nor are they the many-times great-grandparents of a future race of mole people. While the reason for them slumbering amid an ambient symphony of fluorescent flickers is medical in nature, they are not volunteers in a scientific experiment inspired by the research of Maurizio Montalbini, the Italian sociologist who lived in caves for long periods of time to study the effects of total isolation on the body's natural cycles.

Kirill Kuletski

Rather, these are people suffering from asthma or other respiratory diseases undergoing speleotherapy in a salt mine near the village of Solotvyno in Ukraine.

The photographs were taken by the London-based Russian artist Kirill Kuletski, and he writes of this underground clinic and alternative therapy:

This therapy was discovered in Poland in the 1950s when it was noticed that salt mine workers rarely suffered from tuberculosis. Scientists found that the salt-permeated air of the working salt mine helped to dissolve phlegm in the bronchial tubes and also killed the micro-organisms which caused infections — and that this greatly helped patients who were undertaking treatment for asthma.

The clinic at Solotvyno salt mine is unique because its tunnels, which are 300 metres below ground level and remain at a steady 22°C (72°F) all year round, are the deepest in the world to be used for such purposes. Around three to five thousand people are treated here every year and there is often a waiting list — in fact, at any one time up to 200 people, a third of whom are usually children, can be receiving therapy. Patients spend an average of 24 days at the facility, using a lift to travel underground for afternoon or overnight sessions. During this time they talk, read or sleep on beds, grouped together in alcoves which are carved out of the rock and lit by fluorescent tubes.

It's nice to hear of subterranean landscapes not in the context of nuclear and biological apocalypses or as the domiciles of the subhuman. Pure geology not as a devour of the self but as an antidote to the aberrant.

72 Hour Urban Action
We really like the idea of the 72 Hour Urban Action, a rapid, real-time architecture competition at the 2010 Bat-Yam International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism in Israel.

72 Hour Urban Action

For this DIY pow-wow, organizers invite ten teams of architects, students, designers, artists and craftspeople who will be tasked “to respond to community needs and wants in relations to its public spaces.” Each team will be given up to $2,500 for materials, room and board, a central work space and a truck for transport. Engineers will also be on hand for construction and safety consultations. Starting on September 25, 2010, the launch date of the biennale, the teams will have three days and three nights to design and build their projects, some of which will be chosen to remain on site permanently. There's also a money prize worth $3,800 for the top project.

The deadline for registration is August 8, 2010. That's only a few days away, so if you're interested, you'll have to hustle.

Meanwhile, perhaps the entire Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012 could be turned into a massive 72 Hour Urban Action festival. Instead of installing also-rans from the previous year's Art Biennale or taking the pickings from an august atelier's dusty model museums or asking Zaha Hadid to make another sofa, the architecture world's elite and bright young tykes are flown in, given a slightly plumper budget and then let loose in Venice and the surrounding salt marshes, with some perhaps venturing inland to the industrial landscapes of Veneto.

Just as at Bat-Yam, they have 3 days (could be longer) to design and build a project that meets a local social need or improves the urban experience. Biennale groupies can watch the teams while they work and then play around in/with the completed spatial interventions. They might even be asked to lend an extra pair of helping hands to hammer a few nails, to the horrors of biennale lawyers and insurance people. And in case you're wondering, the teams will be housed, fed and given working spaces at the Arsenale or in their country's pavilion.

Also like at Bat-Yam, some of the projects will be allowed to remain permanently. Every couple of years, new projects are plugged-in to the built environment, perhaps even to an earlier intervention. In this way, Venice and its environs are continually reshaped and renewed.

After countless biennales, we might have two Venices. There's La Serenissima, flooded and crumbling. Above it is the newer Venice built out of all the accumulated projects. This encrustation of ad hoc interventions is where the indigenous Venetians live and work, where the tourists buy their souvenirs after venturing down to the ancient city below.
The pure Alaskan water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges
Sitka, Alaska

Last month, Circle of Blue reported the rather astonishing news that “within 6 to 8 months” Texas-based S2C Global Systems will begin exporting pure Alaskan mountain water all the way to India.

Sitka, a small town located on Baranof Island off Alaska’s southeast coast, will sell the water to Alaska Resource Management for one penny per gallon. S2C and True Alaska Bottling, which has a contract for the rights to export 2.9 billion gallons (10.9 billion liters) per year from Sitka’s Blue Lake Reservoir, formed Alaska Resource Management LLC to facilitate bulk exportation.

The city will earn $US26 million per year if ARM exports its entire allocation, and more than $US90 million annually if the city can export its maximum water right of 9 billion gallons. That amount of water is enough to meet the annual domestic needs of a city of 500,000 using 50 gallons per person per day.

Sitka's “excess water” will be distributed throughout India from the company's first “World Water Hub,” the exact location of which on the country's west coast will not be disclosed for “security reasons.” From this central hub, the water will also be shipped to other markets in the Middle East and west Asia.

