Building the World

August 25, 2016
by buildingtheworld
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Happy 100th, National Parks

 

Jason Lusk, photographer. "Crater Lake National Park, Wizard Island."

“Crater Lake National Park, Wizard Island.” Jason W. Lusk, Photographer, with permission and appreciation.

Happy 100th birthday to the United States National Park Service. Celebrations included illuminating the New York City skyline, inviting the public to gather at Brooklyn Bridge Park to change the color of One World Trade Center’s Spire as an iconic birthday candle. The 1916 Organic Act authorized the preservation of green space; the Second Century Commission recommended future approaches. One of the earliest green spaces created for public enjoyment might be the walking path of the New River of England, 1613; still in use, the route is recommended by the Ramblers Association. Boston’s Central Artery Project created a greenway through the heart of the city. Costa Rica, world leader in environmental protection, set precedent with Law 7788 on Biodiversity. Perhaps Benton MacKaye launched the Appalachian Trail, authorized after the architect’s essay in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects described the salutary effects of nature as “one of the admitted needs of modern times.”

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

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August 19, 2016
by buildingtheworld
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‘Teaching Cities to Fish’

“Looking east from Brooklyn Bridge at park on a hazy day before sunset,” by Jim Henderson, 6 July 2010. Image: courtesy of wikimedia commons. Will City Farm Fish transform urban centers?

“We teach cities to fish,” states the team of City Farm Fish, with a mission to transform cities through an innovative approach combining urban agriculture and aquaponics. The first project may be reached via the Brooklyn Bridge. Team members Zachary Gould, J. Alex Dalessio, Heather Pfizer, Quentin Stanton, and Adam Horwitch have launched the EBF Greenhouse, in cooperation with Energy Biosphere Food from Germany, in a building with photovoltaic louvres. Blue Nile Tilapia along with Boston Bibb Lettuce, Collards, and herbs Shiso and Thyme, raised in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, will supply locals with the freshest of fare, produced in a balanced system: fish waste fertilizes the plants, while the plants help to purify the water. If, as the founders anticipate, 70% of the world’s population (predicted to reach 9 billion by 2044 according to the U.S. Census) will live in cities, City Farm Fish’s model may prove beneficial to urban centers around the world.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

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May 6, 2016
by buildingtheworld
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Mine the Gap

A year might make a lifetime of difference. Image: peacecorps.gov.

When a first daughter decided upon a gap year, the world voiced opinion. Some worried that a year off assumed privilege; others expressed admiration for benefits of time in the ‘real world’ of work, experience, travel, service, or specialized training. Balancing gown and town, in 1209, King John hired a French engineer and cleric who “in a short time hath wrought in regard to the Bridges of Xainctes and Rochelle, by the great care and pains of our faithful, learned and worthy Clerk, Isenbert, Master of the Schools of Xainctes” to build London Bridge. Charlemagne’s engagement with Alcuin, or the Netherland’s institution of the Dike Army (“ende alman sal ten menen werke comen op den dijc“), are examples of study and service. The medieval guilds combined learning, doing, and regional travel; Erasmus today is reminiscent. City Year Americorps offers options with college scholarships; Tufts 4+1 includes a Bridge Year. Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge, discovered a new idea when hiking in Bamberg on a student vacation. The University of Massachusetts Boston offers support for travel and scholarship to nations and locations featured in Building the World, through the Building a Better World Fund. Many ‘gap’ programs involve travel: Frank P. Davidson, whose early experience in Mexico has been cited as forerunner to the Peace Corps, suggested an interplanetary year. To fulfill the global vision of the Paris Agreement COP21, environment, governance, and industry may transform through engaged education.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

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December 16, 2014
by buildingtheworld
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Voice of the Future: River Communities

083_VSFP_Bridge_Photo

“Ceres,” vessel of Vermont Sail Freight Project, found resonance in many river communities and in New York City. Image: Vermont Sail Freight Project.

While the tiny nature of this initiative was evident to us as we passed under the huge Hudson River bridges like the George Washington and Tappan Zee, each of which was carrying thousands of times our cargo capacity per minute over the river in trucks, we still found it meaningful, and discovered that our initiative had surprising resonance in many river communities and in New York City. The river and harbor were once the preeminent conduit of life and trade, yet are now almost entirely overlooked for everything except recreation. With the addition of fairly modest docks and warehouses suited to this type of trade, we can envision not so much a re-enactment of our past, but more a carrying forward to meet contemporary challenges. The Vermont Sail Freight Project is now exploring avenues for the continuation and expansion of this work in the 2015 season, with some exciting new partnerships.

– Eric Andrus, founder of Vermont Sail Freight Project

Voice of the Future, 2014

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May 26, 2014
by buildingtheworld
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Bridge to the Future

 

Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, Boston. Image: wikimedia commons.

When the Brooklyn Bridge opened, on May 25, 1883, to great fanfare celebrating the linking of Brooklyn and Manhattan, two great centers of success, more than 150,000 people flocked across the span. Popularity spawned speculators who sold counterfeit passes, shaped like real admission tickets given to dignitaries. The Brooklyn Bridge has inspired more poetry than any other bridge in history. What poems are yet to be written about other spans, including Boston’s Zakim Bridge?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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April 22, 2013
by buildingtheworld
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Bridge of Honor

Walking Brooklyn Bridge, public domain image for use in United States.

Brooklyn Bridge has inspired more poetry than any other bridge in history. Hart Crane, Jack Kerouac, Walt Whitman are among those who spake thus:

O Sleepless as the river under thee,

Vaulting the sea, the prairies’ dreaming sod,

Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend

And of the curveship lend a myth to God.

– To Brooklyn Bridge, by Hart Crane

Artists continue to be inspired by the Brooklyn Bridge. Joseph Stella painted Roebling’s cabled masterwork in deconstructed cubism. Actor Bill Murray quoted Wallace Stevens and Galway Kinnell intoned Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” at Poets House in New York City on June 13, 2012 for the 25th Annual Poetry Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge. “Poems give you what you need for life’s journey,” stated Lee Briccetti, Executive Director. Should Boston initiate an annual poetry marathon, honoring victims and heroes of the April 2013 Boston Marathon, on the Zakim Bridge or perhaps in Boston’s Copley Square?

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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July 10, 2012
by zoequinn001
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An Inspiring Bridge

The day it opened, on May 25, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge proved immensely popular. More than 150,300 people crossed on foot. Both common folk and poets approved. The Brooklyn Bridge has inspired verse by Americans, Hart Crane and Jack Kerouac among others, and the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.

O harp and altar, of the fury fused,
(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)
Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge,
Prayer of pariah, and the lover’s cry,

Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift
Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,
Beading thy path—condense eternity:
And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.

Under thy shadow by the piers I waited
Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
The City’s fiery parcel all undone,
Already snow submerges an iron year …

Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the riles’ dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.

– Hart Crane, excerpt from The Bridge.

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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