Thursday, September 23


It's been a very Teutonic week for me. It all started when I received a copy of the August issue of Garten+Landschaft, a German landscape architecture journal. Usually I prefer to read about the newest developments in landscape in a language I can understand, but this was different: my Berkeley Master's thesis, Network-Landscape: The Internet and the Urban Site, was featured in the "Campus" section.

The August Issue also features what I can only imagine is a wonderful piece by one of my 
thesis advisers, Professor Judith Stilgenbauer.

Network-Landscape describes a framework for understanding the relationship between physical places and flows of information over digital networks. In the thesis I describe a typological framework of Network-Landscape interactions that describe how online content can be projected into space or environmental conditions can be sampled and uploaded to the Internet. The graphic featured in Garten+Landschaft illustrates the concept of augmented reality, which is one way that media about a specific place can be projected into mobile network infrastructure. I'm hoping to delve a little more deeply into Network-Landscape in coming posts -- stayed tuned for information about crowdsourcing spatial data, commons-based peer-production, and emergent urbanism.

The arrival of Oktoberfest also delivered another German flavor to my week: beer. I was fortunate to be a last minute invitee to the Tourist Club in Marin, a cabin and beer garden tucked into the hills near Muir Woods.

The Tourist Club

An intense fog that was initially a bummer ended up being one of the best things about the day. Nearly thick enough to swim through, the mist lent the afternoon a supernatural air -- it seemed that we had found a beer garden in the clouds.

To get to the German beer garden, we had to hike through a forest of Australian eucalyptus.

The final German element of my week was a discovery I made as I was checking the traffic on my flickr photostream. I was getting hits from German Wikipedia -- something I had never noticed before. Upon further investigation, I learned that a photo of a freight train I took in Berkeley several years ago had been uploaded.

A double-stack container-train. Or, as they say in Germany, a Doppelstock-Containertragwagen.

While certainly not my most prominent image on Wikipedia, (someone put my photo of the Flatiron's interior on the building's page,) I was delighted to find it. What a fitting wrap up to my German week! Prost!

Saturday, September 11


Heading to Dolores park last week, I noticed parallel marks in the pavement that seemed to be the shadows of an old railroad. As a relatively new resident in the Mission, I commented to my new roommate: "There must have been a streetcar line here."

Dolores Street between 17th and 18th

"No way." My roommate responded. I pondered San Francisco's urban development, the transformation of the city with the arrival of the automobile, and the history buried under the pavement. I bet her a six-pack there used to be a streetcar on Dolores Street and decided to restart the Built Environment Blog.

This map shows that there was a streetcar on Dolores in 1943 -- but not between 17th and 18th.
Map from Central Pacific RR Museum via Burrito Justice, one of my favorite San Francisco blogs. 
Bet undecided.

Some things will be the same in this newest phase of the Built Environment Blog. I've still got my independent perspective, and I still take tons of pictures. But after three years of landscape architecture school I'm more into soil and plants than I used to be. I've also gotten to know some fascinating designers and planners, and I've moved to the Mission in San Francisco. I'm still way into old buildings and urban puzzles, though, don't worry.

There may be a post about shrimp farming, at some point.
You can view most photos full-size on my flickr just by clicking them.

I still save an eclectic set of bookmarks at my page and I've also joined Twitter. I tend to retweet more than I post original content, but I find the whole twitter phenomenon fascinating.

Please feel free to post critiques and questions in the comments, or e-mail me through the link at the top right of the sidebar. This should be fun!