"Million Dollar Blocks" exhibited in Just Space(s)
Sep 26, 2007 — Laura Kurgan

Million Dollar Blocks project exhibited in Just Space(s)
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)

September 26 – November 18, 2007
Organized by Ava Bromberg and Nicholas Brown

"Everyday we confront spaces that don't work - from our neighborhoods and parks, to our prisons, pipelines and borders. In this exhibition and programming series, artists, scholars and activists reveal how these spaces function - and dysfunction - making way for thought and action to create just societies and spaces.

The projects in this exhibition reflect the renewed recognition that space matters to cutting edge activist practices and to artists and scholars whose work pursues similar goals of social justice. A spatial frame offers new insights into understanding not only how injustices are produced, but also how spatial consciousness can advance the pursuit of social justice, informing concrete claims and the practices that make these claims visible. Understanding that space - like justice - is never simply handed out or given, that both are socially produced, differentiated, experienced and contested on constantly shifting social, political, economic, and geographical terrains, means that justice - if it is to be concretely achieved, experienced, and reproduced - must be engaged on spatial as well as social terms."

Read more: http://criticalspatialpractice.blogspot.com/2007/09/just-spaces.html

Read more: http://www.walkinginplace.org/justspaces/overview.htm

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"Architecture and Justice," exhibited in Design and the Elastic Mind, MoMA 2008
Aug 23, 2008 — Laura Kurgan

Architecture and Justice on view at MoMA, New York as part of an exhibition curated by Paola Antonelli.

http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2008/elasticmind/#/14/

 

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"How a Map is Like an Op Ed"
Aug 23, 2013 — Laura Kurgan

How a Map Is Like an Op-Ed

"Thanks to the open data movement, anyone can be a cartographer. Professor Laura Kurgan on geography as a storytelling tool.

Thanks to the open data movement and Google Map Maker, anyone with a computer can create a map. These maps tell a story, but it's a subjective one. And while that can be a powerful tool, it can also skew perspectives and cloud a debate.

"We should really teach people to read maps in that way," says Laura Kurgan, an associate professor of architecture at Columbia University. "Maps are arguments, just like a piece of written journalism is an argument."

That's what Kurgan is attempting to show in her new book, Close Up at a Distance, which includes several of her mapping projects. When Kurgan graduated from architecture school, she says, digital technology was just starting to enter her field. Today, data is everywhere. It opens a much larger realm of mapping and interpretation."

Read more. 

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"Ways of Seeing" Review of "Close Up at a Distance"
Aug 23, 2013 — Trevor Paglen, Bookforum

Treavor Paglen reviews Laura Kurgan's new book Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics in Bookforum. He writes: 

"On December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 emerged from its fourth lunar cycle on the first manned mission to another celestial body. “Oh, my God,” cried astronaut Frank Borman as the spacecraft emerged from the moon’s dark side. “Look at that picture over there! Here’s the Earth coming up! Wow, is that pretty.” Crew member William Anders grabbed a modified Hasselblad camera and shot what has become an iconic photograph. In countless reproductions, Earthrise depicts our planet in the distance, a blue-and-white spot rising above a cratered and ashen lunar landscape, set against the blackness of space.

Laura Kurgan’s Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics opens on a reproduction of Earthrise and of another iconic image of Earth, the Blue Marblephotograph, shot four years later from Apollo 17. These two pictures are some of the most widely reproduced in history. In the popular imagination, they’ve become synonymous with the environmental movement, underlining the fact that, in the grand scheme of things, we live on a small, isolated, and fragile planet. But the pair of images are also emblematic of something else: the dawn of what historian Benjamin Lazier calls the “Earthrise Era.” We are now deep within this revolutionary moment—pictures and dynamic maps generated from space-based platforms are a part of our everyday lives. Since mapping technologies first began trickling into consumer products such as GPS navigation systems and smartphones, the view from above has become so ubiquitous that we seldom reflect on it. “We do not stand at a distance from these technologies,” Kurgan writes, “but are addressed by and embedded within them.”"

Read more. 

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NYC Media Lab Annual Summit

Juan Francisco Saldarriaga will be showcasing his project CitiBike Rebalancing Study at the NYC Media Lab Annual Summit, to be held on September 19th at the New School in New York City.

