Money, Money, Money Photo Set

Iraqi Dinar
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
I just started a new photoset of pictures of paper currency. I'm trying to expand my photography skills past travel pictures and focus on smaller images. I collect money, so I thought i'd be an interesting thing to try.



The Popular Front for the Removal of Urban Highways and the Banishment of Unsightly Street Level Parking (or PFRUHBUSLP, for short)

Back in the good old days of the Black Plague, Leonardo (da Vinci, not ninja turtle) sat down and addressed the problem building a new city to replace Milan. The assumption was that the overcrowding in the city was the root cause of the spread of the plague, and to some extent that was true. Leonardo, as usual, was a genius. His plan managed to hit some of the major points of city planning that wouldn't emerge as important until hundreds of years later. For example, drinking water and sewage didn't come from and go to the same places! Genius, huh? But here is the part I really like. Leonardo's city had two levels, an upper one for pedestrians and a lower one for "wheeled vehicles." It would seem that Leo predicted the Big Dig hundreds of years before the car existed.

Now if I had to choose the two things that I dislike the most about American cities, it would be the prevalence of urban highways and the abundance of street level parking (I don't mean on-street parking, which is fine, but rather entire blocks with nothing on them but cars). In Minneapolis a few weeks ago, I was on the east side of downtown and noticed that there were no buildings at all for four blocks in front of me, just parking.

I'm not unrealistic, I know we need parking in our downtowns. It should just be better hidden. Luckily, the increasing land values in downtowns seem to be helping with this problem (except in the vicinity of sports stadiums, where city governments really need to step in and zone aggressively to get rid of them).

With regards to highways, I think we are becoming more and more aware of their detrimental effects on urban areas. The Congress for the New Urbanism, which is meeting this June in Providence, is focusing part of their meeting on the problem and numerous cities (Boston, Providence, Milwaukee, Portland, New York, San Francisco, Chattanooga) are moving forward with plans to either bury or remove urban highways all together. We seem to be moving towards a time when having Highways in the city will be about as acceptable as slaughterhouses and oil refineries.

Here in Boston, we've obviously got the huge public works project called the Big Dig, but what many people have overlooked is that the city has also opened highway covering up to private investors. 20 something years ago, the Prudential Center covered over a good portion of the Mass Turnpike between the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods. At the time, the assumption was that other companies would cover other sections until the Back Bay and South End were completely reconnected and there would be a new "spine" of tall buildings running from Downtown towards the Fenway. As you can see from this picture, which was taken from the Prudential, the Hancock building and a handful of other buildings have given this area some significant height (downtown is in the distance, the uncovered part of the Mass Pike on the right), but up until now, no one else has taken on the challenge of covering anymore of the highway.
Boston, Massachusetts

Well, ground was finally broken last week for the next part of this project, Columbus Center, which will effectively reconnect the Back Bay and the South End. Columbus Center has a 35 story tower, drawing a line of sight from downtowns office towers to the tall buildings of the Back Bay, as well as several smaller condo/retail buildings which will fit in well with the South End's residential and architectural character.
Planned Development
Kudos guys. Keep the good stuff coming.



vive l'acadie libre

vive l'acadie libre
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
I read like two or three books a week, so I don't usually recommend something any further then listing it on my site, but occasionally I read something really good, so here it is:

A Great and Noble Scheme by John Mack Faragher

This is an excellent academic history of the expulsion of the Acadians from l'acadie/Nova Scotia during the Seven-Years-War. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Canadian, New England or Colonial History or the Studies of Ethnic Cleansing.

For those who don't know, the Acadians were French speaking Catholics who lived on the Bay of Fundy in what is now New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Maine. They colonized about 10 years before Plymouth and were mixed pretty extensively with the Mikmaq Indians, which made them very different from the Canadiens in Quebec. Eventually they were removed from Acadia by the British and became the ancestors of the Cajun people in Louisiana.

There are now a pretty good sized group of them back in the Maritimes and they are a very vibrant and interesting minority group. I took this picture of a barn painted with the Acadian flag on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.



Minneapolis, Minnesota
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
Do professors get together and figure out how to assign everything in the same week?

Actually it's not that bad, but I've still got more work due in the next week then I've had in the entire last month.

I've got a mid-term paper for Housing and Community Development where he wants to compare and contrast two different modes of housing creation/rehabilitation. I'm writing on Hope VI, since it's the only one that I've get any personal experience with along with a program from Baltimore called SCOPE (Selling City-Owned Property Efficiently).