S2C will sell the water in “20-foot containers with flexi-tanks, which can hold up to 4,623 gallons, for pharmaceuticals and high-tech manufacturing, and 10 liter bottles for consumers” in an emerging middle class.

That the water will be diverted from some northern, water-saturated climes to distant, parched and heavily populated locales, one wonders if this future riverine system meandering through two oceans might actually be one of the tributary channels of the supposedly unrealizable megahydroproject known as the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA). Of course, instead of via concrete rivers, the water will be channeled via tanker ships.


Those who peddle in hydro-conspiracies might even reasonably believe that it's part of a wedge strategy whose aim is to realize NAWAPA in part, if not in whole. $26 million in annual revenue is a lot, especially if the Great Recession has left you cash-starved. And if Sitka does end up earning more than $90 million a year from this water trade, other towns and cities not using all their alloted freshwater quota might start getting some ideas. We could be reading about copycat schemes in no time.

In any case, we're reminded of Frederic Tudor's profitable frozen-water trade during the 19th century. As documented in Gavin Weightman's The Frozen-Water Trade, blocks of ice were harvested from frozen New England lakes during the winter, stored in ice houses and then imported to tropical markets, among them being the chief Indian ports of Bombay, Madras and Culcutta.

The first ice ship to sail to India, in 1833, started with roughly 170 tons of the frozen commodity and arrived four months later with about 100 tons left. “Frederic's ice was a sensation in Culcutta,” we read. In fact, it became a status symbol among the British colonial elite. Perhaps Sitka's bottled Alaskan water might attain a certain level of prestige among the monied and celebrity class, just as any other well-marketed bottled water.

The water trade with India peaked in 1870 when 17,000 tons of American ice were shipped over. A few years later, the first artificial ice manufacturer opened for business, and by 1882, the trade ended.

Might we optimistically expect that the new bulk water export business will similarly be undercut by a technological innovation offering a cheaper and thus more far-reaching solution to local freshwater shortages?

A New River in the Mediterranean Sea
Another New River in the Mediterranean Sea
“What if Greenland was Africa's water fountain?”
Martian rocks around the Pathfinder

We noticed that the new layout isn't a fan of our quickie, non-titled posts, so we've taken them offline and collated their tidbits into this single, titled post.


We like storm drain stenciling. They usually read: No Dumping / Drains To River. But how about: Dump Here / Your Kids Get Cancer. Or: You'll Be Drinking That Soon.


“A new type of 'lunar concrete,' made by mixing moondust and carbon nanotubes, could be used to construct buildings, solar power arrays, and monolithic telescopes on the moon,” National Geographic reports.


Watch the films of Rudolph Valentino and Cecil B. DeMille beside their remains at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Necropolises as occupiable urban open spaces.


Watch David Barrie explain how to spatialize an edible landscape [watch here] in Middlesbrough, England — one that can actually have an impact on the physical grid and economic infrastructure of a city. But if you prefer to read text, The Guardian has a report on the project.


The People's Liberation Army against hydrology — watch it [watch here].

Martian rocks around the Pathfinder

Charles Holland, of Fantastic Journal, writes:

In his book Looking at the Overlooked Norman Bryson describes the strange impossibility of the scenes depicted in Dutch still life painting. Vases teeming with exotic flowers would be painted in lavish detail despite the fact that the flowers themselves could never have existed together in that state. Coming from different continents and time zones they would flower at different times of the year and their representation together in full bloom is a perverse distortion of nature. The flowers represent both a temporal and spatial collapsing of distinctions and difference. The pictures instead celebrate a new found knowledge and power within the world, they are the product of empire.

In our post-humanist era, the direct descendants of Dutch still life painting — and also this sort of Northern Renaissance genre painting — must be our cloned sheep and GM rice fields and auricular mice and Martian designer plants and transgenic zoos, especially when visually composed for mass consumption via CNN, press releases and blogs.

Martian rocks around the Pathfinder

A 26-ton miniature earth core filled with boiling metal will spin at about 90 miles per hour in a laboratory to generate “the world's first artificial, spherical and self-sustaining magnetic field.” It will help scientists better understand our planet's magnetic climate, which “acts like a protective shield, blocking harmful particles from the sun, which fry the electronics on board orbiting satellites and mess with the electrical grids powering homes and offices.” It will also birth a new industry in magnetic weather modification.


Polar Inertia visits some abandoned swimming pools.


New York's Central Park has turned into a battleground, New York Magazine tells us — joggers vs. bikers vs. dog walkers vs. drivers. “It’s about the politics of public space. Who gets that space? And how is it apportioned?”


We ♥ P-REX.


Is Mother Nature a bulldyke?

Martian rocks around the Pathfinder

According to National Geographic, anthropologists have mapped a “latticework” of “dozens of densely packed, pre-Columbian towns, villages, and hamlets.” Combining local knowledge with GIS and satellite imagery, Michael Heckenberger and his colleagues have identified two major settlement clusters, each with “a central seat of ritualistic power with wide roads radiating out to other communities.” Furthermore, “between the settlements, which today are almost completely overgrown, was a patchwork of agricultural fields for crops such as manioc along with dams and ponds likely used for fish farms.” The organization has similarities to Ebenezer Howard's garden cities, says Heckenberger. This is the mythological city of Z, says another.


