A monthly roundup of the news, dispatches, and marginalia that caught our eye.
In this dispatch of the Queue, the LAM staff reads up on the politics of space, urban parks in Mexico, an extraordinary gift of land in California, why architects talk funny, and way too much more.
OUR WOBBLY WORLD
Alexis Madrigal’s piece on California’s water problem is being heavily circulated, but in case you haven’t seen it, the Atlantic has it posted in full.
Also all over the interwebs is Elizabeth Kolbert talking about her new book, the Sixth Extinction. “We are effectively undoing the beauty and the variety and the richness of the world which has taken tens of millions of years to reach,” Kolbert tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “We’re sort of unraveling that…. We’re doing, it’s often said, a massive experiment on the planet, and we really don’t know what the end point is going to be.”
Do our green urban policies actually undermine social equity? Tom Slater fires a shot across the bow of the advocates for urban sustainability and resiliency, and asks, Who gains? Who loses?
Recognition for the groups, including TCLF, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, and the Minnesota chapter of Docomomo US, who rallied to save M. Paul Friedberg’s modern landscape, Peavey Plaza.
Lorena Martínez, the mayor of Aguascalientes, Mexico, finds that the new 8 mile long linear park park, La Línea Verde, solves a host of urban problems, from asthma to crime. Cityscope talks to the mayor and the citizens about what it took.
Via Grist, Brentin Mock interviews Clarice Gaylord, who was in charge of the EPA’s first effort to deal with issues of environmental justice–under the Bush administration.
Instead of selling his 300 acres of highly valuable land near Silicon Valley–the number $500 million was thrown out there–Walter Cottle Lester willed his family farm to the state to be preserved as an agricultural park. No playgrounds, no swimming pools, no basketball court, just wide open space.
Via Placeswire, Esri’s ArcGIS opens up its platform to the public and puts reams of government data, including the EPA’s, into the public’s hands.
DISTRACT ME FROM MY DEADLINE DEPT.
Photographs by artist/geographer Trevor Paglen of never before-seen-surveillance sites cracks open the hidden landscapes of intelligence gathering.
So very cool new Multiplicity project from Landscape Forms and Fuseproject lets designers play with street furniture.
Translation, please: “Interrogating the hermeneutic potentiality of the urban fabric’s boundary conditions is the key to intervening in the city’s morphology. The phenomenological nature of a building and its neighborhood is enhanced by ludic acts of horizontality.”
How to make pennyfloors, with much chortling in the comments about cost per square foot.
The world without people is a little bit creepy.