The love for Brutalism is on the rise in the U.S., especially on the East Coast. In late 2015, the book Heroic compiled buildings in Boston built between 1960 and 1977. This was based on an exhibition of Boston’s concrete buildings at pinkcomma gallery, itself born from the city's architectural community move to save Boston City Hall. As more concrete looks destined for demolition, interest in Brutalism has swelled: Cue #SOSBrutalism and the like. Boston, of course, isn't the only Brutalist haven. Washington D.C. too is home to many post-war relics/icons (the choice is yours) and now a map is out to help you find them. When Blue Crow Media published their Brutalist London Map, they didn't disappoint. Now the British publishing firm has released another Brutalist map, "Brutalist Washington"—their fourth to date after their Art Deco London and Constructivist Moscow maps. Founder of BrutalistDC Deane Madsen was also on hand to help with the map, which features 40 examples of "concretopia" ranging from Harry Weese's Gallery Place Chinatown Metro Station to the Hirshhorn Museum and the Sculpture Garden by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). “As more and more examples of classic Brutalism face demolition by neglect, we hope that putting these examples of D.C.'s Brutalist architecture on the map will foster public appreciation that ensures their longevity," said Madsen in a press release. In post-war America, Washington D.C. witnessed a plethora of Brutalist architecture rise up in wake of the 1945 Redevelopment Act. Nathaniel Owings (of SOM) and Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei were the forebearers of the master planning process of the city, notably for the National Mall vicinity and Weese's subway station in the 1970s. The Brutalist Washington Map is available for $10.00.
Posts tagged with "Maps":
Interdisciplinary practice SITU Research—a branch of Brooklyn-based SITU Studio—has partnered with Amnesty International’s Crisis Division to chart the ongoing atrocities committed against civilians in Jebel Marra, a mountainous region located in the Darfur province of Sudan that peacekeeping forces have been unable to reach. The interactive project uses satellite imagery, photographs, and over 200 in-depth interviews to document the conflict in the area. The platform details 171 sites where the government has been using “scorched earth” tactics against its citizens, such as torching entire villages, looting livestock, and raping residents in the area. Researchers have also found 56 witnesses that attest to the use of chemical weapons by the Sudanese military in at least 30 attacks that have occurred since January, according to Quartz. According to an Amnesty International report, about a quarter of a million people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in Sudan, and over 360 civilians have died as a result of the atrocities, including 95 children. The most recent attack occurred on September 9, 2016, according to The Guardian. The report and interactive platform is the latest of SITU Research’s Spatial Practice as Evidence and Advocacy (SPEA) projects that utilize a combination of satellite mapping and data visualization to make information about human rights abuses accessible to human rights organizations, international leaders, and the broader public.
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that New York City’s flood maps will be revised to add more buildings to high flood risk areas. “We are building a stronger, more resilient city to confront climate change. Our city needs precise flood maps that reflect real risks, both today and years from now—and we have to do that fairly. We will work closely with FEMA to ensure New Yorkers in the floodplain are prepared, and that the tools to make them more resilient, like flood insurance, remain available and affordable. We are grateful to FEMA to agreeing to this partnership,” said Mayor de Blasio, in a statement. The agency's decision comes after the de Blasio administration appealed to FEMA last year to update flood risk calculations for the city and region, a move that added 35,000 buildings to the highest flood risk areas. According to FEMA regional administrator Jerome Hatfield, the region's coastal flood risk maps have not been updated since 1983, a comparatively halcyon time when climate change–intensified superstorms did not threaten to annihilate New York City. FEMA's revised maps, created in association with the New York City Panel on Climate Change, will give more accurate current and future flood data that accounts for global warming. The goal is to give eligible homeowners a better idea of their risk, crucial information in the selection of appropriate flood insurance. FEMA requires mortgage-holding homeowners in the highest risk areas to buy flood insurance; as a result of today's announcement, New Yorkers in the highest-risk flood zones will save millions of dollars in flood insurance premiums. (Those in lower-risk zones are encouraged, but not required, to purchase insurance, too.) To educate its citizens on the dangers of the rising seas, the city has created a comprehensive site for flood risk information, and the city plans to do additional outreach once the new maps go into effect.
