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- October 26, 2009BY JULIE KIM
SPUR is thrilled to welcome Ken Caldeira, head of the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University, to the Urban Center for a lunchtime forum.
Wednesday, October 28, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Free for SPUR members. General admission is $5.
Location: SPUR Urban Center, 654 Mission St. (between New Montgomery & Third).
Renowned for his groundbreaking research on ocean acidifcation, Caldeira's been in the news this month for publicly chiding Superfreakonomics authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner for misrepresenting his research on geo-engineering as a substitute for agressive mitigation strategies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (In fact, while Caldeira knows a lot about weather manipulation--perhaps more than any other climate scientist working right now--he views it as a last resort, only to be employed once we are certain about its many risks.)
Here's a bio of Caldeira from an Oct. 22 post on the Guardian Environment Network (which republished a great interview conducted by Yale 360):Atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira first became known for his groundbreaking work on ocean acidification, a phrase originally coined as a headline for one of his papers. Of late, however, Caldeira's research has led him into the controversial area of geo-engineering — the large-scale, deliberate manipulation of the Earth's climate system.
Many scientists have shied away from the subject because they feel it is a wrongheaded and dangerous path to pursue. But Caldeira — who heads a research lab at the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University — has not been so dismissive, in part because his climate modeling has demonstrated that some geo-engineering schemes may indeed help reduce the risk of climate change. In fact, few scientists have thought harder about the moral, political, and environmental implications of geo-engineering.
Caldeira has become a focal point recently in the controversy surrounding the publication of Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner's SuperFreakonomics, the follow-up to their previous best-seller, Freakonomics. A chapter of the book that deals with geo-engineering and quoted Caldeira was circulated on the Internet prior to the book's publication and was widely criticized for its poor understanding of climate science and its cynical, contrarian perspective.
- September 23, 2009BY JULIE KIM
New York Times columnist Allison Arieff penned a piece yesterday on the temporary parks and open spaces sprouting up in San Francisco and New York City--and the opportunity for land owners (in this soft economy) to lend their empty lots to grassroots greeners.
This image, from Arieff's column, shows the site of one of San Francisco's newest temporary plaza at the intersection of San Jose Avenue and Guerrero Streets:
The San Jose/Guerrero parks use simple materials--many of them recycled--to create instant atmosphere.
Arieff's column also featured many great images from PARK(ing) Day last week, as well as a link to a Streetsfilms segment featuring PARKS by SPUR and other members of the San Francisco Great Streets Coalition.
- September 23, 2009BY JULIE KIM
Last Friday, we teamed up with the San Francisco Great Streets Project and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to participate in 2009 PARK(ing) Day, an event-cum-social movement started by Rebar in 2005.
Before the big day, architect and SFBC volunteer Riyad Ghannam spent countless hours in the Urban Center's basement designing and building wooden platforms to create a seamless transition between the sidewalk and PARK:
We're hoping the installation can be a model for restaurants and other small businesses to create temporary outdoor eating and sitting spaces as an extension of their storefronts. The model was a hit among North Beach restaurant owners, for whom PARK(ing) Day turned into a PARK(ing) Weekend! (See Streetsfilm's clip below for the whole story.)
Finally, what would PARK(ing) Day be without a little bellydancing by Calamity Sam, who literally stopped Mission Street traffic.
Thank you to plant-provider Flora Grubb, furniture-maker Miles Epstein, belly-dancer Calamity Sam and cellist Leo Suarez-Peringer for making 2009 PARK(ing) Day a raging success! And we're thrilled that Dwell, Streetsblog and Streetsfilms all had a chance to stop by.
- May 22, 2009BY JULIE KIM
Yesterday we staged a dress rehearsal for our big day next Thursday—when we'll unveil the Urban Center to over 1,000 people at our grand opening celebration. The scene caused quite a stir on this once-sleepy 600-block of Mission. Cars slowed; sidewalks filled; the Peet's patron paused. Sudden gusts of wind caused only minor complications, and leant a certain drama to the occasional glimpse of our bright orange beacon (designed, along with most of the other building graphics, by local graphics firm public.)
Despite some unresolved questions (should we raise or drop the veil??), it all went smoothly, thanks to SPUR staffer Virginia Grandi's hard-core Burner-friend, Tamo Hulva, a master seamstress who spent the last week holed up in her studio piecing together large swaths of fabric in time for the test run. (Can't wait to see how she works the fabric into her camp installation this September.) More pics here. Not sure the unveiling of our nonprofit digs will ever match the spectacle of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "Wrapped Kunsthalle," but no doubt it was the source of inspiration. See you next week!