Seeing Landscapes Between the Cracks

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I admire this perspective, where the cracks drawn across city sidewalks from a localized perspective become analogous to opportunities to reimagine the derelict sections of Los Angeles that fall between the cracks from a citywide view.

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Photo: Heejae Lee Photo: Heejae Lee

When I was young I would often travel along the familiar city sidewalks with my head down more often than up. “A bad habit”, as described by the oncoming pedestrians I’d occasionally bump into. But something about the cracks fissured along the weathered concrete and the occasional weeds that would pop out of these pockets captivated my attention. These sights were small treats along my travels.

Photo: Urban Green House/ Ecole Supérieure d'Art et de Design Photo: Urban Green House/ Ecole Supérieure d’Art et de Design

Although I do not bump into pedestrians as often now, I still catch myself looking at these relationships between the micro landscapes and the cracks within the city’s infrastructure while walking. I am not only fixated on the resilience of the landscape growing between the cracks, but also the ephemeral opportunities these cracks provide.

Photo: Heejae Lee Photo: Heejae Lee

As for myself, I observe the perpetual evolution of the city, the urban…

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AHBE Lab / Friday Five for May 15, 2015

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The most environmentally-friendly high school prank of all time: “As far as senior pranks go, this one from Ohio has to be one of the best, most environmentally conscious ones you will ever see.”

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Photo: PC Magazine Photo: PC Magazine

How an LA Nature Garden Stays Green During the Drought: “Over at the the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, staff is taking a high-tech approach to keeping its Nature Gardens lush without wasting precious resources.”

Clean Ride Mapper helps cyclists avoid polluted air, find quietest route to destination: Maria Hatzopoulou, assistant professor of civil engineering at McGill University, has created a tool that not only looks up the shortest and fastest biking route, but also the quietest, the one with the least traffic, and offers the rider the cleanest air!

The most environmentally-friendly high school prank of all time: “As far as senior pranks go, this one from Ohio has to be one of the best, most environmentally conscious ones you will ever see.”

Arts-Based Education Will Power the Creative Economy: “Arts education, which is an investment in our future creative workforce, will become a crucial element…

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The Game of Shadows 影子

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Are shadows negative space, or is light actually the absence of darkness, the predominant universal?

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Image: The spinning shadow of a big bird cage cast on a man’s face adds into the total atmosphere.  Ashes of Time (1994), director, Kar Wai Wong  Image: The spinning shadow of a big bird cage cast on a man’s face adds atmosphere.
Ashes of Time (1994), director, Kar Wai Wong

“What men call the shadow of the body is not the shadow of the body, but is the body of the soul.” – Oscar Wilde

There was a game my friends and I played back in China when we were kids. One of us was chosen to begin as the “ghost”, and he or she would try to catch the others. If caught, that kid would then assume the role of the “ghost” and the chase would begin anew. It sounds like a super universal kids’ game. However, there was a twist. The definition of “catching” in this Chinese version of this game of tag meant stepping onto another’s shadow. It’s interesting to realize our shadow is an extension of ourselves, yet sometimes it changes even as…

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Soil: It’s Not Just Dirt

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I already have a dirty mind, but even more so when factoring in the new obsession with establishing a healthy garden. And it all starts with soil, earth’s protective “skin”.

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Why should we care about soil?

“Soil is our planet’s epidermis. It’s only about a meter thick, on average, but it plays an absolutely crucial life-support role that we often take for granted.”Dr. Donald Sparks, University of Delaware, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

I don’t typically think about soil in this context. Instead, the mention of the word evokes remembrance of the distinct fragrance of moist earth. I love the smell of it. I also recall a familiar sound: a shovel breaking into the ground during planting season; the scraping of metal against silt, clay, and rock. If you’re a gardener, you know what I am talking about.

Do you recite a prayer, as I do, when digging? I pray that my efforts reveal a healthy soil, with worms wiggling away in the disrupted ground, and burrowing further into its…

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Finding Nature in the Los Angeles Landscape

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Even within the bounds of a metropolis like Los Angeles are hidden sections of natural beauty where our imagination can run free.

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Photos: Wendy Chan Photos: Wendy Chan

I was fortunate to attend an elementary school situated next to a natural hillside. Appropriately named Hillside Elementary School, I remember observing the seasons change across the school’s hillside from green, to green with brown tips, then finally to completely brown. I loved watching the brown grass sway with the wind, imagining them as prairie fields with a mythical creature living inside a small cave nestled into the hillside.

Los Angeles Landscape_Wendy Chan_02
As a kid I perceived this hillside scene as the definition of nature’s beauty, even though in reality it was just an undeveloped hillside within the Los Angeles urban environment. Now that I am older, I appreciate these moments and the feelings the Los Angeles landscape still evokes: the way the brown grass sways with the breeze, the sight of Yucca flowers dotting the hillsides, or the lone tree standing tall above a field of native grass. The…

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Sustainability In Practice: Eating Locally, Thinking Realistically

typefiend:

Sustainable habits and lifestyles require a realistic assessment of changes one can adopt. Many of us dream of eating healthier, growing our own foods, but starting off with leisure and pleasure as the foundation can help establish longer lasting habits.

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

Graphic: University of Minnesota, Duluth/Sustainable Food Systems Graphic: University of Minnesota, Duluth/Sustainable Food Systems

It must be the season, but lately I’ve been drawn to fruits and vegetables, alongside topics surrounding sustainable food systems and eating healthy. Although I like the idea of growing my own food in my garden, my success has been limited to herbs, which is okay with me since herb gardening fits my schedule. Growing something is better than doing nothing at all. With water, energy, and waste reduction prevalent in discussions everywhere, I am transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle by making changes in the way I have been doing things. I admit, however, that growing a crop in my garden is not one of the changes I see in my future.

Photo by LDaley_farmers market_lettuce w carrots
Photo by LDaley_farmers market red onions croppedPhoto by LDaley_farmers market tomatoes
Farmer's Market photos: Linda Daley Farmer’s Market photos: Linda Daley

Food is a leisure activity for me. On Sundays, I like going to the farmer’s market and taking part in my community’s weekly…

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AHBE Lab / Friday Five for May 1, 2015

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Plums, avocados, and cherries…basically a trio of my favorite produce, all bad for the California drought :(

Originally posted on AHBE LAB:

The produce aisle’s biggest water hogs? Avocados, asparagus, and cherries. The produce aisle’s biggest water hogs? Avocados, asparagus, and cherries.

Wired’s Guide to Produce That Won’t Make the Drought Worse: “About half the vegetables and three-quarters of the fruit grown in the US comes from California. So the question is, if you want to be environmentally sensitive and exert a bit of business pressure on water-users, what should you be eating? What’s the most drought-friendly part of the produce aisle?”

The New Rome Prizes in Landscape: “On April 23, the American Academy in Rome announced the 2015–2016 fellows, which included three new fellows in landscape architecture: Christopher Marcinkoski, Alexander Robinson, ASLA, and Thaïsa Way, ASLA.”

Map of Pangea With Current International Borders: “The good people at Open Culture recently shared this map of Pangea with the present day country names. If the band ever gets back together, here’s who your nation’s neighbors would be.”

Animating Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Worldview: “In…

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