Ouroussoff visits Masdar

After several years of marketing hype, Masdar gets visited by the NYTimes architecture critic, Nicholai Ouroussoff. What is interesting about his review, is his analysis of the social impacts (and benefits) of living in Foster’s ‘zero-carbon city’ may just be available to the wealthy and invited foreigners.

What Masdar really represents, in fact, is the crystallization of another global phenomenon: the growing division of the world into refined, high-end enclaves and vast formless ghettos where issues like sustainability have little immediate relevance.

…Masdar is the culmination of this trend: a self-sufficient society, lifted on a pedestal and outside the reach of most of the world’s citizens.

Duncan Chard - NYTimes

I’m also curious to see if the Personal Rapid transit system lives up to it’s promise. After several decades of not meeting expectations, will these automated vehicles prove viable or cost effective?

Check out the slideshow & the infographic on how Masdar ‘works’.

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Infrastructural Art

A brief visual survey of infrastructure in art . (I’m gonna skip most of the great landscape photographers like Burtynski, Maisel, Adams, and Maclean).

Drawing from WEIGHING…and WANTING, 1997-98. Charcoal, pastel on paper.
Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.
© 2000 William Kentridge.

A Nicely Built City Never Resists Destruction, 1995, etching and aquatint, 11 1/2 x 15" © 1995 William Kentridge.

Hockney, Brooklyn Bridge

Hubert Blanz, Roadshow #5

Gordon Matta-Clark, Day's End, 1975

Gordon Matta Clark, Day's End, 1975, Pier 52, Gansevoort Street and West Street, NYC

Michael Heizer, Complex One

Robert Smithson, Fountain (Passiac, NJ)

Yutaka Sone

Hubbert’s Peaks

I just found out that Peak Coal is here! So does this mean the earth’s climate has a reprieve from the worst warming scenarios?

Water conflict map

Or maybe we really live in a Malthusian world.





Coal tattoo blog


[added 9/23] http://rutledge.caltech.edu/


Ron Ringen documenting the latest wildlife casualty .

Road ecology is getting crowd sourced. The NYT’s reports on the California Roadkill Observation Network which is tracking vehicle inflicted mortality on wildlife with gps data collected by volunteers and aggregated via Google Maps. Next up is a smart phone app to upload data and pics of the smushed critters.

The project was developed at UC Davis, and currently has 311 registered users that have documented 6943 kills and 207 Unique Species Observed.

‘In Maine, the most commonly counted roadkill species is the North American porcupine. “I see an awful lot of them. They just move so slow,” said Donna Runnels, 58. She uploads the data she collects while walking and riding her horse near her home in Burnham, Me.

The animal most likely to be found dead along a California road is the raccoon, though hundreds of species have been counted, including desert iguanas, black bears, tiger salamanders, brown pelicans and western shovelnose snakes.’

But the article doesn’t mention if anybody is then harvesting the meat for a free meal.

‘The Humane Society of the United States estimates that a million animals are killed by vehicles every day, while a 2008 Federal Highway Administration report puts the number of accidents with large animals between one million and two million a year. The agency estimates such accidents result in over $8 billion in damages annually.’

The book that started the study of Road Ecology is:

Foreman et al. 2003. Road Ecology Science and Solutions, Island Press

While the article discusses some of the preventative solutions like  fences, bridges, tunnels, electronic animal-detection warning systems, and  signage – there are not pictures or links to resources for the design and implementation of such – so here are a few (or search for ‘wildlife crossings’):





Wildlife Crossing Guidance Manual


Sustainable Infrastructure by Bry Sarte

Just got my examination copy of Sustainable Infrastructure: The Guide to Green Engineering and Design by S. Bry Sarte.  At first glance, it is everything that The Landscape of Contemporary Infrastructure by Shannon & Smets isn’t – full of  system diagrams, discussion of integrated design, and performance metrics. [Here is my Landscape Journal review of  Shannon & Smets’ book pdf.] But Sustainable Infrastructure lacks the sexy full-color images, high-quality printing, and beautiful book design effort of Landscape of Contemporary Infrastructure, so it just screams ‘Textbook!’

If it was half the $80 cover price, I’d be more likely to utilize it in my Infrastructure, Natural Systems, and the Space of Inhabited Landscapes course next year, as it covers almost everything I’ve been wanting on the topic. If I had the time, I’d write my own book on the topic, but until then, Bry Sarte and Shannon/Smets are the go-to choices.