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WEEKLY EMAIL: MARCH 23, 2011


The Scale of Nature: Modeling the Mississippi River

FEATURED THIS WEEK : KRISTI DYKEMA CHERAMIE

The Scale of Nature: Modeling the Mississippi River

From the 1940s to the '70s the Army Corps of Engineers operated the Mississippi River Basin Model, an ambitious 200-acre hydraulics model of the largest river system in North America — and an amazing embodiment of midcentury technocratic confidence in our ability to control nature. Today the abandoned Basin Model is a ruin, and that confidence all but gone. Kristi Dykema Cheramie explores the model-world, pondering its unwitting role in the perilous state of the delta today. "The model endorsed a dangerous abstraction of real material," she says, "and an unrealistic ability to contain and isolate variables in an infinitely complex natural system."
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ANNE PIERSON WIESE

Sutliff Bridge

Earlier this week we published Kristi Dykema Cheramie's study of the Mississippi River Basin Model, built by the Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to predict and control the workings of the great river system. Here is a different way to understand the complexities of nature: Sutliff Bridge, by poet Anne Pierson Wiese, inspired by the destruction of the historic bridge that once spanned the Cedar River near Iowa City, which was "grabbed in the river's fist, twisted and dragged downstream," in the floods of 2008.
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JOSH WALLAERT

Google Maps, Give Us Our River Names

No map in history has made us feel more powerful or more present. But there's a little thing missing: the Mississippi River.
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FROM OUR SPONSOR

Design Ignites Change announces 2010 award winners.
Show support with style, buy the limited edition "Feedback Loop" notebooks at Felt & Wire. All proceeds benefit the cause.
Design Ignites Change >>
Felt & Wire website >>
Mohawk Fine Papers >>

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Next Eco-City: Emergent Urbanism Symposium

The University of Washington symposium, held April 7 – 8, will critically explore the relationships between environment, equity, economy and design in our rapidly urbanizing world, with an emphasis on the emerging mega-cities of the global south.

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ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

Arizona State Announces Design School

The newly restructured School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture has been renamed The Design School, offering degrees in architecture, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, urban design, and visual communication (graphic) design.

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JOHN MANN

Folded in Place

A few years ago photographer John Mann completed a long trip through the Appalachians only to realize there hadn't been enough time to visit all the places he wanted to see. Back home in his studio, he found a playful way to engage places still unseen: he began to deconstruct and reconstruct maps to "present abstractions of landscapes that are simultaneously understood and unknown." We're pleased to present some of the results — "landscapes where the map obtains a new geography of its own."
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UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

Out of Water Conference at University of Toronto

The conference, held April 1 – 2, will offer a forum for water experts in the fields of design, engineering, natural and social sciences to identify specific disciplinary methodologies and areas of applied and theoretical intersections with respect to water scarcity in arid regions.

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MIMI ZEIGER

The Interventionist's Toolkit: Posters, Pamphlets and Guides

In the second installment of her series on creative responses to challenging times, Mimi Zeiger explores guerilla and DIY urbanist tactics that make ingenious use of print media. Zeiger focuses on multiple actions, from illegal posters announcing hypothetical developments in Katrina-worn New Orleans to guides distributed by urban design activists in New York City to the hastily printed-out pamphlet that helped Egyptian citizen-protestors overthrow an antidemocratic regime. Even in the digital era, Zeiger suggests, print remains a powerful, sometimes irreplaceable tool.
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TIM CULVAHOUSE

Black in Back: Mardi Gras and the Racial Geography of New Orleans

In earlier installments of his series on New Orleans, Tim Culvahouse examined the single-family house and the corner store. This latest essay — which we're pleased to feature during Mardi Gras week — expands the scope to the urban scale, tracing the history of the city's racial geography. As Culvahouse shows, you can read this complex history throughout the Crescent City, in everything from white and black settlement patterns to the traditional routes of the Rex and Zulu parades at Mardi Gras.
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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2005

Superneighborhood 27: A Brief History of Change

From hot tubs to bodegas: a Houston subdivision built for the '60s singles lifestyle has found new energy as a multi-ethnic neighborhood.
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MIT

PARTNER SCHOOL

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning
The unifying theme of all our activities is design. Through the design of physical spaces, and through the design of policies and technologies that shape how those spaces are used, we aim to sustain and enhance the quality of the human environment at all scales, from the personal to the global. We believe that design and policy interventions should be grounded in a commitment to improving individual human lives, equity and social justice, cultural enrichment and the responsible use of resources through creative problem-solving and project execution.

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