Guerilla Gardening. Illicit, nocturnal gardening in public space. A blog of projects, mostly in London, each described with a blurb, location, photos, and budget. Includes tips for making your own.
>  22 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,
New York City Local Law 86. Passed in October 2005, New York City Local Law 86 became effective on January 1, 2007. It requires all new construction using $2 million or more of city funds to meet sustainability standards that are at least as strict as LEED silver. An unhappy consequence is that it just got even more expensive for affordable housing developers. (Though some are finding ways of greening without going LEED.)
>  18 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,

Paving the Clouds

UNESCO regonition seems to carry a heavy burden of opportunity.

La HuastecaLa Huasteca canyon, an ecological park in Cumbres de Monterrey National Park in north-eastern Mexico, may soon become part of a high-end residential development and golf course.

Last October, the municipality of Santa Catarina approved a 900 million dollar project to build more than 9,000 housing units and a 27-tee golf course in this place. Just a few days earlier it had been made part of a UNESCO biosphere network. Monterrey will also host the second Universal Forum of Cultures in 2007.

La Huasteca is a frequented family outing, camping and climbing site. One third of the drinking-water in Monterrey (pop. 3.7 million) comes from La Huasteca. There are over a thousand species in the area, seventy-three of which are endagered. See photos here.

The state and federal governments have pretty much washed their hands off the issue while local politicians, including a brother of the Governor, own part of the land.

Media coverage and activists have forced the new municipal authorities to claim they would freeze the project for at least three years, but they are now hinting they could give it the go-ahead this week.

Two activist websites are lahuasteca.org and voluntariosgreenpeace-mty.blogspot.com. Subcomandante Marcos shows his support to activists in this audio file.

See La Huasteca at Flickr, or read about it in Crain’s and La Jornada

>  18 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Negative Campaigning

NYC's True Grafitti Problem

A great action in NYC, taping placards over those outdoor video billboards attached to subway entrances. The typography is composed of holes in the board, illuminated by the video ad beneath.

The project is Light Criticism, brought to you by the Anti-Advertising Agency and the Graffiti Research Lab.

In form, it reminds me of the work of Moose, writing his name on walls by cleaning them.

In context, it’s a lot like this guerilla wayfinding campaign, a grassroots, illegal action for civic improvement.

>  24 January 2007 | LINK | Filed in , , , , ,
Pedestrian Memorial. “After 19 months of installing ghost bikes for slain cyclists around New York, this is the first memorial we’ve created for a pedestrian.... We tried to come up a simple visual icon (like the white bikes), but couldn't come up with any one symbol that seemed appropriate. In Bogota, Colombia, a stenciled black star is stenciled onto the sidewalk, but that didn't seem right. Suggestions are welcome. Email us at visual.resistance at gmail.com.”
>  8 January 2007 | LINK | Filed in , , ,
>  31 December 2006 | LINK | Filed in ,



Seen on East 4th street.

>  30 December 2006 | LINK | Filed in
Our Ailing Communities. “If that poor woman [on the right shoulder, struggling along] had collapsed from heat stroke, we docs would have written the cause of death as heat stroke and not lack of trees and public transportation, poor urban form, and heat-island effects. If she had been killed by a truck going by, the cause of death would have been ‘motor-vehicle trauma,’ and not lack of sidewalks and transit, poor urban ­planning, and failed political leadership.” A brief interview with public-health advocate Richard Jackson.
>  25 December 2006 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Ghost Bikes

Ghost Bike

Last week, the New York Times ran a sober photo essay on the ghost bikes that Visual Resistance and Time’s Up! have been installing around New York City since June 2005. The bikes are public interventions, a grassroots action in the spirit of graffiti memorial walls. The bikes are painted white and chained near the site where a cyclist was killed by an automobile, along with a plaque with their name and the date they were killed. Several are plotted on this map.

The bikes were inspired by a similar project in St. Louis, and have since appeared in cities across the U.S. and the U.K.

A 2005 report on bicycle fatalities from the New York City police, parks, health, and transportation departments reports that between 1996 and 2005, 225 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles. Between 1996 and 2003, 3,462 NYC bicyclists were seriously injured in crashes.While the annual number of serious injuries has decreased, deaths remained steady during the 10-year period.

The statistics show a failure of urban design and policy — 89% of crashes occurred at or near intersections, 92% of bicyclist fatalities resulted from crashes with motor vehicles — as well as the absence of personal equipment: 97% of the bicyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. 74% of the fatal crashes involved a head injury.

While it’s clear that helmets save lives, something else is broken in NYC: of the 3,964 transportation-related deaths in New York City between 1996 and 2005, only 6% were cyclists. Almost half the deaths (49%) were pedestrians.

>  5 December 2006 | LINK | Filed in , , , , , ,

Tree in Front of Billboard

A public intervention by artist Helmut Smits (via)

>  24 November 2006 | LINK | Filed in

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