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Posts tagged gardens and cities

Andy:

God did not want us to leave as few footprints as possible, leaving the earth alone as much as we can. He commanded us instead to spread out, over the whole globe, and bring it all under our influence, to subdue it for its own good, to make it even more fruitful, beautiful, and sustainable, under God’s guidance and by the power he invested in it. We dare not be cowed into relinquishing this role out of shame that we have performed it badly heretofore. We must take it up afresh, do the best we can, and look forward to the shalom that our administration will bring, in concert with Christ’s rule, in the world to come.

an EatingAsia post by Robyn Eckhardt, 27 August 2008

Wherever you go in the world, the food of the street represents the identity of the people. Clues to culture, race, and religion can be found in the local cuisine.

That quote kicks off the Penang-focused show of an Al Jazeera series on street food around the world (heads up courtesy of noodlepie). And I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Simply put, you haven’t experienced Penang, not the real Penang, until you’ve eaten on its streets. And the same, I would argue, could be said for any other place in the world that street food still exists.

Street food naysayers miss the point. When it comes to eating on the street it’s not only about the food. (And it’s not about proving your traveling cohones either.) Be open to the whole experience, and a street food meal will give as much insight into a place and a culture as any guidebook intro. Plus, you get to fill your belly at the same time.

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"City of Immigrants" by Steve Earle with Forro in the Dark, YouTube
Nate:
Nate:
from "Boston's newest classrooms: schoolyards," by Stacy Teicher Khadroo, Christian Science Monitor, 20 August 2008

Since 1995, Boston has reconstructed 71 schoolyards, covering 125 acres and serving more than 25,000 children a day, Mr. Comart says. The yearly capital investment is about $1.2 million from the city and $600,000 from the Funders Collaborative, which also gives about $450,000 for operating expenses and professional development for teachers. By 2010, 87 yards should be complete, he says, and 27 will include outdoor classrooms. The hope now is to complete the 10 remaining elementary- and middle-school yards.

The teachers on hand during the tour made it easy for visitors to imagine children’s delight in the outdoor classroom at the William Monroe Trotter Elementary School in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. Third-grade teacher Christine Whittemore’s face lit up as she explained the concept of the garden she stood in: Corn, beans, and squash all grow in one plot – a “three sisters” garden like the kind the Wampanoag Indians showed to the Pilgrims. It ties in well with social studies lessons, she said.

The area used to be a vacant, trashy lot and now nurtures plants that attract butterflies. A square wooden pole sports a weather vane and thermometers, so students can correlate temperature to where the sun is.

“[The kids] sort of recognize this as kind of a special place. They’re quieter, more orderly,” Ms. Whittemore said.

"Playful Spaces" by Bruno Taylor :: via designboom
Nate:

Unlike the Garden, the theme park is not a place where you can get hurt—or if you do, it’s not your fault, and you can sue. And to keep you from getting hurt, in the theme park, you are never alone. Not only are you accompanied by throngs of other park guests, but by omnipresent representatives of the theme park corporation, there to ensure and (if necessary) enforce enjoyment of the theme park on the owners’ terms.

Culture Making, p.112

Google Maps
Nate:
Nate:
from "Why I Live Where I Live" (1980), collected in Signposts in a Strange Land: Essays, by Walker Percy, 2000

A Chinese curse condemns one to live in interesting and eventful times. The best thing about Covington is that it is in a certain sense out of place and time but not too far out and therefore just the place for a Chinese scholar who asks nothing more than being left alone. One can sniff the ozone from the pine trees, visit the local bars, eat crawfish, and drink Dixie beer and feel as good as it is possible to feel in this awfully interesting century. And now and then, drive across the lake to New Orleans, still an entrancing city, eat trout amandine at Galatoire’s, drive home to my pleasant, uninteresting place, try to figure out how the world got into such a fix, shrug, take a drink, and listen to the frogs tune up.