A new online planning platform lets residents shape a neighborhood from the comfort of their smartphones
In a creative digital shift, the City of New York has residents of one Brooklyn neighborhood tagging up a storm on a new urban planning platform designed to affect neighborhood change IRL. With the help of coUrbanize, a Boston-based city planning and community engagement startup, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is testing its new toolkit of neighborhood planning ideas in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Building on community input gathered in The Brownsville Hundred Days to Progress Initiative and the department's guidelines for neighborhood planning, HPD is using coUrbanize's platform to aid the Brownsville Neighborhood Planning Process, a community planning initiative that seeks to increase the neighborhood's supply of affordable housing; add retail along Livonia Avenue, a main commercial artery; and enhance public safety with vacant lot revitalization, among other measures. Instead of convening residents in a church or a rec center basement, coUrbanize brings neighborhood planning meetings online, distilling the often-complex studies and terms that planners throw around with impunity (ULURP? CEQR?) into an easy-to-understand format and tag-able map that solicits residents' ideas. Founded in 2013 by graduates of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, the site is geared towards people who want to participate in their community's planning but may not have time or schedule flexibility to attend a meeting. In Brownsville, a neighborhood where many have limited access to the internet and 37 percent of households live below the poverty line, HPD uses coUrbanize's platform to encourage residents text in feedback on areas the city has identified as sites for improvement. "We're committed to reaching voices not often heard, traditionally," said Karin Brandt, coUrbanize founder and CEO. The text messaging service also has a general line where people can voice ideas that aren't on the city's radar. In a welcome display of constructive feedback and civility—two attributes generally not reserved for online comments sections—Brownsville residents are using coUrbanize's platform to map places of interest in their neighborhood that they love, those that are just okay, and ideas for what could be better or built anew. Amid endorsements of spaces like the Osborn Street park and mural and the (Rockwell Group–designed) Imagination Playground at Betsy Head Park, many commenters called for more extracurricular activities for neighborhood youth, sit-down restaurants, and better amenities in parks. The Brownsville planning project is in the second stage of its four-stage timeline right now, with a final plan expected by February 2017. Right now, the coUrbanize toolkit is used mainly by municipalities in Massachusetts, but cities farther afield (Atlanta, San Antonio) are signing up. The City of Boston is using the platform to widen its community engagement for Imagine Boston 2030, the city's multi-pronged planning effort that comes with a stellar city nerd reading list. Check out the platform here.
The motherland of constructivist architecture, Moscow is home to many of the world's best examples of the former hallmark Soviet style. However, many constructivist buildings such as the Narkomfin and Shukhov Tower are now at risk of demolition. This map of Moscow detailing the whereabouts of the city's constructivist icons, which was released this month, makes viewing them (while they're still here) all the easier. "For us, the highlight, more than any individual building or architect, was walking for days across Moscow to find and explore these buildings," said Derek Lamberton, founder of Blue Crow Media, the company who published the map. "It was as good a way to see the city that I've experienced." Lamberton, in fact, focused his Master's dissertation at the University College London on the Russian avant-garde. The map's designer Jaakko Tuomivaara also did the same while at the Royal Academy of Art. Together, the pair travelled to Moscow, sampling the city's constructivist offerings to help them create and aesthetic for the map. The resultant map showcases 50 buildings. Working with preservation campaigner and photographer Natalia Melikova and Nikolai Vassiliev of DOCOMOMO Russia, Lamberton was able to identify the most critical and influential examples of constructivist architecture in the city. Many of these come from the prolific constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov. "The highlights, stylistically, are certainly Melnikov's buildings, but historically Ginzburg's Narkomfin with its early attempt to manifest the experiment of communal living is essential," Lamberton said. Poignantly, the Narkomfin's tenuous existence was recently in the news when it was announced that it's owners plan to transform it into “business class accommodation.” Lamberton added: "Constructivism is remarkable stylistically and as a representation of such an intensely rich historical moment. It embodies the spirit of the complicated and exciting post-revolution era in a dynamic manner that is easily comprehensible to an onlooker today. The highlights, stylistically, are certainly Melnikov's buildings, but historically Ginzburg's Narkomfin with its early attempt to manifest the experiment of communal living is essential." Up next is the "Brutalist Washington, DC Map," due out in October. The maps keep coming after that too. "In November we will release a 20th-century overview of Berlin," Lamberton said. "For Spring 2017 we have the following: Brutalist Sydney Map, Modernist Belgrade Map, Brutalist Paris Map." Those interested can find their maps here.