SCOPE is pretty interesting. It's basically an Urban Homestead Act. The City government sells you a plot of land (some with and some without buildings already on them) at an extremely low price, but then you have to put a certain amount of improvement onto the lot and agree to live there a certain number of years (I think it's 5). It's got the same sort of a basic premise as some parts of Hope VI. If you infuse people of different income groups into the same area and encourage ownership, then the owners will take pride in their homes and it'll spread to others in the neighborhood. It's a good basic idea and to some extent it works. For example, since my landlords cleaned out our backyard last year, one of the buildings next to us cleaned theirs out a couple of months later and started growing veggies in it.

My main concern is that it relies to much on people outside of the neighborhood instead of people within the community. It's kind of like when the British tried to use German protestant settlers to disperse the French Catholic Acadians in Nova Scotia.

So yeah. That's pretty much all I have to say today. Go Japan.



Where I've Been. Vol. II

This is one of the things I did when I was in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago. I've always loved lists. I got it from my mom. Anyways, these are photos of all of the places I remember living minus one place in Berlin.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
5617 Nicollet Avenue - Windom Neighborhood - Minneapolis

Richfield, Minnesota
6XXX Third Avenue - Richfield, Minnesota

May, 2001-October 2001
144 West Sixty-Second Street - Windom - Minneapolis

October 2001-February 2002
This is the one I don't have a picture of. Sorry
Berner Straße 38 - Lichterfelde - Berlin

March 2002-May 2003
Berlin, Germany
Auerstraße 44 - Friedrichshain - Berlin

May 2003-July 2003
Minneapolis, Minnesota
4XXX Nicollet Avenue - Kingfield - Minneapolis
Thanks, Ryan!

August 2003-July 2004
Minneapolis, Minnesota
133 Oak Grove Street - Loring Park - Minneapolis

August 2004 to Present
Boston, Massachusetts
East Boston - Boston



I have this dirty little secret...

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
...sometimes I really like movies that I know aren't very good and then I complain about them to my cool friends who I know would never like them. Matrix II and Matrix III would be good examples, along with all of the movies in the newest Star Wars Trilogy. I know they're cheesy and the dialogue was terrible, but I like them. So there.

I was a bit worried that V for Vendetta was going to fall into that category, but it was awesome, so I'm not even ashamed. Great cinematography, good acting and (mostly good) writing. I already know that there are a lot of people who will really dislike this movie just on ideological grounds, but I think that's really unfair. Like 1984, Brave New World or any other dystopian literature, I think it's actually got a lot of interesting little pieces of different authoritarian regimes mixed in. One of the interesting parts for me was actually picking out the little pieces of history from different parts of the world, not to mention little pieces of both past literary dystopias (1984, Brave New World) but also past films like Metropolis. I think I may see it again in the theatre just to try and watch more carefully.

So, here is to our (relatively) independent judiciary, independent universities, (mostly) rule of law, and the ability to choose between our favorite rich white guy every four years.

Anyways, I'm interested to hear what other people think.



McHot or Not

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
This is great. You can upload a picture of your house and people will decide if you live in a McMansion or not. We'll check back in a while and see how Mr. Pitman's place is.

oh, oh, almost forgot to mention... Mr. Pitman could win a cosmetic shade tree! (although he may be disqualified for not living in Austin.


Growing Up.

Boston, Massachusetts
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
This is pretty interesting. It's a list of the 10 tallest buildings completed this year. They range from 1,093 feet down to 758 feet (for a frame of reference, the John Hancock building in Boston is 790 feet, the IDS in Mpls is 792 feet, the TV Tower in Berlin is 1,207 feet and the Allienz building in Treptow, otherwise known as the TrepTOWER, is, at 410 feet, the tallest occupied building in Berlin).

So anyways, there are a few interesting trends here. first, four of the buildings are residential, which is something we didn't see in tall buildings in the past.

Five of the buildings are in China! which says something about the incredible growth taking place there. Two are in Austrialia and one each is in Russia, the UAE and New York.

Another interesting thing to note is that only two of the ten are designed by the so-called "starchitects." The NYC buiding is Cesar Pelli and the one in Sydney is Norman Foster. I'm not really sure what that means. I suppose you could look at it as either the "starchitects" are being overshadowed by less famous eastern architects or maybe the "starchitect" thing has all been hype? Who knows?



Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
I think these last few days have been the longest I've gone without blogging since J left. It's been mostly due to my ungodly work/school schedule the last few days. I've been working an open (4:45 AM till 1:15 PM) and then going to school from 6 to 9 PM, which means I've been sleeping in two 4 hour shifts, one in the afternoon and one at night. Luckily, I don't have to be back to work until noon tomorrow.

