This past class Precedent-Collage exercise and thinking about the Green New Deal has had me contemplating what kinds of social/cultural futures we may be looking at with climate change. I recently finished a cultural reconnaissance study of the community around a small river city, and culture is so hard to define when it is happenstance over short periods in a community. A good friend of mine used to be in fashion school and would tell me about her “fashion forecasting” class. I was super interested in the fact that this was even a course at the time, and have thought…

Freedom leads to Agency leads to Empowerment

The possibility for agency increases with freedom. I believe we should supplement peoples’ or places’ lack in freedom of certain kinds with other paths to freedom; freedom of — freedom of movement, the freedom of options, freedom from — freedom from persecution, freedom from harm.

Networks: Physical green networks, networks of movement, networks of interaction. The grid of our typical cities is creatively restraining. I think using networks of movement that break the grid help engage our minds and take us out of autopilot. I think less predictability entices more awareness of self…

I learned yesterday about the underground creek tunnels in parts of the East Bay that have become a niche exploration zone. Apparently, there are graffiti trails in the underground tubes that have become this counter-cultural tourism destination.

Photo of East Bay underground tunnel art by Scott Finsthwait. Artist unknown. Precise location kept secret for the sake of the art.

This reminds me of my dad’s stories from the 60s and 70s of climbing into storm drains on the street and exploring neighborhoods underground. Certain drainage systems passed through existing caves. He got into cartography and cave surveying through the next decade which I’ve always been inspired by. Years ago I remember reading a fascinating book, The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels…

Writing Prompt: “Please reflect on the influence of context, history/time, culture on long term performance of a designed system. And on the tension between failure and success in wicked landscape planning problems.”

This prompt makes me think about landscape interventions that create a possibility that lives on in peoples’ minds past its physical degradation. This is the idea behind stewardship. If an idea of a place and built environment persists in peoples’ minds and hearts, they will ensure it doesn’t completely fall apart with time.

Cultural change is really one of the few byproducts of what we do in environmental…

I have a lot of new things to talk about this week. I would like to reflect on completing the CREATURE Marin City Project, and my group’s process and experience with it. I would also like to mull over the readings on Oslo and Fjord Cities we discussed Wednesday. But another project I finished this week was completely outside of school for the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail. I’m proud of the work I did, and now I am just awaiting the next steps…

“Live Oak Paraje”

To preface, this was an unpaid, spur of the moment summer internship…

I stumbled upon this beautiful moment this week on a walk right around golden hour.

A big group of slack liners posted up along the boardwalk running along the southeast side of Lady Bird Lake. This is just a reminder to me that what we design becomes interpreted by the community, and that we don’t need to design with such strict intention. Sometimes the purpose is in the eye of the beholder.

For the discussion this week about the beautiful, picturesque, and sublime, I chose a handful of photos of undesigned landscapes that speak to me about one of these three categories. Below is the one I talked about in our class discussion.

I have been thinking about the picturesque in terms of moving through the landscape, but also as this thing that can speak to that as a picture. The time element is lost in the frame, but there is still a relationship between the composition of a photo and the moments that spaces create at the human scale when moving…

I’ve been wondering this week all the ways ecological designers manipulate time/space processes. I’m taking the Restoration of Rivers and Streams class as well as this Ecological Design Studio, and I think it has been kind of a perfect pair. The extreme sensitivity that river systems perform with has me thinking about simple machines…

After looking at the sand dunes that are forming around wooden beach fencing and comparing that to a simple machine, it’s actually even simpler than any of them. It’s just a pervious wall.

The Lever. The Pulley. The Wheel. The Ramp. The Wedge. The Screw.

These…

Last week when we were looking over the Armature projects, I brought up an aspect about the flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey a few years back that may have been misunderstood. I guess in my life experience, the most disasters I’ve seen are from floods in either Houston or Austin. What stood out to me about the flooding of the Buffalo Bayou of Houston, (which is only one area of the bayou, and a portion of areas that were majorly affected by the water), was that (a) the water in the Addicks Reservoir was released upstream to cause the…

“Beauty conceals.” Prioritize taking risks and showing conflicts in landscape drawings and maps. Beauty in a landscape drawing is a dead end. It inhibits further investigation.

Beauty is a distraction. I’ve been reading a little bit about the vaporwave aesthetic as a critique of capitalism by presenting a grossly excessive bomb of glittery, colorful cotton candy consumerism. I find this really entertaining and kind of a genius way to evoke a gut aversion simply through use of image, color and junk. It got me thinking about my own blind aesthetic choices, and when I use that as a crutch for…

Lilly Byrd

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