Thursday, September 28, 2006
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
There is nothing special about what I just described, but some aldermen and developers need to pay attention to what will follow. First off, this is what we call an urban design. Notice no driveways in the front. The garages are in the rear off of an alley, and the front is oriented to the street and sidewalk. The site plan also calls for density. What a novel idea. Not everything has to be single family with large yards. The design is also rather modern for St. Louis infill. While I agree that many so called modern designs are really not that great, I really like this particular design. Looks like a good use of siding, stucco, glass, and probably concrete. Nice to see a design that doesn't try to hide vinyl with an awkward brick front. The balconies also add a nice touch, and the large one off the kitchens should make a nice area to sit and enjoy a nice evening talking to the neighbors.
Overall, Millennium has done a good job with an odd site.
The question of whether technology is causing more crime or if it is just there because it is in our culture is an interesting one. Technology has certainly opened the opportunity for crimes such as hacking and stealing data, and has probably made stalking easier in some cases. It has also made plagiarism much easier. But overall, I don't think technology has lead to any increase in crime, or made crime easier. Technology is part of every day life, so criminals make use of it. Bragging about a murder in a blog is comparable to people making a video of a crime and sharing it or bragging to friends. As technology changes, peoples habits change and it becomes incorporated.
Technology doesn't cause crime, criminals are just stupid in their use of it.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Downtown NowIn certain quadrants of the blogosphere, this will be Big News: Downtown Now! has updated its website.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Downtown Now! Website
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
This is one of the landmark buildings downtown, and I'm glad it will be put to such a good mixed use. The new tower should make a drastic difference along the barren blocks of Tucker, and it will hide the boring back side of the Missouri Pacific Buildings. This will make a barren spot downtown lively once again. The parks certainly need some sprucing up, although I agree with others that the park to the west is a little bit too focused on the Park Pacific. I personally would like to see a high-rise along Tucker on part of the current park land, but I can only ask for so much at once.
Overall, I give the development a preliminary grade of A.
What do you call 1,075,000+ articles created completely by volunteer effort? That would obviously be the English version of Wikipedia. Many great things have come out of the Internet, but this has to be one of the best. Anyone can sign up to edit pages, making the possible topics infinitely greater than a yearly encyclopedia like the Encyclopedia Britannica. And the best part is that according to studies, Wikipedia is just as accurate as all the leading encyclopedias that don't allow the general public to write them. The information is endless, and everything is categorized and linked together with similar topics. Best of all, Wikipedia is completely free!
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
According to the article from the University of Dayton, 85% of college students equaling 3.9 million students have accounts on Facebook. The social networking site for students has spread from just a few schools to every college and thousands of high schools in just over a year. Students use it to tell others about themselves, keep track of friends, plan events, and post pictures from parties and other events in their daily life. Departments of Public Safety have sometimes made use of these pictures and other statements made on the site. Students have received various punishments because of something found on the site. Both of the Departments cited in the articles, Princeton's and Dayton's, deny any use of Facebook for more than just an aid for investigations. I am okay with some minor use of the site, but I am wary of any use from an Public Safety Officers, especially an officer that may like to browse the site looking for violations.
There are many reasons that Facebook should not be used. First, it is hard to tell where something is from a picture unless there is some type of landmark to give it away. Like was stated in the article, how can someone tell what is in a cup in a picture. If the supposed violation took place off campus, any DPS has no right to cite someone for an offense. Second, no matter what a school wants to say, anything that happens on Facebook should be private. The site is password protected, and it is not hosted on any university related servers. I would think that a warrant would be required to gather any evidence from Facebook, because it is not in the public domain. This brings up serious issues with invasion of privacy that need to be dealt with. The director of Police at Princeton says that he can legally back up his statement that Facebook is not private. Even if pulling evidence from Facebook is legal, it doesn't make it right.
No matter the legalities of using sites like Facebook, we should all be a little more careful.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
After I finish sorting through the 279 pics I took tonight, I will have many up for your viewing pleasure at Ballparkconstruction.com.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Today was sunny and warm, and the streets reflected the good weather. There weren't masses of people on the street, and I was not walking at lunch time, but there were people on every street in both downtown and the CWE. That was great to see as always. Most buildings were looking good, and construction work was going on in all of the rehabs. The banker's lofts looked great with almost all of the new windows in. The Federal Reserve site was being excavated well below ground. There seems to be a fair amount of tourists on the streets for this time of year, almost all of them were families. I happily watched them checking out all of the construction.
Downtown is really going to have it's act together this summer. I can't wait to experience it.
