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WEEKLY EMAIL: APRIL 01, 2010


Finding Vivian Maier

FEATURED THIS WEEK : MICHELLE HAUSER

Finding Vivian Maier

In 2008, John Maloof purchased an anonymous body of photographic images at an auction in Chicago. After spending seven months reviewing the photographic material in his possession, he found written, almost illegibly on one of the sleeves of film, the name Vivian Maier.
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PLACES : RICHARD CAMPANELLA

Delta Urbanism and New Orleans: After

After Hurricane Katrina, the citizens of New Orleans engaged in passionate debate about how to rebuild the city — and more, about how to rebuild to prevent future catastrophe. As Richard Campanella writes, in the second of a two-part installment from his new book, "Everyone seemed to become a policy wonk, a disaster expert, an engineer, a geographer, and above all, an urban planner." At the heart of the debate was a hard question: Should the city rebuild as before, even in low-lying, flood-prone areas? World attention may have refocused on other disasters, yet a great American city remains vulnerable to calamity.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : AZBY BROWN

Bent by the Sun

During the Edo period, from the early 17th to the mid 19th centuries, Japan faced environmental problems similar to ours: large population, fuel scarcity, limited arable land, deforestation, a damaged watershed. Through well-thought-out policies that reinforced existing cultural values, and through technical and economic innovation, the nation brought itself back from the brink, and did it in beautiful ways. Being a designer, I hoped to find useful lessons there.
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PLACES : RICHARD CAMPANELLA

Delta Urbanism and New Orleans: Before

Almost five years have passed since Hurricane Katrina and the floods that followed devastated New Orleans. But as geographer Richard Campanella makes plain in his new book, Delta Urbanism: New Orleans, the immediate catastrophe — the one that could not be ignored, that attracted international attention and inspired relief efforts and planning proposals and federal promises — has given way to the slow-building potential for future catastrophe — one that seems all too easy to ignore. For the underlying conditions that caused the devastation remain much the same. Not only are the flood-protection systems that have been constructed to protect the low-lying city pathetically inadequate — "under-engineered, cavalierly inspected and poorly maintained," in Campanella's words; still more, a century of intensive environmental manipulation has neutralized or destroyed the natural systems — the coastal wetlands, barrier islands, etc. — that would buffer the effects of seasonal storms and cyclical flooding. Here we present the first of a two-part excerpt from Delta Urbanism: New Orleans. This first part comprises Campanella's precise and painful narrative of the storm itself, from its ominous approach to horrifying aftermath, and also his account — a kind of retrospective forensics — of the environmental engineering that made it inevitable that a "sufficiently strong tropical storm" would cause a catastrophe. We will feature the second installment, about the post-disaster planning efforts — what some locals have called "plandemonium" — later this week.
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OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Design Blogs: The Vacuum of Enthusiasm

When the grid of 1,000 lampshades descended on the Oscar stage, minutes before the uncomfortable-making Best Actor appreciations (I had to mute), I thought, Yes! This is a fuggable design moment. I struggled to think of something funny to tweet about lampshades, decorators, Alec Baldwin after the show but @marklisanti beat me to it.
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OBSERVATORY : ERIC BAKER

Today, 03.27.10

Here are Today's images.
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PLACES : GAVIN BROWNING, GRETA HANSEN, CHERYL WING-ZI WONG

Trans Siberia

In late January we featured "ink," a gallery drawn from an exhibition at Studio-X New York, a downtown extension of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia. Here we present a gallery based on the latest exhibition at Studio-X. Trans Siberia is a record of the 5,000-mile journey from Moscow to Beijing, undertaken by the artist-architect duo Warm Engine, on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Warm Engine paid particular attention to the administrative buildings of the Communist party in the former Soviet Union and People's Republic of China, a selection of which are shown here, photographed in the deep cold of a high-latitude winter.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JONATHAN SCHULTZ

One World Futbol

Great minds converge in the development of an indestructible soccer ball for underprivileged kids.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Dee Dee Gordon

Dee Dee Gordon, renowned youth culture expert. Featured on PBS's Frontline Special Merchants of Cool.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Bigshot Camera

Report on a camera that children assemble to learn about science and engineering principles.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: FALL 2008

The New U.S. Embassy in Berlin

In creating a new U.S. embassy in Berlin, architectural design is just one of the challenges.
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Change Observer

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Data Flow 2: Visualizing Information in Graphic DesignData Flow 2: Visualizing Information in Graphic Design
R. Klanten

ecoDesign: The SourcebookecoDesign: The Sourcebook
Alastair Fuad-Luke

Reinventing the AutomobileReinventing the Automobile
William J. Mitchell, Christopher E. Borroni-Bird & Lawrence D. Burns

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