The Omnibus Roundup – Hurricane Edition

Hurricane Irene | courtesy NASA/NOAA GOES Project

As Hurricane Irene approaches, City and State agencies are preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. States up and down the east coast, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, have declared anticipatory states of emergency. Mayor Bloomberg has announced a mandatory evacuation by 5pm Saturday for Zone A of New York City (click here to download a map of the NYC Hurricane Evacuation Zones if you don’t know which zone you’re in) and for all residents of the Rockaways, including those in Zone B. Residents must stay with friends or family outside of the evacuation zone, or seek shelter at City evacuation centers. The MTA has announced a system-wide shutdown starting at noon on Saturday, taxis may be taken off the roads and, if wind speeds exceed 60mph, bridges will be closed to all traffic. Con Ed is preparing for extensive gas, electric and steam outages. As updates continue to pour in, New Yorkers can and should take steps to prepare themselves. Check out the Red Cross’ Hurricane Safety Checklist and the NYC Office of Emergency Management’s “Ready New York: Hurricane Guide” for suggestions on preparing your home for the storm, stocking up on emergency supplies and putting together a “go bag” of necessary items in case of sudden evacuation. Read the latest updates from the City on the OEM’s Facebook page, or on Twitter at @NotifyNYC or @NYCMayorsOffice (at the time of publication, was down due to high traffic), track the progress of Irene on the Weather Channel’s Hurricane Tracker, and above all else, be safe this weekend!

ZoLa (the Zoning and Land Use web application) is the City’s newest addition to its growing collection of interactive maps and applications on the internet. This one aims to make the nebulous and impossible to navigate world of zoning accessible to the public. Previously, New Yorkers could find zoning information through NYCityMap, which allows the user to search by address, but offers no options to filter the information. With ZoLa, users have the ability to search by address and get specific information about a building, but also to layer information over entire neighborhoods and align the zoning information with the City Council, Community, Assembly and State Senate District delineations. The interface is similar to other GIS interfaces, with color-coded transparencies indicating zoning, landmarks, historic districts, land use, waterfront and environmental requirements. Check out the site here. (via Curbed).

Animal Architecture
, an online forum for exploring the human and animal divide through the lens of architecture, has just announced the winners of their design competition The Animal Architecture Awards. The Awards asked participants “to address how architecture can mediate and encourage multiple new ways of species learning and benefiting from each other — …to illustrate cospecies coshaping.”  The winning project, “Theriomorphous Cyborg” by Simone Ferrancina, is an “immersive Augmented Reality game aimed at endowing participants with a non- and extra-human gaze.” In other words, it allows the player to view the world with the magnetic senses of a bird, at differing durations, through the eyes of a cyborg, as a series of loose truces with fellow animals over and through differing zones, with advertisements as flowers, or with the attributes of any variety of animals. With “The Nottingham Apiary,” a project that sought to confront the decline in the bee population, coming in as the first runner up; “Farmland World,” a network of agro-tourist resorts, as second runner up; and “Birdscraper,” a skyscraper/self-sustaining ecological system, as third runner up, it looks like the competition brought in a huge range of projects. Check out the other projects here, or see coverage from Geoff Manaugh, one of the competition’s jurors, at BLDGBLOG.

The Roundup keeps you up to date with topics we’ve featured and other things we think are worth knowing about.

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.