Bee hives on city rooftops

“Roofs,” Lehner said, “are the great underutilized resource in New York City.”

Chucker Branch and Christine Lehner Keep Bees on the Roof of the Whitney Museum : The New Yorker

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The bees are too small to see in this image but I promise they are there. -Lindsay Banks photo


Forgotten place

There are some places that have been forgotten in a city. One of the reasons to not go there is that no reason to go there; nothing is going on or interested in. Stateway park is one of them. No one is there although this park is on State street which is one of the major street in the city, just a half mile from the Crown, and not the dead-end corner. I felt as if I slipped into the gap between spaces unnoticeably.



But I saw a group of visitors in the park. At least I had a company!

If a reason to go will be created, people will come to this park even during cold winter.

Something like a field house… (That’s my studio project. :))

31st Street stencil

This stencil is on a plywood barrier on 31st  where the road passes over the railroad tracks just west of Lake Shore Drive (see map for location; x marks spot.)  This site will be in sight of the soon-to-come protected bike lane on 31st.  Only this single panel carries a message; the others seem (to me) eager to join in the dialogue.

looking & being taxed

You are looking at Chicago and being taxed for it.

Unregistered Cities

(All images by Jiang Pengyi, via Blindspot Gallery)


Jiang Pengyi expresses excessive urbanization, redevelopment and demolition in the Beijing city with miniature model.

He installed abandoned buildings in abandoned space.

Rooftop Pitch

There are currently 9 buildings within a square mile in the Loop area that encompass a green roof.  That leaves approximately  27,878,400 square feet of unexploited green space.


In today’s society many individuals suffer from lack of interaction with others as well as a lack of physical activity.  Furthermore, rooftops provide us with a space that can easily be developed.

My proposal entails incorporating soccer pitches on multi-story buildings.  Residential towers in the Chicago area have anywhere between 100-400 units.  That’s at a minimum 100-400 residents each.  Integrating soccer leagues in these buildings will engage the community, promote a healthy lifestyle, provide a usable green space, provide jobs and all these benefits at the convenience of one’s home.

Soccer fields range in size from 180′ x 300′ to 120′ x 210′.  These dimensions can easily be fitted in 69 existing rooftops in the Loop area, utilizing a total of 2,728,800 sq. ft. (approximately 10%) of existing rooftop space and transforming it into usable green space!ImageImage

The New Urban Grid

     Public space is inherently dead, vacant.  As soon as it is occupied, it is privatized and becomes vehicular in nature.  Therefore public space is that which is waiting to be privatized.  Of course such privatization is fleeting geographically, as privatized space is always in motion.  Thus the only quality of life in the public space is the constantly changing, amorphous nature of this extra-cellular territory.  Public space is outer space.


New Urban Grid Stats:

The Urban Parcel : 201.062 ft2  (privatized space of one person in an 8′ radius circle)
The Earth : 5,490,369,314.071 ft2 (aprox. surface area)
Therefore the Earth can topographically support a total human population of 27,306,847 people.  However, if we restrict this to the total land area (aprox. 1,603,187,839 ft2), the Earth can only support 7,973,599 people.

With an estimated world population in 2010 of 6,840,507,000 people, we would need 1,375,366,018,434 ft2 of inhabitable surface area, or the equivalent of 250 Earths.

20.502 ft2 of public space will be left as an interstitial remainder per person in the most compact urban grid.  (In the image above, this space is shown in green.)  If we add this to the privatized space, each person will account for 221.654 ft2, and the Earth will only be able to support 7,232,860 people with a total of 148,288,100 ft2 (5.32 mi2) of public space. Basically, the total amount of public space would be smaller than the Chicago neighborhood highlighted in red in this map:


If we factor the public space into the equation, we would need just over 276 Earths to accommodate the estimated 2010 population.  Screw our carbon footprint, our privatization footprint is the real beast!

This is in response to The S.U.V. Model of Citizenship reading, in which the Hill v. Colorado case upheld the “bubble law,” an effort to protect people attempting to get an abortion in a clinic.  The law set an 8’ radius of safety around the abortion seeker (as well as employees, etc.) which essentially prevented protesters from haggling these people on their way to the clinic.  By being able to choose who can or cannot occupy the space around you, you are privatizing that space.  With the privatization of space in the public, the public shrinks and dies.

“The Look”

If space is dead, it needs to be memorialized.  And when I think about memorial art, I think of the art of Christian Boltanski.  His works have a really ad-hoc or DIY look to them, which I think works well with our tasks.  The look also “jives” well with the art of Louise Nevelson, who I referred to earlier in the semester.  Though both examples favor 3-dimensional manifestations, they obviously can take on other realities.

First, some Nevelson:


Instantly, you see the “boxes” or parcels into which we have been gearing our thoughts, and you can further see how the form can suggest a city, or at least a city skyline or even section.

And now, some Boltanski:


The nice thing again bout this aesthetic, is that you can imagine it being set up in a more guerrilla-like fashion.

Hope you dig.

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