A familiar narrative of urban change is playing out in what one clickbait article after another deems "the world's coolest neighborhood": Naive hipster newcomers, purveyors of mallcore architecture, and real estate speculators are descending on Bushwick, Brooklyn, raising rents and displacing the longtime Latino community. This time, Local group NORTH WEST BUSHWICK COMMUNITY is fighting back, with maps. The group, a coalition of neighborhood activists, recently launched the North West Bushwick Community Map, an online tool that shares urban planning and housing data with residents and activists to mobilize against the twin forces of gentrification and displacement. The map depicts an area roughly bounded by Flushing Avenue to the east; Cypress Avenue to the north; Cemetery of the Evergreens to the west; and Broadway to the south. Over the base map, users can toggle between six layers that reveal patterns of development and residential stability: Tax Lots, Year Built, Land Use, Vacant Land, Available FAR, and Likely Rent Stabilized. There's an overlay that depicts "DOB Jobs" in two categories—new buildings and A1 (major alterations)—as well as one that shares "Sites of Gentrification." Also included are three interviews with a longtime artist-resident (link was dead at press time); an organizer with Make the Road, and a co-founder of Silent Barn, the beloved DIY venue-slash-community space. Like all maps, this one richly illustrates its makers' outlook and objectives, explicitly and by omission. Average rents in Bushwick have increased six percent over last year, and the group takes a decidedly dim view of the landlords and real estate actors that affect change in the neighborhood. Gentrification and displacement are "urban vices," which lends a moral imperative to the map—housing as a human right. The creators note that investors and real estate agents use "costly websites" to search for properties and that Bushwick, consequently, needed a free map to chart—and combat—changes. (It's not clear if this map could be a boon for investors, as its wealth of granular information could be used to pinpoint particularly vulnerable blocks, for example.) AN reached out to NORTH WEST BUSHWICK COMMUNITY for comment, but a representative from the group could not be reached at press time. According to the group's site, beta testing for the map launched in 2014, and the final version debuted at an August 25 launch party. The map key states that many residents are not aware that they may be living in rent-stabilized units, which comprise almost one-third of Bushwick's housing stock, or that there is legal recourse for fighting shady landlords who push out rent-stabilized tenants to score a vacancy increase. Community organizers who fight displacement can use the map to pinpoint housing trends and focus their efforts accordingly. Through the "Sites of Gentrification" tab, the map highlights recent struggles over zoning and development at Colony 1209, a development where studios rent for close to $1900 per month; and at the former Rheingold Brewery, which ODA is redeveloping as a one-million-square-foot "European Village." The "Research" tab includes helpful graphics that explain FAR, as well as links to research on rent regulation, DOB Violations, ULURPS, ACRIS, and other handy acronym-heavy resources for right-to-the-city reformers.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has launched an interactive database of the 1000+ monuments, public artworks, and temporary installations across the city's five boroughs. The NYC Public Art Map and Guide is searchable by ZIP Code and address, and provides photos and basic information about each monument. These range from the iconic and instantly recognizable (like the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street) to the otherwise overlooked (a plaque in City Hall Park near The Architect's Newspaper's Tribeca offices commemorates an oak tree given as a gift from Canada on Arbor Day 1967). While the map is densely populated in Manhattan—Central Park especially is peppered with monuments and sculptures—residents of the outer boroughs may not know they live a few blocks away from a public art piece. A tiny patch of land at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Dean Street in Brooklyn, for example, holds a 30-foot-tall pedestal and statue of Ulysses S. Grant. McCarren Park in Brooklyn will be the site of a public art piece not yet listed on the map. The city recently announced that the McCarren Play Center, which includes the iconic pool opened by Fiorello La Guardia and Robert Moses in 1936, will receive two new murals. Documents released by the NYC Percent for Art Program show that the original schematics called for artwork at the location, but none was ever installed. The murals will be the work of artist Mary Temple. The map may be a useful tie-in for budding gamers playing Pokémon GO, the interactive mobile game that's currently taking the world by storm. The Pokémon GO "augmented reality" app uses real-life locations as its playing fields and points of interest often correspond with monuments and public artworks. Perhaps the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is the latest group trying to ride the Pokémon GO wave?
