People’s Park – Competition or Design by committee

A debate over whether UC Berkeley should sponsor an open competition to choose a new design for the historic site erupted after People’s Park Community Advisory Board member and architect Sam Davis suggested holding a competition last week.

While some board members agreed that a competition would enhance plans to redevelop the park, others said the move was premature and called for more community involvement instead.

The competition would be based on the People’s Park Assessment and Planning Study that was prepared by San Francisco-based consultants MKThink over a nine-month period.

At an earlier meeting in November, park users and stakeholders had emphasized the need for open green space and had criticized plans in the consultant’s study that involved permanent structures.

Almost everyone involved stressed the importance of fighting crime and homelessness in the park and keeping the spirit of social service alive.

Berkeley Daily Planet.

Neighborhoods Await Redevelopment Plan | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

NEW ORLEANS — The few rebuilt homes on this Gentilly block are surrounded by debris-dotted and weed-choked empty lots, or houses abandoned after Hurricane Katrina.

In Gentilly and many neighborhoods, uncertainty hangs like a thick fog nearly 28 months after the storm flooded 80 percent of New Orleans. “It could go one way or the other,” Karran Harper Royal says as she pulls up to her rebuilt home in Gentilly’s Oak Park. “I try to go the optimistic way.”

Neighborhoods Await Redevelopment Plan | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

Phoenix ditches $2.4 million public-art project for park

A $2.4 million public art piece chosen by a city-appointed panel for the planned downtown park near Van Buren Street and Central Avenue has been rejected by the Phoenix City Manager’s Office despite $104,000 already paid to the artist.

Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission members are angry and wonder if someone in City Hall thinks the proposed piece, which resembles a floating jellyfish, is too unconventional and will reignite a controversy on what makes for proper public art.

Phoenix ditches $2.4 million public-art project for park.

Local Landscapers push for more work visas

Mark Borst headed for Washington, D.C., last week, hoping to boost the flow of labor back and forth across the Mexican border.

The president of Allendale-based Borst Landscape and Design Inc. was among 500 American businessmen lobbying their congressional representatives to increase the number of temporary work visas, known as H-2Bs, issued by the U.S. each year.

The visas allow businesses such as landscapers, house painters, construction companies and restaurants to legally bring foreign workers into the U.S. for nine months, after which they return home.

North Jersey Media Group Local Landscapers push for more work visas

Ecosystem equation

Wal-Mart turned to landscape architectural and environmental consulting firm Earth Source Inc. To help Wal-Mart comply with environmental laws, Allen County-based Earth Source and related company Heartland Restoration Services Inc. designed and built a replacement wetland several times larger than the parcel affected by the store’s construction.

Ecosystem equation | The Journal Gazette.

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