No Zoning: March 3rd @ LivableStreets

I'll be giving a talk on Houston at the LivableStreets Alliance in Cambridge on March 3rd if anyone is interested... and assuming anyone still follows this woefully out of date blog...



GSD Platform 2

Another book that I have a small piece in has come out. You can buy a copy here. The Platform books are a yearly overview of the work that goes on at the GSD. Unlike A View on Harvard GSD, which everyone submits to, the work that goes into Platform is selected by the instructors.

My chunk is page 165, which was, unfortunately, mislabeled, and honestly isn't my favorite image from my first year. That said, it's always nice to be selected.

The book was published by Actar in Barcelona, and is available on Amazon and pretty much anywhere you can get architecture books.



Dirty Coast Sojourn 1




A View on Harvard GSD Released

A book that I contributed to is now available on the internets for those who are interested. It was published in London, so it's a bit expensive here in the states, but if you're in the market for an architecture coffee table book, it looks quite nice (though I have yet to actually see a physical copy).


For the book, students and faculty at the GSD were asked to submit a single page highlighting our current research or studio projects. Over 350 of us contributed. My contribution was a short essay entitled "The Territorialization of Identity" that highlighted my research from the Balkanization Seminar I took with Srdjan Weiss last fall.

The book is available for sale at Tank Books for £29.90 with shipping to the US. I believe it will be available on Amazon here soon as well. *Update: Amazon.co.uk has it available for pre-order for £12 plus around £7 shipping to North America*

There is also an opportunity to win a free copy here.



No There, There

Once again I've fallen far below my goals about posting here more often. I've been planning a long critique of Oakland culture for some time now, but I think I'm going to do the short version now instead.

The most famous thing that's ever been said about Oakland has to be Gertrude Stein's famous observation that when she got there, she found out there was "no there there." For most people not in the know, Oakland is at best a footnote to San Francisco and at worst "California's Detroit." I can't say I'd ever thought much about Oakland before the possibility of my moving out here for the summer came up, but when I did, it was often through the lens of my own childhood in those other Twin Cities. Specifically, coming from the big one and not thinking the other one had much to recommend it at all (though I've changed my mind about Saint Paul a lot in the last few years).

So of course, I was pleasantly surprised when I came out here and found that I actually prefer Oakland, in all of its decrepit, funky weirdness to its more touristed, upper-class sister across the bay. I mean, how uninteresting can a city that inspired these guys:
07-01-04-seale and newton
this guy:
and these guys:

really be?

Also, what other city would purchase dozens of Imperial AT-AT Walkers to guard the coastline?

Open Late, originally uploaded by Jeremy Brooks.

Due to my job, I've also been following a lot of great Oakland bloggers. They're saying more about Oakland culture then I ever could, so let me round this out with a few links. Living in the O and A Better Oakland are two of the very best. Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out just how awesome Oaklandish is.



Week One in Oakland

I'm just finishing up my first week in lovely Oakland and loving it so far. I'm living right next to downtown in a neighborhood called Lake Merritt. For Minneapolitans, think a cross between Lake Calhoun and Loring Park. It's a fabulous neighborhood and I'm sort of right in between Vietnamese and Mexican sections, which means being surrounded by great food.
I borrowed an old bike from one of my co-workers, so I've been spending a lot of time exploring the East Bay by bike. Oakland is great and has a ton of cool neighborhoods. I've especially enjoyed hanging out around the Grand-Lake area, which has a spectacular farmer's market on Saturdays (mmm. nectarines...). I got to an A's-Twins game last week, courtesy of my roommate/landlord's amazing box seat. The Coliseum is definitely one of the crappier stadiums I've visited, but in sort of a lovable way. I spent a day in SF (reminded me of Manhattan. lots of reasons I should like it, but too many yuppies and tourists) and Berkeley (which has great bookstores and a beautiful campus).

More on all this later, but I wanted to get up a short update.



A Little Radical Cartography...


My new home superimposed on my old home.



As part of my summer internship with TransForm, a transportation advocacy group in Oakland, CA, I'm going to be experimenting a lot with the possibilities of using social networking sites for community organization. It's an interesting project, and one that I feel a lot of people are talking about, but no one has really completely figured out. The first project is actually a part of a larger fund-raising event that we're throwing called the Car-Free Challenge. It's sort of a reverse walk-a-thon. Instead of raising money based on how much you walk, you raise it based on how little you drive. We've got well over a hundred people participating, and one of the main things I'm doing is encouraging them to blog. The following is one of my own posts about the first day of the challenge.

originally uploaded by Professor Bop.

Day One: 984 Miles Car Free

I usually tell people that I try to avoid flying for the same reason I try to avoid driving. A) It’s bad for the environment and B) It stresses me out. For me, June 1st happened to fall on the last day of my vacation. I’d spent the previous two weeks in Minneapolis (visiting family) and Chicago (visiting friends) and was traveling back to Boston on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited.

A few years ago, I had used one of those internet emissions calculators to find out how I compared to the average. OK. Let’s be honest. As someone who’s been car-free for a long time and lives in an apartment building in a downtown neighborhood, I was looking to confirm how awesome I am. However, I found that, due to the amount of flying that my partner and I do (she’s an anthropologist and we tend to travel to Asia more often then most), we had the emissions of a family of four in the suburbs. My first thought was, of course, to pay for carbon offsets. But when it comes to making a decision between paying some money and changing my behavior, I usually lean towards changing my behavior. It makes me more comfortable. Obviously, there are very few ways to get to Asia from the US, but I did decide to try out Amtrak for as much of my domestic travel as I could.

Since then, I’ve traveled by rail as far as Boston to Santa Fe… and I’ve loved it. One of my favorite things about traveling across the country by rail is the view of America it gives you. Traveling by interstate, the country is remarkably uniform. You see the same highways, the same gas stations, the same cars and the same subdivisions all over the country. The rail lines tend to go through back areas, far off the beaten path. You get an amazing view of America before the interstate system. Mostly though, unlike flying, which is just transportation, taking the train really becomes part of the trip. We pack enough food, wine and games and just sit back to enjoy the ride…



Bicycles and Rooftops

Day three in Minneapolis and we finally got out on some bikes to enjoy a record-settingly-hot day in the city. We took the Minnehaha Creek from my parents to the Falls, then the light rail to the 29th Street greenway, hung out for a rooftop beer in uptown, then cut by the lakes and back to Minnehaha back home. Yeah for Minneapolis biking!!!


(click this one for a MUCH larger version)




Everyday Aquidneck: Core 2 Project 3





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