With few exceptions, biking in urban centers is a harrowing experience even for seasoned riders supported by healthy cycling infrastructure. To help citizens casually analyze the chaos, two German visual designers created a new kinesthetic map of bike shares that imposes harmony on street-level discord via evocative maps that illustrate how the shares shape urban infrastructure. The designers, Till Nagel and Christopher Pietsch, compiled GPS data from bike shares in three major cities to create cf. city flows, an interactive visualization of cycling mobility. Visitors to Potsdam's Urban Complexity Lab can compare mobility in London, Berlin, and New York on side-by-side screens. In New York, for example, colorful dots flagellate along Manhattan's grid smoothly until they reach a barrier between Midtown and Central Park South that shoots them back downtown. Viewers can zoom out to see evocative macro movements; zero in on select individual stations to observe color-coded incoming (green) and outgoing (orange) journeys; or access a "small multiple" view that juxtaposes data from different city districts. The designers visualize the trips by sizing base maps comparatively, extracting ridership data, and calculating optimal bike routes (more information on the project's methodology can be found here). In Berlin and London, the city's organic layout is more apparent as the designers tease out commuting patterns to and from business districts and most-visited neighborhoods. Compared to the 35,000 trips represented on the London and New York maps, Nagel and Pietsch explain that Berlin's less-than-2,000-trip map looks relatively sedate because most residents own their own bikes, while bike shares are geared towards tourists and leisure activities.
On a Jane's Walk tour of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint industrial waterfront last year, our guide gestured to the luxury-high rises that have sprouted from former industrial areas along Kent Avenue in recent years. "See those buildings? See all the strollers? EVERY SINGLE ONE of their kids is exposed to TOXIC POISON." Though the North Brooklyn neighborhoods are now known for servicing the lifestyle needs of bourgeois bohemians, the cold-press juice shops and midi-ring purveyors are, a new map confirms, laid on a foundation of seriously toxic earth. Yesterday Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) launched their ToxiCity Map, an interactive tool that shows how environmental risks correlate with the neighborhoods' population density, average income, and health outcomes. NAG advocates for policies that promote "healthy mixed-use communities," works with Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents to access the waterfront, and partners with citizens and businesses to reduce area environmental threats. The map was created with the help of a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation grant in partnership with Pratt Institute's Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI). The ToxiCity Map lets users pinpoint environmental hazards and gives an idea of how specific hazards could impact a given neighborhood zip code. Waste transfer stations, scrap metal and recycling sorting facilities, for example, are all sites which divert materials from the waste stream but are often surrounded by idling materials delivery trucks that degrade air quality. The location of these facilities can be overlaid onto district asthma rates: The map suggests that the number of waste transfer stations is positively correlated with higher rates of asthma. On the toxic waste side, the map features fine-grained explanations of the difference between, say, highly regulated sites versus "E" designated sites, or spills versus brownfields versus Superfund sites. Handily, the map links to the group's industrial history walking tour, the same one this reporter took last year.
The Nolli map, a product of twelve years of copious research by Italian surveyor Giambattista Nolli, is a navigational tool that has truly stood the test of time. Completed over 250 years ago in 1748, the map has now found another breath of life thanks to app developer Martin Koppenhöfer. Originally engraved into twelve copper plates, Nolli's map was the most accurate representation of Rome available. While that may not be the case today, the map has retained much of its accuracy over the years thanks to Rome's preservation, with notable landmarks such as the Colosseum and Pantheon still standing tall. This veracity can be seen when the map is over satellite imagery of Rome, as can be seen below. Subsequently, viewers can explore how Rome has developed as a city since the map's creation. Vehicle travel was, of course, not a factor in 1748, though Koppenhöfer commented that "pedestrian navigation is very different… you don’t have to know every street or turn, just go into the right direction.” “In designing the present edition,” Koppenhöfer continued, “we have spent great care with the aim to be as close to the original as possible regarding the labeling and the structure of the directories. Therefore the app reproduces....[the] notation as provided by Giambattista Nolli in his indices. By selecting an entry you will be led to the corresponding location on the map. You can also browse by tapping on one of the numbers on the map to see what it is about.” Available on iOS devices, the map is also usable online. Here, courtesy of University of Oregon, the map is accompanied by a series of essays relating to the map. For example, The Walls of Rome by James Tice and Allan Ceen from the university's Department of Architecture analyze Rome's city walls from the 8th century B.C. to the 1500s. Using the map, they outline the city perimeter at various dates: "The wall circuits of Rome provide a frame of reference for the city both as a measure of its growth and prosperity and also as a testament to the vicissitudes of a great city, its image of itself, and the practical needs for security during times of travail and even during times of peace," they say. Another essay by James Tice, The Forgotten Landscape of Rome: The Disabitato, looks at how Nolli's map illustrates Rome's former uninhabited and forgotten places. Other texts look at the cartographic qualities of the map. As for the map itself, “The explanations of the signatures and line styles,” said Koppenhöfer, and “hatches and selected abbreviations are reproduced in their original form. You can access Nolli’s original spelling of the indices, legend, and other signs at the bottom of the English version in Italian language.”
