Category Archives: landscape

Open-Source Tool Makes Comparing Street Networks Easy

Image Credit: Geoff Boeing

Image Credit: Geoff Boeing

Geoff Boeing, a PhD student at UC Berkeley, has created an open-source tool that allows researchers to directly compare city street networks. The Python-based tool generates black-and-white maps that visualize one square mile of a street network for a given city. The simple visual language of the tool’s renderings emphasizes the stark contrast between wide suburban blocks, tight 19th century grids, and radial ancient cities.

Source: NextCity

Trick Roundabout Designed to Confuse Drivers

Image Credit: Al Storer

Image Credit: Al Storer

Designers have implemented a “ghost roundabout” in Cambridge, United Kingdom to intentionally confuse speedy drivers. The new road feature consists of a circular pattern of cobbled bricks that resembles a traffic roundabout. The bricks are merely decorative; however, behavioral science dictates that the familiar circular shape will cause drivers to take notice and slow down. The formation has been criticized by those who believe it looks too much like a crosswalk or that the confusion it will cause drivers will be dangerous. By replacing vertical speed bumps, the “ghost roundabouts” could provide a slowing mechanism that no longer relies on giving the driver a physical jolt.

 

Source: 99 Percent Invisible

Dallas Floodplain to Become America’s Biggest Nature Park

Dallas will soon be one of the greenest cities in America thanks to the Trinity River Park, a new project that aims to transform a floodplain into a thriving urban green space. The park will feature playgrounds, trails, and lawns that enhance the quality of life of Dallas residents and help minimize flooding damage in the city. The designers of the park—Michael Van Valkenburg Associates—worked with city engineers to convert the floodplain. In a city known for its concrete landscape, this 10,000 acre park will be a welcome retreat.

Source: Inhabitat

World’s Largest Redwood Grove Planned for Irish Town

Image Credit: IceNineJohn (Flickr)

Image Credit: IceNineJon (Flickr)

The town of Birr, Ireland could become home to the world’s largest collection of giant redwood trees if Birr Castle’s Lord Rosse has anything to say about it. Eighty-year old Lord Rosse—also known as Brendan Parsons—plans to plant as many as 3,000 redwood trees despite the area’s cold and fluctuating temperatures. Nine redwoods likely planted in the 1860s are currently growing on the estate, with two different species represented. Although the hardiness of these trees has encouraged Parsons, the financial cost is still a barrier; in order to fund the project, the earl plans to offer the public the chance to purchase 500 Euro tree sponsorships.

Source: Inhabitat

Mending the Broken Earth

Image Credit: Estelle Chrétien

Image Credit: Estelle Chrétien

French artist Estelle Chrétien’s newest earthwork evokes memories of stitched-up injuries or unraveling clothing. “Ground Operation”—which features a split section of turf seemingly stitched back together with a white cord—instills in the viewer the importance of mankind’s role in molding the earth. Chrétien juxtaposes small-scale handicrafts with the kinds of agricultural and infrastructural interventions that change the landscape. According to Chrétien, the earthwork “…questions our relationship to natural resources,” helping us to realize our impact.

Source: The Creators Project

Did a Finnish Modernist Change Skateboarding Forever?

Aalto's first pool at Villa Mairea in Finland. Image credit: Jonathan Rieke via Dezeen

Aalto’s first pool at Villa Mairea in Finland. Image credit: Jonathan Rieke via Dezeen

Skateboarding magazine Transworld Skateboarding credits Finnish Modernist architect Alvar Aalto with changing the sport of skateboarding forever. Alto is credited with building the world’s first kidney shaped swimming pool in 1939, which also featured a rounded floor that formed a bowl rather than four sharp corners. Transworld claims that during the 1975 California drought, hundreds of these popular swimming pools remained empty—providing an opportunity for skateboarders to co-opt empty pools to practice new tricks on their sloped concrete floors. Without Aalto’s first kidney-shaped pool at Villa Mairea, the sport of skateboarding as we know it might not exist.

Source: Transworld via Dezeen

Tiny Huge Forest

Image Credit: Micah Bozeman, via New York Times

Image Credit: Micah Bozeman, via City Lab

The New York City Public Art Fund, the Save the Redwoods League, and artist Spencer Finch have collaborated to recreate a California redwood forest in downtown Brooklyn–at a 1:100 scale, of course. While “California’s Lost Man Creek is 380 feet tall, the Brooklyn version will stand around 4 feet high.” The trees representing the redwoods are metasequoias, which will be trimmed down periodically to maintain their height at the appropriate scale.

Source: City Lab

Harmonic Highways

Image Credit: Washington State Department of Transportation

Image Credit: Washington State Department of Transportation

A portion of Route 66 that crosses through New Mexico has been altered to produce music through the introduction of “rumble strips.” However, the chosen song, America the Beautiful, is only intelligible when a motorist drives at the designated speed limit. 99 Percent Invisible reports, “Go too fast and the pitch is transposed higher and the tempo is increased,” which promises an audibly uncomfortable experience for a driver.

Source: 99 Percent Invisible

Floating Piers

Image Credit: Wolfgang Volz, via DesignBoom

Image Credit: Wolfgang Volz, via DesignBoom

A temporary installation floated atop Lake Iseo in Italy for 16 days during the month of June, accessible to the public and free of charge. Christo, and his late partner Jeanne-Claude, originated the concept in 1970. After changing the intended location of the piece multiple times, this particular Italian lake was chosen in 2014. Floating Piers, as the work was called, was a continuous strand that traced both the water and the adjacent city streets.

Source: DesignBoom

Google Earth Anomalies

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 12.04.23 PM

Artist Clement Valla’s Postcards from Google Earth capitalizes on the digital anomalies that occur during the generation of still satellite images for the Google Earth. Valla focuses on the images’ edge conditions and states: “They are the absolute logical result of the system. They are an edge condition—an anomaly within the system, a nonstandard, an outlier, even, but not an error.”

Source: Visual News

From Above: Impacts of Industrial Farming

Aerial Feedlots | Mishka Henner

Aerial Feedlots | Mishka Henner

While combing satellite images of American farmland, British photographer Mishka Henner  noticed anomalies in the landscapes. Bodies of water were unnatural colors and the aerials appeared manufactured or altered. In fact, they were; the landscapes were the sites of massive waste lagoons—the byproduct of industrialized farming. The open-source satellite images also allow Henner to publish and present Feedlots without fear of criminal suit over the controversial “Ag Gag” laws.

Source: inhabitat

Earth-Sheltered Architecture

Edgeland House, Austin, TX | Bercy Chen Architects

Edgeland House, Austin, TX | Bercy Chen Architects

Present day subterranean dwellings often merge modern design aesthetics with architectural traditions that are as old as humanity itself. Tailored to the landscapes of their specific geographic settings, they are both visually striking and energy efficient—utilizing traditional passive heating and cooling techniques, and advanced design and building techniques. The Edgeland House in Austin, Texas by Bercy Chen Studio sits on a rehabilitated brownfield site and is described as “a modern reinterpretation of the Native American pit house, one of the oldest architectural forms known in North America.”

Source: Web Urbanist