Saturday, August 31, 2013

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

How do you turn a communication beacon like the CN Tower into a paint brush and the night sky into a canvass? Join forces with Artemis. Her medium will be moonbeams. Yours will be LED beams. [2013]

Friday, August 30, 2013

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

People die and are then memorialized.  It happens to places, too.  The swamp that once occupied the lowlands along Toronto's waterfront is dead and gone.  It was killed by development, symbolized nicely by the CN Tower.  Now, a memorial recognizes the past of this place, symbolized nicely by a pileated woodpecker finding grubs in a dead tree.  [2013]

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The CN Tower appeared in the old Toronto rail yards in 1976, but the idea of dominating an urban landscape with vertical aesthetics originated 4,000 years ago on the banks of the Nile. Compare the CN Tower and an Egyptian obelisk: Both were iconic, both were about communications, and both became signature landmarks of time and place. [2013]

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Washington, DC, USA

Every ten years defenders of civil and economic rights return to the National Mall to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington. In 1983, during the 20th anniversary march, Americans of all stripes affirmed that the dream was still alive. For South Africa, though, apartheid would take another decade to come to an end. [1983]

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Washington, DC, USA

Put yourself (or your children) in the shoes of Dr. King, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he dared to dream, where he dared to challenge the establishment. Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of his "I Have a Dream" speech. This photo was taken on the 40th anniversary of the event that inspired that speech, the 1963 March on Washington. [2003]

Monday, August 26, 2013

Washington, DC, USA

"You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."  President Obama, The White House, July 19, 2013.  [2013]

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Washington, DC, USA

Here's the context, you write the dialog: Americans are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the "I Have a Dream" speech. Tens of thousands flock to the National Mall. Some pause to have a conversation with Dr. King himself. What do they tell him about the past half century? What advice does he give for the next? [2013]

Saturday, August 24, 2013

East Greenwich, Rhode Island, USA

Children can wear masks anytime. Adults cannot. In many places it is illegal to cover your face and, thus, conceal your identity in public. You could be a terrorist. It's yet one more chink in the armor that protects freedom of expression. [2009]

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

You can be someone else when you visit The Big Easy.  You can hide behind a mask, don the Mardi Gras colors, and blend in with people on parade.  Purple, green, and gold have been New Orleans' signature colors since the 1870s.  Your assignment:  compare and contrast the Mardi Gras colors with the signature colors of LSU and Tulane.  [2009]

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Suomenlinna Island, Finland

The Naval Academy of Finland is located on the island fortress of Suomenlinna ('Castle of Finland'). This cadet is one of about 450 men and women who are studying there. Your assignment:  compare and contrast Suomenlinna and Annapolis. [2005]

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Liverpool, England, UK

Young and unsure of where you are going?  If you're British, the Spirit of Fairbridge can help.  Her mission is to inspire the future by providing work experiences for youth.  She was built to symbolize the pilot schooners which used to guide merchant ships up the Mersey to Liverpool's docks.   [2011]

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, USA

St. Bernard, a 'Doctor of the Church,' was thoroughly French. Are you surprised to find him in Louisiana? Are you surprised to see the flag of Acadia flying from the parish hall? St. Bernard died on August 20, 1153. Today is his feast day. It's the anniversary of his death. [2011]

Monday, August 19, 2013

Victoria, Gozo, Malta

What happens when a Pope visits one of his parishes? Parishioners erect a statue in front of their cathedral. Adding to the authenticity of this place-making art is the pedigree of the sculptor: he's a Gozitan. Papa Gwanni Pawlu II (in the Maltese language) visited the Gozo cathedral in 1990. [2009]

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Istanbul, Turkey

It should come as no surprise, that the chestnut arrived in Europe from Asia Minor, a country we know today as Turkey.  Perhaps that is why we stuff our turkeys with chestnuts.  [2007]

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Oxford, England, UK

He:  roasts and bags.  You:  peel and eat.  Others:  pause and smell.  It's a common wintertime scene on the High Streets of England.  [1985]

Friday, August 16, 2013

Les Escaldes, Andorra

With its stupa-like glitz, Les Escaldes' mirrored phantasm does nothing more than cover the hot springs that give the town its name. High-rise reflective surfaces bring the surrounding mountains right into the heart of the valley. When you are not shopping, hiking, or skiing in Andorra, feel free to soak up the warmth of the Caldea, Europe's largest spa complex. [2005]