How can your smartphone shape the social fabric of cities? The New Cities Foundation selected ten "Global Urban Innovators," individuals whose tech companies boost quality of life in their home cities and regions. On Tuesday, three speakers from those winning companies shared their ideas with New Cities Summit attendees: Steven Ramage, Strategy director, What3words. What3words provides an address for everyone. The mapping service distills the complexity of GIS coordinates by dividing the entire surface of the globe into three-by-three meter squares and assigning each square an easy-to-remember word sequence. According to the UN Development fund, four billion people don't have a formal address. Poor addressing has a massive impact: If UPS could save one mile per driver the company would save $50 million per day, Ramage explained. What3words' 57 trillion squares are for those with postal addresses, too: This reporter plugged in The Architect's Newspaper's New York City address. On What3words, the paper's at "Tricks.funds.fluid": A universal address. https://vimeo.com/112227335 "Words mean you can spot errors, which is much harder to do with GPS coordinates," Ramage noted. The service has been used for emergency response disaster relief in remote locations. What3words facilitates planning the placement of hydrants, pylons, or other structures that don't have have an address but can now be tagged to one. As a free app for citizens, What3words is used in favelas in Rio de Janeiro: every household has an address in Portuguese. Mostly rural Mongolia has adopted the service as its postal system. Currently, the service operates in 10 languages, and will be available in 20 by the end of 2016. Chinmay Aggarwal, Co-founder and cheif technology officer, Jugnoo. Aggarwal founded auto rickshaw rideshare service Jugnoo in November 2014 with Samar Singla in Chandigarh, India. Auto rickshaws, or tuk tuks, are a common mode of transit in Indian cities, but are underused because hailing them can be challenging, prices are mutable, and their presence on the streets is not always predictable. Drivers are usually migrants from rural areas who typically earn less than $8.00 per day driving. Aggarwal and Singla developed a ride-hailing app à la Uber. Crucially, Jugnoo's founders gave auto rickshaw drivers smartphones to be able to access the app and receive riders. The platform can be accessed through Facebook if riders or drivers don't have enough space on their phone to download it. Today, there are over 10,000 drivers on the platform, and their income, on average, has doubled. Added income, Aggarwal explained, has a trickle-out effect: Drivers send money home to their families in rural areas, strengthening the social fabric of their home communities while improving transit infrastructure in their adopted cities. The success of Jugnoo has prompted its founders to pilot a Postmates-esque delivery program in Chandigarh where tuk tuk drivers deliver goods to consumers. Niamh Kirwann, Marketing and communications manager, FoodCloud. Founded in 2012, FoodCloud is a two-part response to the astronomical cost of food waste and food need in 27 counties in Ireland and parts of the U.K. FoodCloud is an app connects stores and supermarket's food waste to nonprofits that serve meals as part of their programming. To the collective shock of those in the conference room, Kirwann noted that 30 percent of all food grown worldwide is wasted, and 550 trillion liters of water is used to grow food that's not eaten. A message in app goes from one of 500 participating markets to 1,100 nonprofit providers, letting nonprofits know what and how much food local markets have to give away. It's a win-win: Stores save money on food disposal cost, and nonprofits save money on food provision. So far, FoodCloud has diverted 1352 tons of food, enabling nonprofits to serve 2.9 million meals.
The Pratt Center for Community Development has launched an online mapping tool called the Neighborhood Data Portal for New York City. According to the portal website, “[the Pratt Center for Community Development believes] everyone, especially those without access to expensive mapping software, should have equal and free access to essential data about their neighborhoods.” The portal map's datasets relate to socioeconomics, demographics, crime statistics, the built environment, and more. For instance, a user can see all of the city's commercial-use properties or chemical bulk storage sites. Each of these datasets can be layered on the interactive map. The Layer menu appears when the portal is opened but can also be accessed by clicking on its icon on the main toolbar at the top left of the map. Checking one of the boxes in the Layers menu will reveal shading or icons on the map. These components can be selected to show a pop-out box with further information. Some other features on the main toolbar are the type of base level map, measuring tools, and the option to share the map. Selecting the Neighborhood Tabulation Areas (NTA) layer will display the borders for different New York City neighborhoods. By clicking within the boundaries of an NTA, users can see detailed information about that area including the population, number of vacant lots, number of schools, and crime statistics. An instructional video for the portal notes that “[color shaded] layers cannot be turned on simultaneously as visible sets of data invalidate each other.” The data was compiled from a long list of city, state, and federal government agencies as well as some private organizations.