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CitiBike Rebalancing Study
An investigation into ways to rebalance CitiBike stations throughout New York City.
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As has been recently documented by the press, one of the major challenges that Citi Bike is facing is the rebalancing of their stations. As origins and destinations of Citi Bike trips are not necessarily symmetrical during the day, Citi Bike has been forced to constantly move bikes around the city, taking them from full stations and delivering them to empty ones. This problem is both financially expensive and frustrating for Citi Bike users: many people complain about either not finding bikes at their stations of origin or not finding empty spots when they arrive at their final destinations.

To study this problem we have created a series of visualizations which should serve as a starting point for further analysis.

First, we visualized the average activity for weekdays in October 2013.

Citi Bike Hourly Activity

As the above image shows, the activity hotspots remain pretty constant throughout the day, specially between 10am and midnight, with most of the activity centered around Union Square. In addition, we also see how both Grand Central and Penn Station become strong hotspots during peak hours. Of interest, though, is the sudden shift that occurs around 5am, with the activity hotspots switching from the East Village/Lower East Side area, to Grand Central and Penn Station. This is probably due to the fact that during most of the night, compared to other areas, the stations in the East Village/Lower East Side continue to have high activity, but during most of the day, and specially during peak hours, they are not as active as the stations around Union Square or Grand Central and Penn Station.

Citi Bike Hourly Balance

Next, we visualized overall patterns of origins and destinations. As the above image shows, the big hotspots of imbalance are mostly located around the East Village, Lower East Side, Midtown East and West and Union Square. However, the variation of these hotspots throughout the day is pretty extensive and it's very difficult to detect smooth transitions apart from peak hours. Of note are a couple of big "jumps" between origins and destinations, one of them around 1-2pm on the East Village/Lower East Side and another one around 5am also in the same area.

 

We also created a series of imbalance matrices (by hour of day) for every single station on the system. Again, using the same data as the animations above, this first matrix (Citi Bike Hourly Balance) clearly shows how the big imbalances happen (as expected) mainly between 6am and 10am (morning peak hour) and between 4pm and 8pm (evening peak hour). However, there are some stations whose imbalance starts and ends earlier, like 8th Ave. & 31st Street, W 33rd Street & 7th Ave. and W 41st Street & 8th Ave. (more origins than destinations starting around 2pm). In addition, this matrix also shows that not all of the stations suffer from big imbalances during peak hours. Indeed, stations like E 31st Street & 3rd Ave or E 32nd Street & Park Ave. barely have any imbalances during peak hours. You can download a high-res version of this matrix here.

Imbalance matrix normalized by hourly activity

Furthermore, as not all of the stations have the same level of activity, we produced two more matrices, both showing station imbalance, but this time comparing it to the overall hourly activity for each station. The first one (Imabalance matrix normalized by hourly activity) shows the imbalance as a percentage of the activity for that hour. Hence, the great imbalances appearing late at night, when there are fewer trips and there's a higher chance of having all of them as origins or destinations. However, it is still interesting to see that there are higher imbalances during the morning peak hour than during the evening one, as a percentage of the overall activity.

Activity and imbalance matrix

The second matrix (Activity and imbalance matrix) shows the imbalance as colors and the overall activity as brightness, so we can see how in the hours between the peak times there's still a lot of activity but it is mostly well balanced. In addition, we can see how late at night (imbalanced as it may be) there's still very little activity. Finally, we can also see some outlier stations with a lot of activity and still pretty imbalanced: for example, in the morning 8th avenue and 31st street, 17th street and Broadway, Lafayette and 8th street, and Pershing Square (north); and in the evening 8th avenue and 31st street, 41st street and 8th avenue and again Pershing Square (north). You can download both of these matrices at high res here and here.

Imbalance Hotspots - A.M. Peak Hour

Finally, we have created hotspot maps for both the AM and the PM peak hours. As you can see from the maps below, Citi Bike activity closely matches what we would expect to see in New York: the AM peak hour map shows people leaving residential neighborhoods (Lower East Side, East Village, Chelsea and Hells Kitchen) and arriving at Midtown East and the Financial District, and the PM peak hour map shows the reverse. To note, however, is the fact that these two maps are not completely symmetrical, meaning that there are certain trips that happen in the morning which do not have their counterpart in the evening, and vice versa. Also, there are some stations that while being inside imbalance hotspots do not show that large of an imbalance. These stations have been outlined on the maps and should be further studied. You can view high-res versions of these maps here: AM and PM.

