All posts by zachmortice

The City, By the Numbers

Nicholas de Monchaux’s book Local Code explains how the military-industrial complex ushered cities into the the age of technocratic data.

By Zach Mortice

An abandoned island is the Venice Lagoon. Local Code by Nicholas de Monchaux, published by Princeton Architectural Press 2016.
An abandoned island in the Venice lagoon. Local Code by Nicholas de Monchaux, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

In his new book, Local Code: 3,659 Proposals About Data, Design, and the Nature of Cities, the University of California, Berkeley architecture and urban design professor Nicholas de Monchaux develops new tools for the mass customization of underused and vacant urban lots, highlighting the limits of inflexible systems thinking. Continue reading The City, By the Numbers

Cedar Rapids, Readier for this Flood

How Sasaki’s run-ins with Iowa floods helped Cedar Rapids weather the storms to come.

By Zach Mortice 

The 2008 flooding in eastern Iowa saw the Cedar River crest at 31 feet, inundating much of downtown Cedar Rapids. Image courtesy of Sasaki.

On the morning of Jun 12, 2008, the landscape architects Gina Ford, ASLA, and Jason Hellendrung, ASLA, of Sasaki woke up in their hotel rooms by the riverside in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to stifling heat and eerie silence. Continue reading Cedar Rapids, Readier for this Flood

A Beltline Champion Walks Away

Ryan Gravel believes the Beltline has shifted away from its grounding as a grassroots community movement.

By Zach Mortice

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The Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail. Photo courtesy of John Becker.

When the urban planner Ryan Gravel resigned from the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership board on September 26, the organization lost one of its most vocal and influential proponents, and in a way, its own creator. Continue reading A Beltline Champion Walks Away

The Halprins in Motion

Design as a sensory experience.

By Zach Mortice

“Driftwood Village—Community,” Sea Ranch, California. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 6, 1968.

Put away your tracing paper and charcoal pencils. Shut your books. Stop thinking. Put on a blindfold and go for a walk in the woods. Make a structure out of yourselves, human bodies. Catalog everything that you see, hear, feel, and smell. Build a city out of beachside driftwood in complete silence. Take off your clothes. Now start thinking about design. Continue reading The Halprins in Motion