25 Apr

Smart City 2020

This is a quick and dirty article about some of the research projects going on at MIT’s Smart City initiative.  I’m really intrigued by the suggestion that programmable pixels can replace "cute new urbanist porches."  Think what you will about new urbanism, but I can’t imagine that something as practical as a porch could be replaced by a few configurable dots.  Smart indeed.

Link: Smart City 2020 | Metropolis Magazine.

17 Apr

WSJ.com – How a Glitzy Mall Developer Built Its Way Into Big Trouble

In recent years, mall companies have performed well as
consumers continued to spend despite recession, terrorism and the war
in Iraq. The nation’s major mall developers — now big public companies
mostly run by the scions of the original mall magnates — expanded
primarily by buying other mall companies.

Link: WSJ.com – How a Glitzy Mall Developer Built Its Way Into Big Trouble.

10 Apr

Wired News: Aerial Imaging Swoops Low Down

Instead of just the straight-down views that distant satellites
gather, a small company called Pictometry International has developed
an oblique-imaging, geo-spatial system to snap vast swaths of America’s
varied landscape at a 40-degree angle from a few thousand feet in the

At the click of a mouse, its unique measuring software can dissect
the longitude, latitude, elevation and precise dimensions of every
discernible landmark, from fire hydrants in Chicago to lilac trees in
Rochester to the levees of New Orleans before and after Hurricane

Link: Wired News: Aerial Imaging Swoops Low Down.

08 Apr


Link: Cabspotting.

Cabspotting traces San Francisco’s taxi cabs as they travel throughout the Bay Area. The patterns traced by each cab create a living and always-changing map of city life. This map hints at economic, social, and cultural trends that are otherwise invisible. The Exploratorium has invited artists and researchers to use this information to reveal these "Invisible Dynamics."

The core of this project is the Cab Tracker. The Tracker averages the last four hours of cab routes into a ghostly image, and then draws the routes of ten in-progress cab rides over it.

The Time Lapse area of the project reveals time-varying patterns such as rush hour, traffic jams, holidays and unusual events. New projects are produced by the Exploratorium’s visiting artists and also created by the larger Cabspotting community.