One of these days I will share the presentations, probably on UrbanStL.
I found the article on Matthew Carter and his work creating typefaces very interesting. I never realized so much work went into it, especially the work to carve the letters in steel as was done in the past. I had no idea that a typical typeface requires designing 278 different characters. Even subtle differences in a letter that most would never notice can require a complete redesign of the set. A designer also has to be able to come up with a style that has never been done before. Carter has designed an amazing sixty two full families.
Certain institutions wanting their own typeface is interesting. With a type face specifically designed for your use, you can set yourself apart. The New York Times was creative in saving money by only requiring letters to spell out "The new York Times."
The part of the article I liked most was when Carter spoke about identifying forgeries by typefaces he designed. Identifying the two forgeries by a typeface being used before it was created was a method that I had never thought of. I will remember this if I ever forge a dated document.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church is now taking it's final few breaths. An article in today's Southwest City Journal states that the Board of Aldermen has passed a redevelopment bill allowing the church to be torn down. Back on December 19, this project was rejected by the City Preservation Board. The Board ruled that the church and other buildings on site were historic and should not be demolished. This was a pet project of Alderman Vollmer and the Catholic Church. The whole story can be found here.
Why do aldermen insist on aldermanic courtesy? I know it secures votes for their pet projects, but do they really not see some projects are simply bad for the city? This just makes me want work even harder to change the political culture of St. Louis. Someday people that get it will be in charge, hopefully before I am gone.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
So is PowerPoint really evil, or is it the greatest thing ever created? I think the answer lies somewhere in between. Certain situations and presentations lead me to feel certain ways about the software. An example of a good use of Powerpoint in my eyes is when a presenter puts a few main topics on a slide as talking points, and then can fully expand on the points in the slide. This way the audience can get the general topic off the slide, but they still have to listen to the presenter to fully understand the topic.
The dark side of PowerPoint, and we've all done this, is when a presenter put's his entire speach onto the slides and essentially reads off the slides. This is boring, and shows a lack of knowledge and effort on the presenters part. If someone wanted to just read their speech, why put it on PowerPoint in the first place. Large amounts of text on a slide is also distracting and takes away from the presentation.
This following quote from Edward R. Turte in the article sums the situation up well:
PowerPoint is a competent slide manager and projector. But rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute for it. Such misuse ignores the most important rule of speaking: Respect your audienceIn other words, PowerPoint is a good tool, but no one knows how to use it properly. That is the true evil in this case.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Yes, a variance is in the best interest of the neighborhood. Don't hold back a great project because of legislation that may not always be right.
Carolyn Toft, president of Landmarks Association, said that the historic district standards are legislation, but that exceptions and variances can be made. A CWE resident, Toft helped draft the standards more than 25 years ago.
“The question is, is a variance in the best interest of the city and the neighborhood?” Toft said.
Here's my quick rebuttal to the text on the front page of their site stlouiscitizens.org.
We are in favor of responsible development that adds value to our CWE neighborhood, our city, and our region.Than why are you not in favor of this project. Some minor things need to be reworked, but overall it is a high quality development. This 28 floor building will add more value to the neighborhood than a ten floor building on that corner. A two story building with no interaction to the street on a high profile corner will be replaced with 200 condos and retail.
The second Opus Development project, now proposed for the northeast corner of Lindell and Euclid, has been given special treatment by the City of St. Louis: its site has been blighted, it received a TIF, and it violates the Historic District ordinance previously established for all buildings within the neighborhood.I don't think this is any more special than any other large development project receives. Oh yeah, the historic district. What about all those other buildings over 15 floors on the same block. Talk about a slippery slope. Isn't this what variances are for. Nothing wrong with a 28 floor building with a modern design. 4545 Lindell has a very modern design, why weren't you against that building. That's right, It''s not right in your backyard. you weren't being selfish like you are with this project.
This special treatment sets a harmful precedent for the entire City.
SIGN the Petition against the proposed project by request to:Please don't sign it, and I don't think it's going to make a big difference anyway.
With these Petitions we will TELL Alderwoman Lyda Krewson to support a building that conforms to the Historic District ordinance for the area.
VISIT the first Opus Development project at Laclede and Euclid toI can't quite figure out what they are referring too. Is it because the Park East took a surface parking lot, and gasp, is right up to the sidewalk.
obseve problems similar to those of the now proposed project at Lindell and Euclid.
GET INVOLVED, STAY INVOLVED!I agree, but but don't be against a project because you are selfish. Like you said, think about the betterment of the neighborhood and the city and region as a whole. The current project is the best option, although I wouldn't be opposed to it being even taller.