Imbalance Hotspots - P.M. Peak Hour

 

 
Project
Justice Re-Investment New Orleans
person role
Author(s): 
Spatial Information Design Lab
Publication date: 
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Publication name, page number: 
Spatial Information Design Lab
Description (optional): 
This is the final report based on work done for a grant titled "Rebuilding Community, Prisoner Reentry and Neighborhood Planning in Post-Katrina New Orleans." The report contains three parts: 1. An Introduction to the concepts of Million Dollar Block maps and Justice Reinvestment. 2. Mapping Incarceration in Post-Katrina New Orleans. 3. A description of the neighborhood planing process and the four pilot projects were were implemented as a result of that process.
Publication PDF: 
Intro text (homepage): 
This is the final report based on work done for a grant titled "Rebuilding Community, Prisoner Reentry and Neighborhood Planning in Post-Katrina New Orleans." The report contains three parts: 1. An Introduction to the concepts of Million Dollar Block maps and Justice Reinvestment. 2. Mapping Incarceration in Post-Katrina New Orleans. 3. A description of the neighborhood planing process and the four pilot projects were were implemented as a result of that process.
Lead image: 
Author Last Names for table: 
Kurgan, Caputo, Brazier, Katz
Publication short title (carousel): 
Justice Re-Investment New Orleans
Is Website?: 
no
Methods: 
dashboard_sort_date: 
Sunday, February 1, 2009
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Project
The Pattern
person role
Author(s): 
Spatial Information Design Lab
Publication date: 
Friday, February 1, 2008
Publication name, page number: 
Spatial Information Design Lab
Description (optional): 
This publication documents the pattern of incarceration in four cities in the United States: Phoenix, Wichita, New Orleans and New York. Building on work already done jointly by the Council of State Governments, the JFA Institute, and the Justice Mapping Center, the lab’s mapping project seeks to help advocates and government officials focus attention on the conditions and needs of urban spaces which show high rates of incarceration. Rather than focus only on the punishment and rehabilitation of individuals, the research identifies particular places and emerging strategies for investing public resources in order to address the urban conditions from which prisoners come and to which most of them return.
Publication PDF: 
Intro text (homepage): 
This publication documents the pattern of incarceration in four cities in the United States: Phoenix, Wichita, New Orleans and New York. Building on work already done jointly by the Council of State Governments, the JFA Institute, and the Justice Mapping Center, the lab’s mapping project seeks to help advocates and government officials focus attention on the conditions and needs of urban spaces which show high rates of incarceration.
Lead image: 
Author Last Names for table: 
Kurgan, Cadora, Reinfurt, Williams
Publication short title (carousel): 
The Pattern
Is Website?: 
no
Methods: 
dashboard_sort_date: 
Friday, February 1, 2008
(currently rendering default node template)
 
Project
City Council of New Orleans Criminal Justice Committee Meeting
person role
Author(s): 
Spatial Information Design Lab
Publication date: 
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Publication name, page number: 
Spatial Information Design Lab
Description (optional): 
Presentation to City Council in New Orleans, June 12th, 2007. A more detailed report will follow in October 2007.
Publication PDF: 
Intro text (homepage): 
Presentation to City Council of New Orleans Criminal Justice Committee Meeting on June 12th, 2007.
Lead image: 
Author Last Names for table: 
Kurgan, Caputo, Brazier
Publication short title (carousel): 
Presentation to the City Council of New Orleans
Is Website?: 
no
Methods: 
dashboard_sort_date: 
Thursday, July 12, 2007
(currently rendering default node template)
 
Project
Scenario Planning Workshop
person role
Author(s): 
Spatial Information Design Lab
Publication date: 
Friday, September 29, 2006
Publication name, page number: 
Spatial Information Design Lab
Description (optional): 
This publication documents the results of a Scenario Planning Workshop, hosted by SIDL and facilitated by the Global Business Network on September 29th, 2006. The workshop took place at the Architectural League of New York as part of the exhibit, Architecture and Justice which was on view from September through October, 2006.
Publication PDF: 
Intro text (homepage): 
This publication documents the results of a Scenario Planning Workshop, hosted by SIDL and facilitated by the Global Business Network on September 29th, 2006. The workshop took place at the Architectural League of New York as part of the exhibit, Architecture and Justice which was on view from September through October, 2006.
Lead image: 
Author Last Names for table: 
Kurgan, Cadora, Reinfurt, Williams
Publication short title (carousel): 
Scenario Planning Workshop
Is Website?: 
no
dashboard_sort_date: 
Friday, September 29, 2006
(currently rendering default node template)