So there's this reality show, plainly titled Architecture School, on the Sundance Channel. For six episodes, we get to see students from Tulane University's School of Architecture design and build a house for a low income family in New Orleans. You can catch the first episode on Hulu. Hopefully, it will become a massive success, as it may make television producers more receptive to our own reality series, The Surreal Life: Bungalow Edition.


CTLab/Review [Current Intelligence] / elseplace / Blog / Le territoire des sens / Tiny House Blog / _urb_


In Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler stars as Leslie Knope, the head of the Parks and Recreation department in Pawnee, Indiana. “Knope takes on a project from a nurse named Ann to turn a construction pit into a park, while trying to mentor a bored college-aged intern.” It will be a mockumentary style series like The Office.


Archinect and InfraNet Lab are previewing the first issue of [bracket], On Farming. Coming out Winter 2009, [I]t's gonna be awesome. Go see.

Martian rocks around the Pathfinder

“The people of the Carterets Islands, off the coast of Papua New Guinea, are the first entire people to officially be evacuated because of climate change.” And this blog chronicles their plight.


Freshkills Park has a blog.


Atlas Obscura is a growing compendium of “out-of-the-way places that are singular, eccentric, bizarre, fantastical, and strange” from Dylan Thuras, of Curious Expedition, and Joshua Foer, of the long-dormant Athanasius Kircher Society.


“The Dutch Dialogues workshops are the outgrowth of extended interactions between Dutch engineers, urban designers, landscape architects, city planners, soils/hydrology experts and, primarily, their Louisiana counterparts.”


Most likely it was because spring has arrived, but we like to think the recent passage of the health care reform bill and the fact that municipal budgets everywhere are being crippled by the recession (and perhaps even the growing popularity of urban farming and street fruit foraging) may have also instigated The New York Times to commission Thomas Leo Ogren, author of Allergy-Free Gardening, to write an op-ed piece on cultivating an allergy-free urban forest. “Many arborists and landscapers like to plant male trees and shrubs because they’re 'litter-free' — that is, they produce no seeds or seedpods.” No fruits messing and stinking up the streets also mean cities don't have to spend much on clean up. “But male trees shed lots of pollen; that’s their job. And once it’s released, it can be blown around for months,” inducing severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

Martian rocks around the Pathfinder

SHIFT, a new print and web publication of the Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (SASLA) at North Carolina State University College of Design, is seeking submissions for its inaugural issue, SHIFT: Infrastructure. The deadline is June 1, 2010.


Walton Ford's Bestiarium is marvelous!


Urban Omnibus has posted some of the entries to Minds in the Gutter, a recent ideas competition organized to gather alternative designs for stormwater management systems in New York City.


In an e-mail alerting us to the upcoming broadcast on public television of Children of the Amazon, a documentary which “follows Brazilian filmmaker Denise Zmekhol as she travels a modern highway deep into the Amazon in search of the Indigenous Surui and Negarote children she photographed fifteen years ago,” this brief blurb about one of those tribes particularly stood out for us, considering our longstanding interest in participatory GIS and the synergy between high-tech geospatial technologies and human rights activism:

Through a groundbreaking relationship with Google, the Surui tribe is using GPS, Google Earth, Android phones, and other digital media to document the devastation and connect with activists worldwide.

Learn more about this partnership in this nearly 3-year-old article from the San Francisco Chronicle. The Smithsonian magazine has a longer piece here, while BBC News has a video report.

Martian rocks around the Pathfinder

One of the recipients of the 2009-10 Branner Traveling Fellowship is Eleanor Pries. During her yearlong globetrotting, she will research “buildings and systems that catch, convey, store, and filter water through basic hydrological principles.” These include stepwells, reservoirs, foggaras, qanat and Andalucian gutter-scapes, all of which she'll awesomely catalogue in her blog, drip | dry. Already she's explored some irrigation channels in the Peruvian Andes and geothermal pools in Iceland.


The Los Angeles Urban Rangers had planned to wrap up their 3-year Malibu Public Beach project with 3 mini-safaris last February before canceling them due to rain. They have since rescheduled these “last-hurrah” safaris for Sunday, May 23.

Are you tired of Zuma and Surfrider? Want to find and use the 20 miles of public beaches that are lined with private development? Our safaris will equip you with the advanced skills necessary to find and use the Malibu public beaches legally and safely. Activities include signwatching, trailblazing the public-private boundary, and a public easement potluck.

The safaris are free, and no sign-up is required. Just don't plan to join mid-safari.


We recommend booking a passage on Agnes Meyer-Brandis's Research Raft for Subterranean Reefology.


When Robert De Niro flushes his toilet in Tribeca, Harlem has to deal with it.”
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