Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to Think Like the Dutch in a Post-Sandy World - NYTimes.com


With the increasing threat caused by climate change, Dutch engineers have developed strategies that go beyond simply trying to keep water out. The city of Rotterdam, for instance, is building floating houses and office buildings and digging craters in downtown plazas that will be basketball courts most of the year but will fill up with runoff during high-water periods, taking the strain off the surrounding
The plan being put into place in Nijmegen and 38 other sites is called Room for the River. A wide trench is being cut through the city where the river bottlenecks — 50 farms and a number of residences are being relocated — and by summer 2015 an island will come into being. The island will form a new section of the city: Higher areas of it may contain apartment buildings; other, lower-lying sections will be developed into parks and beaches. During flood periods, the lower sections of the island will simply be engulfed by water. The new embankments in this lower area will be stepped, in part so that people can relax there and enjoy views of the city center, but also to encourage daily awareness of the ever-changing water level.


How to Think Like the Dutch in a Post-Sandy World - NYTimes.com

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Call for Actions

"We understand gentrification not only as a phenomenon of the market and real estate speculation, but as a force of racial and ethnic displacement and cultural genocide. When the population of black San Francisco is halved over three decades of gentrification, we understand this is not just class war, but race war, too. We understand that gentrification fundamentally functions in the same way as colonialism by murdering and displacing people of color and seizing their land. We understand that individual gentrifiers act as settler-colonial subjects, perpetuating white supremacist entitlement and displacing long-term communities while treating cities and neighborhoods like their personal playgrounds. We understand that the primary targets of gentrification are black, brown, ethnic, and immigrant communities. We are opposed to their notions of “progress,” to the dim “future” that these developers and tech companies offer us. But this struggle is really about what’s happening right now, the terrible future that is already here. It is a struggle about time and space in the here and now. How many hours of your life do you work each week to pay the new rent, if you can even find a job? How many minutes of the day are you free from surveillance? How long can you afford to stay in the city? How many generations of history are being erased? The effects of this takeover cascade from one end of the Bay Area to the other, endlessly pushing people out. Who gets to live here? Who has to sleep five to a room? Who has space? No wonder people are angry. No wonder the war keeps bursting forth."


From "Defend the Bay Area"

Thursday, March 27, 2014

As river slowly gives up its secrets, planning diversions gets more complex | The Lens


"..Some of the findings were expected, others are surprises. McCourquodale’s group has been looking at the flow of water and sediment in the lower river, and what happens to those flows when a diversion is opened.

“We modeled one large diversion (250,000 cubic feet per second) on the upper section (of the lower river) and we found it dramatically reduced the amount of water and sediment available on the lower river,” he said.That finding had greater implications when tied to another of the team’s discoveries: 50 percent of the river flow that passes Belle Chasse left the system before the river reached Head of Passes south of Venice. Most of that was exiting a series of natural openings on the east bank."


As river slowly gives up its secrets, planning diversions gets more complex | The Lens

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So what if Holy Cross towers defy the zoning code — it’s only the Lower Ninth | The Lens

 This is the dark underbelly of what slithers in with disasters. After a century of having a school in their midst, now the neighbors have to battle developers that want to ignore the height and density context of this historic area. Roberta is exactly right-the shrugs of "well it's only the 9th ward" extends to those who talk about how it should be "a farm" or "wetlands." That the neighborhood is slow to recover for many reasons should not mean that it becomes anybody's parcel.


So what if Holy Cross towers defy the zoning code — it’s only the Lower Ninth | The Lens

Colonizing the Black Natives: Reflections from a former NOLA Charter School Dean of Students | Cloaking Inequity

"The seemingly tightly coupled structure proved to be inefficient as students and teachers constantly bucked the system in search of breathing room. The systems and procedures seemingly did not care about the Black children and families they served. They were suffocating and meant to socialize students to think and act a certain way. In the beginning, we were teaching “structure,” but it evolved to resemble post-colonialism. Vasquez Heilig, Khalifa, and Tillman (2013) stated that “education was and still is used as a hegemonic form to monitor, sanction, and control civilized people.”


Agreed and amened.

Colonizing the Black Natives: Reflections from a former NOLA Charter School Dean of Students | Cloaking Inequity