PLACES : BY ELIZABETH MOSSOP AND JEFFREY CARNEY
"In the post-Katrina landscape of Louisiana and the Gulf South, nothing is more pressing than the challenge of how to sustain settlement ... Without massive land-building efforts, the coastal region will disappear within a relatively short time." So write Elizabeth Mossop and Jeffrey Carney, describing the impetus for the multidisciplinary Coastal Sustainability Studio at Louisiana State University. We are pleased to present a report on the studio's recent work — now on exhibit at the Venice Biennale — which combines immediate and long-range solutions with the aim of making the landscapes of New Orleans, the Delta and the Gulf of Mexico once again resilient and adaptive.
OBSERVATORY : JESSICA HELFAND
My father recently told me that the scale in his doctor's office is permanently fixed at ten pounds below what is actually correct — the basic premise being that since everyone wants to lose ten pounds, a falsified result makes for, well, happy patients. And happy (albeit deluded) patients make for good business.
Fat chance. But in truth, body image remains, for many, a significant obsession. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that 64.5% of all American adults or 120 million people — are overweight or obese.
I'm not the first to write about this tricky topic
(not will I be the last) and offer the following disclaimer: this essay will reference what some readers may deem politically incorrect content
. But for those of you who think this is non-design related, think again: what could be more visual than the way people look at themselves — and one another?
CHANGE OBSERVER : SCULPTURE BY MARA HASELTINE
Mara Haseltine, Oyster Island, 2010.
PLACES : RICHARD CAMPANELLA
The consequences of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, which began on April 20 when the offshore BP Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, are still being reported and researched, and will unfold for years to come. Tulane University geographer Richard Campanella recalls a long hot summer, and he puts this latest disaster into the broader cultural and environmental contexts of New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico, describing a complex history of third coast exceptionalism, of a city and region that are paying a disproportionate price for the nation's hunger for oil.
OBSERVER MEDIA : WILLIAM DRENTTEL
A video of a talk on design and social innovation at the Feast Conference given by William Drenttel at the Feast Conference 2009.
PLACES : JAMES SANDERS
The current controversy over the proposed construction of an Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero has intensified the question: What does it mean to call Ground Zero "hallowed ground"? Architect and writer James Sanders — in an article published several years ago in The New York Times
, and republished here in slightly edited form — sets this latest debate in a larger historical context, exploring "the challenge of creating a memorial in a city that, for most of its history, has abhorred the very idea of memorials."
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on Kopernik, a new website for funding technology to assist populations in the developing world.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 1983
A 1983 interview with James Turrell, then beginning his transformation of the Roden Crater. The monumental work is scheduled to open to the public in 2012.