Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 4)

April Post

Yes, I am still here, despite no blogging for a while now. This week will be spent getting ready for final studio review next Wednesday. Then I should have more time for posting. In the mean time, check out this plaza scape by Claude Cormier in Montreal. Compared to this, however, most of their other work is disappointing and redundant.

Fargo preps for major flooding

A community wide effort to protect the Fargo-Moorhead from possible record flooding is in full effect. The Red River of the North is now expected to crest at 39-41 feet as early as Friday, about a foot higher than 1997. A number of bridges have been closed and temporary clay dikes are being built along the riverbank. North Dakota State University has cancelled classes until further notice so students can help with sandbagging and Metro Area Transit buses have suspended normal service to provide transportation for flood volunteers. (Image above: Sandbag Express)

Latest info available from the Fargo Forum and NDSU.

More Flooding?

Looks like Fargo, ND, and vicinity could be facing major flood issues this year…

> WDAY: Forecasters project major Red River flooding
> City of Fargo – Flood 09 Info

Where We Do What We Do

After posting a few photos of my 3rd year studio space in the Armory on Flickr last night, I got an invitation to post it on WHEREWEDOWHATWEDO, a visual database of the places people spend their days and lives in. It’s kind of an interesting site. You can rate people’s spaces and leave comments too. It seems that with blogs, social networking sites, Twitter, and just fun things like this emerging everyday, it’s easier than ever to connect with people all around the world.

Check it out and add your workspace…

President Obama

Farewell President Bush. An exciting day today as Barack Obama is sworn in as America’s 44th president. Watching the news on TV – it appears Washington is overcome with optimism and hope today as millions head to the capital to witness the historic event. Local TV stations KCRG and KWWL have sent reporters to DC and are frequently updating their blogs. It’s interesting to see the behind the scenes of the local journalists and how little they are operating off of.

> KCRG-TV9 – Bruce Aune and co. in DC
> KWWL – Lauren Squires in DC

Iowa Governor Culver calls for $700 million infrastructure spending

Iowa Governor Chet Culver has proposed $700 million of spending for state infrastructure projects to help the flood ravished communities and create jobs for economic stimulus.

From the Cedar Rapids Gazette: “The governor also will implored lawmakers to take advantage of the state’s AAA bond rating and low debt load to create a new authority to issue up to $700 million over the next several years to repair and upgrade “every facet” of the state’s critical infrastructure needs without raising taxes.”

Ready-to-go projects including housing, trails, highways, bridges, airports, energy infrastructure, mass transit and flood control improvements are planned to be moved forward with the $700 million.

> Cedar Rapids Gazette: Culver proposes $700 million to rebuild Iowa

Back to Ames

I returned to Ames today after three weeks of Christmas break. Studio starts tomorrow, with more urban projects than the fall. We go to New York City in about four weeks for site visit and exploration. This semester I am also taking elective course in history of urban infrastructure (Arch Dept.), and urban revitalization (CRP Dept.). I’m also looking forward to getting back in the drivers seat of a bus… I start work again tomorrow night with Run 87, late night Red and Blue routes from 10pm till end of service at about 12:30am. No more morning shifts this semester.


On the train ride home yesterday, I watched “Helvetica,” Gary Hustwit’s 2007 documentary celebrating the 50 year history of the typeface that has become an integral part of our everyday lives. I suggest it for anyone who has any interest in fonts or graphic design. It is available for purchase or to rent on iTunes.

> Helvetica (film site)

Benefit of Street Newspapers

A few days ago when I was walking around downtown Denver, a woman was selling the Denver Voice street newspaper along the 16th Street Mall for a suggested $1 donation so I ended up buying one.

Unlike a regular publication, the Voice is a street newspaper that focuses on issues related to poverty and homelessness. The papers are sold by area homeless or marginalized people, providing them employment and an outlet for expression and communication to the general public through writing articles and publishing their artwork. A small portion of the proceeds (usually 25 cents) go to the cost of publication, with the remainder (75 cents) going to the vendor.

Similar publications exist in other large cities, such as Street Sense in Washington, DC. Street papers not only provide a means of self-help for homeless to get back on their feet, but can also foster more positive interaction between the homeless and the more fortunate. Many people in large cities get turned off by the homeless who ask for money and change, but do not appear to be doing anything to help themselves. In contrast, street newspapers should be supported and the vendors deserve respect for taking responsibility to better their own lives.

> Denver Voice
> Wikipedia: Street newspaper
> North American Street Newspaper Association
> International Network of Street Papers

Two Years of Urban Thinking

Happy New Year! As 2008 came to an end, I look back at the past two years I’ve been blogging. Urban Thinking officially went online in January 2007, and has taken some time to develop. The first year was slow and inconsistent. With only 17 posts for the entire year of 2007, some month-long spans of time went by with no new entires. I’m proud to say, however, 2008 was a year of great growth and development of my blog – both in content and frequency of posting, as well as increased readership.

This past year I wrote 45 entries, a 265 percent increase from 2007. Averaging 3.75 posts per month, frequency still fluctuated with spotty posting in the first months. The June flooding in Cedar Rapids provided a great deal of content, resulting in a steady stream of posts through the fall.

Around April 2008, I switching operations to WordPress from Blogger – allowing a lot more customization, features, and available design templates. Over the summer I also added Google Ads and began collecting visitor statistics with Sitemeter. Next I plan an internal redesign of the site and development of a comprehensive online portfolio of my studio work at Iowa State.

I hope to continue developing Urban Thinking in the new year, increase and maintain a steady frequency of posts and attract more readers – and more discussion. The great thing about blogs is that they are interactive, two-way; readers can contribute through comments and share their views as well as the author. The dynamic power of blogs is endless and quickly gaining popularity and respect as a significant medium of communication.

If you regularly or occasionally visit my blog, or even if this is your first time reading, I’d love hearing from you! If you enjoy the content and topics I discuss, even if you don’t, let me know. What else would you like to see here? I’m particularly interested in readers that I do not know personally – how did you come across my site? Do you plan to return to read more? Would you engage in discussion? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment!

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