I really felt like an alderman defending myself against Elliot Davis of "You Paid for It" on Channel 2. Except I din't make myself look like a completel fool.
Plagiarism. It's a tough area to define. Stealing someones work word for word is obviously plagiarism, but there is so much more to it. Paraphrasing was always taught in grade school as a good way to avoid plagiarism, but I have now learned that even this is considered wrong. Unless there is quotes around the phrase, and it is properly cited, you are plagiarizing someone. Your personal original ideas do not nead quotes, but if you are taking your personal idea from a different published work, you are required to cite the source. While plagiarism is definately not something to do, because it is stealing, I think it can get a little overboard sometimes. It is possible to accidentally forget to cite a source once in a while. Putting someting into your own ideas can be difficult at times, and if four or five word of a bigger sentence is copied does not matter to me. I guess the individual interpretation is up to everyone, but you better cover your butt anyway.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Personally, I do not mind if the government sees what I search for. I have nothing to hide. I have not searched or how to make a backpack nuclear bomb or how the effectively take out a bridge. I don’t think many people would have anything to hide either. That brings up the point of how much good a subpoena will really do. What does the government actually need one million random web addresses for? If the government wants to have the addresses to protect children as they claim, why don’t the investigators look them up? Private businesses should not have to do the work for the government.
The whole situation with searching and wiretapping is ridiculous to me. In general I do not have a problem with either; I just don’t think devoting so many resources to domestic surveillance is a worthwhile use of what we have. How many people is the government really going to catch in America? Were the thousands of wiretaps actually successful? It just doesn't seem worth it to me.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
After all the talk that it would never happen, it is finally official. Ballpark Village will be built. It was made official in a story on Fox 2 News tonight. I have had the renderings since November 10, but it is nice to see that Ballpark Village is now officially designed and will be under construction by the end of the baseball season. Cordish of baltimore is the lead developer.
Ballpark Village will be a $450 million project covering six city blocks adjacent to the new Busch Stadium. The new development will have 1,200 condos in four towers, 450,000 square feet of retail, and 400,000 square feet of office space.
In my mind, the best feature of Ballpark Village is that it restores the street grid. The old Busch and the parking lot where the new Busch is was a giant superblock. While the new park is a superblack, it is in a spot where I think the stadium works well for it's size, right up against the highway where no through streets are anyway. Ballpark Village will be able to tie together the south end of downtown with the north end of downtown much better than the old Busch did. The village will be urban.
I find the design of the buildings to be good for the most part. Good mix of styles. Brick for the mid-rise buildings on the west end of the site, and all glass for the east end of the site. These buildings will make a dramatic difference in the skyline, and they offer a different style than much of downtown. The new towers should add a nice modern contrast to the surrounding historic buildings in Cupple's Station and the Tum's factory, along with the retro designed ballpark. I did a rough count of floor heights and it looks like there is one at 15, two buildings in the 15-20 range, one at 25, One at 26-27, and one at about 34 floors. And these towers will be in camera views shipped all over the country.
1,200 residents in a six block area also brings badly needed residential density to the south end of downtown, an area lacking much besides offices and useless parks. There needs to be many year round residents, not just fans and office workers, for an area to really thrive. Look at the area around Washington Ave. for an example of what good density can do.
But I am glad to here that office space will be in the project. There are several firms looking for large Class A spaces downtown, so hopefully some will consider Ballpark Village.
Being next to the new ballpark and having so many residents and shops should make for some nice pedestrian traffic on the streets. Another great urban aspect of this development. The open section of Busch should make for large crowds on Clark catching some of the games for free.
Overall, Cordish does good urban developments.
Now if we could just get something done about the ugly and anti-urban stadium parking garages.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Thursday, February 02, 2006
I agree with both sides in this case. Technology is great as a tool for learning, but so are traditional teaching methods. There is no doubt that todays students are different than past generations. We grew up with technology. We have been checking websites while doing a reading asignment and Instant Messaging at the same time for years. Students are bored when they go to class and get the same old lecture over and over again. Different technologies allow a professor to vary the class instruction. But technology should not be the only device used in teaching. The lecture is just as good of a tool now as it was fifty years ago. Traditional research papers are just as useful as a powerpoint presentation. I think it is more important to use all of the different teaching tools effectively instead of just one tool on either side of the spectrum.
This quote sums it up for me quite well. " We find that they like Multi-media -- they want text, video, and sound," according to Mike Turner of Case Western Reserve University. I agree, I don't want just one tool, I want them all.