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bangkok, Thailand

The golden chedi, or stupa, on the grounds of Thailand's historic royal palace houses ashes of the Buddha.  It's breathtakingly beautiful.  But, no matter how comely, there is nothing more beautiful than nature's contribution to landscape aesthetics:  in this case, a lotus in bloom.  [2011]

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Plastic crates have taken over the world.  Here, they are fulfilling their role as part of a very important 供應鏈.  When you think of supply chains, you may think of flow charts on computer screens, but they are really part of every landscape.  They're ubiquitous and, in the case of cabbage delivery in Taiwan, very visible.  [2011]

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ghaziabad, India

The molded plastic chair has taken over the world.  What did people sit on before it came into being?  Where did it originate and how did it get to India?  What makes it so appealing?  Geographers reading this are now thinking about निसृत हुई किंतु सांस् कृतिक.  Here, in fact, is relocation diffusion in progress[2011]

Monday, August 12, 2013

Winchester, New Hampshire, USA

The summer holidays are here, and it's time for a laugh. We're lucky to have the landscape to tickle our funny bones. Anyone hungry? [2009]

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Danville, Vermont, USA

The summer holidays are here, and it's time for a laugh. We're lucky to have the landscape to tickle our funny bones. Anyone recognize this dude? [2009]

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

What would you call him?  (A) Tattooed dude.  (B) Hunk in trunks.  (C) Beach brisket.  (More than one answer is acceptable.)   One thing you know for sure:  he has a heart.  See how easy it is to look into his chest cavity?  [2013]

Friday, August 9, 2013

San Francisco, California, USA

What is so appealing about skin art?  (A) It attracts attention. (B) It signals tribal loyalty. (C) It preps you for your first tattoo. (More than one answer is acceptable.) He may be too young to get a real tat, but he's not too young for some body paint. [1994]

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Colonel William Light chose the site of Adelaide and laid out the original 'square mile' that constituted the city.  On top of his monument, the visual anchor of Light Square, is a surveyor's theodolite.  Should that be spelled theodolight?  Light's vision for Adelaide is reflected throughout the city:  especially after a rain!  [2011]

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Assateague Island, Virginia, USA

A fresh coat of paint livens up the Assateague Island Light, which still functions as an aid to coastal navigation in the shoaling waters off the Delmarva Peninsula. A beacon was originally located here in 1833 to fill the gap between the lighthouses at Cape Henlopen to the north and Cape Charles to the south. [1999]

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pisté, Yucatan, Mexico

The Maya aesthetic continues to be on display in Yucatan.  In fact, it has become one of the defining aesthetics of Mexican culture.  Warrior?  Yes, judging from the war paint.  Wouldn't you be afraid if you saw something like that (perhaps from the more powerful spirit world) coming after you?  [2013]

Monday, August 5, 2013

Rotorua, New Zealand

The Maori aesthetic continues to be on display in Aotearoa. In fact, it has become one of the defining aesthetics of Kiwi culture. Not a guardian, right? Eyes are closed. Pregnant female? Perhaps. Aotearoa? It's the Maori word for New Zealand. [2006]

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Delhi, India

Some ride bicycles (and even tricycles) for fun.  Others ride them to make a living, especially in Asia.  No one who visits Chandni Chowk in New Delhi can escape without a pedicab ride.  Business must be good because this cycle looks brand new.  [2011]

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Wilson Arch, Utah, USA

Utah is defined by its arches (evidence: state license plates), and this is one of them. The sandstone traces its origin to the shallow seas and beaches of the Jurassic Period, making it 175 million years old. Anyone up for some cycling into the desert or rappelling to the top of the arch? [2013]

Friday, August 2, 2013

Douglas, Isle of Man

Here's a sign that the Manx people identify with more than their Celtic heritage.  They remember, apparently fondly, the Norse chapter in their history.  Talk about Paradise Lost!  Let's apply John Milton's words to the landscape:  "Our torments also may in length of time Become our Elements."  [2011]

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Oslo, Norway

No symbol captures the power of Scandinavian culture better than the sweeping curves of the longboat. It's a visual reminder that Northern Europe was at the height of its power while the rest of Europe was asleep. When the peoples of the North Atlantic saw something like this on the horizon, they knew trouble was coming. [1984]