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"Onion field, rural Washington," by Emily Gatch
Nate:
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panel from "The El", by Daniel Hauben, photo by David Goldman for the New York Times, from "Bronx Artist’s Glass Work Is Recognized," by Sewell Chan, NYTimes.com, 13 August 2008
Nate:
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"Billboards no.02," giclee photo print on aluminum (2008), by Branislav Kropilak :: via Cool Hunting
Nate:
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from a gallery accompanying "At the Getty Central Garden with Robert Irwin," photo by Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2008
Nate:
Nate:

Participants in BudBurst monitor one or more plants, native or non-native, throughout the growing season. Along the way, they record and report the dates of events such as the first flower or first seed. Like many citizen science programs, BudBurst is modeled after the Audubon Christmas bird count, an annual volunteer effort that has provided ornithologists with a century’s worth of data.

Though some plant experts already have noticed certain species popping up unseasonably early, gardeners may be ideal for observing the subtle waxing of summers or waning of winters. They fill their plots with plants best suited to the weather, so for many, responding to climate change is simply a matter of common sense.

“There’s something about being in the dirt that puts things in perspective,” said Gina Garrison of Forest Park, who plans to monitor plants for BudBurst next spring. “Since planting my garden, I’ve looked into climate change more, looked into what would happen.”

Nate:
a post by Alexander Ross, The Long Now Blog, 13 July 2008

I recently came across these amazing data driven globes from Yale’s G-Econ group.  The one above represents population density, but their tool allows for all kinds of data to drive the topology from average rainfall to distance from coastlines.

Nate:
a Boing Boing post by Cory Doctorow, 21 June 2008

In this Disney podcast, Chief Imagineer Marty Sklar enumerates Mickey’s 10 Commandments of Theme Park Design.MP3 Link(Thanks, Avi!)

Andy:
from "American Murder Mystery", by Hanna Rosin, Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2008

Falling crime rates have been one of the great American success stories of the past 15 years. New York and Los Angeles, once the twin capitals of violent crime, have calmed down significantly, as have most other big cities. Criminologists still debate why: the crack war petered out, new policing tactics worked, the economy improved for a long spell. Whatever the alchemy, crime in New York, for instance, is now so low that local prison guards are worried about unemployment.

Lately, though, a new and unexpected pattern has emerged, taking criminologists by surprise. While crime rates in large cities stayed flat, homicide rates in many midsize cities (with populations of between 500,000 and 1 million) began increasing, sometimes by as much as 20percent a year. In 2006, the Police Executive Research Forum, a national police group surveying cities from coast to coast, concluded in a report called “A Gathering Storm” that this might represent “the front end … of an epidemic of violence not seen for years.” The leaders of the group, which is made up of police chiefs and sheriffs, theorized about what might be spurring the latest crime wave: the spread of gangs, the masses of offenders coming out of prison, methamphetamines. But mostly they puzzled over the bleak new landscape. According to FBI data, America’s most dangerous spots are now places where Martin Scorsese would never think of staging a shoot-out—Florence, South Carolina; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Reading, Pennsylvania; Orlando, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee.

Memphis has always been associated with some amount of violence. But why has Elvis’s hometown turned into America’s new South Bronx? Barnes thinks he knows one big part of the answer, as does the city’s chief of police. A handful of local criminologists and social scientists think they can explain it, too. But it’s a dismal answer, one that city leaders have made clear they don’t want to hear. It’s an answer that offers up racial stereotypes to fearful whites in a city trying to move beyond racial tensions. Ultimately, it reaches beyond crime and implicates one of the most ambitious antipoverty programs of recent decades.

via Boing Boing
Nate:
by Nate Barksdale for Culture Making

The United Nations Environment Program has just launched this Google map-enabled site with before/after satellite images showing environmental change over the past few decades: cities grow, forests are converted to farmland, glaciers shrink. We’re making something of the world, both for better and for worse.

Nate:

Steve Gifford has found a bright side to living next to an eyesore—in his case, Congo’s former embassy. In exchange for Gifford and his partner spending $200 a month cutting the grass and cleaning up, Congo granted that most elusive of city perks: parking in the embassy’s driveway. “Everybody wins,” Gifford said.