I talked to J yesterday, which is always one of the highlights of my week. She sounded really good. She has been blogging a bunch and also uploaded a really great set of photos from the Mekong Delta. She's really good at taking pictures of people, something I'm not good at. Some of these look like they should be in Time or National Geographic.

I had a wonderful time in MPLS. I really enjoyed seeing everyone and it totally recharged me. Thanks to everyone who made time for me.

So anyways, my last post was a little different then usual. I used to keep a journal and I would write down quotes that I really liked (actually, if you look at my old journals, which you won't, because I won't let you, you would find that they are mostly quotes), but my old "church" made basically made journaling a religious requirement, so when I gave up those practices I dropped journaling too. I think I'm going to start posting them here instead. It's interesting to get other peoples perspective on them anyways.

I've got a couple of big writing projects to be working on for school over the next few weeks. I've got a short paper on housing supply methods due in two weeks and I want to start getting some stuff on paper (on screen? in bit format?) for my urban agriculture paper.

Just two more days of work and then it's the weekend. One day to do laundry and write and one to take a train to a random New England small town and take some pictures? Sounds about right.



Los Angeles, California
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
The Church is in the world, it is part of the suffering in the world, and though Christ condemned the disciple who struck off the ear of the high priest's servent, our hearts go out in sympathy to all who are moved to violence by the suffering of others. The Church condemns violence, but it condemns indifference more harshly. Violence can be the expression of love, indifference never. One is an imperfection of charity, the other the perfection of egoism. In the days of fear, doubt and confusion, the simplicity and loyalty of one apostle advocated a political solution. He was wrong, but I would rather be wrong with St Thomas than right with the cold and the craven. Let us go up to Jerusalem and die with him.

Graham Greene - The Comedians



up up and away

Boston, Massachusetts
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
Just one more day of work and then I'm off for mpls. I can't wait to see everybody! Especially the new person. I'm also looking forward to walking around and taking some pictures and having some time to read. I picked up a few books yesterday for the airplane: a Graham Greene novel, a book of Frederick Law Olmsted's writings on American park systems and a travel narrative/political journalism book about Burma.

I talked to J yesterday. I guess she was briefly in the hospital last week with a bad fever. I felt so bad. It really sucks that something like that happened and I didn't know about it until a couple of days later. She's fine now. She's in the Mekong Delta this week. Next week she starts her homestay. She's going to be living with a Chinese-Vietnamese family, which I'm sure will be interesting. They speak Chinese at home, so it looks like she'll be learning two languages while she is living there.

Someone a couple of posts ago asked for info about urban agriculture. I don't have a ton of stuff yet, but you could certainly look at www.thefoodproject.org for an example. I'll try to post more later.

See many of you soon.




Los Angeles, California
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
good movie, but it wouldn't have been my choice (or my guess for that matter). I really thought that the academy was a lot more likely to do either Brokeback Mountian or Munich.

My favorites this year were still The Constant Gardener and Goodnight and Goodluck.

John Stewart was good. and speaking of John Stewart, I've been watching dvd's of NewsRadio and he was on it playing Andy Dick's twin brother. That show is hilarious.

My other highlight from the night is when Jennifer Gardner almost tripped. Falling is funny.



Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City aka Scooterville

Saigon, Vietnam
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
J blogged and uploaded some new pictures.



I love the holidays...

Boston, Massachusetts
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
Spring Break, woo hoo!

and with baseball in the air. I watched part of the Korea/Taipai game yesterday. I'm loving the World Baseball Classic thing. I'm pulling for Venezuela. gotta root for the socialist homeboyz. Seriously though, I'd love to see a baseball version of the champion's league. I suppose it can't happen until the Latin American and Asian teams can pay as well as the American ones.

So anyways, I just finished off the last of my school work before break. I had to do a outline for my final paper in Environement, Technology and Society. I'm writting on Urban Agriculture. It's ended up a lot more interesting then I thought. I choose it after reading about a Latin American architect who was designing rooftop farming technology for barrios in Caracas. It turns out that it's alot more widespread and important then I would have thought (i've even been in contact with an urban farm in Dorchester), but Urban governments are only beginning to formulate policy about it. This is the longest paper that I've had to write (30 pages). I'm hoping it'll be good for applying for an internship that I'd like with UN-habitat.

I'm looking forward to being in Mpls next weekend. I checked weather channel and it looks like it'll be raining though. Like I don't get enough rain in Boston, right?



Minneapolitians Rejoice!!!

Dublin, Ireland
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
Zipcar is in Minneapolis Now!!!

They are only at the U of M campuses right now, but I highly recommend this company for all your driving needs. For those who only use public transit (or would like to only use public transit), it's a great way to get a cheap car for a short period of time. It's $8 an hour or $60 a day (including gas and insurance).



  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP