infographic of the day – water change

Perhaps the most devastating impact of climate change to most American cities are water related. Yes, there is likely to be both increased flooding and droughts as precipitation events become more intense and sporadic. Without water (and with too much) our cities will wither.

Solar Hillside LA

Along the Arroyo Seco between Los Angeles and Pasadena (and visible from the 110), a nursing home has installed a hillside 80-array photovoltaic system on their 11-acre property in the fall of 2010 and ignited a fracas of NIMBYism. The project produces approximately 93% of the facilities net energy needs and is expected to pay for it’s $1.6m price tag in 12 years.

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Check out the news report from abc 7 about the controversy over the project.

The discussion and knee-jerk NIMBY reaction is pretty interested to parse, especially the perception of the political intervention to temporarily halt the project on ‘safety’ grounds (which didn’t halt getting the project built). The owner’s legal response to the city council two-week injunction is here [pdf]. Continue reading


Light by David Parker is a haunting look at light pollution. Via treehugger.

[The film] initially began as a project intended to bring awareness to energy waste. Bleeding, crying lights were meant to metaphorically parallel the way in which we invisibly squander our natural resources without much thought. While the original sentiment remains, the film also grew into a poetic statement about a world run amok and the human tendency to exploit that which we hold dear.

The film was shot over a couple nights in Los Angeles as two friends drove around with a camera exploring the city’s architecture and abandoned landscapes.

Hope my students can produce videos this effective!

Buffalo Commons

Originating with two social scientists out of New Jersey, DE Popper & FJ Popper,  back in 1987, the concept for re-wilding the great plains to establish the ‘Buffalo Commons‘ [pdf] has been met with skepticism if not outright rejection by most of the region’s residents. As the population across much of the western range drops below the 6 people per square mile threshold of Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier theory, it is worth reconsidering the status of The Far West to The Midlands as Colin Woodward calls them. Perhaps we can also restore the traditional territories of the Plains Indians as the buffalo return too.

2000 population map legend (no 2010 census maps are available yet):

  • 0-1 (white)
  • 1-4 (yellow)
  • 5-9 (yellow-green)
  • 10-24 (green)
  • 25-49 (teal)
  • 50-99 (dark teal)
  • 100-249 (blue)
  • 250-66,995 (dark blue)

If fences are one of the essential infrastructure of the late 19th century plains, removing them opens up the question of how they originally shaped the rural landscape that we now know. Of course, the original infrastructure was and Jefferson’s Public Land Survey System, followed by wagon trails (as I’m not sure if the game trails/indian trails can be seen as discreet systems separate from the landscape matrix), then the Transcontinental Railroad before the interstate freeways system and oil pipelines emerged.

Woodward’s American map

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Call for Jurors & Guests – Winter 2012

For my upcoming 4th year BSLA studio at Cal Poly Pomona, Sublime Infrastructures: Sylmar, I’m seeking Los Angeles based documentary filmmakers (directors, editors, sound folks, cinematographers) and landscape architects with an interest in the city, infrastructure, sustainability, tactical urbanism, and the sublime to be class guests.  Guests will either serve as jurors or assist the students in producing videos that integrate their designs and analysis drawings with footage of the city.

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